Hiking in Bell's Canyon

on Monday, 15 April 2013. Posted in Articles, Hiking

This was mine and Doug's first backpacking trip! We got on the mountain at around 3:00pm, holy cow were those backpacks heavy!! We had initially intended to get to Upper Bells Reservoir to camp, but also had another place in mind in case we got too tired to make it to the top. About a 1/2 mile in we realized the stop before Upper Bells was going to be necessary haha... those packs were so heavy! (Haha, I know I said that twice... but they were!) Bells Canyon is probably not the best choice for a first time backpacker. The hiking itself was really, really hard... but we had a fantastic time anyway. But we always do... because we are Doug and Krystal.

The first time we hiked Bells we were unsure of where the 2nd reservoir actually was. The canyon trail seems to go on forever, we kept hoping around the next turn we would find the water, but ended up so exhausted we had to turn around before we found it. Doug and I couldn't let this hike defeat us, and figured 2 days to hike it would work better, which it did! On our previous hike up Bells we found an awesome meadow and fell in love. It had a perfect little camping spot, with a fire pit already built, so we were more than happy to just stop there for the night. The trees were full of beautiful colors there, and we had a great view of the opposite mountain side. I LOVE Utah in the fall!

We got our camp set up at about 6:30pm, luckily there was still sunlight. It was quite humid in the meadow, so we really had to search around to find wood that wasn't damp. We noticed the very dry pine needles make great kindling and really take off quickly. The Chipotle napkins I had in my bag worked well to get the fire going also, haha. In the meantime we piled damp wood around the edge of the fire pit to be sure we could keep the fire going for a few more hours, and to have wood for the fire we would need in the morning to make breakfast.

For food we got these awesome freeze dried meals from REI, called Backpacker's Pantry. Dinner was Backpacker's Pantry Katmand Curry,  breakfast was Backpacker's Pantry Organic Peanut Butter Raisin Oatmeal. We bought a little tea kettle to put over the fire for boiling water, and a cooking grate for it to sit on. It worked very well and both meals turned out great. (I did enjoyed the oatmeal more than the curry, but with long distance backpacking... those are pretty much the only option for food. Whole, moisture in tact foods would be too heavy.)

It was freezing when the sun went down! My sissy feet were so cold they ached. But the REI Lumen +40 Sleeping Bag we rented worked very well. Though, I don't recommend the Alps Mountaineering sleeping pads and mummy bags together, you just end up sliding off the pad for 1/2 the night. I heard they make lightweight sleeping bags that have an actual pocket for the sleeping pads, those would probably be the better way to go.

We went to bed at about 9:30pm and got up at 8:00am. That is a lot of sleeping time, but we did hike up a mountain with 40-50 Lbs. on our backs LOL. Plus neither one of us slept all that well, so the extra time was much needed. Though it did put us behind in our plans by a bit, but it worked out. We decided we didn't want to lug our heavy bags to the Upper Reservoir so we found a huge rock near our campsite to hide them while we finished the hike.

The Upper Reservoir was a bit of a task to find, but for the most part the trail was marked with LARGE cairns. There was a rock scramble on the way up that scared me quite a bit, but I made it and was SO glad I did! The reservoir was gorgeous! We climbed all the way to the top of a mountain, but what we found looked like just a simple meadow out in the plains, with a small pool of water in the middle. The reservoir was quite low, but we expect that this time of year. The view was well worth the 4 mile hike. We didn't get to hang out at the top as much as we would have liked to, because we had to meet family in the next canyon over -Little Cottonwood, for Oktoberfest. We also had to get the tent and sleeping bags we rented from REI back by 6:00. (You can rent certain things from REI to try them out before you buy, or if you just can't afford to purchase them. The prices aren't bad at all to rent.)

The trek back down was good, until about a mile and a 1/2 from the trailhead, that's when the pain started kicking in... especially in our shoulders\traps and knees from the weight of the bags. But we made it out alive!! :D

So... I recommend backpacking Bells Canyon after a few other backpacking trips in less steep and shorter hikes. Build up to the weight, and do lunges at the gym a few times per week to help build up those muscles. Though you can go right into the Bells hike if you'd like, you just need a lot of fortitude and pain tolerance.

 To see our other adventures check us out at www.monkeyonamountain.com

  • Bells Canyon 1 Feet

    Bells Canyon 1 Feet

  • Bells Canyon 2 Krystal pre hike

    Bells Canyon 2 Krystal pre hike

  • Bells Canyon 3 Krystal pre hike

    Bells Canyon 3 Krystal pre hike

  • Bells Canyon 4 Doug pre hike

    Bells Canyon 4 Doug pre hike

  • Bells Canyon 5 Doug pre hike

    Bells Canyon 5 Doug pre hike

  • Bells Canyon 6 Trail start

    Bells Canyon 6 Trail start

  • Bells Canyon 7 Doug on the trail

    Bells Canyon 7 Doug on the trail

  • Bells Canyon 8

    Bells Canyon 8

  • Bells Canyon 9 Trailhead sign

    Bells Canyon 9 Trailhead sign

  • Bells Canyon 10

    Bells Canyon 10

  • Bells Canyon 11

    Bells Canyon 11

  • Bells Canyon 13 Doug and Krystal on the trail

    Bells Canyon 13 Doug and Krystal on the trail

  • Bells Canyon 12 Doug and Krystal on the trail 2

    Bells Canyon 12 Doug and Krystal on the trail 2

  • Bells Canyon 14 Camp site

    Bells Canyon 14 Camp site

  • Bells Canyon 15 Camp site fire pit

    Bells Canyon 15 Camp site fire pit

  • Bells Canyon 16 Camp fire

    Bells Canyon 16 Camp fire

  • Bells Canyon 17  Camp fire

    Bells Canyon 17 Camp fire

  • Bells Canyon 18 Camp fire

    Bells Canyon 18 Camp fire

  • Bells Canyon 19 Camp fire Doug

    Bells Canyon 19 Camp fire Doug

  • Bells Canyon 20 Camp fire Krystal

    Bells Canyon 20 Camp fire Krystal

  • Bells Canyon 21 Camp fire

    Bells Canyon 21 Camp fire

  • Bells Canyon 22 Camp fire out

    Bells Canyon 22 Camp fire out

  • Bells Canyon 23 Camp site Day 2

    Bells Canyon 23 Camp site Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 24 View from camp- Day 2

    Bells Canyon 24 View from camp- Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 25 Trail Day 2

    Bells Canyon 25 Trail Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 26 Rocky Trail Day 2

    Bells Canyon 26 Rocky Trail Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 27 Rocky Trail Day 2

    Bells Canyon 27 Rocky Trail Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 28 Rocky Trail Day 2

    Bells Canyon 28 Rocky Trail Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 29 Rocky Trail Day 2

    Bells Canyon 29 Rocky Trail Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 30 Rocky Trail Day 2

    Bells Canyon 30 Rocky Trail Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 31 Canyon wall Day 2

    Bells Canyon 31 Canyon wall Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 32 Day 2

    Bells Canyon 32 Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 33 Day 2

    Bells Canyon 33 Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 34 Day 2

    Bells Canyon 34 Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 35 Rock pile on the trail Day 2

    Bells Canyon 35 Rock pile on the trail Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 36 Day 2

    Bells Canyon 36 Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 37 Day 2

    Bells Canyon 37 Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 39 Upper Bells Reservior Day 2

    Bells Canyon 39 Upper Bells Reservior Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 38 Upper Bells Reservior Day 2

    Bells Canyon 38 Upper Bells Reservior Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 40 Shadow Person Day 2

    Bells Canyon 40 Shadow Person Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 41 View of the valley from the Reservior Day 2

    Bells Canyon 41 View of the valley from the Reservior Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 42 Upper Bells Reservior Day 2

    Bells Canyon 42 Upper Bells Reservior Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 43 Heading back down Day 2

    Bells Canyon 43 Heading back down Day 2

  • Bells Canyon 44 Heading back down Day 2

    Bells Canyon 44 Heading back down Day 2

  • Bells Canyon Vid

    Bells Canyon Vid