Thursday, March 9, 2023

Slave Falls & Twin Arches Double Loop Hike

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
Friday, December 30, 2022

I had the day off from work, so I decided to take Frank and head up to Big South Fork National Recreation Area a place I need to do some more exploring in. The only other hike I have done in this area was the Honey Creek Loop that is a fantastic hike I would really recommend checking out.  

I should start out by stating that I found this trail system to be somewhat confusing both while hiking and on the maps. Trail names sort of run together and are not well marked however there were signs that pointed you in the direction of a location or feature. I was never lost, and the trails were easy to spot but especially from where I started out it was difficult to tell what trail you were hiking on.  

From what I could tell these were the trails and route I used: 

  • Fork Ridge ………………………………    0.2 Miles
  • Sawmill     ………………………………... 1.4 Miles
  • Slave Falls to Charit Creek ......   1.4 Miles
  • Twin Arches Loop ……………………    4.2 Miles
  • Slave Falls to Charit Creek ......   1.4 Miles
  • Sawmill     ………………………………... 1.4 Miles
  • Fork Ridge ………………………………... 0.2 Miles 

Another thing to note is if you view my AllTrails recording and use the map originally linked to the hike it goes off trail at one point by Slave Falls. This means if you are not willing to go off trail it will add some extra distance to your hike. Since Frank was with me on this hike, I had to go the extra distance as it is too hard going off trail with a leash.  

All being said, this is a great hike that is not very strenuous with beautiful nature filled landscapes and geological features. It is a wonderful place for a long day hike, and / or even a backcountry camp over a couple of days.  

I started at the Sawmill trail head and followed it north to what I believe is the Salve Falls Loop trail. I continued until I reached a side trail pointing you in the direction of Slave Falls. I thought I was there as the falls looked to be frozen hanging down off the cliff's edge. Come to find out later you need to continue around the cliff to reach the falls. I hiked back to the main trail and headed off in the direction of Needle Arch to which a sign pointed.  

Needle Arch
Needle Arch is a beautiful little arch that juts out of a larger rock formation and has moss growing on it. This is one of those features I could just sit down and look at for hours, but I had Frank with me who does not like taking breaks. After a few minutes we headed back to the trail and took the Slave Falls to Charit Creek Trail over to the Twin Arches Loop Trail. Along the Salve Falls to Charit Creek Trail there are a few nice spots to make camp. To be able to camp in the backcountry you will need to acquire a permit from Big South Fork.

Trail Head

Near Slave Falls

Needle Arch

Along the Trail

Me at the South Arch

Slave Falls

Click for AllTrails Recording

Once you hit the Twin Arches Loop Trail you will start to climb for a bit. On this trail there are huge rock faces for large tracks that are breathtaking. There also seems to be a lot of sandstone boulders laying around that over time looks like they do turn into sand on the trail. The Arches themselves are awe-inspiring and I will have to let the pictures speak for that as my words will not do it justice. Though I would also say that the pictures will not do them justice.  

Twin Arches - North Arch

After the arches, the trail starts to descend, and you will eventually reach Charit Creek Lodge. This is a beautiful little area where there used to be an old homestead. You will follow the trail north where you link back up with Slave Falls to Charit Creek again and following it the way you came.  

Twin Arches - South Arch

On my way back I found Slave Falls as there was a side trail I missed when I was heading the other direction. It was here on the AllTrails map I was following I noticed there was a small section of off trail that was hiked. If I did not have Frank with me, I would have figured it out, but a dog leash is not conducive for hiking off trail. The only thing to do was hike the long way around but it was also starting to get dark. Frank started to act a little panicked and was unusual for him, but I realized after that this was the first time, he was out with me on the trail when it was getting dark. Who knew a dog would get nervous because it was getting dark, not me.  

We just made it to the Jeep as the last of the daylight faded away. It was a great hike and a good day. Frank did some sleeping on the way home too!

3D Map of My Route - Click for Recording -

Story Links: 

  1. Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
  2. AllTrails Recording
  3. YouTube Channel 

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