Huber Wash is one of the major drainages in Zion's southern desert section. This wash is usually dry and at roughly two miles in length between Route 9 and the Chinle Trail, it makes for a fairly easy half-day hike. As with all hikes in the desert section, it could be brutally hot during the summer and should be saved for the cooler months. For those with a little scrambling experience, Huber Wash can be used as an alternate start to the Chinle Trail.
Less than a mile west of the little town of Rockville, Route 9 crosses over Huber Wash--a road sign identifies the drainage. Roughly a quarter mile to the east is a large pull-off area with a gated dirt road to the north. Park beside the road and hike the dirt road north into BLM land past the power lines and grid. At the end of the road, look for an obvious path of use down into the wash. (Alternatively in good conditions, a car can drive the road to the end; be sure to close the gate behind you!)
Once in the wash, you will soon pass through the NPS boundary hiker's gate. The wash is mostly open and dry and navigation and hiking are fairly easy, but be prepared for occasional sections of mud, especially if there have been recent rains. The wash wanders back and forth with several turns until soon enough, the Rockville Bench and Petrified Forest Bench close in on both sides and the wash narrows. You may notice several pieces of petrified wood in the streambed; please leave for others to enjoy. After only an hour of hiking, you will reach an impassible dryfall with pieces of a petrified logjam in the shelf above to the east. Most casual hikers will call it quits and turn around at this point.
For those looking for something a little spicier, a climb-out spot can be found on the west side of the wash several hundred feet downstream from the dryfall. Scramble up to a fairly overgrown bench with many interesting sandstone formations and work your way to the cliff wall under the Petrified Forest Bench. Follow the wall west until it heads into a secluded little corner where there is a fairly easy and unexposed Class 3 scramble up to the top. Once on top, follow the rim of upper Huber Wash to join up with the Chinle Trail. (Note: The desert section is very delicate, so please try to stick to the solid rock or to the wash as much as possible to avoid trampling the many spots of cryptobiotic soil.)
|Huber Wash Map.
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For those looking for a leisurely backpacking experience, hiking the Chinle Trail and exploring Huber Wash, Scoggins Wash, and Coalpits Wash could make for a pleasant multi-day hike. In 2008, the National Park Service constructed several official campsites along the Chinle Trail. (Prior to this, open camping was permitted anywhere in the desert section.) A backcountry permit is required for any multi-day hike; see the official Zion Backpacking page for more info. For descriptions of the individual campsites, please see the Chinle Trail description.
Huber Wash isn't the most exciting spot in Zion, but it could be a fun diversion for an early morning hike or during the cooler months. If you want to hike the Chinle Trail, I would choose Huber Wash as a more interesting alternate start rather than parking in and hiking through the "Anasazi Plateau" housing development.