Round Trip Distance: 1.6 miles
Elevation: 5380 - 5508 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Usage: Hiking - No Dogs
Time: 1 hr.
Facilities: Vault toilet
Trailhead: Josie Bassett Home Site
Attractions: Historic ranch, scenic box canyon, wildflowers (including rare orchids)
View Josie Bassett's Hog Canyon in a larger map
The Hog Canyon trail is located on the Josie Bassett home site in the Utah Section of the Dinosaur National Monument. The box canyon was once used as a natural corral where Josephine kept her hogs. A natural spring flows through the canyon creating a riparian environment that gives life to several types of orchids and other wildflowers.
The trailhead is at the end of the Cub Creek Road on the Josie Bassett home site. It is the final stop, #15, on the Tour of Tilted Rocks auto route.
The trail travels from the home site, past the chicken coop and a few other out buildings to the mouth of Hog Canyon. A few spots get a little rough and are a bit dull but it is well worth it to hike on past them.
The trail passes one of several ponds on Josie's place that have an interesting story behind them. It appears that someone downstream who owned the rights on Cub Creek was laying claim to the water flowing out of Hog Canyon. Josephine wouldn't be able to survive without the water. She found a loophole in the law that stated that the person downstream could only claim the rights to water that flowed into Cub Creek so she built several retention ponds to make sure that it never made it there.
After about a quarter mile the trail crosses a small foot bridge over the spring and enters the fenced area of Hog Canyon.
Hog Canyon with its many trees, grass and shrubs is very pleasant to hike.
Stream orchids can be found at several spots along the stream. The flowers don't get real big but you can spot them if you look closely. There are also some other white orchids, spiranthes diluvials, that are more rare that also go by the name of Ute lady's tresses.
Near the end of the trail there is a spot where the stream comes near to the cliff where there is a small patch of white Colorado columbines.
If you wander off the trail by even a foot in places you will want to watch out for the poison ivy. There is also some growing around the fence near the cabin.
Like Box Canyon there isn't a sign that lets you know that you are at the end of the trail. You end up getting to a point where it doesn't make any sense to continue so you simply turn around and head back.
The cabin is open for everyone's inspection. The floors are dirt and haven't been swept for quite some time. It looks like it was probably a pretty comfortable home but I'm sure that younger people would be shocked to think that anyone ever lived there. Unless you have lived with dirt floors, no running water or indoor plumbing and had to sleep with 5 or 6 quilts on top of you it would be hard to imagine what it was like living in such a place. This cabin is far better than most of the early settlers abodes where they had mud dripping on them every time it rained and you could see outside through the cracks in the walls.
Hog Canyon is a pleasant trail to hike with the stream and wildflowers. There are lots of extra bonuses on this hike with the cabin and other buildings. The brochure provides some interesting stories about Josie Bassett. And the orchids and other wildflowers are like icing on the cake. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.