For a couple years Andrew and I talked about hiking the Hayduke Trail after he graduated from college. When 2018 came around we planned to head out in the fall. We decided that we didn’t want to feel rushed leading up to our planned mid-September start and so we ended up pushing that back repeatedly for about a month. We also decided that we did not want to stick to the Hayduke, but rather just spend a few weeks exploring in southern Utah. We hiked and rafted about 500 miles from Moab to the Grand Canyon in 21 days, starting on October 25.
Here is some information to show you what we did and how to plan your own Hayduke Trail adventure.
All of these resources are free.
For an accurate map and GPS track of the Hayduke Trail, visit Puppy’s website: https://www.little-package.com/blog/2017/11/hayduke-trail-map. She links to a map she made in Caltopo. Using Caltopo, you can make your own changes to the map and then export a .gpx file and .pdf files for printing (more information on using Caltopo here: http://johnzahorian.com/using-caltopo).
“Whereas this is a difficult route as far as way-finding and sometimes terrain go, I think people can make it a whole lot more difficult for themselves if they are following the wrong track, obsessing over GPS rather than ground and terrain. I have done this, and imagine if one chose the wrong track over and over, they might decide the Hayduke is super tough. It’s not. There is trail nearly the entire way. Yep. Trail nearly the entire way. When you are not walking roads or washes, you are either walking trail or desire path (wikipedia definition). If you keep your eyes peeled and think outside the box (try thinking like a cow), you will find these paths everywhere. They are often elegant and nearly always expeditious.” -Puppy, https://www.little-package.com/blog/2017/11/hayduke-trail-map
I found the above quote to be mostly true. A desire path would be pretty generous for a few short areas we encountered, but the route is nearly always the most sensible way through the terrain and most of it is very easy to follow. The few places we could not find a path to follow are usually straight shots through more open terrain. Using a map I would certainly consult a compass and a watch to ensure I had a good estimate of my location so that I could ensure hitting a canyon entrance or exit point. But using a GPS app on our phones we never really had to be particularly mindful about navigation.
There is some good information about the Hayduke Trail on these pages from Wired (https://www.walkingwithwired.com/2015/10/advice-to-future-haydukers.html) and Buck30 (https://www.postholer.com/journal/Hayduke-Trail/2013/buck30/2013-05-19/PLANNING-NOTES-FOR-FUTURE-HIKERS/37921).
For alternates, I used websites from Nic Barth (http://ncbarth.com/Hayduke.htm) and Jamal Green (http://www.acrossutah.com/wordpress/the-hayduke-trail).
Nic Barth’s site has a GPS track (.kmz) with lots of alternates that can be paired with Puppy’s pure Hayduke track for creating your master route reference.
Jamal Green has a lot of pages with information on alternates but you’re going to have to plot these using Caltopo if you want it included in your track. Plenty of information to go by, though.
(Not the) Hayduke
This google drive folder (https://drive.google.com/open?id=1H5s2ixmZ-Tjd8OHEUicDyn7YWy1CTZwF) contains Buck30’s water report (found on Wired’s site) and the GPS track + waypoints I used. I kept multiple route options in some areas so that we could make route and resupply decisions in the moment. I used GAIA to display the GPS track + waypoints and downloaded the topo maps of nearly all of soutern Utah and northern Arizona.