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Stage 17 : Comb Wash - Comb Ridge

National Geographic
NatGeo MAB S17 merge1.png
Sat MAB S17 merge1.png

Possible water source


After the somewhat laborious walk along Comb Wash, our arrival at the highway (US-163) comes as something of a relief (S17P05).


The route east along the highway is obvious, as we head uphill to the huge gap in the ridge, through which the road follows. As we progress through this gap, our route will take us sharp left (S17P10), across some bedrock, and through another smaller gap. This section is actually the one used by the Hole-in-the-Rock pioneers, as they attempted to cross Comb Ridge. Their original wagon tracks can clearly be seen in the rocky section we cross, upon leaving the main highway. After a hundred yards or so, we are faced with the surprising site of an old paved road, complete with yellow center-line markings. This is actually the route of the original modern highway from the 1930s. It wasn’t until the 1960s, that the current road was routed through the width of Comb Ridge.


After leaving these roads, we can now head cross country and enjoy the delights of the eastern side of Comb Ridge. It is possible to quickly ascend to the top of the ridge itself, via smooth sandstone ramps, which are sometimes quite steep, but very easy to walk on. The ridge-top can be followed northwards relatively easily, although dipping sharply down into the side drainages is sometimes required. Alternatively, it is possible to make progress further down from the ridge-top, where the going is often more straightforward along the lower less-steep sandstone slopes. Whatever route is taken, a visit to the top of the ridge is essential (S17P15), since the views are simply incredible. It should be possible to find a cosy camp spot a few minutes down from the ridge top.

Total Ascent
Total Descent
Min Elevation
Max Elevation
8.5 miles
Useful Locations

S17P05          N37° 16.416' W109° 40.673'     Comb Wash meets US-163

S17P10          N37° 15.591' W109° 40.344'     Leave US-163 for Comb Ridge

S17P15          N37° 17.037' W109° 39.611'     Possible Comb Ridge viewpoint

Water Availability
Comb Wash stream
Water/Food Cache
Comb Wash Road >3 miles from US-163 (HC may be required if stream is flowing)
Comb Wash Road <3 miles from US-163
Butler Wash Road
Elevation Profile
S17 Elev v1.png

Comb Ridge




Wagon tracks


View from Comb Ridge

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