Stage 4 : Hatch Point - Lockhart Basin
Below the white sandstone butte, we can see the trails leading out to the edge of Hatch Point mesa. Unfortunately, it is now necessary to descend the short steep slope of this butte, to reach these trails. An alternative route to the edge of the mesa skirts the edge of the butte, avoiding the necessity of descending the rocky slope.
Standing on the rim of the mesa, it appears initially that there is no possible way down. However, such a route does exist (S04P05). The path down is very steep, and the rocks underfoot are very loose, so enormous care must be taken on this descent. It would be very easy to slip and fall, or to turn an ankle. It would be nice to say that this is a tough but short descent, but it isn’t; in fact it will likely take almost 2 hours to get to the bottom. Some relief comes about two-thirds of the way down, when the steep slope levels off onto a flat area (S04P10). It is tempting to feel that this is the end of the descent, but it is then necessary to find another route down the final steep, loose section (S04P15).
Upon reaching the bottom (S04P20), the easiest progress is now probably via the narrow sandy drainages, until a good dirt road is reached. We are now in Lockhart Basin, and can turn and look back at the huge 1,200’ slope we descended from Hatch Point. The dirt road (Lockhart Road) winds its way across the basin, with great views in the far distance of the mesa of the Island-in-the-Sky district of Canyonlands National Park. Despite the dryness of the area, this is a very enjoyable walk, with glorious huge red sandstone cliffs on our left for much of the way.
S04P05 N38° 20.360' W109° 38.404' Descend from Hatch Point
S04P10 N38° 20.258' W109° 38.650' Mid-descent
S04P15 N38° 20.191' W109° 38.630' Start of final descent
S04P20 N38° 20.006' W109° 38.737' Completion of descent