(Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay) 

Creeksgiving is a tradition amongst rock climbers who flock to the Indian Creek Recreation area during Thanksgiving to celebrate the holiday with friends and sandstone splitters instead of family members. The tradition started way back in the heyday of Indian Creek, when 10 or maybe 20 dirtbags and rock climbers would gather in the chilly November evening to share a group meal. 

Since then, the tradition has spread like wildfire within the climbing community. It is the perfect storm of a Holiday that nearly everyone has off work and stellar climbing conditions in Indian Creek, meaning hundreds of rock climbers now flock to Indian Creek for Creeksgiving.

While the tradition is a wholesome gathering of folks who can’t–or won’t–head back to their families, it has in recent years become an event that brings in hundreds of rock climbers from all over the world. 

The Indian Creek Recreation Area is extremely delicate, and the impact that hundreds of climbers can have on it over the course of one weekend is potentially irreversible. 

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of things climbers can do to make sure their visit to Indian Creek for Creeksgiving is as low impact as possible. 

(Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay)

Follow Leave No Trace Principles

One of the most important things you can do while visiting Indian Creek is follow the Leave No Trace Principles. We have an entire blog post about the general Leave No Trace ethics for recreating in Moab, which you can read by clicking this link.

However, here are some of the most important ones for you to consider. 

(Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay) 

Do NOT Poop in the Desert

This means you must use the bathrooms located at beef basin or pack out your poop in disposable bags. 

Do NOT Create New Campsites 

Parking in places that are not designated campsites should NEVER be considered. In the course of a single season I’ve seen one person park off the side of the road, and the subsequent spot is now a full blown parking lot where folks routinely camp. It is a huge problem, and also pisses off the ranchers. 

Do NOT Hike off trails

Biological Soil Crusts are very sensitive soils in the Utah desert, stepping on them (or letting your dogs step on them) can destroy a very important source of water for the plants that grow in Indian Creek. This means hike on trail, and please keep your dogs on leash while camping or climbing! 

(Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay) 

And finally…

Respect the Ranchers!

We are extremely fortunate to be allowed to share Indian Creek with the ranchers who live here. We climb and camp on their land and historically they have not really enjoyed our presence. When recreating in Indian Creek, please remember to close the gates behind you when you pass through them on your way to the crag. 

Don’t camp on their land! This means only camping in designated campsites or on the Forest Service Land above the rim off of highway 211. Many of the parking lots off Beef Basin roads are not campsites, and do nothing but damage their land. 

Finally, Don’t speed. Speeding kills cows (and deer). In the last few years the number of cows that have been hit by cars has increased due to increased visitation. You can see them on the side of highway 211 and it’s not only a huge bummer, but you’ll total your car and you have to buy the cow. 

(Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay)

Enjoy Creeksgiving, Responsibly

There are a lot of don’ts in this article, but it’s because we want to make sure others can enjoy Indian Creek for generations to come. What it all boils down to is: camp responsibly, pack out your poop, keep your dogs on leash, and respect the ranchers who live here year round. 

Thanks for reading, and enjoy your Thanksgiving!