Dark Canyon

MarkintheHV

Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2016
Messages
8
I am seriously thinking about planning a backpacking trip with my 11 year old son (strong hiker) to Dark Canyon. We would be either flying into Denver and grabbing the rental car, or arriving in Grand Junction by Amtrak and grabbing the rental car.

Some questions:
(1) Are the trail heads accessible via a two wheel drive rental car?
(2) Is it better to do the whole 40 mile loop, or just Sundance trail, set up camp and explore from there?
(3) Is 4 days of backbacking enough to do the whole loop?

Thanks
 

cjhaines

Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Messages
13
Just got back from Dark this past weekend. Can't speak for the whole loop, since we only did Sundance, but the trailhead is accessible in a 2WD car. Towards the end it gets a bit rocky and you'll need to take it slow and careful but it's very doable.

We hiked down the slide Friday and hiked out Sunday morning. The trail in is decent (until you get to the canyon rim), but once you're down there you need to do a lot of route-finding and boulder hopping. It makes for longer days than you'd think. Again, I don't know about the whole loop but I could easily have spent 3-4 full days in the lower canyon.
 

Jammer

❤2Hike
.
Joined
Feb 23, 2012
Messages
641
Personally I'd just set-up camp and explore via Sundance. The Lower Canyon (below Sundance) and lower Middle Canyon is really great. The upper Middle is dry and not that much fun. The water returns in the Upper Canyon and there's some arches and ruins which make things interesting, but... unless you really want to complete a loop I'd spend more time in the lower end. And... depending on how you are closing the loop, the rim walking isn't that great.
 

SKLund

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
459
Just got back from Dark this past weekend. Can't speak for the whole loop, since we only did Sundance, but the trailhead is accessible in a 2WD car. Towards the end it gets a bit rocky and you'll need to take it slow and careful but it's very doable.

We hiked down the slide Friday and hiked out Sunday morning. The trail in is decent (until you get to the canyon rim), but once you're down there you need to do a lot of route-finding and boulder hopping. It makes for longer days than you'd think. Again, I don't know about the whole loop but I could easily have spent 3-4 full days in the lower canyon.

Howdy I am going into Dark Canyon from Sundance this month (flows are too high in the Escalante, but that's another story). My partner is worried about how steep the down climb is from the rim. He has read a guide book that says there is 20 foot drops and friction climbs. Any information you have would be helpful to fix the fear or terrify.:devil:
 

Nick

-
.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,918
Howdy I am going into Dark Canyon from Sundance this month (flows are too high in the Escalante, but that's another story). My partner is worried about how steep the down climb is from the rim. He has read a guide book that says there is 20 foot drops and friction climbs. Any information you have would be helpful to fix the fear or terrify.:devil:

Only if you go way off course! We did it with very heavy packs (packrafts, paddles and PFD's), it is no joke but it is certainly not 20 foot drops and friction climbs unless you really screwed up. Our only regret was not starting earlier and not carrying more water. It's longer from the trailhead than it looks. Some pics: https://backcountrypost.com/threads/dark-to-cataract-to-hite.5790/
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
B Dark Canyon - Young's to Lean-to Traverse Trip Planning 3
M Dark Canyon Complex Water Data Trip Planning 4
fossana An Allen inspired trip to Dark Canyon Backpacking 29
JBPHXAZ Dark Canyon Backpacking Help Trip Planning 9
Mikjik86 8 Days Backpacking Dark Canyon Wilderness Backpacking 2
Mikjik86 Short Video: Backpacking/Packrafting Dark Canyon Wilderness, Utah. April 2019 Backpacking 0
regehr Allen-ish dark canyon loop video Backpacking 5
Stephanie B Behind the Rocks, Ken's Lake Faux Falls, U-Turn Canyon, Seven Mile Canyon, and Dark Angel Hiking & Camping 4
T Dark canyon - lower blm portion with pack goats?? Canyoneering 2
Gregg B. Dark Canyon/Gypsum Canyon/Cataract Canyon Loop Trip Planning 17
Kullaberg63 Allen's Dark Canyon route Trip Planning 18
George_Washington_Hayduke Clearwater Canyon, Black Hole of White Canyon, Dark Canyon, Swett Canyon "Packraftoneering" Canyoneering 6
BJett Dark Canyon Wilderness - Wilderness Volunteers Backpacking 12
J Dark Canyon/Gypsum Loop Trip Planning 16
cmgz Dark Canyon-Woodenshoe to Sundance Backpacking 4
J Dark Canyon Trip Planning 3
Cody Dark Canyon Backpacking 6
Bob Dark Canyon - Dry Mesa Area Backpacking 3
dug Dark Cyn/Fable Valley approach roads Trip Planning 5
Nick Poll: Dark vs. Light - 2018 Edition General Discussion 9
Dave Afraid of the Dark Backpacking 12
Nick Dark to Cataract to Hite Backpacking 27
Artemus Dark skies for naked eye astronomers and photographers Photography 16
Nick Poll: BCP Dark & Light? Questions, Suggestions & Support 26
Bob Dark Sky Finder Resource Discussions 5
Backcountry Post BCP - Dark or Light? General Discussion 2
Archbishop I've joined the dark side........ And I LIKE IT! General Discussion 3
Nick Poll: Light vs. Dark Theme Questions, Suggestions & Support 11
Laura V. Four Days in Salt Creek Canyon, April 2021 Backpacking 14
NorthwestWanderer 4 Days Backpacking Capitol Reef : Spring Canyon & Various side canyons Backpacking 5
F Stevens Canyon/southern escalate water availability. Trip Planning 16
Juicifer Labyrinth Canyon in April Questions Trip Planning 2
Nick Running the Grand Canyon in a Tule Raft General Discussion 2
Udink Mount Belknap and Bullion Canyon Hiking & Camping 3
norwegianxplorer Mt Whitney Virtual Hike via Horseshoe Meadows & Mt Langley, Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park Backpacking 1
Laura V. Bears in Salt Creek Canyon, Canyonlands Trip Planning 76
Reef&Ruins Hell'n Moriah Canyon Trip Planning 5
D Grand Canyon Ideas Trip Planning 9
RyanP Maze questions---Sweet Alice Canyon, etc Trip Planning 22
gnwatts Doing fine in Labyrinth Canyon, 9-17-20 On The Water 8
BJett Honeymoon Backpacking - An Intro to Canyon Country Backpacking 14
wildwesthikes 9 Days Solo Escalante Loop in October (water advice) - Stevens Canyon, Baker Route over Waterpocket fold, Halls Narrows to Moody Canyons Trip Planning 11
Dhuff3243 Constrychnine canyon Trip Planning 0
Outdoors24 Floating Labyrinth Canyon On The Water 7
C Paria Canyon water source - August 2020 Trip Planning 2
balzaccom Fun in Mokelumne Canyon Backpacking 1
norwegianxplorer Big SEKI loop, Sequoia Kings Canyon Backpacking 1
norwegianxplorer Bear Standoff and Bluff Charge in Kings Canyon yesterday June 30th Backpacking 16
zionsky Jan's Canyon Trip Planning 2
Bob Grand Canyon North Rim wildfire Trip Planning 4

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top