Happy Canyon via Black Jump?

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SteveR

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We are headed south to the desert in early October, with Happy Canyon on the "maybe" list. Has anyone here heard any recent reports of road conditions? I'm not worried about Poison Springs as long as the weather has been/is good, but more concerned about the mining road. FWIW- will be driving a 4wd Tacoma, but it will be somewhat encumbered by our 4WD popup camper. I'll check with the Hanksville BLM at some point- but I'm guessing that they would probably discourage driving the mining road. If we were bringing the MTB's on this trip that would be an option, but we are leaving them at home.
 

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regehr

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I've done the Black Jump road and while it wasn't too difficult as 4WD roads go, I'm not sure that I'd take a trailer on it. If you have time maybe drive it w/o trailer first to make sure you'll make it. If this looks like a bad idea you could always leave the camper where the Black Jump road breaks off (but this would be a shame since the camp sites near the end of the Black Jump road are awesome). Also, if you don't mind a long day it looks like you can walk up the ridge from near the DD crossing to the Black Jump road (I've only looked at this and not done it though). Or just walk the DD from the PS crossing.

Or is it a truck bed camper instead of a trailer? In that case likely to be fine.

Looking forward to hearing how it goes.
 
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regehr

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Ok, parking near the DD crossing and walking up to the road adds 2 hiking miles each way. Not fun but probably faster than walking the DD. I mapped this out a few years ago in case the Black Jump road was impassable but like I said it's easy for a Taco w/experienced driver if it hasn't deteriorated in the meantime.

Screenshot from 2017-09-21 12-03-50.png
 

SteveR

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Thanks! I saw your report, and another from 2016 that mentioned driving a subie. We are starting our 2 weeks of desert hiking in the San Rafael area, then down to Cedar Mesa, so the side trip to Happy, which has been on the "to-do" list for many years, makes sense. This is our rig:
IMGP7549_edited-1.jpg

The camper adds around 900 lbs, all-in with water, propane, provisions etc, so it does require a little extra caution on those rugged Utah 4wd tracks.
 

regehr

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Sounds like an awesome trip. Camping at the end of the Black Jump road should be 100% outstanding. Kudos to whoever got a Subie down that road though!
 
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WasatchWill

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I was just thinking about Happy Canyon today after reading a TR on another site about a trip down the Dirty Devil years ago. I don't have any road beta to give you as I've yet to even scratch the surface of anything that side of Hanksville, but I do hope it all works out and look forward to seeing TR/pics afterwards.
 

regehr

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I have a Hanksville-based trip coming up (motel, since won't have time to pack for a camping trip) and might want to do Happy again, so would love to hear about conditions.

Was also thinking about High Spur (never been), Bluejohn (which I've done before as a nontechnical hike, and it was awesome), Ding/Dang (never done).
 

Glasterpiece

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I drove BP member Ross to Happy Canyon on Saturday. PSC is what it is. A mess. It was my first time on the Black Jump road. Not even sure what they mean by Black Jump. In any event, three hours in and Ross had a great hike of the narrows.
 

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regehr

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I drove BP member Ross to Happy Canyon on Saturday. PSC is what it is. A mess. It was my first time on the Black Jump road. Not even sure what they mean by Black Jump. In any event, three hours in and Ross had a great hike of the narrows.
I"m having trouble parsing this out. PSC and Black Jump road are passable but the drive took three hours? That's driving one way or does this include hiking time? Do you mean anything in particular by "a mess"?
 

Glasterpiece

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I"m having trouble parsing this out. PSC and Black Jump road are passable but the drive took three hours? That's driving one way or does this include hiking time? Do you mean anything in particular by "a mess"?
I was tired when I wrote that. When I say a mess I just mean the typical mud and boulders. Nothing that can't be negotiated. We left a car 3.5 miles from the highway and I didn't actually time the trip in but it was around 3 hours. The next day I did time it and it was 2 hours to go from the Happy Canyon area to the car, a drive of 12.5 miles. I could have driven it much quicker if I was not driving my own truck. ;)

This was only my third time driving Poison Spring Canyon. The last time was in August a few years ago. From the Dirty Devil to the highway. In the dark. Only days after a flash flood. THAT was a mess.
 

Glasterpiece

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Thanks! I saw your report, and another from 2016 that mentioned driving a subie. We are starting our 2 weeks of desert hiking in the San Rafael area, then down to Cedar Mesa, so the side trip to Happy, which has been on the "to-do" list for many years, makes sense. This is our rig:
View attachment 57949
The camper adds around 900 lbs, all-in with water, propane, provisions etc, so it does require a little extra caution on those rugged Utah 4wd tracks.
Can you tell me a bit about that camper?
 

regehr

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I was tired when I wrote that. When I say a mess I just mean the typical mud and boulders. Nothing that can't be negotiated. We left a car 3.5 miles from the highway and I didn't actually time the trip in but it was around 3 hours. The next day I did time it and it was 2 hours to go from the Happy Canyon area to the car, a drive of 12.5 miles. I could have driven it much quicker if I was not driving my own truck. ;)

This was only my third time driving Poison Spring Canyon. The last time was in August a few years ago. From the Dirty Devil to the highway. In the dark. Only days after a flash flood. THAT was a mess.
Thanks for the extra details. I've only driven down PSC once and was thinking about doing it again next week.
 

Nick

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Bumping this because I'm thinking about doing Happy this weekend. Anyone driven through there recently?
 

Nick

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I called the BLM in Hanksville and they said "It's pretty beat up, you'd need a really high clearance 4WD vehicle or an ATV". I'd love to hear any other recent reports though.
 

WasatchWill

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I was hoping to make it out there this fall myself...but not in the cards for me anymore. If that road doesn't ever improve again based on that report, logistics may force me to long hike into HC whenever I take the opp to do so.
 

regehr

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I've been to the Happy narrows via Black Jump and am contemplating going in via French Spring fork in the spring. But it's a LONG canyon, like 13 miles to the narrows once you hit the canyon floor. Walking that far on sand will suck. May be able to cut off some distance following benches / old mining tracks.
 

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