happy canyon


Mar 28, 2012
Hi folks, I'm trying to evaluate the feasibility of hiking the Happy Canyon narrows with my kids (8 and 10) next weekend. They're good hikers and can handle a 10-12 mile day. The plan would be to drive down Poison Springs, take the bench track as far as it'll go (I drive a 4runner but am pretty conservative with it), follow the track farther on mountain bikes until we feel like stopping, then walk the rest of the route. My guess is that this'll be a long day for us but it should be workable as long as we're able to make good progress driving / riding on the bench track, and as long as the first 11 miles of Poison Springs is in good shape. If anyone has feedback or recent info on the conditions of these road I've like to hear it.

My backup plan would be to walk into middle Bluejohn but I'm less interested in that since I've done it before.
Spectacular Hike! Awesome scenery! Yeah...Pretty straightforward if the bench road is in good shape. Drive the bench road until you are stopped by rock fall. Park...follow the road by foot say 2-3 miles...there is huge rock cairn on the right hand side....hike down...cross river...and then head up the canyon...Pretty awesome. I would say it was 5-6 hours round trip for me. At a leisurely pace...that area is outstanding! Have fun.

BTW...I have not been down there this year, so this is not UP To Date information! Try calling BLM Hanksville office. They usually put a blade on it once a year....calling the Maze Ranger station too...they get reports of people entering the Maze that way...
Thanks Mph, I'll definitely call the rangers and see if they have some road condition updates (though it often seems like it's better to just get out there and look!).
I went in early October, 2014. We started from camp at little Egypt at 9am and made it back to Hanksville around midnight. I found the Poison Springs road to be slow going and a bit nerve wracking. There are tons of cobblestones, and a few complete washouts with off road bypasses. I believe it was around 3 hrs each way on the road. We didn't have time to walk all the way through the entirety of the Happy Canyon narrows because we promised to call in to family by 11:30pm, but we made it most of the way.
The dirty devil crossing is very muddy and quick sandy.

The old miners track is drive was my least favorite part, rough and with some cliffs. Depending on your 4x4 skills, you may find it easier.

We used Kelsey's book to find the way.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Hi Christian, I would call myself a weak to average 4wd person, I do it to get places but not for fun-- we'll get an early start, thanks!
Have fun, Happy is incredible. Here is a pic I shot in Oct when I went:

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Folks, thanks again for the advice/info. We hiked Happy today, leaving ~7:00, and had a great time. I hadn't driven Poison Springs before but it seems to be in good shape relative to other years, it took us ~40 minutes to drive the ~11 miles to where the Black Jump road turns off. Then around an hour to make it somewhere close to the end of the drivable part of the Black Jump road. This road is incredible and I feel stupid for not camping out there a few days. Nobody else was out there. The petrified wood is awesome. The route down to the river was well-cairned and would have been easy enough to find anyhow. The kids had a blast with the DD crossing: the 8yo held my hand and the 10yo crossed on his own. The flow was in the 80-90cfs range. The mud was nasty and there was a bit of genuine quicksand. After crossing we ran into a guy from Colorado who had hiked in from Burr Point. The narrows were amazing and we spent a while in there-- very cool and pleasant. The forecast for Hanksville today was about 80 and it was hot walking out, we wet our shirts and hats a few times to keep cool. This hike would be tough or maybe dangerous in summer. We had dinner where the Black Jump road meets the main PS road and got back to Hanksville at dusk.

Anyhow, thanks again. I might not bother with a trip report since Happy seems plenty overexposed on the internet already.
Killer...good for you! PSprings is a sweet canyon. That area is crazy awesome. Glad all went well!
I know I'd like to see a TR. Or at least a few pictures here in this thread if you really don't want to write one.
They must have bladed the road sometime in the last 5 months. When we drove PS in OCT there would have been no way to make it to the trailhead in 1hr 40minutes. The road seemed basically unmaintained. I guess some floods had come through there in the prior weeks, come to think of it. Glad you guys had fun.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Yeah, the PS road was definitely bladed not too long ago. It would be a whole different beast after some floods. The lady I talked to at the Hanksville BLM office emphasized the lack of recent rains when talking about its condition.
I will post some pics soon, once I've sorted through them (I took too many of course). But first a few thoughts about the Happy Canyon narrows. The best comparison I can come up with is that like the best cathedrals in Europe it is huge and intimate at the same time. It is completely different from a slot canyon, and completely different from a wide canyon. The narrows are so long and varied that I feel like almost any time around mid-day would work for pictures as long as you have a steady hand (or a tripod) and a camera with good dynamic range. I'm bummed that we didn't have time to walk up to Happy's pinnacle, but as it was (with 1.5 or 2 hours in the narrows) by end of the day the kids were about done.
Very impressive. Next time make a camping trip w/ your kids. :)

Gesendet von meinem iPadAir2 mit CrapaTalk
Thanks for the beta! I'm planning on hitting happy canyon on Thursday via poison spring. I have a lifted tacoma and lots of offroad experience- but was nervous due to lack of information. Sweet!
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
J Burr Point Happy Canyon Airstrip Trip Planning 0
Ross Dirty Devil and Happy Canyon Hiking & Camping 14
SteveR Happy Canyon via Black Jump? Trip Planning 29
Ross Invite Cathedral Valley,Halls Creek.Happy canyon,Bisti,Caineville Mesa + more Meet Up (Members Only) 4
Jammer Cows in Happy Canyon General Discussion 10
Adventure monkey Steve Allen's exit out of Happy Canyon to the Big Ridge. Trip Planning 17
SteveR Happy Canyon and Coyote Buttes South questions Trip Planning 4
Dustin Gent happy canyon Trip Planning 11
fiber Happy Canyon/Sams Mesa Box Canyon - 4 day loop from Burr Point Canyoneering 7
Magic_Hour Happy Canyon Backpacking - Utah Backpacking 4
IntrepidXJ Happy Canyon & Poison Springs Hiking & Camping 7
Aldaron Happy Canyon Trip Planning 9
regehr Happy Canyon Hiking & Camping 5
Nick Happy 10th Birthday BCP! General Discussion 8
Bob Happy New Year ..... and cold ... General Discussion 3
Rockskipper Happy New Year Aurora General Discussion 0
kwc Happy Father’s Day to all the dads on the forum! General Discussion 0
Pianomover Happy Birthday! General Discussion 0
Wolverine1875 Just registered. Happy to have found the forum Noobs: Introduce yourself! 2
Reef&Ruins Not Super Happy About This.... General Discussion 15
Rockskipper It's that time of year, are you thankful or an ingrate? (Happy T-Day) General Discussion 10
longtimesun Happy to provide beta on Mountains - New timer to BackCountry Post Noobs: Introduce yourself! 1
Nick Happy 4th Bday, BCP! General Discussion 21
krough Happy to be here Noobs: Introduce yourself! 3
Rock Happy to be A Part of A New Community Noobs: Introduce yourself! 9
CSNBR Happy to have found you all Noobs: Introduce yourself! 3
gnwatts Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah General Discussion 4
balzaccom Happy to join you Noobs: Introduce yourself! 2
Nick Happy Birthday BCP! General Discussion 1
Nick Happy Birthday BCP! General Discussion 19
Michael Happy New Year General Discussion 1
gnwatts Stillwater Canyon 4-1-24 On The Water 11
T Dark canyon loop water General Discussion 1
L Stevens Canyon - Baker Trail water availability Trip Planning 9
J Reflection Canyon Trip Planning 4
fossana Found: prescription glasses near the top of the Flipoff Canyon approach General Discussion 5
Spud Salt Creek Canyon question Trip Planning 11
B Buckskin gulch/Pariah canyon Carpool Trip Planning 1
TractorDoc Paintbrush Canyon / Cascade Canyon Loop -- Grand Teton NP September 11, 2023 Hiking & Camping 9
Kullaberg63 15 day canyon route Backpacking 13
Titans Tricked in the canyon! Hiking & Camping 5
TrailScot Dayhiking the Under-the-Rim Trail - Bryce Canyon NP - October 2023 Hiking & Camping 4
Janice Such a GRAND Canyon - Deer Creek / Tapeats / Thunder River Backpacking 21
M Mee/Knowles Canyon Loop, Grand Junction Colorado Backpacking 4
OldBill Short hike at the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania Hiking & Camping 1
S Paria Canyon- Whitehouse to Lees Ferry, Oct 18 to 21, 2023 Trip Reports 0
scatman Yellowstone's Thorofare, Headwaters of Thorofare Creek, Majo Pass, Younts Peak, Bob's Canyon, and Cub Creek - August 9, 2023 - Days 7 through 10 Backpacking 34
scatman Yellowstone's Thorofare, Headwaters of Thorofare Creek, Majo Pass, Younts Peak, Bob's Canyon, and Cub Creek - August 9, 2023 - Days 1 through 6 Backpacking 56
A Bowdie Canyon Trip Planning 10
TheMountainRabbit Silas Canyon (Popo Agie Wilderness) - August 2023 Backpacking 3

Similar threads