The greatness of High Spur isn’t limited to technical canyoneering. Many of the narrow slots and the nice lines and colors can be enjoyed with no technical gear at all.
Getting to High Spur takes a lot of driving, with a lot of driving across the desert to get to Hans Flat, and some slow driving past Hans Flat. From Green River, UT, head west on I-70 to the Hanksville exit for Highway 24. Go south on Highway 24 until just past the turn off for Goblin Valley State Park. The road for Goblin Valley is on the right, and just a few yards past that is a road on the left for Hans Flat. Turn left here and follow the signs all the way to the Hans Flat Ranger Station. At the ranger station turn left. This is the road directly from the ranger station’s front entrance, and goes right beside the toilet. This road quickly becomes rocky, but as long as you have a reasonably high clearance vehicle you should be okay. Just continue on this road to 38.41594,-110.14884. There will be a road on your left here, and the parking is at this intersection.
A high clearance vehicle is recommended, and don’t head out here if it’s raining or the roads are wet.
There is no fee for parking at the trailhead.
There is a social trail that heads south-southwest from the parking area. Just follow this all the way to the canyon. You can drop in earlier by taking side canyons down into the main canyon, but I wouldn’t skip anything if you’re doing the non-technical option. The whole canyon is worth seeing. So just continue down the trail until it ends at the canyon at around 38.4114713, -110.1527885. Turn right to head down canyon.
Now just enjoy the hike. This is a beautiful canyon, and if you can get good light, you’ll spend a lot of time taking your classic canyon pictures. Be sure to take your tri-pod, because some of the slots are dark. There are a few places where you have to scramble over or under boulders, and there are a few places with short down climbs where you’ll have to hand packs down, but there’s nothing that needs anything technical for over an hour and a half of great slots. The canyon is very narrow in parts, and we ended up dropping our packs to come back and get them, because they were just too much trouble to deal with in the slots.
It took us a little under 2 hours before we reached our turn around point just before the first rappel. We stopped just after the canyon opened up significantly, when we ran into a lot of mud. While we didn’t make it all the way to the rappel due to the mud, the rappel is about two hours from the trailhead…depending on how much time you spend taking pictures. Simply continue until you reach the 17-foot rappel. If you’re not doing the technical parts, turn around here and head back.
You can backtrack all the way to where you entered the canyon and just exit there. We, however, found an exit about 20 minutes or so down canyon from where we entered, and climbed out there and navigated across the desert back to the car. While we didn’t have any problems doing this, the climb out was certainly harder than the easy drop in further up canyon, and the hike across the desert from this exit required more navigation skills. So, if you don’t want to do any easy climbing, and you don’t want to navigate, just backtrack to the point where you entered the canyon and exit there.
Permits & Regulations
No permits required.
As mentioned, don’t drive out here when it’s wet or rain is threatening. As many roads out here, these roads can become impassable when wet. This canyon is outside the Glen Canyon NRA, so you can camp nearby. But much of the road approaching the canyon is within GCNRA, so there’s no dispersed camping.