The Dye Clan
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  • TR: Jun 2012

Hidden Canyon (Technical Route)

Anthony, Zac, and Jeremy on the Hidden Canyon Arch.

The technical version of Hidden Canyon turns the classic day hike into a full-day canyoneering adventure. The canyon is entered from the top and after several rappels, the canyoneers exit the canyon near the Weeping Rock shuttle stop.

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Waypoints

Waypoint Latitude Longitude Description
THWR 37.2708892 -112.9385062 Weeping Rock Trailhead, elevation 4,370 ft. Weeping Rock shuttle stop
JUNC1 37.2688641 -112.9367113 Junction #1, Turn left (east) toward East Rim Trail and Observation Point
JUNC2 37.2742505 -112.9285614 Junction #2, Turn right (east) toward East Entrance, Cable Mountain, and Deer Trap Mountain
THSS 37.2678394 -112.8990617 Stave Spring Trailhead, elevation 6,468 ft.
JUNC3 37.2659902 -112.9078084 Junction #3, Trails from Weeping Rock trailhead and Stave Spring Trailhead merge. Continue south.
THEE 37.2327622 -112.8764522 East Entrance Trailhead, elevation 5,695 ft.
JUNC4 37.2622276 -112.9063628 Junction #4, Trail from East Entrance joins the rest. Continue south.
JUNC5 37.2526604 -112.9169824 Junction #5, Cable Mountain Trail splits to the right (north). Continue southwest.
JUNC6 37.2491806 -112.9219744 Junction #6, The old (pre-2012) Deer Trap Mountain Trail continues to the west, and the new trail continues to the southwest. Take the new trail.
JUNC7 37.2426269 -112.9291562 Junction #7 (approximate location), Leave the established trail and bush whack north-northwest until you reach the old trail.
JUNC8 37.2447047 -112.9327133 Junction #8, Turn right (north) off of the old trail at the bottom of some rock steps on a switchback. Scramble down the hill.
JUNC9 37.2417705 -112.9370042 Junction #9, This is the point where the old and new Deer Trap Mountain Trails meet back up again. If you reach this point, you have gone too far.
DTPEAK 37.2471096 -112.9449492 Deer Trap Mountain Peak, elevation 6,724 ft.
HCTOP 37.2488406 -112.9336956 Hidden Canyon Top, elevation 6,127 ft.
R1     Rappel #1, 100 ft off a pine tree
R2     Rappel #2, 20 ft handline from a tree high on the left LDC, optional
R3     Rappel #3, Option 1: 60 ft off a log
Option 2: 20 ft off a log (or downclimb) followed by 40 ft off a bolt
R4     Rappel #4, [Short] off a rock
R5     Rappel #5, 30 ft off a tree
R6     Rappel #6, 100 ft off a tree
ARCH1     Arch #1, Supposedly there is an arch LDC right before the last rappel. We didn't look for it.
R7     Rappel #7, Option 1: Follow ledge LDC to arch and rappel 60 ft off a tree
Option 2: Scramble down canyon and rappel 30 ft off a rock
HCBOT 37.2592491 -112.9362478 Hidden Canyon Bottom, bottom of technical section and top of Hidden Canyon hike
ARCH2 37.2630990 -112.9375810 Arch #2, A large arch LDC on the floor of the canyon

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Trip Report: June 23, 2012


Hidden Canyon (technical route) at EveryTrail

We did Hidden Canyon on June 23, 2012. We didn't feel like shuttling cars, so we started from the Weeping Rock shuttle stop/trailhead (37°16'15.12"N, 112°56'18.67"W).

At 37°16'13.55"N, 112°56'18.17"W, the trail forks. The left fork goes to weeping rock. Take the right fork.

Near the top of the switchbacks (37°16'7.87"N, 112°56'12.21"W), the trail forks again. Take the left fork toward the East Rim Trail.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

The trail rounds the corner and parallels Lower Echo Canyon for a while.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

For a short while, the trail enters Echo Canyon. This is the exit for Middle Echo Canyon.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Don't enter Middle Echo.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Instead, take the trail to the left of Echo up on the side.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

A view down into Middle Echo Canyon.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

At the next fork (37°16'27.11"N, 112°55'43.02"W), take a right toward Deer Trap trail.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

The trail crosses over slick rock in several places. Follow the rock cairns.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

The first 3.5 miles gains over 2,000 ft of elevation. The rest of the trail is fairly flat from here.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

At 37°15'57.07"N, 112°54'28.23"W, a trail joins from the east. This is where hikers who started at the Stave Spring Trailhead (37°16'3.71"N, 112°53'57.09"W) join the Cable Mountain Trail. If I were to do Hidden Canyon again, I would definitely start at the Stave Spring Trailhead. It shaves off about 4 miles of hiking (roughly 2 hours at a fast pace) and over 2,000 feet of climbing. It does require a shuttle, but it lets you do another hike on the same day.

This sign is pointing back the way we came.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Pointing the way to go.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

The third optional trailhead is the East Entrance (37°13'57.47"N, 112°52'34.61"W). The sign says it's 5 miles from the East Entrance trailhead to the junction with the Cable Mountain trail, but I think it's actually closer to 5.9 miles, which makes it 0.9 miles longer than from Weeping Rock but 300 feet less elevation gain. From this junction (37°15'43.59"N, 112°54'22.75"W), follow the trail south toward Deer Trap Mountain.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

The next trail junction is at 37°15'9.69"N, 112°55'1.03"W. Take the left fork toward Deer Trap Mountain.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Sometime shortly before our trip in 2012, the park re-routed Deer Trap Trail. The ranger at the backcountry desk alerted us to this fact and warned us that the trail beta we had would likely be wrong. These little flags along the trail were to show park rangers where to put the new trail.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

We knew that we needed to get off the Deer Trap trail at some point, but we weren't sure where. We were following directions from CanyoneeringUSA, which didn't have waypoints, plus we accidentally left the printout in the car, so we got a bit lost. We ended up leaving the new Deer Trap trail at about the right point and we intersected the old Deer Trap trail very close to the head of Hidden Canyon. But then we followed the trail to the east instead of to the west. We ended up on the east rim of Hidden Canyon, but the cliffs were way too tall for us to rappel down with the ropes we had on us.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

We found a nice spring and alcove that looked like it might form a side canyon we could descend into Hidden Canyon, but it ended at a dropoff so tall we couldn't see the bottom.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

At that point, we figured the top of Hidden Canyon must be farther to the west. So we backtracked to the old Deer Trap Trail and followed that for a ways. Eventually I got enough 3G on my cell phone to download a topo map, but my battery was running low. By this point it was after 2:00, so we stopped for lunch.

While we were eating, Zac made a new friend.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

I tried my phone again and found Bluugnome's trail beta for Hidden Canyon. I had just enough time to take a picture of my phone with my camera before my phone died. We were then able to read the GPS coordinates from the camera and put them into the GPS. Once we had coordinates, it was quite easy to find where we were supposed to go. We backtracked a half mile along the old Deer Trap trail to the point in the picture below where the trail bends and there are some rock steps.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

From there it was a quick scramble down the canyon to the first rappel.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Rappel 1: 100 ft off a pine tree.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Zac pulling the rope at the bottom of rappel 1.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Rappel 2: 20 ft handline from a tree high on the left (not shown), optional.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Rappel 3 Option 1: 60 ft off a log.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Rappel 3 Option 2: 20 ft off a log, followed by 40 ft off a bolt.

The picture below is taken from the bottom of the 20 ft rappel. You can just barely make out the red webbing back behind the log.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

We took option 1, which was extremely awkward because of the tight space between the choke stone and the wall.

Zac posing for the camera.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

And posing again.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

An anchor that we didn't use.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

An anchor that we didn't use.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Rappel 4: [Short] off a rock.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Rappel 5: 30 ft off a tree.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Zac and I got sick of rappelling double strand, so we each rappelled single strand with the other person acting as a counterweight.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

The entire canyon is a long series of downclimbs. Lots and lots of boulders to walk, slide, scoot, and shuffle down.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Rappel 6: 100 ft off a tree.

Anthony was the first one going down the canyon at this point, and he missed the rappel anchor and downclimbed a ways before getting to the top of the ledge. So I lowered my rope down to him, he tied his rope to mine, and I pulled his up to me. Then I set a knot block, he rappelled the rest of the way down, and Zac and I followed.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

The knot block on the pull.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Funny story:

As we were hiking down the canyon, I noticed a Coral Pink Sand Dunes brochure that someone had accidentally dropped. Being the responsible person that I am, I picked up the litter. Well, it was a little heavier that I expected. Actually a lot heavier. Turns out someone had used the brochure as toilet paper and there was a big old poop inside. Come on guys! Dig a hole or something! Luckily I had only touched the paper, and no lasting harm was done. Close one.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Rappel 7: 30 ft off a rock.

By this point, we were ready to be out of the canyon, so we just handlined it to speed things up.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Anthony doing a technical jump. OK, so it wasn't actually technical, just 4 ft onto sand. But my photography skills made it look taller.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

From here on out, it's just walking and some minor scrambling.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

The arch in Hidden Canyon.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

At the mouth of the canyon, chains and carved steps show up.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering
Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

At a couple points, we took the steps then wondered why because scrambling down the drainage would be easier.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

This is the part that makes everyone scared. Not so bad really.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Weeping rock is visible on the lower left.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

And back on the shuttle.

Hidden Canyon Canyoneering

Conclusions

We left at 9:15 am and finished at 6:00 pm -- almost 9 hours total. All three of us are fast hikers and can all set up and take down rappels efficiently.

Total distance was 11.7 miles (approx. 2 extra miles because we got lost and did a lot of backtracking).

Temperature was 104° F.

Total water was 8 liters for 3 people (enough that we didn't get dehydrated, but not nearly enough to be comfortable).

Would we do it again? Maybe. But it would have to be from the Stave Spring trailhead and when it was a LOT cooler.