A friend of mine had mentioned for years that Hidden Valley was one of his favorite Moab hikes. I finally took the time to visit in the spring of 2014 and enjoyed the hike. From the trailhead, the hike steeply switchbacks up to Hidden Valley, a valley situated between Moab and the canyon rim. The valley itself is pretty and would make a worthwhile destination, but what makes the hike excellent is a large number of petroglyphs at the head of Hidden Valley. Also, there are 2 unique rock circles, presumably also from the ancient peoples.
Hidden Valley is a good hike in spring, fall, or winter (with no snow on the ground). If doing it in the summer, get a very early start. The steep section has morning / mid-day sun, and would be very hot by mid-day.
From downtown Moab, head south through town on highway 191 about 3.5 miles to Angel Rock Road. If you reach the Shell station on the left, you have gone a couple of blocks to far. Turn right (west) on Angel Rock Road and follow it a few blocks to Rim Rock Lane. Turn right on Rim Rock Lane and follow it north to its end at the trailhead parking lot.
From the trailhead, follow the Hidden Valley trail, being sure to stay left at the first junction. The trail quickly begins climbing the boulder-strewn hillside with a few zig-zags. It is a short 20-30 minutes to the top, where the trail flattens as it enters Hidden Valley.
Hidden Valley is stunning! Continue on the trail as it crosses the valley, going over a very small hill mid-way. At the other side of the valley, the trail makes a short climb to a pass, with the trail splitting on top of the pass. Go right here. The trail splits again in a couple hundred feet. Go left, along the cliff band.
The petroglyph panels begin almost immediately. Follow the cliff band west, passing many panels until the cliff band gives way to a side drainage. Go up this side drainage on a social trail to near the top, and then head left (northwest/west) along the top. The first of two dwelling ruins is visible ahead. To reach it requires a straightforward chimney about 3 m tall. Most should not have much difficulty with the climb. From the ruin, you can see the second ruin further along the ridge.
To reach the second ruin, retrace your steps to the side drainage. Instead of following the drainage, however, follow the cliff band on the north side of the drainage. There are several good panels here as well. The west side of the cliff band below the second ruin allows access up to the ruin via a 2 m overhung crack. This is not as difficult as it appears because of good hands and feet, but larger hikers will struggle fitting up where it is easy.
From the second ruin, it is easiest to go south until picking up the main trail, then follow the main trail east and back up over the pass, returning via the approach trail.
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