Happy Canyon (via Poison Spring) |

Dirty Devil

Hiking Happy Canyon (via Poison Spring) - Dirty Devil Hiking Happy Canyon (via Poison Spring)
Dirty Devil

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments

Overview


TICKS & TODOS: 33 Todo Lists / 2 Ticks
RATING: Moderate Hike
LENGTH: 5-7 hours
GEAR: Wading shoes
WATER: You will have to wade the Dirty Devil, otherwise little or none.
FLASHFLOOD: Low/Moderate.
SEASON: Any
Sat Hi:76 Lo:45 Sun Hi:78 Lo:48 Mon Hi:64 Lo:49 Tue Hi:69 Lo:43 Wed Hi:74 Lo:47
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Happy Canyon has thwarted more of my canyoneering buddies efforts to visit it than probably any other canyon. There are two common options to visit. The first, via Burr Point, is long and always underestimated. Many groups try that route, but have to turn back before Happy or return in the dark. Reaching the trailhead for Burr Point is easy and is generally accessible to all vehicles.

This route, via Poison Spring, is the preferred route and makes a very casual day hike. What is the catch? The road requires a high clearance 4x4. I know several groups have attempted to reach the trailhead via this route in Subaru's, and other "all-wheel-drive" vehicles and been turned back. You need a 4x4 for this one. Those in a Jeep, Ford Ranger, or the likes will likely not have as many issues. Very large 4x4's, such as an F350, may have trouble squeezing through some narrow spots and making a few tight turns.

That being said, we found the route not that bad in a Jeep. It took about an hour and 40 minutes from pavement to the trailhead in the spring of 2012. We moved a few rocks to make the road easier, but all-in-all, it was drama free. Camping at the trailhead is exquisite! If you make the long journey out there, plan to camp a couple of nights and enjoy the views.

The canyon itself is one of the most scenic on the Colorado Plateau. It is often compared to Antelope Canyon near Page, a fair comparison in my opinion. Photographers will be dazzled by its changing lines and light at every corner. It seems there is no bad time to visit for lighting, as it meanders enough to let light in different sections throughout the day, but I think midday generally brings out the richest colors.

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