Happy Canyon (via Poison Spring) | Dirty Devil

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

Dirty Devil

Overview

RATING: Moderate Hike
CURRENT CFS: Getting current CFS.... Full Details

Mon

Isolated showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 100. South southwest wind 6 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

100 | 69

Tue

Sunny, with a high near 102. South southwest wind 2 to 6 mph.

102 | 69

Wed

A chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 100. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

100 | 73

Thu

A slight chance of rain showers before noon, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 97.

97 | 70

Fri

Sunny, with a high near 98.

98 | 68

View Full Weather Details
SEASON: Spring, Fall, Winter if roads are dry
GEAR: Wading shoes
WATER: You will have to wade the Dirty Devil, otherwise little or none.
FLASHFLOOD: Low/Moderate.

Mon

Isolated showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 100. South southwest wind 6 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

100 | 69

Tue

Sunny, with a high near 102. South southwest wind 2 to 6 mph.

102 | 69

Wed

A chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 100. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

100 | 73

Thu

A slight chance of rain showers before noon, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 97.

97 | 70

Fri

Sunny, with a high near 98.

98 | 68

View Full Weather Details

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 probably not have as many issues. Very large 4x4s, such as an F350, may have trouble squeezing through some narrow spots and making a few tight turns.

That being said, the road has improved over the years and is now quite good and an easy drive. 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 brings out the richest colors.

Poison Spring has a lot of rock art and interesting side trips to visit. See Poison Spring Canyon - Dirty Devil for more infomation since you will be driving through Poison Spring anyway.

2024 Road Update: The road is closed to motor vehicles at about mile 15 now. BLM did not know why the road had been extended beyond, but it is closed to motorized vehicles at about mile 15, which is a little over a mile from where it used to be closed.

2023 Road Update:
In the fall of 2023, road crews re-established the formerly washed out mining road past the two large boulders and normal stopping point described as the trailhead below. It appears the road has been re-built almost to where you descend to the Dirty Devil River at Happy Canyon. The catch? It is exceptionally narrow and best suited to ATV/UTV/mountain bikes. We drove a stock Ford Ranger around the first two massive boulders where the road had been carved around them with about 3-4 nail biting inches of clearance. A wider/longer vehicle will not fit. We stopped not far beyond the boulders because the new section of road is narrow, rocky, and above my comfort level.

I still recommend the trailhead described below unless traveling via ATV/UTV/mountain bikes. If attempting to drive it, I would recommend walking the section through the first two boulders and a bit beyond to make sure it is within your comfort zone. Turning around and coming back through the boulders was fairly difficult for us.
Note: You will need to wade across the Dirty Devil River to reach the canyon. In all but flood stage, this is usually less than knee deep, maybe waist deep if you pick the wrong spot and levels are high. At less than 100 CFS, it should be a pretty easy crossing. If much above 100 CFS, I would be cautious. Current conditions available on the USGS site: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=09333500
The Amazing Happy Canyon

The Amazing Happy Canyon

In Happy Canyon

In Happy Canyon

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