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When I first saw pictures of Messin Around Canyon, I was impressed and surprised I had missed it. One of Road Trip Ryan's best kept secrets is the camping up off the road to Upper Stair. I've spent many a nights camped up there, away from the often hectic and boisterous Sandthrax campsite. I've also spent quite a bit of time wandering around the Upper Butler Canyon forks, its one of my favorite places to wander.
Summer 2015, I finally got a chance to descend the canyon. I'll admit to being a bit disappointed! It is quite short. Just when you start to get in the canyon rhythm, it ends. That being said, this is the perfect addition to a Horse Play Canyon or Main Butler Canyon day.
Messin Around Canyon offers a couple of choices. Most do it with one rappel, and a moderate exit. Those comfortable with a little bit of slab climbing and moderate exposure (easy 5th / 10 m ( 33 ft. )) can exit the canyon right at the last rappel. If exiting at the last rappel, you see the best of the canyon, have a short exit, and don't need to bring a long rope. (short 15 m ( 50 ft. ) rope still recommended to help in the slot and for the exit if needed) Feeling a little more hardcore? The recommended hardcore option for advanced canyoneers is to enter at the last rappel and up climb the canyon. This makes for a fun little romp with only one up climb that will give most groups pause. The one difficult up climb is a bit awkward and strenuous, so advanced canyoneers only, but a fun way to do the canyon.
Note: The trailhead can usually be reached with most vehicles, but is a bit rough. High clearance recommended, but likely not required.
From Hanksville, head south on Highway 95 towards Hite.Between mile marker 25 and 26, look on the left (east) side of the road for a side road.
Approach (1.5 miles / 1 hour)
From the T, drive the road as far as possible, or (better) just walk. The road branches near the end, go left, and it ends quickly at a small campsite. There is a wash just to the left (south) of the campsite. Enter it and follow it, staying in the wash bottom or very near it for about a mile. About 1.5 miles from the trailhead the wash abruptly begins cutting into the sandstone layer and marks the head of Messin Around Canyon.
Canyon From The Top
If descending the canyon from the top, stay in the bottom. It drop quickly and steeply. Though you probably expect a rappel given the steep view, the canyon stays low angle enough to allow for downclimbing. After the first long series of down climbs, the canyon makes a hard left. Down a few more small obstacles to where the canyon drop off the 27 m ( 89 ft. ) rappel.
Canyon From the Bottom
From the start of the slot, route find down the left side and around to the slab that makes up the wall just before the rappel. The route is tricky to describe, but quite obvious when your there. Careful route finding makes the slab entrance easy, then turn up the canyon and begin the ascent! If needed, you can exit the canyon by going straight up the slope when the canyon makes a hard right. The crux moves are near the top after the canyon has made the hard right.
Short Exit (1-1.5 hours)
The short exit climbs the slab on the left (looking down canyon) with one or two crux slab moves. Find the most textured/low angle spot for easiest access. Once up the slab, it is easy to contour around and up to the head of the canyon and re-trace the approach back to the trailhead.
Full Exit (1.5-2 hours)
If doing the full exit, do the rappel, and continue down the now open canyon. At the next drop, skirt it on the left (looking down canyon) and join up with the main fork of Butler Canyon. Hike up the main fork, passing the confluence where Horse Play Canyon comes in and staying right in the Main Fork of Butler. Hiking up the Main Fork, keep an eye out on the left for the first slot/joint canyon that comes in on the left, where another fork joins in on the right.
Go left, up and over the joint canyon and down into Horse Play Canyon on the other side. Work left and north up the slabs to the rim. From the rim, go northeast until you re-cross the approach trail and meet the road, and then follow the road back to the trailhead.
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|End of Road||
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|Horse Play Bottom||
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