Canyoneering North Wash/Hogs/Poison Springs


The Bureau of Land Management’s 2.1-million-acre Hanksville district is one of Canyon Country’s top wilderness regions, and the richest canyoneering playground in North America. This rugged, slickrock wildland hides at least 50 acrobatic slot canyons ranging from easy to epic. Unlike the upthrust topography of Capitol Reef, this country is an in-cut maze of deep, sandpaper hallways that swirl to the curves of the flash flood waters that created them. Most feature shorter rappels, but lots of athletic squeezing, downclimbing, and tight corridors. 

A simplified list of the canyons we run here includes: the Irish Canyons (5 forks), Butler Canyon (5 forks), the Poison Springs Forks (5);  the Hog Canyons (4) ; North and South Maidenwater, Morrocco, Miss Piggy, and Hogwarts.

This wealth of objectives means we can select the best conditions, challenge, and scenery for your trip. 

These canyons are close to Utah highways 95 and 276. Most are easily 2WD-accessible, but all require at least a 90-minute drive, each way, from our Torrey office. Consequently, they are best pursued from nearby car camps, or accommodations in Hanksville, 30 minutes distant.

North Wash/Hog Springs 101

Shillelagh, Blarney, Morrocco, Miss Piggy, Middle Maidenwater, and Hogwarts, these canyons are ideal for guests seeking a moderate introduction to narrow slots, without the commitment of serious remoteness and difficulty. Their scrambly nature, short rappels, and partner-assist tactics make these gorges appropriate for families and groups,

but they still require decent fitness, and a willingness to overcome challenges like vertical rappels, strenuous climbing, water-filled potholes, and insecure anchors. Minimum age: 10. Six to one maximum guest/guide ratio.

North Wash/Hog Springs Advanced
For canyoneers with more experience or athleticism, we can kick it up a notch to longer, more serious slots. These are all-day adventures with strenuous chimneying, steep down-climbs, and longer, more committing rappels. We guide these canyons safely, but participants must be contributory, positive, and fit. You may be asked to help carry group gear like ropes, anchoring tools, First Aid kits, or emergency beacons.img_0256

Trips last six-to-eight hours or longer. After pre-trip discussions on weather, canyon conditions, and group fitness, we’ll choose from a menu including: The Leprechauns; Monkey Business and Fooling Around in Butler Canyon; Boss Hog or Razorback near Hog Springs.

Maximum guest to guide ratio is 4:1. Minimum age: 14.

Poison Springs Advanced
The tributaries of Poison Springs Canyon, and the slots dropping off nearby Angel Point are a tad closer than North Wash, but these are grander hallways that see lighter traffic due to dirt road approaches. They make excellent big-day adventures, and are particularly suited to multi-day canyon clinics using Hanksville accommodations or nearby car camps.

Since you descend these gorges in the morning, and hike back up in the afternoon sun, they’re best for spring or autumn trips. Possible objectives: Slidenide, Constrychnine, Arsenic, Monoxide, Adobe Swale, and the Angel Slots.

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