Dirty Devil Canyoneering, Part I – Angel Cove

Fall approaches with rain and cool weather. We found one last hurrah at Dirty Devil – near Hanksville, Utah (and the Robber’s Roost and North Wash canyoneering area).

Our first canyon – Angel Cove! The site is south of Hanksville, off some dirt paths. GPS is greatly helpful out here where dirt roads are king. There are only a few signs and people are fairly scarce in these neck of the… dessert. Here’s a handy route for reference: trimbleoutdoors.com.

This trail comes in two flavors: Angel Cove and Angel Cove, South Fork. We stuck to the main trail as it was getting late.

Start off the hike by descending into the canyon. There’s a small area atop where you may be able to park just off the dirt road. If others are there ahead of you, they may have camped out that spot. No worries – just find a spot where your car will fit off the road and you’re good.

The canyon starts off low, but always stunning.

We took the hike the day after we had rain (and snow). So there were a few muddy puddles and about waist-deep wading. It got about as high as my armpits since I’m so short though…

You’ll see the first rappel shortly after walking down the canyon. It’s a short 35-footer that may possibly be down-climbed depending on your level. There is a rope with knots for those climbing back up (or to aid your down-climb attempt). Do not remove it nor the ones upcoming or you pretty much just screw all hikers climbing the other way!

Our rope got muddy… dropped right into the puddle. Yay…

Walk a bit further down and you’ll come onto the next rappel shortly. A small 15-footer, this one can also be down-climbed.

This canyon is pretty straight forward after you get in. There aren’t many forks off the path, aside from the South Fork route, unless you stray far away.

As you get deeper into the canyon, it becomes narrower and deeper.

You’ll hit another short rappel – just like the ones before. This rappel will get tighter towards the bottom, which may allow for easier down-climbing… The boys chose to down-climb this one while holding onto the existing handline.

This is where it’ll become noticeably more narrow. A few tricky spots will require some trouble-shooting and quick feet – all super fun to get through.

This is also where it got quite muddy and wet for us. We stripped to the undies so we had warm clothes to cover up later. Hence, the absence of photos in this section. *oh my*

Some exciting, narrow canyon hiking later… you’ll exit the canyon overseeing Dirty Devil river to where the last, big rappel awaits you.

This last rappel is about 90 feet down. WAHOOOO! Make sure you are properly anchored in! Lots and lots of solid rocks…

The start of it may be a bit awkward because of the breaks in the rappel wall. Gently ease to a comfortable spot and remember to watch the webbing – I slipped and killed a giant spider when the webbing moved on me. It was pretty gross – guts everywhere on my shoe and on the rock wall!

A bit of overhang at the bottom… so fun!

Feel free to gather your rope or retrieve it on the climb back up. You’ll basically be following the easiest route back over to the car. It’s a bit of a maze – use the GPS coordinates or try and follow the cairns.

You’ll eventually see a rock formation that resembles two towers forming a window. You’ll want to head towards this formation and walk out the left of it.

Follow a faint path over the hill and you’ll eventually come to more familiar pastures. A more even brushy surface will lead you back to the car and dirt path you started from…

This route took us about 5-6 hours to complete, under 3 miles round trip. It normally takes about 3-4 hours according to several websites. We did undress and dress a few times down to the skivvies because of the wading and mud-walking. And… I like to take photos… We figured, our time to complete trails are usually double to what the internet reports back… I’m cool with it, though. Yeah. Cool… cool? Okay, not thinking about it anymore… Great fun! Enjoy.


One response to “Dirty Devil Canyoneering, Part I – Angel Cove

  1. So did you see any angels in this trail? 🙂

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