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Canyoneering High Spur Canyon

Wayne County, Utah



5 miles

Route Type



Added by Alyssa Teboda

Hidden in the desolate desert landscape on the outskirts of Canyonlands National Park, High Spur Canyon is a thrilling experience for any adventurer skilled in canyoneering. Toted as one of the most picturesque canyons in Robber’s Roost, High Spur boasts beautiful narrow slots, a lot of down climbing, stemming, and rappels up to 85 feet.

From Moab, the drive to the canyon is approximately 4 hours long and much of it is on sandy or rocky dirt roads so it’s best to drive a 4x4 vehicle with good clearance. Drive past Hans Flat Ranger Station on the west side of Canyonlands National Park and make your way to the trailhead on Deadman’s Trail Road. This is the road you will take to hike back to your car after you exit the canyon. If you have more than one vehicle available, you can drive past the trailhead and drop one off as a shuttle at the end of the road where you will exit the canyon.

There are many entries to the canyon a short distance from the trailhead on the canyon rim, where you can step down into a shallow section of the canyon. Once you are in the bottom of the canyon head down the canyon towards the highly sculpted walls. The canyon is broken up between several sections of narrow slots with wide open sections of the canyon in between.

The first difficult section you will encounter is a 17-foot angled chute-like drop which may require wading through a pool of water at the bottom. There was webbing at the time of our hike, however, plan to bring your own just in case it is worn down. Have one person lower into the water and hand them their pack before they cross to the other side, repeat with all other adventurers until everyone is safely across.

Continue on through another highly sculpted section of narrows until you reach the final set of obstacles. The first is a 23-foot downclimb which you can rappel down with the use of natural anchors. At the bottom of the downclimb may be another pool of water. You can bypass this pool by sticking to the edge of the canyon wall. Shortly after this downclimb is the final 85-foot rappel, which you can do from a large block on the left side of the canyon. After walking yourself over the ledge and down the first 10 feet, the canyon wall recedes and you’ll be suspended in the air for the remainder of the rappel.

Head down the canyon approximately ½ mile to a crack on the right, there is a faint trail that leads up and out of the canyon. This is your exit. Some scrambling over loose rock and large boulders is required to reach the top of the canyon rim. From the top of the canyon, head north to intersect the Deadman’s Trail Road. Having a compass or GPS with you will help with wayfinding at this point of the trip as everything looks very similar once outside the canyon and it can be difficult to find the road. Once you find it, follow the road back to your car or jump into your shuttle car if you dropped one off at the exit point!

Practice leave no trace and let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. Robber’s Roost is a very remote region. The entire adventure will take 5-7 hours depending on how long you take in the scenery. Start early or plan to bring a headlamp since you might be hiking back to your car in the dark.

High Spur is a technical canyon and moderate to advanced skills are necessary to navigate a canyon of this nature. Those with little or no experience in canyoneering or rappelling should seek out the expertise of a guided trip.

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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