Dark Canyon Wilderness Loop Hike

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Dark Canyon Wilderness is noted for its diversity including beautiful forest and desert scenery and rich biological, geological and archeological resources. Dark Canyon Wilderness can be seen through a variety of backpacking trips from short in-and-out trips to longer five to seven-day trips for experienced backpackers. A full loop can be made by hiking Woodenshoe and Dark Canyons, which is about 40 map miles, but with side excursions, can be extended to twice that. This loop is often done by starting at Woodenshoe Trailhead and traveling clockwise through Dark Canyon Wilderness. The trail from this starting point travels on the following trails: Woodenshoe Trail #165, Dark Canyon West Trail #006, Peavine Canyon Trail #157 and back to Woodenshoe Trailhead. It does include hiking along multiple Forest Service Roads: Peavine Corridor Road #089, Dry Mesa #108, Deer Flat #181 and Woodenshoe Point #340. While the beginning and end of the trail are at the same elevation (8, 047ft) there is about a 2,300 foot descent into and then back out of Woodenshoe and Dark Canyons. Backpackers may also opt to do some portion of these trails and/or shuttle to exit Dark Canyon Wilderness by a different trailhead including: Trail Canyon #007, Horse Pasture #025, Peavine Canyon Trail #157 and Dark Canyon Trail #006 to The Notch. Peavine Corridor Road #089 a rough, 4-wheel drive road that is rarely maintained, also provides access to Dark Canyon Trail #006.

Current conditions can be found at the bottom of the trip planning page on Wilderness.net or by calling the Monticello Ranger District, 435-587-2041.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Trail conditions vary widely with weather events and during spring runoff.  Check with the Monticello Ranger District for updated information or go to the Dark Canyon trip planning information updated seasonally on Wilderness.net.
Usage: Light
Restrictions: Open to: Hiking and Horseback Riding.
Closest Towns: Blanding and Monticello, UT
Water: User should carry their own water.
Restroom: None
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Monticello Ranger District (435) 587-2041

General Information


From Blanding, head south on US-191 Maint St. and travel 3.9 miles.  Turn right onto UT-95 N and travel 30.2 miles.  Turn right onto UT-275N/Natural Bridge and travel 0.7 miles.  Take the 1st right onto Forest Road #088 (Elk Ridge) and travel 7.9 miles.  Sharp left onto Co Rd 256/Co Rd 268/Forest Road #108 (Dry Mesa) and travel 2.0 miles.  Turn left onto Deer Flat Road #181 and travel 1.7 miles.  Turn right onto Woodenshoe Point Road #340 and travel 0.9 miles to Woodenshoe Trailhead.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
40 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
5800' - 10,000'


Map of recreation areas on the La Sal Mountains

Recreation Areas, La Sal