Dark Canyon

Hanksville, Utah 84734

Dark Canyon

Dark Canyon Professional Review and Guide

"There are multiple trails down the steep face. The going is slow and tedious, but not as bad as the trip back up will be! You descend 1100+ feet down a 50-percent boulder-strewn slope into the bottom of a dry drainage that joins Dark Canyon about 0.25 mile farther downcanyon.

Once you arrive at Dark Canyon, with its perennial stream, look for a camping spot. There are several good spots in the next mile upstream toward Lost Canyon. Once you’ve settled in at camp, you can start your explorations of Dark Canyon. The most popular day trip is down Dark Canyon toward Lake Powell."

Dark Canyon Reviews

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Pretty hard desent into Dark Canyon but one of the most wonderful places I have ever been. Following the canyon down to the Colorado River has so many majestic sights I was in awe the whole 6 mile walk. There are many places to go swimming. Fishing at the Colorado River isn't good at all. Many side canyons with amazing views make you wish you could stay forever. The hike out was hard but the hardest part was leaving that beautiful country.
this is one beautiful trail, the hike to the canyon is visibly marked and once you get to the edge you're in for a treat. the descent is pretty challanging, especially with a heavy pack, but the ascent is easier though, because you can use your hands more. when you make the stream at the bottom, there are trails to get up the river to the various campsites and to venture to the various other canyons. it is BEAUTIFUL, but does get hot prety quick, so plan for getting back to camp late, because you sure arent going to want to get in your tent when the sun is on it still, it's an oven.
This eTrail covers the Sundance Trail entrance into Dark Canyon. We only exited this trail since we entered the canyon at Big Notch as part of a 40-mile trip down to the Colorado River. From where Sundance meets DC, you can hike down to the Colorado River at Cataract Canyon (with Lake Powell receding fast, this is a safe bet henceforth) -- this is a great side trip (with deep pools to jump into). Look for the little red fossils in the gray limestone. You can also explore up Dark Canyon to some small falls where you can relax in the box-like creek bottom and find shade under the overhanging rock. Hang your food well in this area or take it with you. Squirrels ate our food after chewing the cord on our food bags to drop them to the ground. There are lots of camps in the area, but first come first serve for shaded ones. Lost Canyon probably has the best camping area. Water is abundant. Enjoy.

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Trail Information

Nearby City
3,240 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
2 to 5 days
February to early April, late September to early November
BLM Monticello Field Office
Local Contacts
USGS Indian Head Pass, Bowdie Canyon West; Trails Illustrated Dark Canyon and Natural Bridges National Monument
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018