Deadmans Trail Canyonlands National Park: Getting there

December 12, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Sometimes you just need to get away from the crowds. The riff raff that doesn't have 4wd. Cell phone service! I was dying to get away and carved out the time to go to southern Utah with my brother and visit a spot I had never been too. Horseshoe Canyon, a separate unit of Canyonlands National Park.

If you look up Canyonlands you will see it is a huge park, with three main areas divided by rivers/geology, and this wonderful separate area that was added more recently. There are two ways to get to Horseshoe Canyon, and of course I chose the harder less traveled way. Good thing my brother just bought a new Tacoma!

The road was both better and worse than I expected, any reasonably capable high clearance 4WD can make it in. If you are really really good you could  maybe get a Subaru Forester or Outback in, but I would not recommend it. The first part of the road to the Hans Flat Ranger Station is really quite nice. You could get a Corolla there. But as soon as you turn onto Recreation 777 it gets bumpy fast. This photo below is an averagely sketchy part, it doesn't look that bad in the photo but it will jostle your kidneys.

The "road" really doesn't get better once you turn off on the access road to the Deadmans Trail. For the vast majority of it, you are on two tire track through the desert with the grass in the middle scraping on the bottom of your vehicle. There are a few spots where the higher clearance of the Tacoma was truly appreciated. We were in 2WD for all but one or two spots.

We left the Salt Lake Valley about 6:30 and we got to the trailhead at 1:30ish with stopping to take pictures and get breakfast in Price, and gas in Green River. After eating our lunch we headed out. Notice the t-shirt? It was OCTOBER 28TH, and we were hiking in t-shirts. Didn't need my fleece until we were getting back in the truck after sunset. THIS! This is why I go south in the fall! Oh, and yes... that is me... sorry if that scared you! Now the trail report will be a separate post, look for it. This is about getting to the trailhead, camping and getting back out.

I have to say that the gnarliest part of the whole drive was after we got back from the hike just as it got DARK! Then had to drive back up the "road" to find a spot to camp. (FYI: This is a great campsite!) Just over the hill from the campsite is this fab view of the "road" that takes you back to Recreation 777.

We really missed something on the way in. Mainly because we were in a hurry to get to hike and the weather was overcast and it looked like nothing. What we missed were some awesome dunes right off the side of the road that we definitely noticed on the way out. That sky was just perfect and the dunes just asking to be photographed.

Should you choose to follow my route, if your vehicle is capable, you will not regret it.

 

 Be on the lookout for my next post about the hike!

Lloyd


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