The next canyon in our remote canyon series is not only very remote, but also extremely beautiful and has been compared to the famous Antelope Canyon in Arizona. High Spur is barely a technical canyon, with only a couple big downclimbs and one rappel at the very end. It’s also possible to hike down most of the canyon and then hike back up, but it would be a pretty long day. Full beta is available here: High Spur Canyon – ropewiki.

The road to High Spur is quite long and bumpy. The first leg is a 50-mile drive on pretty well graded roads to the Hans Flat Ranger Station in Canyonlands National Park. This is one of the most remote ranger stations in the lower 48 and the rangers seem very happy to see people!

Our party for the day consisted of Shawn Bagci and Maggie Mahoney. Shawn drove his little passenger car out to the ranger station without any issues. At the ranger station, we all piled into our Jeep to carpool on the 4×4 rocky road. The road up to the trailhead is about 12 more miles, and actually not too bad, but rocky in a few places and definitely needs high clearance. We were sadly not able to set up a shuttle for the exit since we only had one vehicle between us. It was going to be a long day 😊.

Once we got to the trailhead, we had a very short hike into a side slot that merged with the main canyon. Right away, the walls became high, narrow and beautifully sculpted, but not too narrow! We were able to walk through comfortably with our packs. The canyon experience is a long and easy stroll down about four miles of canyon.

The narrows in this canyon are really incredible. There are short sections of narrows that open up into a large canyon with giant walls, and then close up again. It’s almost impossible to pick a favorite section, but three areas stand out in particular:

One is a very unique section that has a band of a different type of rock underneath the sandstone walls and looks like a large ledge system supporting the sandstone. The rocks on the bottom look like a foundation that the sandstone walls rise out of. I’ve never seen anything like it.

The second very memorable section is the last set of narrows before the technical section begins at the end of the canyon. The colors and curves of the canyon walls are incredibly beautiful and look a lot like Antelope Canyon. I would say that High Spur is Antelope Canyon’s big brother, but much longer and more diverse.

After the last set of narrows, we emerged into an enormous chamber that looks like a cave where giants tossed around walls of sandstone. This area has clearly seen some rockfalls on a huge scale. Slabs of rock are tilted and piled up and stacked against each other like a roof. This area transitions into the last and technical section, which consists of an interesting downclimb that wasn’t too intimidating. We then entered the last chamber, with a very fresh rockfall visible off to one side. This was the top of the only rappel of the day, about 80 feet.

We were now on the bottom of the canyon, in a grand wash with a lot of human and animal prints. It was time to begin the three-mile slog out of the canyon and back to our car. There is a crack nearby that goes out of the canyon and is pretty easy going. We found a small petroglyph panel about halfway up the slope. Getting out to the plateau requires a few climbing moves and was definitely challenging for those with short legs (i.e. me), but I was able to do it without my pack.

Up at the top of the canyon, we found a sandy trail that led us across some slickrock and back onto the vehicle road. This is where we would have set up a shuttle if we had an extra car. We slogged another 2.5 miles on the road, mostly uphill, but through beautiful scenery to get back to the car. It was a long day of 8+ miles when everything was said and done, but definitely worth it. What an amazing place!

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