November! November signals the end of the election cycle and feeling overjoyed that door-to-door solicitors will STOP COMING EVERY DAY and Thanksgiving and family time. And it means a trip to the desert!!
Dan and I went to the slice of heaven that is southeast Utah for a 5 day trip and enjoyed canyoneering, hiking, car camping, and star gazing. We spent our first full day exploring Angel Cove Slot Canyon in the North Wash area. Angel Cove’s two forks have a fun variety of rappels and slots, with some excellent views of the Dirty Devil River and its surrounding cathedral walls at the exit. Angel Cove is a great dry, technical canyon with the exit option of ascending the north fork on fixed lines.
via Road Trip Ryan – king of awesome, free canyon information
- Rating: 3A
- Length: 2-4 hours for each fork
- Rappels: 83 feet maximum
- Water: low risk of encountering
- Flash flood risk: moderate
- Gear: see Road Trip Ryan’s Standard Gear page
- Helpful free app for navigation: View Ranger
via Road Trip Ryan
Drive south from Hanksville on Highway 95 toward Hite for 10 miles. Right after mile marker 10 there is a sign for Angel Point (dirt road) on the left (east) side of the road.
- Reset your odometer as you leave the highway. ( 12S 530825mE 4232063mN / N38° 14′ 10″ W110° 38′ 52″)
- 1.7 miles – Stay Left ( 12S 533182mE 4232015mN / N38° 14′ 08″ W110° 37′ 15″)
- 2.5 miles – Left ( 12S 534105mE 4232786mN / N38° 14′ 33″ W110° 36′ 37″)
- 3.4 miles – Left ( 12S 535181mE 4233830mN / N38° 15′ 06″ W110° 35′ 52″)
- 8.5 miles – Signed Angel Point Road, stay left on the main road ( 12S 539084mE 4240141mN / N38° 18′ 31″ W110° 33′ 11″)
- 8.8 miles – Right on a smaller side road (First road after Angel Point Road) ( 12S 539212mE 4240666mN / N38° 18′ 48″ W110° 33′ 05″)
- 9.1 miles – Small camping area on the left. This is the trailhead. The road beyond is very faded. ( 12S 539588mE 4241078mN / N38° 19′ 01″ W110° 32′ 50″)
Angel Cove Slot Canyon is a blast. It has two forks – the north and the south – which can combined for a full day of canyoneering. We did both forks and it took about 6 hours including a long lunch break to enjoy the views.
We descended the north fork in about 1.5 hours thanks to the fixed lines in place. Not having to set up rappels saved time and the fixed lines were fun to descend.
A few more similar rappels and we passed the south fork exit on the right. We continued along and the canyon eventually opened up with views of the Dirty Devil River. There are two rappels to reach the river, but we bypassed them in favor of hiking to the entrance of the south fork.
Not before we gawked at the large sheer wall upstream, about 600 feet high. [Crazy, in an interesting way?] people BASE jump off the 600′ wall, then ascend Angel Cove Slot back to the trailhead. Hence the fixed lines.
Now onto the south fork! By the way, Dan uses the free View Ranger App to help us navigate. To reach the entrance (12S 540073mE 4240928mN, N38° 18′ 56″ W110° 32′ 30″), we hiked perpendicular to the river and then made our way up the slick rock, along the 5 foot high rock wall. At the time we did this, there was a cairn indicating where to scramble over the prominent ledge.
The entrance starts as a shallow wash and within a few minutes you greet a deadman anchor (a sling around a buried rock) for the first chossy (lots of loose rock) rappel. This is not the most confidence inspiring anchor since you can’t fully evaluate it. But as I do more canyons, the more I see questionable anchors – a lot of times there’s not much to work with!
Dan rappeled it, and then as I was putting myself on rappel he read on Road Trip Ryan that there was a walk around. So I walked along the right side of the canyon for 2 minutes then downclimbed for a much easier entrance.
The first drop is 56 feet, then another drop soon after of 46 feet. The canyon begins to narrow.
Then two more rappels of 27 feet and 33 feet before joining the north fork. This section also has a few fun downclimbs, none are too difficult.
You can continue down the north fork and take the regular exit. But if you already descended the entirety of the north fork and evaluated the fixed lines you could ascend it to exit. Climbing up the north fork was one of the most fun parts of the day.
We then hiked back to camp – 20-30 minutes up the wash and over slick rock.
At night we made some black bean tacos and enjoyed a desert sunset. We made a fire and watched the colorful sky turn to a blanket of stars. Weee.