The weekend of March 29, 2013, Tracy and I took our first trip down to Happy Canyon. Getting to the trailhead is fun, requiring a drive down the Poison Springs Canyon Road almost all the way to the Dirty Devil River. We’ve tried to drive all the way down the road before, but we’ve always tried in the middle of the winter when some parts of the road were frozen over with ice. So this was the first time we had tried the road when it was warm, and the first time we had made it all the way to the Dirty Devil. The road wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it was, though, and we didn’t have any trouble making it to the trailhead.
From the trailhead, an old mining road works its way north above the Dirty Devil, until it reaches a large cairn and the trail drops down to the river. The views over the Dirty Devil while walking the road are really good, but I wouldn’t want to do this hike when it’s hot outside. There is also lots of petrified wood along the road. The beginning of the drop to the river is pretty steep and sandy before leveling out on a bench and then dropping on down to the river. At the river, we crossed the Dirty Devil across from the mouth of Happy Canyon.
The walk up Happy Canyon is easy, and quickly becomes pretty. The nice narrows are fairly short, and the canyon soon opens up. We walked maybe a mile and a half up the canyon before needing to turn around because the sky was starting to darken in the distance. We made it back to the river with no problems, though, and we crossed back and climbed back up to the road. I had wanted to camp in Poison Springs, but the sky was not looking good, and, after what had happened to a friend, I didn’t want to risk being stuck in the canyon after a flood, so we drove back out and spent the night in Hanksville.
Happy Canyon was really pretty, but the narrows were short considering the long drive and fairly long hike to get to them. It was a very pretty hike, though, and this was a perfect time of year to make the hike.