OverviewFiddler Cove Canyon is a spectacular and isolated canyon system that drains into the Dirty Devil River. The canyon is seldom visited and there are many places to explore. Sections of the canyon are deep and wide and other sections are narrow and sinuous.
There are many huge pinnacles and rock formations in this canyon system and the canyon is scenic and bears striking resemblance to the Maze located in Canyonlands National Park and to the north. Unlike the Maze however, there are no crowds here and no red tape or permits required for hiking and backpacking. Rock Climbers could have a heyday out here but I know of no technical climbs that have been done thus far.
Red Benches is just one of the routes that can be used to access this canyon system. If all the routes, it requires the least amount of driving on rough roads.
Getting ThereFrom Hanksville, drive south on Highway 95 to between mile markers 46 and 47. Turn left on the “Hite Road”. This road is often 4wd, but can sometimes be driven very carefully in a car with reasonable clearance.
Drive the Hite Road for 2.9 miles. Turn left on a faint 4wd road. Drive the track for 1.4 miles and park next to an old corral.
Route DescriptionNote: Make sure to have a good map when traveling this route!
From the corral/trailhead, head north up the nameless canyon. Hike up the canyon for about two and a half miles to where it narrows. Near Point 5025T on the topo map, look for a large alcove on the right side of the canyon. Climb to the alcove and head east for a few hundred yards. Look for a chimney accessing the rim. You will now hike around and to the north of Point 5025T and drop to the head of the canyon.
Now, the real routefinding begins! Make sure to keep the topo map in hand at all times for the route across the Red Benches. This route can be muddy in winter or after a storm, but is usually open, hot and shadeless and a fiery heat oven during the warm season. Cool weather is best.
Observe the Stair Canyon Quad Topo map. Notice the little fin in Fiddler Cove Canyon just east of the word “Canyon” on the topo map. This is your goal. Route find the several miles across the badlands of the Red Benches to the rock fin a mile east of the mouth of Fiddler Cove Canyon. Just west of the rock fin is the route accessing the canyon. There is an old cattle trail here, but it has been mostly washed out.
Once at the bottom of the canyon you can explore up canyon or down canyon. Going down canyon there are several large and impressive rock towers and fins. Going up canyon there are many impressive alcoves and high walls. There are a few campsites, but the best campsites are probably in nearby Hatch Canyon.
Expect to take 2-3 days to explore Fiddler Canyon via Red Benches and 3-4 days to explore both Hatch and Fiddler Canyons via this route.