OverviewThe Moroni Slopes is the region encompassing the southern end of the San Rafael Swell. The area was named for the Mormon angel "Moroni" when the Mormon group migrated west and settled in Utah. This area is one place you can count on solitude and it is a guarantee you will truly be way out in the desert with your vehicle and what's inside of it as your only link for survival. For those who venture out here you will surely never forget the experience and some stunning scenery and hidden jewels await. Just getting here is half the fun but it's highly recommended you have a tough vehicle and lots of water when making the trip out here. I hope to bring this area to life in this page for those willing to put the effort to go here and inspire others to explore the area further. An overview map of the area is shown below.
There are two main ways to approach the Moroni Slopes. One is from the north and one from the south. I will call these "trailheads" the Upper Slopes Trailheads and the Salt Wash Trailhead respectively for the sake of naming things however both of these are not official trailheads nor are these roads officially named. Both of these approaches are very long drives on rough dirt roads.Upper Slopes Trailhead
This approach comes from the north and involves very long drives through remote, hot desert. Tough passenger cars will be able to make it all the way down and 4WD is not required since the drive is mostly flat. Be sure your gas tank is full of gas! From I-70 take exit 99 for County Road 912/Blue Road. Turn south on the dirt road and go 8.6 miles to a junction. Turn right towards County Road 920/Lower Last Chance Road and go 0.2 miles. Make a left onto County Road 920/Lower Last Chance Road and go an additional 2.2 miles to another junction and turn left. Go another 9.8 miles to the next junction and pass between the two Cedar Mountains. Stay left here (continuing south) and continue 6 miles to the Fryingpan Catchment. This is the starting point for Corral Canyon and Horse Heaven Canyon.
Salt Wash Trailhead
This approach comes from the south starting on Highway 24. From Hanksville at the intersection of Highways 24 and 95, continue west on Highway 24 for 11 miles and turn right (north) on Coal Mine Road. This road passed just to the east of Factory Butte. From the highway follow this well groomed road over a moonscape for 11 more miles to a junction with a fantastic view of the San Rafael Reef. The final mile is a little rough but still passable for tough passenger cars. From this junction you can head down the hill either to the left or right. For Salt Wash, continue to the left and descend to the bottom of the hill where the road makes a broad U-turn to the south and reaches Salt Wash. The road crosses the wash but this is where passenger cars will have to park. Even 4WD vehicles should park here as a sudden storm could make the ford impossible to cross. This road should only be driven when dry. For those wishing to do Cable Canyon, the mouth of Cable Canyon where it dumps into Salt Wash is only a quarter-mile to the north. Beyond the trailhead for those hiking up Salt Wash, just follow the road across Salt Wash to the south and hike through some tilted red rock towers. After 0.75 mile the road will cross Salt Wash again and continue south. Here is where you leave the road and begin the hike up Salt Wash towards Caine Springs.
Salt Wash Hike
|Corral Canyon||This canyon starts at the Fryingpan Catchment where just to the south you can drop into the Corral Canyon drainage. The canyon continues south where you will run into 100 foot rappels, large keeper type potholes and various smaller drops to descend. The canyon dumps you into Last Chance Wash (Shown at left) where you turn right and walk a few minutes up the wash to find the scramble back up and follow the west rim back to your car.|
|Horse Heaven Canyon||This canyon is the big drainage just east of Corral Canyon. It is pretty simple but does have some decent drops to descend/jump down. From the Fryingpan Catchment walk southeast and enter the drainage. Continue down its easy wash until a 100 foot drop. Climb up to the right over a hill and walk back down to the canyon floor below the cliff. Continue down canyon until it dumps into Salt Wash. Some photogenic narrows and a few short drops are passed.|
|Cable Canyon||This is a long canyon with many large potholes and lots of swimming. Stories of deathly tumbleweed bogs and gnarly 5th class downclimbs make this canyon even more exciting. This one is best approached from Salt Wash. Hike up along the rim first then drop into the canyon and descend. There are numerous obstacles to pass. Since the mouth of the canyon is so close to the dirt road it is a good one to do in a day assuming you are efficient at canyoneering.|
|Segers Window Canyon||This nice canyon isn't as technical as Cable but still has a beautiful final rappel through an arch into a keeper pothole. Start this Canyon at Hidden Splendor and hike through the Muddy River Gorge. At the end of the gorge, the mouth of both Segers Winder and Segers Hole canyons come in from the west. This canyon can also be started below the Dugway Trail approaching from the north (See Overlooks Section Below).|
|Segers Hole Canyon||Also known as "The Squeeze" this is likely the most challenging canyon in the San Rafael Swell. Many potholes most of which are keepers along with nasty swimming and awkward 100 foot rappels all make this canyon very long, difficult and tiring. Add to that you must be very good at making deadman anchors and you've got yourself a slot canyon! Start from Hidden Splendor and hike through the Muddy River Gorge. The mouth for this canyon actually dumps into the Muddy River right before the gorge opens up to the strike valley. Just past the mouth of Segers Hole, begin hiking up the slopes to the south side of the canyon. I'll do this canyon a favor and spare any more details!|
MapsBelow are the Topo maps for the Moroni Slopes Region. There are labels and roads on each of them to show the locations of specific canyons, overlooks, roads and trailheads.
CampingYou can basically camp anywhere you want. The whole area lies on BLM lands.