Chute Canyon is one of the many canyons that cut through the face of the San Rafael Reef and is one of the easiest hikes in the area. While not as challenging or physically demanding as some of the other canyons in the area, Chute Canyon does offer a good taste of the scenery the San Rafael Swell has to offer. This hike follows a flat wash bottom as it twists and turns through the reef.
The wash in Chute Canyon.
From Price, Utah, follow highway 6 to it's junction with I-70 (exit 157). From this junction turn right on I-70. Drive down I-70 for approximately 10 miles and take exit 149 (Highway 24) towards Hanksville. Drive down Highway 24 for about 25 miles to the signed turn off for Goblin Valley State Park. Follow this road for about 5 miles to an intersection called Temple Junction. You will recognize this intersection from the information kiosk and message board on the right side of the road. Continue straight through this intersection and into the San Rafael Reef. Note that turning left will lead you to Goblin Valley
. Continue to drive through the reef for approximately 2 miles until you come to an unsigned fork in the road. Take the left fork down the Behind The Reef Road. Follow this road for about 7 miles to the signed trailhead of Chute Canyon. Please note that the roads from Temple Junction to the trailhead are maintained dirt roads and during storms can be impassable even with a 4X4 vehicle.
From the signed trailhead, follow the wash as it winds through the San Rafael Reef. The route is very simple to navigate and there are no major obstacles to hinder you progress. Hike to the front side of the reef and then return the way you came.
Chute Canyon Trailhead
As an optional route, this canyon can be combined with Crack Canyon
. To combine the routes, travel down Crack Canyon to the face of the reef. Cross in front of the reef heading west and then enter the bottom of Chute Canyon. Hike up Chute Canyon until you come to the Behind The Reef Road and then head east to you vehicle Combining these canyons requires good cross country navigational skills and makes for a long day. The combined route would be approximately 13-14 miles long.
There are no special permits required to hike in Chute Canyon Canyon. Please note that Chute Canyon is part of the Crack Canyon wilderness study area and that vehicle travel is limited to designated roads only.
There is an established campground with showers and toilettes located in Goblin Valley State Park. There are also numerous primitive campsites located around Temple Mountain and at the trailhead of Chute Canyon.
Chute Canyon is a non-technical canyoneering adventure and no special canyoneering gear is required. Because the San Rafael Swell is a desert environment, make sure to bring plenty of water. There is NO RELIABLE WATER SOURCE in this canyon or anywhere else in the swell.
Weather San Rafael Swell 10 day forecast
***As with all canyons in the San Rafael Swell, Chute Canyon has a very high flash flood danger. DO NOT ENTER this canyon if the forecast calls for rain anywhere in the area. Just because it is not raining on you does not mean that it is not raining further upstream.***
This Canyon can be hiked year round, but the best seasons are spring and fall. Summer temperatures can rise well into the 100 degree territory, so be prepared.
Weather and climate data for the Hanksville area. *National Weather Service Data 1912-2004.
Chart courtesy of Scott Patterson