Hog Canyon is a major drainage in the North Wash area of Robbers Roost in Utah. There are a handful of nice upper slots draining into the larger Hog Canyon as well as many places to hike around. There is even a natural cold water spring which is an awesome place to visit in the heat of summertime. One nice thing about this canyon is its easy of access located just off the highway. Despite this, few people venture into the upper parts of the canyon. You will likely find some good solitude in this area along with plenty of beautiful open desert and enough sunshine to fulfill you for weeks. A hidden gem is the canyon contains a permanent stream which is bordered reeds, bamboo, oak and cottonwood trees for 2 miles to the source at the springs. This makes the lower canyon unusually lush for the Utah desert.
There are two main access points for Hog Canyon. The lower one is located at the Hog Springs Recreation area on Utah Highway 95 on the west side of the road at mile marker 33.5. Here there is a vault toilet restroom, a large parking area and a wooden suspension bridge over the stream leading to some sheltered picnic tables. A trail leads up the canyon for 1 mile through the lush area all the way to the spring at 4,250 feet in elevation. This is 150 feet above the trailhead on the highway so it's a pretty flat trail. At times the trail can be difficult to follow but it's not bad. Continuing further upcanyon will lead you to a few more smaller springs, and eventually to the mouth of the upper Hog Canyon Slots up at 4,460 feet. There may be some short scrambling sections to climb up but nothing hard. Typically people looking to do the upper slots start at the upper access point described below.
To access Hog Canyon from above, turn right onto Utah Highway 276 towards Bullfrog and continue southwest on this road for 3.6 miles to a small dirt road on the left, across from a yellow warning sign. The road is not at all obvious and it's almost guaranteed you will miss it the first time and have to turn around. Follow this rough high clearance 4WD road (known as the Trachyte Point Road) 2.1 miles to a wide spot at the top of a hill just before the roads turns right and heads down the steep hill. There is a small high point here and parking for three or four vehicles. This place would be a great place to camp. If you have a passenger car with 2WD you can get about a mile up this road until some really deep sand will force you to park along side the road. Walk the last mile to the trailhead.
From the trailhead, locate a new boot path that heads to the northeast towards the west rim of Hog 4 and Hog 1 slots. Once you reach the rim follow it north to the head of the upper slots. This approach hike is about 1.5 miles and will take a little less than an hour. The first major drainage is Hog 1 (Boss Hog) with an ACA rating of 3A II. If you continue around to the east and over a small bench you will reach Hog 2 with a rating of 3A II and even further east will get you to Hog 3 (Razorback) with a 3A II R rating. Hog 3 is slightly tougher as some of the descents are more challenging without the opportunity to set up a rappel anchor. Whichever fork you choose, you will end up in Hog Canyon near the upper springs and you have a few exit options which are described below. See attached route pages for descriptions of each fork
Hog 3 (Razorback)
Take this exit when you want to return to the upper trailhead where you are parked after you are finished with the slots. From the mouth of Hog 1 and Hog 2, hike down the main drainage a short ways and locate a prominent side canyon heading northwest (not to be confused with the one heading southwest from the same spot). Hike up this side canyon which is very easy at first with a few scramble sections. At first the upper part looks very intimidating but rest assured it goes. Scramble up loose rocky terrain which never exceeds class 3 and when you get to a steep chimney that appears 4th class, locate a nice ledge to the left and scramble up a short slab with nice holds (moderate exposure) and up the final sandy slope to the rim. Hike southwest across open desert for a quarter mile to your car at the trailhead (See map).
Take this exit when you want to do another slot in the group. Most people will do Hog 1 and Hog 2 using this exit hike out which heads up the ridge between the two slots. Start where Hog 2 drains out into Hog 1 and look for a low angle slab, then a steeper slab just above. Carefully climb up both slabs following the easiest way up using holds when you see them. There is a nice ledge between the two slabs and once above the steeper slab, follow the gentler slickrock back up to the top to the head of both slots (see photo below by Tom Jones). This climb is said to be low 5th class and people have used ropes but I have no idea why...placing any protection was scarce at best.
GREEN: Approach Hike - Class 1
RED: Lower Hog Canyon Main Drainage - Class 1 and 2
DARK BLUE: Hog 1 (Boss Hog) - ACA 3A II
LIGHT BLUE: Hog 2 - ACA 3A II
PURPLE: Hog 3 (Razorback) - ACA 3A II R
ORANGE: Northwest Exit - Class 3
YELLOW: Repeat Exit - Class 5.2
Camp at the upper trailhead, or at any of the camping spots at the base of the Irish Slots (Leprechaun, Blarney, etc.) which are located between mile markers 25-28 on Highway 95. This is all wild BLM lands so there is no red tape. Practice LNT policies and keep in mind, rescue in an emergency is very far away.
These canyons all require rappelling gear (Harness, belay device, rope etc.) Check the longest rappel in each canyon to see how much rope you need. Helmets and pads are also great to have. I tend to wear jeans in slot canyons to protect my legs.
See Michael Kelsey's book Technical Canyoneering guide to the Colorado Plateau for a great description of the canyon.