Canyoneering Route Description

Arscenic Canyon - 3A (B) II
Poison Springs area, Utah.

Quick Facts

11-11-11, 9 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 6.3 hours) - Time for both Slideanide and Arscenic combined. Pictures Icon

Time Required - 2 to 4 hours
Distance - 3.2 miles Total, 1.1 miles Technical
Rappels - 1 Rappels, Longest Rappel 200 feet.
Elevation Range - 5180 - 4620 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - High Clearance (possibly 4WD if the road is in bad shape) Permit Required - No

Gear Used for Canyon

Rappelling and anchor gear, Ropes and or pull cords for rappels up to XX feet and XX feet of 1 inch webbing for sling placement.  Wet suits may be desired for colder months.  The water is in small intermittent pools most of which are waders and a couple might be chest deep if there had been heavy recent rains.

General Comments

Arscenic has one rappel and several easy down climbs and offers a scenic treat all the way through.  So the name Arscenic Canyon seems to fit nicely.

Water should drain out of the canyon pretty fast but may have waist deep wading in a few spots and a couple spots to chest deep if there have been heavy recent rains.

Rap 1 is the only rappel in Arscenic Canyon.  The exit route goes very close to rap 1.  It is a short detour to drop down and retrieve a rope left at rap 1 while on the exit route.  It is recommended that a single 200 foot rope be used for rap 1 and is left behind as you continue the canyon and the exit route.  On the exit route take a short detour to go get your rope before returning to the car.

Driving Directions

To get to the Trailhead

From the junction of highway 95 and highway 276 (about 25.5 miles south of Hanksville), drive north on highway 95 about 5.8 miles to a dirt road turn off on the east side of the highway (extLoneCedarRd).  The dirt road is unnamed but will be referred to here as the Lone Cedar Road.  The road is not shown on some maps, but most maps do show the Lone Cedar Reservoir that this road runs next to which is about 0.3 miles off the highway.  As of Dec 2010 this is near mile marker 20.

Turn right (east) onto the Lone Cedar Road. Drive 6.1 miles, ignoring small side roads along the way, until you get to a Tee in the road (wLoneCedrDP-01).   

Turn left at the Tee and drive another 0.3 miles to where the road crosses a wide drainage where there is ample parking on both sides of the road (pkContrychSlid).  This is where you will park to start the route.

To leave the Exit Vehicle / Escape Pod

No exit vehicle is required.  This is done as a loop hike.

Maps

GPS coordinate information listed at the bottom.  For information about waypoint naming and map symbols, refer to the Glossary page.

Map Link Icon
Click the links for maps of the route.
Map of the drive into the route.
Map of the entire route.

Details

The Approach:
From the parking spot (pkContrychSlid) walk due north across the semi flat rolling desert. 

About 0.4 miles from the parking spot you should drop into a major wash  (wArscenicRP-01). 

After dropping down into the drainage veer left and walk north west down this drainage for about 400 feet to where the sandy desert wash starts to cut into bands of sandstone and take on more of a canyon feel (yArscenicTp).  The drainage starts to deepen and feel more canyon like but is still VERY wide.

The Canyoneering / Technical Section:
From where the drainage begins to drop and get more canyon like (yArscenicTp), drop down a couple easy sandstone down climbs.  Just after the easy down climbs is a drop in the wash of about 25 feet which is bypassed down a slope on the RDC (east) side.  Next continue walking down the very wide wash.

About 0.25 miles down the wash is a drop of about 40 feet (wArscenicRP-02) that is bypassed by walking a ledge LDC and dropping down a sand bank to the canyon floor.  Continue walking down the very wide drainage.

About 500 feet down canyon will be the top of a large drop going down into a much narrower deep section of canyon.  This is the top of rap 1. 

Note:
Up until rap 1 it is easy to scramble down the LDC (west) side of the canyon in almost any place you choose.  Entering down the RDC (east) side is possible but will involve a little down climbing and finding just the right route down. 

Rap 1 (dArscenicR1) is anchored from a large rock block about 5 feet back from the drop and drops about 200 feet down 3 stages.  with possible short pools to wade in at the bottom of stage one and stage two if there have been recent rains.

Note:
This is the only rappel in Arscenic Canyon.  It is recommended to use a single 200 foot rope for the rappel and leave it behind as you complete the canyon.  The exit route goes very close to the head of the canyon.  On the exit route it is a short trip to go retrieve your rope and haul it back to the car.  Doing this avoids rope pull issues, frees you of the need to haul a rope through the canyon and up the exit route.

Down canyon after rap 1 the canyon is narrow and offers 2 elevator down climbs of about 15 feet each.  Shortly after the canyon turns sharp left (wArscenicRP-03) about 350 feet down canyon of rap 1.

After the sharp left is more narrow slot to walk down with a few easy down climbs over choke stones.

About 900 feet down canyon is an alcove like feature on the RDC side as the canyon starts to take a long sweeping right turn (wArscenicRP-04).

A short distance after the sweeping right turn is a corkscrew like slide of about 15 feet.  Then a down climb of about 15 feet and is an easy stem down climb with ledges to assist.

About 500 feet down canyon of the long sweeping right turn is a very brief semi open area (wArscenicRP-05) before the canyon continues down more narrow slot while walking under a few choke stones.

Continuing down, the canyon will have a couple open sections and a couple narrows with easy walking and a few easy down climbs of 6 to 10 feet each.  There will also be one pool that could be up to chest deep if there have been recent rains.  These open sections and narrow sections are over about 0.2 miles to where the canyon takes a sharp left as another drainage drops in from RDC (wArscenicRP-06).

About 200 feet farther down canyon the walls widen and you have easy wash walking the rest of the way down canyon.

About 0.3 miles down canyon shortly after a right hand turn keep an eye out for a very large Juniper tree (wArscenicRP-07) in the wash on the LDC (west) side.  This Juniper tree is about 300 feet before reaching the end of the canyon where it joins into another large drainage.

The large Juniper tree is where the exit route starts.  If you walked too far and got to the end of Arscenic Canyon (yArscenicBt) where it joins another drainage, walk back up canyon about 300 feet to the large Juniper tree to begin the exit.

The Exit:
From the large Juniper tree in the wash (wArscenicRP-07), scramble up the LDC (west) side of the canyon on the sloped slick rock.

About 250 feet up the slope you will get up to the nose of a slick rock ridge (wArscenicRP-08) running up to the south.  Veer left and continue south up the slick rock ridge.  The start of the ridge is steep and you may want to use hands in a few spots.

About 200 feet up the ridge the grade of the slope gets a little more gentle (wArscenicRP-09).  Continue south up the ridge.

A little over 500 feet up the ridge keep your eyes open for an interesting arch that seems out of place.  The arch is referred to as the Arscenic Arch (sArscenicArch).  The arch is off to the right of the route you will be taking up the ridge.

About 250 feet after the arch is some light scrambling to get up onto the next higher bench (wArscenicRP-10). 

About 200 feet farther you are back up to the rolling desert (wArscenicRP-11).

Once back up on the rolling desert you will need to make your way back over to a point where you can drop down to rap 1 and retrieve the rope you left behind.  To do this turn left (east) and follow along the rim of the canyon. 

Note:
Following the rim adds about 1500 feet to the exit route over to rap 1 but has the advantages of more scenery and walking on more slick rock so there is less impact to the area.  Walking the rim also makes navigation easy since it will be obvious where rap 1 is and you can drop down to go get your rope.  Walking across the desert could likely have you walk off course.

Walk the rim about 0.75 miles to the top of a sandy slope (wArscenicRP-12) that is about 200 feet up canyon of rap 1.  This sandy slope allows access down to rap 1 to get the rope you left.  After retrieving the rope climb back up to the rim.

Once back on the rim, walk about 0.6 miles just east of south on a bearing of 162 degrees across the rolling desert back to the parking spot (pkContrychSlid).

GPS Waypoint Information

GPX Files Available for DOWNLOAD.
Downloadable GPX files for many of the canyons listed here are now available at the BG-Gear Store.  In addition to the waypoints, the GPX files also offer routes and tracks for the canyon.  Over time more GPX files will be added.

If you want to avoid manually adding waypoints into your GPS or mapping software, want the additional routes and tracks or simply want to support the efforts put into BluuGnome, head over to the BG-Gear Store and grab the files that interest you.

Elevations are approximate.  Waypoints with no elevation data will display NaN in place of the elevation.

For information about my waypoint naming convention and map symbols, refer to the Glossary page.

Notes for GPS information:
BEFORE
entering coordinates from this website, please ensure your system (GPS or mapping software) is set to the same datum used here.  Waypoint coordinates are listed with WGS84 datum and in Lat/Lon hddd.ddddd° format.  Entering coordinate information with inconsistent datum's can result in the waypoints being off by hundreds of feet.  It is important to keep this in mind when entering waypoints from any source.

Arscenic (1) - Drive into Trailhead
  1. extLoneCedarRd          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.09720   W -110.62157        Elev: 5,090 Feet
    Turn off for the road toward the Poison Springs canyons. The road is not shown on some maps but the Lone Dedar Reservoir which this road runs by is shown on most maps about 0.3 miles off the highway. Road is unnamed but will be referred to here as the Lone Cedar Road.
  2. wLoneCedrDP-01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.09207   W -110.53031        Elev: 5,170 Feet
    Tee in the road on the drive into the Poison Springs Canyons. Turn left here to continue the drive in to Constrychnine Canyon.
  3. pkContrychSlid          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.09252   W -110.52610        Elev: 5,175 Feet
    Parking for Constrychnine and Slideanide. Lots of room here on both sides of the road.
Arscenic (2) - Approach and The Canyon
  1. pkContrychSlid          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.09252   W -110.52610        Elev: 5,175 Feet
    Parking for Constrychnine and Slideanide. Lots of room here on both sides of the road.
  2. wArscenicRP-01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.09763   W -110.52602        Elev: NaN Feet
    Drop into a wide shallow wash / draiange. This is the drainge leading down to Arscenic Canyon.
  3. yArscenicTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.09839   W -110.52716        Elev: 5,065 Feet
    Top of Arscenic. This is where the sandy wide shallow drainge starts to cut into sandstone with a few minor down climbs.
  4. wArscenicRP-02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.10093   W -110.52915        Elev: NaN Feet
    Drop in the wash of about 40 feet. Bypass along a ledge then down a sand bank to the canyon floor.
  5. dArscenicR1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.10207   W -110.52984        Elev: 4,955 Feet
    Rap 1 - Arscenic Canyon. Anchored from a large block of rock about 5 feet back from the rap. Drops about 200 feet over 3 stages. Leave rope and retrieve it on the exit route since this is the only rappel in the canyon.
  6. wArscenicRP-03          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.10286   W -110.53042        Elev: NaN Feet
    Canyon takes a sharp left here as a drainge drops in on the RDC side.
  7. wArscenicRP-04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.10309   W -110.53341        Elev: NaN Feet
    An alcove like feature on the RDC side as the canyon starts to make a long sweeping right turn.
  8. wArscenicRP-05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.10428   W -110.53374        Elev: NaN Feet
    Brief open area in the canyon before continuing into more narrow slot.
  9. wArscenicRP-06          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.10615   W -110.53524        Elev: NaN Feet
    Canyon turns sharp left as a side drainage drops in from RDC.
  10. wArscenicRP-07          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.10775   W -110.53852        Elev: NaN Feet
    Very large Juniper tree in the wash on the LDC side. This is about 300 feet before reaching the end of the canyon at the confluence with another large drainge.
  11. yArscenicBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.10859   W -110.53856        Elev: 4,620 Feet
    Bottom of Arscenic Canyon where it drops into another large drainge.
Arscenic (3) - Exit
  1. wArscenicRP-07          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.10775   W -110.53852        Elev: NaN Feet
    Very large Juniper tree in the wash on the LDC side. This is about 300 feet before reaching the end of the canyon at the confluence with another large drainge.
  2. wArscenicRP-08          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.10751   W -110.53926        Elev: 4,582 Feet
    Start south up the slick rock ridge here.
  3. wArscenicRP-09          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.10702   W -110.53949        Elev: NaN Feet
    The slope of the ridge becomes more gentle.
  4. sArscenicArch          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.10557   W -110.53910        Elev: 4,840 Feet
    A pretty cool arch that is unexpected for the terain.
  5. wArscenicRP-10          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.10501   W -110.53848        Elev: NaN Feet
    Light scrambling to climb up onto the bench above.
  6. wArscenicRP-11          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.10441   W -110.53848        Elev: 4,960 Feet
    Top out of the climb up onto the bench. You are now up into the semi flat rolling desert area.
  7. wArscenicRP-12          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.10142   W -110.52977        Elev: 5,020 Feet
    Top of a sandy slope on the rim as you walk the exit route. This slope allows easy access down to rap 1 to retrieve the rope that was left behind.
  8. pkContrychSlid          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.09252   W -110.52610        Elev: 5,175 Feet
    Parking for Constrychnine and Slideanide. Lots of room here on both sides of the road.