Canyoneering Route Description

Hidden Star Canyon - 3(4) B I
Dixie National Forest (Pine Valley Dist.), Utah.

Quick Facts

08-12-12, 6 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 3.5 hours) Pictures Icon

Time Required - 1.5 to 2.5 hours
Distance - 1.3 miles Total, 0.4 miles Technical
Rappels - 2 Rappels, Longest Rappel 190 feet.
Elevation Range - 4260 - 4765 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Gear Used for Canyon

Rappelling and anchor gear, Ropes and or pull cords for rappels up to 50 feet and 40 feet of 1 inch webbing for sling placement.   You will also need a 200 foot rope for rap 1 with no pull cord and will leave that rope in place and retrieve it when you exit.  There is only one other rap in canyon which is about 50 feet.

There is water in in Hidden Star Canyon in a very short section.  The water is no more than about waist deep for everything but one pothole.  That one pothole can be stemmed over by taller confident stemmers.  A waist down wet suit might be nice in cold weather or a full for if you feel you need it for crossing one pothole.  Overall I would suggest not bringing wet suits.

General Comments

Hidden Star is short but surprisingly fun.  There is one pothole in Hidden Star that could give some people trouble.  If you are tall and are a confident stemmer you can stem over the pothole to avoid it.  If you are not a confident stemmer or fall in you will find your self in a pothole that could be difficult to get out of.  With that in mind you should be prepared to do a pack or potshot toss to get past this obstacle.  If you stem over the pothole fine the canyon deserves a 3 rating.  If you do not stem over the pothole you may need to use pothole escape techniques and the canyon deserves a 4 rating.

The first rap is generally done with a 200 foot rope which is left behind while you finish the route.  Be sure to leave a note on the rope so someone doesn't mistake it for trash and haul it out.  The exit for Hidden Star will take you back near rap 1 where you can pick up your rope on the way out.

Leaving your rope at rap 1 will make the route more enjoyable since you can travel with a smaller rope the rest of the way.  Pulling the rope from the bottom has begun creating rope grooves in the sandstone part way down the rappel.  Retrieving the rope from the top will help minimize the rope grooving.

Driving Directions

To get to the Trailhead

From the junction of I15 and Highway 9 just north of St. George Utah: Drive north on I15 7.8 miles to exit 22 for the town of Leeds.  Then follow the frontage road 1.6 miles through Leeds to Silver Reef Road.  Turn left (west) and drive under the freeway.  

If you are driving south bound on I15 you will take the Leeds exit which will place you right down to the Silver Reef Road.  You will not need to drive a frontage road.  

After driving under the free way continue west on the Silver Reef Road.  1.5 miles from the freeway the pavement will end (wPineVlyDP-01) shortly after the road name changes to Oak Grove Road.

About 450 feet after the pavement ends will be a road to the left.  Stay right and continue on Oak Grove Road.  

After another 1.5 miles will be a fork in the road (wPineVlyDP-02).  Stay left at the fork.  This is where you will leave Oak Grove Road.  

Another 0.7 miles and the road tops out (wPineVlyDP-03) where there is a huge turn out to park a few cars and get a good view of the surrounding area.  

Follow the road as it winds down the other side of the top out.  2.3 miles down from the top out the road will pass through a ranch area with fences on both sides of the road (wPineVlyDP-04).  

Drive 0.3 more miles where you will cross over a cattle guard (wPineVlyDP-05).  

Drive 0.4 miles past the cattle guard to an un-marked road (pkBoltergeist) going left (southeast).  This is where you would park if starting the Boltergeist route.  

Drive 0.7 miles after the parking for Boltergeist to where Heath Wash crosses the road (wPineVlyDP-06).  

Drive another 0.6 miles to where the road crosses Big Hollow (wPineVlyDP-07).  

Then drive 2.25 miles to a side road on the right (north) signed as road 903 (pkHiddenStar).  Park at the road junction.

To leave the Exit Vehicle / Escape Pod

No exit vehicle is needed.  This is done as a loop route.


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 entire route.


The Approach:
From the parking spot (pkHiddenStar) look southwest and note a hill / ridge about 0.25 miles away.  Walk west down the dirt road about 0.2 miles to where the ridge meets the road (wHidnStrRP-01).  Next leave the road by turning left and walking south up the ridge.  You will top out at the high point of the ridge about 0.2 miles from leaving the road (wHidnStrRP-02).  From the top out of the ridge continue south about 0.3 miles down to the top of a slick rock drainage (yHidnStrTp).

The Canyoneering / Technical Section:
From the top of the slick rock drainage (yHidnStrTp), continue south down the drainage for about 0.2 miles enjoying some minor scramble downclimbs along they way before reaching rap 1.  Just before reaching rap 1 will be series of 4 small potholes as the canyon begins to drop quickly.

Rap 1 (dHidnStr-R1) is anchored from rocks piled in a pothole near the top of the drop and drops about 190 feet.  Rap 1 involves working your way over a couple potholes and through a short narrow section on the way down which I found to be very enjoyable.  You don't need a pull line for this rap.  Leave your 200 foot rope hanging on rap 1.  The exit route will bring you back by the top of rap 1 where you can retrieve your rope.  Doing this will minimize rope grooving and allow you to travel in canyon with less gear so its more enjoyable.

After getting to the bottom of rap 1 you will be in the main drainage for Hidden Star.  To avoid dropping into a series of potholes and thrashing through some thick vegetation do not continue directly down canyon in the drainage.  Instead  walk along a ledge LDC (south) side of the canyon.  Walk about 200 feet along the ledge to a small pinion pine tree that can be used as the anchor for rap 2.

Rap 2 (dHidnStr-R2) is anchored from a small pinion pine tree and raps down the side of the canyon off the ledge and back down to the canyon floor.  Rap 2 drops about 50 feet.

Down canyon of rap 2 are a series of potholes over about 130 feet to a short vegetated area (wHidnStrRP-03).  The potholes are shallow, easy to get out of and mostly avoidable with careful scrambling.

About 80 feet down canyon from this vegetated area is a pothole to cross that can be a keeper.  Taller people with good stemming skills should be able to get over the pothole with moderate effort.  All you need is one person over that pothole who can then help others across.  If you feel no one in your group can do a wide stem over a pothole this is a good place to gather material for a potshot or pack toss.  If you are unsure you could leave someone back while others go forward to evaluate and call back what is needed.

After the short vegetated area is another section of potholes and some stemming / galumphing to move down canyon.  This section has a few more potholes that can also be avoided easily with careful scrambling.  One of the potholes in this section can be considered a keeper.  Taller people can stem over it with moderate effort.  If no one on your team is able to stem over the pothole you will need to use a potshot or pack toss to set a line to escape the other side.

Shortly after the keeper pothole the pothole section ends with a moderately difficult downclimb of about 30 feet (wHidnStrRP-04).

At the down climb is a large ravine dropping in from the right (north).  This is not the exit ravine.  Continue down the wash about 250 feet to another large ravine (yHidnStrBt) on the right (north).  This ravine marks the start of your exit from the canyon.

The Exit:
From the bottom of the exit ravine (yHidnStrBt), look up the ravine and note the slick rock ridge running to the right (east) of it.  Route find your way northeast up along the ridge for a little over 700 feet to get to the top.   About 700 feet up the ridge is a flat area (wHidnStrRP-05).  From here you are about 150 feet away from your rope left at rap 1. Turn right and walk east down into the drainage to retrieve your rope left at rap 1.

From rap 1 (dHidnStr-R1) reverse the approach route to get back to the cars.

GPS Waypoint Information

Downloadable GPX files available at BG-Gear Store (easier than manual entry and a great way to support Bluugnome).
Waypoint naming convention and map symbol information can be found on the Glossary page.  Elevations are approximate.
manually entering coordinates set your system to WGS84 datum and Lat/Lon hddd.ddddd° coordinate format
Inconsistent datum's and coordinate formats will result in location errors.

Click to show / expand the list of waypoints below........
Hidden Star 1 - Drive to Trailhead
  1. extSilverReef          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.24437   W -113.35337        Elev: 3,563 Feet
    Exit from I-15 to Silver Reef Road in Leeds UT.
  2. wPineVlyDP-01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.25973   W -113.36945        Elev: NaN Feet
    Road changes names near hear from Silver Reef Road to Oak Grove Road. Pavemet also ends here.
  3. wPineVlyDP-02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27133   W -113.38667        Elev: 4,440 Feet
    Stay left at the fork on the drive in to Yankee Doodle Canyon area.
  4. wPineVlyDP-03          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27223   W -113.39731        Elev: 4,820 Feet
    Road tops out here and has a big turn out for a few cars to park.
  5. wPineVlyDP-04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.25790   W -113.42530        Elev: NaN Feet
    Road passes through a ranch area with fences on bothsides of the road.
  6. wPineVlyDP-05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.25523   W -113.42883        Elev: NaN Feet
    Cattle gaurd in the road.
  7. pkBoltergeist          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.25088   W -113.43272        Elev: 4,270 Feet
    Park here for the start of the Boltergeist route. There is an unsigned road leaving to the southeast or left side of the road on the drive in.
  8. wPineVlyDP-06          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.24638   W -113.44229        Elev: NaN Feet
    Road crosses over Heath Wash.
  9. wPineVlyDP-07          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.24325   W -113.45198        Elev: NaN Feet
    Road crosses over Big Hollow.
  10. PkYankeeDoodle          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.23702   W -113.45343        Elev: 4,330 Feet
    Park here for the start of the Yankee Doodle Route. There is a turn out on the right (north) side of the road.
  11. pkHiddenStar          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.23494   W -113.47715        Elev: 4,575 Feet
    Parking her to start the Hidden Star Route. The side road here is signed as road 903.
Hidden Star 2 - Approach
  1. pkHiddenStar          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.23494   W -113.47715        Elev: 4,575 Feet
    Parking her to start the Hidden Star Route. The side road here is signed as road 903.
  2. wHidnStrRP-01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.23464   W -113.48147        Elev: 4,600 Feet
    Spot to leave the road on the route over to the top of Hidden Star Canyon.
  3. wHidnStrRP-02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.23223   W -113.48132        Elev: 4,765 Feet
    Top out on the ridge on the way into Hidden Star.
  4. yHidnStrTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.22829   W -113.48181        Elev: 4,650 Feet
    Top of Hidden Star Canyon. This where a slick rock drainge begins to form.
Hidden Star 3 - Canyon and Exit
  1. yHidnStrTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.22829   W -113.48181        Elev: 4,650 Feet
    Top of Hidden Star Canyon. This where a slick rock drainge begins to form.
  2. dHidnStr-R1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.22615   W -113.48164        Elev: 4,490 Feet
    Rap 1 - Hidden Star Canyon. Anchored from rocks in a pothole near the top of the drop and drops 190 feet. Use a 200 foot rope and no pull line. Leave the rope here and retrieve on the exit route to minimize rope grooving and to make travel in canyon lighter.
  3. dHidnStr-R2          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.22517   W -113.48219        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 2 - Hidden Star Canyon. Anchored from a small pinion pine tree and drops 50 feet from the LDC ledge down to the canyon floor.
  4. wHidnStrRP-03          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.22513   W -113.48266        Elev: NaN Feet
    Short vegetated area between sections of potholes. Good place to gatehr dirt etc if you need to do a potshot or pack toss to get past a pothole farther down canyon.
  5. wHidnStrRP-04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.22519   W -113.48321        Elev: NaN Feet
    Downclimb of about 30 feet with moderate difficulty.
  6. yHidnStrBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.22548   W -113.48390        Elev: 4,260 Feet
    Bottom of Hidden Star Canyon where there is a large ravine on the RDC side. Exit by climbing along the slickrock to the right (east) of the ravine to get to the top.
  7. wHidnStrRP-05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.22628   W -113.48212        Elev: 4,545 Feet
    Flat spot along the ridge which is a compfrtable place to stop and puts you about 150 feet away from your rope left at rap 1. Turn right and walk east down into the drainage to retrieve your rope left at rap 1.