Poison Springs Canyons – Hanksville Canyoneering


Deep, dark slot canyons with dramatic rappels and scenic narrows!

The Poison Springs Canyons are an excellent choice for those looking to get into deep, dark, narrow technical slot canyons. Many options exist, whether you’re looking for long, dramatic rappels or a full-body workout with down-climb after down-climb and fun obstacles at every turn. Although adventurous beginners are welcome, these canyons are sure to excite even the most seasoned canyoneer!

  • Reviews 1 Review
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
  • Activity Level Moderate or Difficult - Customized for your group!
All about the Poison Springs Canyons – Hanksville Canyoneering.
  • Duration: 7-9 hours (canyon time only)
  • Difficulty: Easy – Difficult, depending on canyon choice
  • Total Hiking Distance: 3 – 4 miles
  • Rappels: Dependent on chosen route, ranging from 40 to 200 feet.
  • Minimum Age: We suggest a minimum age of 12 for Poison Springs Canyon trips. Exceptions are sometimes made, so please give us a call or shoot us an email to discuss your options.
  • Distance from Moab: 2 hours, one-way; Option to add scenic flight instead of driving (one-way)
  • This canyon can be part of a Multi-day tour 
  • Season: Spring, Fall, Winter
  • All trips are private – just your group and your guide!
    • 1 Person – $650
    • Group of 2 – $328/person
    • Group of 3 – $295/person
    • Group of 4 or more – $273/person
    • Please call for availability if your group has 14 or more people in it

The Poison Springs Canyons offer some of the most dramatic and fun canyoneering that Southern Utah has to offer. These canyons are deep, dark, narrow and combine charming rappels with fun down-climbing to make a full day of canyon exploration that will leave you grinning from ear to ear.

We begin at the top of these canyons, but as we look out from the car park no canyons are in sight – nothing but endless rolling desert in every direction with a distant view of the Henry Mountains. After hiking in a seemingly random direction away from the vehicle, our canyon slowly comes into view below us. The flat world surrounding us begins to yield a minor drainage. After a rappel or two, it becomes apparent that the Poison Springs canyon system holds some of the deepest canyons around.

Admiring the smooth water polished walls, we continue downstream negotiating a few small downclimbs along the way. Depending on our chosen route, we may encounter a few more rappels or simply use a rope as a handline and practice our teamwork skills as we help each other navigate each drop.

Soon the canyon opens back up and we must make our way back up to the vehicle. Hiking up and over ancient sand dunes, we have a chance to look down into the canyon we’ve just spent the day descending.

These canyons are some of our favorites to guide. They’re packed full of fun and the views of the Utah desert don’t get any better.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • All canyoneering gear and safety equipment
  • Instruction from experienced and fun guides
  • Transportation to and from the canyon (Due to Covid, we may ask that you follow your guide to the trailhead in your own vehicle)
  • Private tour – just your group plus your guide(s)!
What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
  • Lunch and snacks – please bring enough food to be out and active for 7-9 hours
  • Water – we recommend at least 2 liters of water per person
  • You’re welcome to leave snacks and water in the vehicle for the ride back to Moab.

We rate our canyoneering trips based on physical difficulty. The Poison Springs Canyon complex has a lot of different canyons to choose from. In general, these canyons feature many deep, narrow sections where we’re turning sideways and scooting between walls to make progress downstream. Some have more downclimbs than others, more rappels than others, and some cover more distance than others. Therefore, we can choose a canyon that is appropriate for your group’s experience and abilities.

Absolutely! Our private tours allow us to spend plenty of time at the top of each rappel going over rappel technique, answering questions, etc. On every rappel, you will be backed up with a second rope that the guide can use to slow you down or take over control if necessary. You’ll “learn the ropes” and be able to control your own speed, but you’ll never be 100% on your own.

Probably not. These canyons feature long sections of narrows where you likely have to take your pack off and drag it behind you while you turn sideways to scoot along. These water-carved narrows are beautiful, and a treat to see, but you likely won’t enjoy the beauty if you are claustrophobic. Consider something closer to Moab where the canyons are much wider.

The Poison Springs Canyons are rough on gear! These canyons have you sliding on your butt in many places, so you’ll want to wear clothing that you don’t mind scuffing up. Consider buying a cheap pair of pants from your local thrift store so you won’t be heartbroken when they get a small (or big!) tear in them – especially if you’re spending a couple of days in these canyons with us!

It’s nice to wear pants and a long-sleeved shirt if the weather allows – the more coverage for your skin, the better. You can check the weather here before your trip.

Please visit our FAQ page for answers to general questions about canyoneering.

Overall Rating
Reviewed On 29/03/2021

The members of our group had a range of skills and experience and Desert Highlights worked with us to schedule the most appropriate routes that would offer the best opportunities for everyone. Our guide, Jake, was everything you'd hope for in a guide - professional, safe, caring, fun, educational and flexible. We all really enjoyed the experience and I would not hesitate to join them again. I highly recommend giving Desert Highlights a call!