Texas Canyon and adjoining Arch Canyon is a beautiful and very remote part of Colorado Plateau. Climbing here is of the high adventure variety - it makes Island in the Sky look crowded.
The two best known features are Texas Tower - an enormous tower in the the running for biggest tower in the desert and home of a long offwidth horror show, and Dreamspeaker - much less involved than Texas Tower, but still a stout outing.
There are a handful of other documented routes in the area, and many other potentially unclimbed towers and canyon walls. In addition to the climbing, there are a large number of Anasazi cliff dwellings and pictographs on the cliffs in the area.
Head west on SH 95 from US 191 just south of Blanding. Pass through Comb Ridge, and after around 20 miles head right on an unmarked dirt road. This road is about a mile east of the marked road to Mule Wash, so backtracking after missing the turnoff is likely.
The approaches to everything in Texas Canyon are different and involved, so they will be described separately for each rock.
Climbs the obvious crack system on the south face of the tower.Pitch 1- Climb hands in a corner on the left side of a pillar. Above the pillar climb 5.9 loose to a belay with bolts.Pitch 2- Climb a 5.9 squeeze slot to a handcrack above then belay at bolts.Pitch 3- An awkward 10- move leads to a good squeeze chimney. Belay on large ledge with bolt.Pitch 4- Climb over blocks in chimney then make a stem move and hand traverse right to a good hand crack. Climb the handcrack past a scary loose spo...[more]Browse More Classics in UT
I've done the approach from the south rim with the rappels. From the overlook, it took 45 minutes or an hour or something to get down to the end of the 4wd road where Arch and Texas Canyon split. Dropping in wasn't bad, but hiking up at the end of the day after getting our asses kicked... sucked. It would have been pretty nice to be camped down at Arch/Texas junction, but we were not sure about the condition of the road in Arch Canyon.
Was looking for any info on the 4wd road in Arch Canyon (how long will it take to drive the 10 miles? will it go with a typical truck/SUV? is mtn. biking it a good/reasonable option?)
I would plan on a couple hours in 4x4 mode to drive to the junction of Texas and Arch canyons. You might be able to shave 30 minutes off of that depending on the condition of the road and your driving technique. You can also add 45-90 minutes if you drive conservatively and/or the road is in bad shape.
I would not drive a new vehicle in there. The road is narrow in many places and will scratch your paint. The scratches are pretty much unavoidable.
"Head west on SH 95 from US 191 just south of Blanding. Pass through Comb Ridge, and after around 20 miles head right on an unmarked dirt road."
The 20 mile comment is strange. We clocked 14.6 miles from 191. You bust through the giant road cut of comb ridge, then the highway descends to the bottom of the wide canyon. The road is a right just as the road rounds the next bend and starts up the hill out of the other side of the canyon.
This first road from 95 is a smooth 2 wheel drive dirt road. The left turn to Arch Canyon is 2.5 miles in, just before a creek crossing. After a wide camping area, once you do the first 4X4 maneuver, there is kiosk letting you know you found Arch Canyon (which leads to Texas Canyon).
The 4X4 drive is fairly full on. I was in a short bed 91 Toyota PU (built on the same carriage as the above Forerunner) and thought anything longer or wider would be pretty fucked. The comment about not wanting to run a new vehicle you care about is spot on.
The canyon in general is amazing and worth going in to camp.
By Andrew Gram Administrator From: Salt Lake City, UT Feb 23, 2012
I wrote the description after not having been there in a few years. Would you be willing to do a better write up of the directions and Texas Canyon in general if I reassign the area to you?
Was out there this weekend. Chris Kalous's directions were spot on. Thank you. Agreed with the anchors. Agree also with the 4X4 assesment. I was pretty gripped driving up Arch Canyon at 1am. It took 2 hours getting in and an 1:45 out during the day. Anything longer or wider would be very bad. I have a 97 Tacoma extended cab. At the base of TT, if you get to a splitter with a fixed #3 about 15' up head left, the route is just around the corner. We did not take Big Bro's, but we should have.
I was passing by here in early august and had some time to kill so I drove my city truck ('01 factory chevy s10 with extended cab/6' bed) to the ruins 1/4 mile into Arch canyon and camped there. The next morning I was planning on mountain biking at least to the junction with Texas canyon and scoping out the severity of the 4x4ing and if one can bike all the way to Texas Tower. Because I had some time commitments and I was sketched out by the dark clouds, I turned around after an hour and a half, below the first real tower - dreamspeaker (still in arch canyon), about 4 miles up as the crow flies.
While it is definitely possible to bike, it really sucked, and would suck a lot more if you had a big pack of climbing/camping gear. Admittedly, I'm about a 5.7 mountain biker, but I have a decent bike with fat tires, yet the sandy and loose trail really kicked my ass. The only other constructive thing I have to add is some photos of what are the cruxes of the drive which I'm adding to the page. I wouldn't want to try and get my truck over the one definite high clearance crux.