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The Maze District Adventure Route

Updated: Sep 9, 2023

The Maze District of Canyonlands NP offers some of the most remote dirt roads in the lower 48. Those seeking to escape the crowds while taking on more technical terrain will love the Maze District Adventure Route!

Photos courtesy of OTG member Bryan Bibeau.


Route Overview

Adventure Rating: Epic

Trip Length: 246 miles / 5-10 days

Season: Year round, but mid April thru November is typically snow free.

Avg Technical Rating: 3

Peak Technical Rating: 6

Typical Terrain: Rocky and steep jeep trails. Expect to be traveling at a much slower rate of speed.

Recommended Vehicle: High clearance 4x4 (trailers not recommended) Recommended Gear: 10 gallons of extra fuel-- you will need it! Given the remoteness of the route and technical nature of the terrain, we recommend traveling a buddy.

Adventure Vans: Not recommended.

Alternative Routes: n/a Permits: You will need to obtain a backcountry permit from Canyonlands NP in order to camp in the Maze District. Advanced reservations are recommended, and be sure to read up on all the rules and regs that cover things like group size, permitted camp sites, length of stay, pets, camp fires (not permitted) and more.

 

Route Details


The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park contains some of the most remote vehicle-accessible roads within the lower 48. Unlike other locations around Moab and southern Utah, you won't run across trail traffic jams in the Maze District. In fact, if you're seeking to get away from the crowds while taking on more technical terrain, then look no further than the Maze District. Just keep in mind, you'll need to obtain a backcountry permit before you can enter the Maze. The Colorado and Green Rivers cut off land access to the north, east, and south. So what appears to be a relatively short distance from the White Rim Trail, is actually a several hour drive since you'll need to drive west, and then south Hanksville, and that doesn't account for the drive into the Maze District (several more hours). Needless to say, if you don't have a long range auxiliary fuel tank, we recommend bringing at lest 10 gallons of extra fuel. Given the remoteness and rugged topography, the Maze District Adventure Route consists of a number of out-and-back trips, highlighting some of the best trails and scenery within the Maze District and neighboring Orange Cliffs unit of Glen Canyon NRA, which also happens to be managed by Canyonlands National Park. It is possible to access Hans Flat Ranger station via a more direct route from Hanksville, but we think the access trails via Poison Spring Canyon (north access) and the south Access near Hite Crossing provide much more interesting access points.


In terms of your adventure, you aren't relegated to do the out-and-back trails in any particular order. But for the sake of this route guide, we'll begin at the Poison Spring Canyon Road access point south of Hanksville. This is the most "technical" of the various access points, but don't expect anything that a stock 4x4 can't easily manage. The peak technical rating along Poison Spring Canyon is typically a 3, but can reach a 4 from seasonal erosion on the trails. Just like much of Canyonlands, expect lots of buttes, mesas, and reddish-orange cliffs. You will need to cross the Dirty Devil River, which typically isn't an issue unless trying to ford the river right after a heavy rain storm. Upon reaching Sunset Pass (DP4), you'll have officially entered Glen Canyon NRA. The next leg of the journey towards the Doll House contains some of the most technical terrain along the route. Expect to be go slow going for much of the trail, but you'll be rewarded with fantastic views of rock spires ad hoodoos along the way. Some of the geological highlights along this section include Teapot Rock (DP5), the Mother and the Child (DP6) and the Doll House. Once you reach the Doll House, you'll trace your tracks back to where you came and then take the middle fork towards the Maze Overlook. While not as technical as the trial to the Doll House, there are still a number of rock ledges and steep and loose sections that give the trail a bit of character. Be sure to make the quick trip over to Brimhall Point (DP10), with its fantastic views overlooking the canyonlands of the Maze District. The two adjacent and aptly named camp sites, Maze Overlook 1 and 2 also make for fantastic camp sites. This portion of the route concludes at Millard Camp on the banks of the Green River (DP12). If you make it to Millard Camp, you'll have reached one of the most remote places in the Maze District, and a place that few visitors ever make it to. We'd be surprised if you run into other vehicles out by Millard Camp-- so if you're looking for a night of solitude, Millard Camp is definitely the way to go.


The third out-and-back makes its way to North Point (High Spur). The mildly technical (technical rating 4) Flint Trail (DP13) provides the main thoroughfare for much of this leg of the journey. The drive up the Flint Trail switchbacks are always fun, and the views from the top are exquisite. Highlights from this leg include Cleopatra's Chair (DP17) and Panorama Point (DP16). Trace your tracks back towards the Flint Trail switchbacks and take the south exit road, which is commonly referred to as the Road to Hite. The Road to Hite is relatively smooth and tame compared to the other trails along the route. In fact, you can likely reach Hite Crossing Bridge (DP18) in 1.5 to 3 hours. The route concludes o the south side of the Colorado River, where theres a dirt pull out with awesome views of Hite Crossing and the Colorado River gorge.


Camping Recommendations

The Maze District is filled with fantastic camp sites. We recommend plotting out your route first, and then determining camp site options. Given the limited number of camps, it's good to have a plan B option in case someone is already using a site. Keep in mind, it's difficult to travel long distances in a single day given the rocky and technical nature throughout the Maze District. Some of our favorite camp sites include:

  • The Neck

  • Golden Stairs Camp

  • The Doll House

  • Maze Overlook

  • Millard Camp

  • Millard Camp

Discovery Points

  • DP1 - Poison Spring Canyon

  • DP2 - Dirt Devil River

  • DP3 - Buckacre Point

  • DP4 - Sunset Pass

  • DP5 - Teapot Rock

  • DP6 - The mother & the child

  • DP7 - Chocolate Drops Trail

  • DP8 - The Doll House

  • DP9 - China Neck

  • DP10 - Brimhall Point

  • DP11 - Millard Canyon Benches

  • DP12 - Green River

  • DP13 - Flint Trail

  • DP14 - Flint Trail Overlook

  • DP15 - Millard Canyon Overlook

  • DP16 - Panorama Point

  • DP17 - Cleopatras Chair

  • DP18 - Hite Crossing Bridge

  • DP19 - Colorado River

 

Maps + Navigation


Digital Mapping Files


 

Resources


Land Managers

Other Resources

 

Gallery



Terms of Use: Should you decide to travel a route that is published on Overlandtrailguides.com, you do so at your own risk. Always take the appropriate precautions when planning and traveling, including checking the current local weather, permit requirements, trail/road conditions, and land/road closures. While traveling, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, and carry the appropriate safety, recovery, and navigational equipment. The information found on this site is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by Overland Trail Guides, the route accuracy and current conditions of roads and trails cannot be guaranteed.



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