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Texas Canyon

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Texas Canyon Rock Climbing 

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Location: 37.6034, -109.7932 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: slim, Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Andrew Gram on Sep 16, 2002


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A panoramic shot from the summit of Texas Tower lo...

RAIN, WET ROCK and RAPTOR CLOSURES: The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Also please ask and be aware of Raptor Closures in areas such as CAT WALL and RESERVOIR WALL in Indian Creek MORE INFO >>>


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.

Getting There 

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.

Climbing Season

For the Moab Area area.

Weather station 10.1 miles from here

3 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',0],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Texas Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Texas Canyon:
East Face of Texas Tower   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b C2     Trad, Aid, 7 pitches, 730'   Texas Tower
South Face   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, Grade IV   Texas Tower
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Texas Canyon

Featured Route For Texas Canyon
Rock Climbing Photo: Derek Hersey on pitch 2 of South Face, December 19...

South Face 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a  Utah : Moab Area : ... : Texas Tower
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 Utah

Photos of Texas Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Bear tracks in upper Texas Canyon
Bear tracks in upper Texas Canyon
Rock Climbing Photo: One of the narrow rocky bits on the second half of...
BETA PHOTO: One of the narrow rocky bits on the second half of...
Rock Climbing Photo: Attempting to winch Jeep completely high centered ...
BETA PHOTO: Attempting to winch Jeep completely high centered ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The first bad part of the drive, about 1/4 mile pa...
BETA PHOTO: The first bad part of the drive, about 1/4 mile pa...
Rock Climbing Photo: Another angle. You can see where a lot of people h...
BETA PHOTO: Another angle. You can see where a lot of people h...
Rock Climbing Photo: High clearance crux of the drive, about 1 mile pas...
BETA PHOTO: High clearance crux of the drive, about 1 mile pas...
Rock Climbing Photo: Texas Tower?
Texas Tower?
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up Texas canyon
Looking up Texas canyon

Comments on Texas Canyon Add Comment
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By George Perkins
From: The Dungeon, NM
Mar 19, 2009
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?)
By Brad Brandewie
Mar 19, 2009

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.

By Ben Kiessel
Mar 26, 2009
I have driven in twice. The first time driving in took about 3.5 hours in full light. I was moving rocks out of the way and taking it easy.

(side note: who thinks that moving rocks off a 4x4 road is like chipping a climb? The guy i drove in with would not help me move any rocks and gave me so much shit.)

The last time driving out it took me 1.5 hours in the dark.

I would not recommend mountain biking since the road is sandy in many places.

By A. Frost
Jun 24, 2009
Drive or bike in.

Contrary to others' opinions, the drive didn't seem all that bad in my experience (5/09). ~3 hours in late afternoon light in my 1990 4Runner. Always good to have a shovel.

That being said, I like the bike-in style. Sounds like good fun.

CAUTION: Drive may be slower with application of multiple malt-liquor tall boys and detours for archeological ogling.
By chris Kalous
Feb 22, 2012
A couple clarification notes:

"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
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 23, 2012
Hey Chris,

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?
By chris nance
Jun 20, 2012
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.
By Kevin Kent
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Aug 12, 2013
I was passing by here in early august and had some time to kill so I drove my small truck 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.

By Jared Brown
Apr 21, 2017
We were just up camping at the end of the road, mostly hiking and exploring around (I should probably offer to drive up the road in exchange for getting dragged up climbs that are too hard and scary for me to lead). We had 2 older Cherokees, one stock and one slightly lifted. The worst parts of the road were in the first mile or two, carved out sections in and out of the creek bed. The stock Jeep was dragging bumpers in the dirt in places, and got high-centered in ruts on one creek exit, needing to be pulled off, and have the ruts filled in with rocks. Other than that, it was fine.

Driving in took about 2 hours, with a stop at the ruins, and dealing with the stuck Jeep. Mountain biking this road would indeed not be fun. If you know what you're doing, a larger vehicle (land cruiser) should make it, but smaller is certainly easier as others have said.

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