Ding and Dang Canyon, San Rafael Swell, Utah

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Just an hour past Little Wild Horse Canyon trail head is the trail head to a less popular but very fun hike – Ding and Dang Canyons.  These canyons are similar to Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyons; they have interesting rock formations, close canyon walls and beautiful red and white sandstone. The difference in these is that more technical climbing is required since more obstacles block the canyon floor.

Now, Where Are We?

The tots and I started off with approximately half a mile of walking in a rocky wash. From there we took an offshoot of the trail into what we thought was Ding Canyon.

Now, I won’t say we got lost, because technically we knew where we had come from, but we weren’t exactly sure where we were or where we were going. We just knew the canyon was cool, the weather was fine and the tots were enjoying themselves, so we continued on.

The trail wound through shale like rock walls, every few feet made more exciting by the need to scramble over and around boulders and bushes. Lizards darted around our feet with almost every step and the air was perfect in the shade of the jagged canyon walls.

The Final Climb

The highlight of our hike was the final steep climb to the crest of the canyon. The surface of the rock we hiked was pocked and white, reminding me of a foreign planet. Big E led the way on this section, even when the angle of the path was intense. When we finally reached the summit I was awed by his determination to make it to the top, even though I doubted he could do it. He exceeded my expectations.

From the top we could see the entire valley, rivets of far off canyons denting the landscape. It was a beautiful view, well worth the trip and whether we were officially in Ding Canyon or not it was a great hike.

Trail Info

Rating: 3 stars
Difficulty: Very Difficult, but worth it
Length: 1.5 miles, Loop is approximately 5.5 miles
Tips: Don’t fall. Jagged rocks do not make comfortable landing sites.

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Author: Mountain Mom

Hi! I'm Mountain Mom. I live with my husband and three young kids in the mountains near Sundance, Utah. When we're not hiking, biking, skiing and camping, I spend my time doing Mom stuff and reading. Summer of 2016 we traveled over 7,000 miles along the US National Park to Park Highway.

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