Hey Joe Canyon Trail
1 Day Trail – Rated 3 1/2
Hey Joe Canyon, a site of some mining ruins, is a short tributary to Labyrinth Canyon of the Green River. To get into the canyon, one must travel about 20 miles of pavement and 10 miles of good dirt road to the rim of Spring Canyon, where a spectacular ledge road winds down a 600-foot cliff to the canyon bottom. The trail follows the canyon about 2 miles to the Green River and another 9 miles upstream in Labyrinth Canyon to Hey Joe Canyon. The trail along the river is subject to rockfalls and collapse. Some of the hand-made passages are sometimes difficult for full-size pickups or larger. Although we occasionally cut back the brushy tamarisk alongside parts of the trail, fancy paint jobs may prefer another trail.
The access roads include the paved one in Sevenmile Canyon and good dirt roads in the open plateau country approaching the Green River. Spring Canyon is a jewel. The trail enters Labyrinth Canyon at Bowknot Bend, a large loop of the river where the river doubles back and threatens to short-cut the loop in the near future, geologically speaking. There are abandoned mining roads on both sides of the river; remains of the cable that ferried equipment across the river may be seen.
The road into Spring Canyon once carried ore trucks and heavy equipment but has eroded to bare rock and remnants of the dirt fill. The roads in Spring Canyon and Labyrinth Canyon are good dirt except where erosion has narrowed them or left rockfalls that were crossed with the least possible road-building labor.
There are no fixed obstacles on this route; the hard places move around as erosion continues. Some of the older rockfalls have been crossed so much that they are getting easy, but who knows what ’96 will bring. Wet weather would require cancellation of the trip; the road is scary when dry and terrifying (dangerous, too) when wet.