Utah Trails
Water Canyon To Top Rock
Length: 3 miles round trip
Difficulty: Strenuous

Description: This hike can be moderately or strenuous, depending on options you choose. It goes into beautiful country on the Utah/Arizona border. The area is remote, definitely off the beaten path, but the natural beauty here attracts more and more people every year. It is located on the edge of the Canaan Mountain Wilderness, north of the town of Hildale (On Highway 389 between Hurricane, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona).

The route is a moderate hike along the well-defined path to the narrows of Water Canyon. It becomes strenuous as it climbs to the canyon rim and Top Rock. Beyond Top Rock you can day hike or backpack into solitude on Canaan Mountain, enjoying numerous vistas with Zion-like scenery.

The Water Canyon slot is becoming a popular place for guided canyoneering treks. It is a great place to learn basic canyoneering skills.

Water Canyon Trailhead
From the town of Hildale, drive to the trailhead by following Utah Avenue, swinging left onto Canyon Street and then right and then left onto the road that penetrates Water Canyon. Drive to the unmarked parking area at the end of the road. Look for the obvious trail that follows the waterway up the canyon. A massive natural arch can be seen from the trail about a mile above the canyon mouth.

Water Canyon Waterfall
Stay high for the easiest hiking. Soon the trail drops down alongside the stream as the canyon becomes a slot, and you approach a scenic waterfall. Water may gush over the fall during runoff, but fade to a trickle or dry up during the heat of summer. As you hike into the slot you soon reach an inpassible wall. Backtrack and look for a trail that switchbacks as it climbs left above the slot. From here on the trail becomes steep and strenuous.

Top Rock
Top Rock is an impressive structure that marks the end of the established trail, near the top of Water Canyon. If you continue hiking you'll come out on top of Canaan Mountain, where you can find tremendous views and unspoiled country. You'll need a good topo map and excellent route finding skills if you wish to continue. Our recommended hike ends at Top Rock. Rest there, enjoying the views, and then descend the way you came.