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Wilderness Volunteers

Dark Canyon Wilderness, Manti-La Sal National Forest (spring), UT (May 16th - May 22nd 2021)

This service project is sponsored by:

  • Anne Bittner

  • Description
  • Details
  • Map

The Dark Canyon Wilderness is a unique forested pocket tucked into the heart of southeast Utah's wild canyon country. The Dark Canyon Wilderness, designated by Congress in 1984, is a spectacular and remote desert forest canyon wilderness covering over 47,000 acres. The greater area of the Dark Canyon complex is rich in biological, geological, archaeological, and historical significance, and is also one of the most colorful canyon systems on the Colorado Plateau. Dark Canyon begins on Elk Ridge at an elevation of 8,800 feet then cuts through Cedar Mesa sandstone formations dramatically framed amidst a forest of ponderosa pine on its 5,000-foot descent to the Colorado River. Dark Canyon was the ancestral home of Puebloan peoples for 5,000 years. They built cliff-dwellings and grain storage warehouses, made pottery in a variety of styles, created elaborate petroglyphs, fashioned tools from the mineral resources of the canyon, and planted the mesa tops with maize & squash. Remnants of the ancient community remain throughout the area as a reminder of the rich cultural history of the region.

Our work project will be a front country take on a typical backcountry project, offering views and close proximity to Bears Ears National Monument. This year's project entails a variety of trail maintenance, installing drainage features, and brushing on the Hammond Canyon and Posey Trail. We'll be dispersed tent camping near cars near the Hammond Canyon trailhead and volunteers should be prepared for ~3.5-mile oneway hikes to the job site.

On our free day, we can explore the area, hike, visit Bears Ears National Monument, and on the way home there are other prehistoric sites and museums to visit.

Please note: Due to COVID-19, Wilderness Volunteers is operating our 2021 project schedule under our Modified Project Procedures for Volunteers. These project guidelines will be revised as needed. Please check back often for the latest version.

Due to additional COVID-19 precautions, we are prohibiting mixed household volunteer carpooling (with volunteers outside of the same household traveling in the same vehicle) to projects until further notice. Exceptions to this policy (eg close friends traveling together) will need to be discussed with/pre-approved by the office and will require additional precautionary steps for the individuals involved.  Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

This project is rated as a strenuous project.

Check out more photos of last year's Dark Canyon project in our gallery.


May 16th - May 22nd 2021

Service Project

Trail maintenance, brushing, drainage feature installations

Agency logo

Free Days

Hiking to scenic vistas, cultural sites, visit Bears Ears N.M., wildlife viewing


Dispersed tent camping near cars

Project Difficulty

Strenuous : Up ~3.5-mile hike one way, digging, bending, lifting, sawing.


Benjamin Johnson
Jerry Lehman

Equipment List