Dirty Devil - 01. Hanksville to Hite

Dirty Devil, Utah, US


01. Hanksville to Hite

Usual Difficulty I (for normal flows)
Length 75 Miles
Avg. Gradient 9 fpm

Dirty Devil

Dirty Devil
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 04/20/12

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-09333500 100 - 1000 cfs I 00h59m 110 cfs (running)

River Description

The Dirty Devil offers a wilderness float trip with fantastic scenery and side hikes.   Floatable flows occur in the spring and early summer.  

Fremont River and Muddy Creek join together at Hanksville to become the Dirty Devil.   Most of the dirt seems to come from Muddy Creek.   Most of the water is taken out for agriculture and domestic use before it reaches the confluence and put in.   Flows at the start will be almost always very low.   Side streams below the put in will gradually add water and make floating easier as boaters proceed downstream. 

Put in:
Somewhere near the confluence.   AW does not have good information about put in options.   Study the map and ask around when you arive.  Elevation is approximately  4240 feet above sea level. 

Take Out:
While Lake Powell is low, there is a river runners take out on the north side of the lake, just downstream of the Dirty Devil confluence.   There appears to be plenty of parking.  Boaters coming out of Cataract Canyon sometimes end their trips and derig at this take out, so it could be busy.   Hite Marina proper is on the south side of the river/ lake.  Elevation is approximately 3600 feet above sea level. 

Especially near the beginning, the river is wide, shallow and braided.  Expect lots of boat dragging unless you get good flows.   Boats with very shallow draft are most suitable, but canoes, inflatable kayaks, inflatable canoes and recreational kayaks have all been used.   The canyon is also very wide in the beginning, but it gradually becomes narrow.   Near the end, the river cuts down through Lake Powell silt.   The channel can be very narrow with swift water.   The overall gradient is about 8.5 feet per mile. 


Other Information Sources:
Hanksville BLM office, at the intersection of highways 95 and 24.  Phone 435-542-2361
Dirty Devil Float trip by Rich Henke, March 2005
Dirty Devil report by Gerald Trainor,  2008

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-07-09 21:21:13


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
5.0Dry Valley WashN/APutin
45.0Poison Springs WashN/AAccess

Rapid Descriptions

Dry Valley Wash (Class N/A, Mile 5.0)

A 4-wheel drive road extends from Highway 95 to the Dirty Devil on the upstream side of Dry Valley Wash.   This alternate put in can reduce the amount of boat dragging one has to do. 

Poison Springs Wash (Class N/A, Mile 45.0)

A 4 wheel drive road comes down Poison Springs Wash all the way to the Dirty Devil, fords the river and continues on the other side.   The USGS gage is just upstream and is serviced by the road. 

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
April 30 2018 (203 days ago)
Douglas TooleyDetails
Typical boatable flows for the Dirty Devil are prior to irrigation season when water is NOT
diverted - and temps are cooler. I did this river early May, 2010. The flow, low, was between 25
and 50 cfs. I enjoyed the trip, in a 14' Dagger Caption Open Canoe. This included walking some 50
miles of the 70 mile trip - barefoot in the sand. I am not sure what flows I had at each specific
point but I will definitely do this again. There is 'quicksand', but with a boat at hand it was not
a safety issue for me in any regard. I took two weeks to do it, including hiking the hard to access
side canyons. The typical routine involved guiding the boat with a bow line and needing to pull
every 50 yards or so over a riffle in the sand. A no rocker, no keel boat would be an advantage for
this section. I 'carried' a cooler and most of my water for the entire trip. The few rapids were at
the mouths of canyons, these were all either runnable or easily lineable. Towards the lower end the
Tamarisk from the lake channelizes the river and there are also springs adding to the flow. I would
take out at Sheep Springs, a high clearance access up from Hwy 95 at the lake, if Powell is low.
The mud channelization in the lake bed is unpredictable with consequence - perhaps first of which
is the muck you would be failing to walk in. The best put-in is at the Hanksville Dump road. This
is truly a unique trip.

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