Lower White Canyon and the Black Hole

This was the most intriguing hike we have done during our last trip to Utah. This is not a hike for fainthearted. And you should be well prepared and well informed about it before you do it. The best would be to read the latest edition of “Canyon Hiking Guide to the Colorado Plateau” by Michael R. Kelsey and browse the internet for more info. There are huge boulders in the canyon before you get to the Black Hole and it takes time to maneuver. The water is freezing cold. We recorded the water temperature in the Black Hole 13 degrees Celsius.
When you get to the parking lot you will see a board with a warning. A group of hikers crashed the glass and placed a handwritten letter in the lower right hand corner of the board. In that letter dated May 2011 they described the hiking conditions of the canyon.

BLM board at the start of the hiking trail to the Black Hole


After you descend to the Lower White Canyon the hike is easy and photogenic.

Lower White Canyon

Then you start to encounter large boulders and come across pools that you will have to swim or wade.

Lower White Canyon

Wading in Lower white Canyon

After some rappelling you get to pools you have to swim through and the darkest part of the canyon called the Black Hole.

the Black Hole


the Black Hole


the Black Hole is "really cool"


After you swim through the Black Hole and if you still need more adventure take the first route out of the Canyon, which has some steep walls and difficult climbing. Or if you have enough for a day take a second easy route out. Do not discard any water you have to carry while swimming in the Black Hole. You might think you are sick of even seeing water but you will need it for the hike back to the car which is about 2 miles along the highway.

hike back to the car


If you are interested in learning more about the Black Hole check out our video soon.

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2 thoughts on “Lower White Canyon and the Black Hole

  1. Five of us hiked the Black Hole on 9/13/11. We lucked out. It was the only completely sunny, rain-free day that week (or maybe in 2 weeks). A flash flood had just occured on the evening of 9/11/11, which must have washed a lot of the canyon. We were in water for almost all of the hike — from about one half hour in until we started the exit ascent. There was no log jam to speak of until well after the actual black hole. We hiked 8 hours straight without a break. All of us wore wetsuits which were very need and became very heavy as the day progressed. We are all experienced hikers. From reading previous descriptions of the black hole hike, I think we hiked it in pretty extreme conditions!

    • Thank you for your comment. We thought we were not lucky because we didn’t have as much water as we expected and we needed to do more rappelling than we were prepared to. But now after reading about your conditions it looks like we were pretty lucky. I believe anyone who goes down to the Black Hole should expect “the unexpected”. Conditions change with every flash flood. In dry hot weather there might be less water but more places you need to rappel down. After days of raining you will endure extreme swimming- as in your case. But that’s why the Black Hole is such a great adventure.

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