Ding and Dang Canyons lie in the San Rafael Reef area northwest of Goblin State Park in Utah. To get to the trailhead, follow the Little Wildhorse Canyon Road from the entrance area of Goblin State Park and go past the trailhead to Little Wildhorse Canyon (a must do) and continue along the dirt road for another 2 km. the parking area and the trailhead are unmarked (at 38° 34.619′ N 110° 49.304′ W). The first part of the trail is up a wash for 1.5 km and arrives at the mouth of 2 canyons that cut through the reef and meet at a single wash.
The first 1.5 km winds through the hills of the San Rafael Desert.
Ding Canyon narrowed down to a slot then becomes increasing more difficult, eventually requiring some scrambling over bypass routes.
The narrow canyon cuts through sandstone to the north end of the San Rafael Reef
Near the top the canyon widens.
We wound our way to the north end of the reef/barrier/
The highest and steepest hills are on the north side of the reef. The canyon opened up to the hills and we turned west to go over through the hills on the Behind the Reef “Road.” Only a short wheel-base jeep in 4 low could use this track.
Ding Dang Dome stands between the two canyons. We contoured along the south side to the upper end of Dang Canyon.
The way down Dang Canyon was mostly challenging scrambling. We found ourselves in several places with no apparent way down. A rope and harnesses would have helped, but we found ways to get down some difficult routes. Downclimbing is needed to complete Dang Canyon.
After a slow descent of the canyons we emerged on the south side of the reef and worked our way back to the trailhead, a walk down the wash.