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Dellenbaugh Tunnel

The Dellenbaugh Tunnel might actually just be classified as a unique arch, but to the visitor it seems to be more like a cave that passes through the rock to the other side of where you are on a huge bench overlooking Spring Canyon.

Looking back up Spring Canyon from the bench
The Dellenbaugh “tunnel” is about 100 feet long and high enough to get through without stooping down. The trail out to the Dellenbaugh Tunnel is a nice hike across slick rock, up and over large formations, and through desert meadows that are filled with wildflowers in the spring.
The trail takes you right to the edge of Spring Canyon with views over pour-offs and skirts along the southern edge until you finally reach the tunnel entrance.
Once through the tunnel, you have a nice bench above the canyon with ledges to sit on dangling your legs over the canyon and a good place for lunch or a snack while you take a break before heading back.
The Dellenbaugh Tunnel takes its name after Frederick S Dellenbaugh, who at age 17 was John Wesley Powell’s assistant map maker on his second expedition exploring the Green and Colorado Rivers.
Dellenbaugh spent his life returning to the West and he made many famous depictions of its canyons and landscapes through his painting and photography.
While named after him I don’t believe there is any actual association with him ever coming here.


Close to Secret Spire Hike, just 2 miles apart down the road 

Getting there

From Moab take Highway 191 north, turn left on Highway 313 ( 38.628856, -109.801753 ) for 8 miles heading toward Dead Horse Point State Park. Turn right on the Dubinky Well Road (BLM 137) and go north for approximately 1.5 miles. Just after the turn to the Lone Mesa Campground go to the right to continue on Dubinky Well Road (BLM 137) north for another 5 miles and turn left onto Spring Canyon Point Road (Secret Spire Safari Route) heading west. Continue 2 miles to the base of the Tombstone Rock. Turn left on a dirt road at this rock formation and it is less than a mile to a parking area.

Tombstone Rock formation on the way to the Dellenbaugh Tunnel hike

Tombstone Rock

Parking ( 38.681923, -109.919942 )

A sandy parking area



Total of 3.6 miles out and back

Dellenbaugh Tunnel Hike Map

Look for the path exiting the parking area from the west side, heading downhill out over patches of slickrock and sandy trail.

Beginning of the Dellenbaugh Tunnel hike

Just past the half-mile point the trail forks, you can stay lower on the left-hand fork or go higher on the right-hand “view trail” that climbs up onto, up, and over the slick rock formations. The view trail is not difficult, it does add about 1/2 mile to your total distance but as it is named, the views are better, and it’s more interesting.
On the slickrock, the trail might disappear and reappear now and again. Try to look for the faded green paint stripes to guide you.

Heading out over the slickrock trail

Either route will converge again and you will eventually cross an open meadow. In the spring the wildflowers are abundant.

Coming down from the view trail overlooking the meadow

Enjoying the wild flowers along the hike

A cacti in bloom and flowering

You will shortly be approaching Spring Canyon and its box canyon dead end which you will traverse around and end up on the opposite south side. The trail will skirt close to the canyon edge in some places as you follow a trail that alternates is easy to follow sandy trail sections and some places heading over slickrock for short distances.

Looking up Spring Canyon from the edge

Looking down Spring Canyon from the edge
Over the final rise, you will come to a place where you can see the mouth of the tunnel below you. A bit of exploring will find a safe route down and into the mouth of the canyon to get you to the tunnel, a keen eye will discover where others have gone before you.
Head through the tunnel to the large bench on the other side and you can explore the rim over Spring Canyon, there are lots of ledges and nice viewpoints to sit at and take a break before you head back.

The mouth of Dellenbaugh Tunnel

The entrance to the Dellenbaugh Tunnel

Walking through the Dellenbaugh Tunnel


The large bench on the other side of the tunnel over Spring Canyon

The bench on the other side of the tunnel

Spring Canyon rock formations

The pockmarked and ‘melted’ Hershey Kisses-like formations across the canyon

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