Hidden Splendor

Hanksville, Utah (Emery County)

Last Updated: 02/03/2019
5/5 (3 reviews)
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 1-1
Length: 11.5 miles
Highest Elevation: 6539 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Hanksville
Nearest Town w/ Services: Hanksville
Official Road Name: 1012
Management Agency: Bureau of Land Management
District: Price Field Office
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Highlight: Hidden Splendor

Hidden Splendor certainly lives up to its name. This incredible trail takes you down to Muddy Creek, a yearlong creek that feeds into the Dirty Devil River. All along this trail are viewpoints looking in every direction. You could easily spend hours on this trail taking great photos and enjoying the peace and quiet that the San Rafael Swell has to offer. If you are looking to spend a few nights in the area, there are many remarkable campsites providing you solitude from the bustle of the campgrounds in the area. Although this is a long out and back style trail, be sure to add this one to the must do list. You will quickly see why they call it Hidden Splendor.



7 day forecast for Hidden Splendor

Route Information

Technical Rating: 1-1

Dirt and/or rocky road. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 5" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 5" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 6" inches. Good tire placement likely. Can be steep, but with good traction.

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This trail is mostly packed dirt with small patches of hard rock here and there. It is an out and back only dropping in elevation from the trailhead. This is a fairly long trail at 11.5 miles one way, but its surface allows you to travel at a decent pace. The trail is suitable for any vehicle and any skill level, although any rain may make this trail impassible.
The road surface allows you to travel at higher speeds although there are many blind corners. Please be cautious as this is a more popular trail.


1. Trailhead

The trailhead begins at the intersection with McKay Flat Road and Reds Canyon.

2. Camping (0.4 mi)

Continue straight for Hidden Splendor. This is a little spur that takes you back to a camping area.

3. Scenic (1.4 mi)

This is one of the many scenic points​ along the trail. From here, you can actually see Green River.

4. Scenic (4.2 mi)

At this scenic waypoint, you are looking south-west toward the Muddy Creek Wilderness Study Area. There is also a cool old car here.

5. Scenic (4.4 mi)

Here you are looking south toward the end of Hidden Splendor.

6. Spur (5.2 mi)

Continue to the left for Hidden Splendor. This was an illegal spur that has been closed off.

7. Scenic (6.3 mi)

Here is one last scenic waypoint before you start descending​ toward Muddy Creek.

8. Spur 851 (7.7 mi)

Continue straight. This spur takes you back to some awesome camping locations.

9. Intersection (10 mi)

At this intersection, you have the choice to turn left (southeast) and head toward the lookout, or you can turn right (southwest) and head down to Muddy Creek. The provided GPX track takes you to the overlook first, then tracking back to here and heading down to Muddy Creek.

10. Overlook (10.5 mi)

This overlook has incredible views of the canyon downriver and to the northwest looking over the Muddy Creek Wilderness Study Area.

11. End/Camping (11.5 mi)

If you turn right at the intersection, this will be your ending point. The trail dead ends at a campsite at Muddy Creek. This would be a great place to stay on a warm day where the creek can bring in cool air. Once you walk to the creek, you will quickly see why it has the name Muddy Creek.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 38.662624, -110.907630

Starting Point: Hanksville, Utah

Drive north for just under 20 miles until you reach Temple Mountain Road. Turn left (west) on Temple Mountain Road and follow for 16.3 Miles until a fork. Turn left at the fork and follow for another 3.7 miles. You must then complete McKay Flat Road.



There is plenty of dispersed camping along this trail, such as Waypoint 2 and Waypoint 8. If you are looking for some bigger sites for more than 4-5 rigs, look along McKay Flat Road. Improved camping is only available at the Temple Mountain Campground, where there are picnic tables, fire rings, and pit toilets. Water is not provided. If you are looking for a motel, the closest option is over 25 miles away in Hanksville.

Camping: Hidden Splendor

Writer Information

TJ Bosworth

Mapping Crew - Utah

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, he's only been off-roading since he was 16 but fell in love immediately. He attended college in Denver for Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management and wheeled in Colorado for 4 years, but ended up moving back home to Salt Lake City. He currently works in an off-road shop and spends his free time doing anything he can to stay busy, which is usually working on his jeep or playing music. Outside of off-roading, he is an avid whitewater rafter and outdoor cook. Camping at least every other weekend in any season is a normal year. The further from civilization, the better. Bring on the memories!


Questions & Answers (0)

Trail Reviews (3)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
What a cool trail, I can't wait to go back and check out more of the area.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Hidden Splendor is a great backcountry road that offers just incredible scenery in the San Rafael Swell. If I had to pick the best part of this route, I would have to lump it all into its entirety because there is just so much to see the entire way, it would be hard to pick just one area of the trail. But in saying that though, take your time getting to the end, and then take even longer at the end to just soak it all up!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This trail is an absolute must-do trail in the area. It is very easy and the scenery/camping near the end of the trail is mind-blowing. I can't wait to get back out into this area and camp! I wouldn't do this road if it is raining heavily as you might get stuck in the thick clay the road is comprised of. We went out while it was semi-dry and saw a Toyota Sienna get to WP 10. I am not sure if a completely stock 2wd vehicle can do the very last WP, but you can do almost all of it.