Robbers Roost – Dirty Devil Region

Introduction

Robbers Roost is a remote area of desert country in central Utah, cut by a maze of spectacular canyons.  Named from its history as a hideout of the Butch Cassidy gang, the Roost is located between Hanksville on the west and Canyonlands Maze District on the east, with most canyons draining into the Dirty Devil River, or north into Horseshoe Canyon.

Outside of the small Horseshoe Canyon Unit of the Canyonlands National Park, the BLM Henry Mountains Field Station (Hanksville) manages the Robbers Roost region.  The office is open 7:45am – 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.  BLM personnel can answer questions about the land, current road conditions, etc.  All USGS maps of the area are available for sale, as well as a selection of guidebooks.

Access and Services

Access to the Roost is challenging, with many miles of dirt road driving required to reach any of the trailheads. Regardless of where you plan to set up base camp or park, 4WD/HCV capability is recommended. The Roost canyon country is best visited in spring or fall, when temperatures are reasonable.

The closest services of any kind are in Hanksville or Green River.  Chances of encountering other users is low, and any kind of emergency response will not be fast considering the remote and isolated nature of the Roost. Cell phone service throughout the region is unreliable at best.

Rules and Regulations

The Robbers Roost - Dirty Devil region is designated as a Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA) which means there are certain management objectives for the area. A SRMA plan will be prepared in the coming months to determine the best way to manage the area to meet those objectives. The area is managed for a high probability of experiencing solitude, closeness to nature, self-reliance, challenge, and risk in an unmodified and natural appearing environment with very low interaction or evidence of other users. If you would like to participate in developing the SRMA plan or have an interest in commenting on proposals within the plan, please contact the Hanksville BLM office. 

Both the Dirty Devil drainage and the Horseshoe Canyon drainage are designated as Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs). This means the areas are managed to maintain their wilderness characteristics, meaning no motorized travel, no bolting, no power tools, etc. are permitted. Visitors are encouraged to practice leave no trace principles. Group size in the canyons is limited to twelve or fewer.

For general users, no permits or fees are required to visit the area. Permits are required for commercial or educational groups, and for formally organized group events. For more information on permits or activities that may require permits, please contact the BLM Hanksville office. 

Caution

The area is very isolated, there are miles and miles of canyons and routes, there is a low probability of encountering others, and the canyons are not patrolled regularly. These circumstances require the visitor to be experienced and come prepared. 

Search and Rescue activities have increased substantially over the last few years. The Wayne County Sheriffs’ Office Search and Rescue requires reimbursement of expenses accumulated during any operation. Depending upon the circumstances, these costs could be several thousand dollars.