Distance: 11 mile loop, 8.5 miles with 2 cars
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
Access: Fair Gravel Roads
There are better options than Chute Canyon nearby but Chute Canyon makes for a fine loop trip if you are already doing Crack Canyon. The walls of the canyon never get too narrow but the gentle flat wash most of the way makes for an enjoyable hike. The loop gives a good experience in the San Rafal Swell, by passing through twice and seeing the terrain on each side.
From I-70, go south on Highway 24 about 25 miles. Turn west on the Goblin Valley Road. Follow this paved road 5.1 miles to Temple junction. Go straight. In about 2 more miles, a good road goes left, probably signed as Behind the Reef Road. Follow this road for 4.1 miles to the Crack Canyon Trailhead. You can park here and do the full loop but there will be 2 miles of road walking. If you have 2 cars, you can eliminate the road walk by continuing on the Behind the Reef Road and driving to the Chute Canyon Trailhead. Note that when you reach the Chute Canyon Trailhead, you can actually drive 0.5 miles further on a side road but it starts getting rougher.
After the most narrow section of Crack Canyon, the way begins to open up. After 10 minutes or so, start looking where a trail climbs out of the wash on the right side. It may be signed. Follow the trail but be warned, there are several after awhile and then they may disappear. The direction to go is West, maybe some southwest, traversing, not following paths up the hillside. Eventually a deep wash appears on the right, follow until you can drop in, then follow the wash to the confluence with the wide open Chute Canyon. Just before Chute wash a pictograph panel appears on the right. Heading up Chute Canyon is easy to follow, the way never gets rough for 3.5 miles. Doing the loop, you’ll need to walk the road back to the Crack Canyon Trailhead (about 2.5 miles).
Route from exit of Crack Canyon
Bottom of Crack Canyon
Crack Canyon from above
First half mile is easy walking between the canyons
Big Wild Horse Mesa from the route between the canyons
At the bottom of Chute Canyon
Northern Lights from the San Rafael Swell (May 27, 2017)
Behind the Reef Road walk