Hell’s Dive

Deep in the Moquith Mountain Wilderness Area, the vast alcove known as Hell’s Dive is home to an abundance of Native American history. To reach the coveted spot, take Hancock Road and make a left onto Road 50. At the next intersection, take a right onto Road 51. As the road T’s, stay to the left and park at the end. The small trail is off to the east. Road 52 is an alternative route that is a bit shorter in distance but much rockier and difficult to drive on without an ATV. Four wheel drive is necessary to reach the alcove, and the sand can get very deep. The drive can get confusing, so it may be helpful to first obtain a map from the visitor center in Kanab.

The area is very remote and hikers should prepare for a long day with little cell phone reception. Plenty of food, water, tools, maps, and an adequate vehicle with an experienced driver are necessary. It is rare to see other hikers at the spot. Dogs are allowed on or off leash. If open to a bit longer of a hike, hikers may choose to park on Road 52 near where it begins to get rocky. This route takes you on foot across the rocks and along a sandier part of the road. The path is longer but it offers incredible views of surrounding whites, reds, and greens that make up Water Canyon. White cliffs are visible in the distance between the desert greenery. ATVs can easily make the trip down Road 52.

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The trail to the alcove heads east from the end of Road 51 and hugs the wall until reaching Hells Dive. The spot is also known to locals as Medicine Man Cave because of the colorful symbolic pictographs. There are many figures across the wall as well as tiny feet and the fertility God Kokopelli, giving the indication that it may have been a birthing spot for women. Huge rocks with deep grooves created by metate grinding sit at the edge of the cave. This means the space was likely used for food storage and preparation.

Hell’s Dive is an absolutely spectacular place, its rich red rocks telling a tale through intricate paintings. The looming alcove walls protect the spot from the elements while the opening opposite the walls offers wide views of the surrounding canyon. It would have been a safe place many years ago where people could watch and be aware of anyone approaching. While it certainly is remote and takes a bit to get to, the destination is worth the journey.

Written by: Lauren Kehoe

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