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Moonshine Wash

Moonshine Wash
Robbers Roost
Canyoneering

          Moonshine Wash is a fun slot canyon in the Robbers Roost area. The canyon contains an abundance of history and artifacts from the early 1900's. The canyon was named after the illegal whiskey still that was located in the canyon during prohibition. The signature of the canyon is an interesting old Sheep Bridge spanning the tightest spot of the narrows.

          The route visits two sections of slot canyon, the old whiskey still, moonshine spring and the old Sheep Bridge from above and below. The route contains several hiking options to accommodate different skill levels.

          The trailhead described allows you to drive to the beginning of the slot canyon and eliminates several miles of slogging presented in other guidebooks.

Circle of Friends:
          Moonshine Wash is part of the "Circle of Friends" program. Members of the "Circle of Friends" have access to more specific information, explicit route information, GPS waypoints, trailhead location and detailed maps.  If you would like more information on joining the "Circle of Friends" visit the sign up page.

"Circle of Friends"

Ryan Cornia in the slot Your Fun Loving Tour Guide

General Information:
          Moonshine Wash is a canyoneering adventure. This route will require 5 to 6 hours to complete. Shorter route options are also presented. Moonshine Wash may contain short sections of wading. A GPS is extremely useful. Good map reading skills are essential. Navigation for this route is moderate. The route involves several miles of cross-country navigation. Moonshine Wash is rated 2A III using the Canyon Rating System.

Sheep Bridge From Below Go Ahead! Stand in the middle and I'll take your picture!

Trailhead Information:
          The trailhead is accessible in good weather to all vehicles. Those with 4x4 can drive all the way to the beginning of the slot canyon. Those with passenger cars and high clearance vehicles will be forced to stop when they feel the road is becoming difficult. There are several nice primitive campsites in the area.

Ryan Cornia Foolin' Around Looking into the Slot from the Sheep Bridge

History:
          Moonshine Wash received its name from a whiskey still located in the canyon. Bill Tomlinson built the still during prohibition. The still consisted of a large concrete vat with several tubs located below a 10-foot waterfall. The moonshiner's would build a small damn above the waterfall and pipe water down to the vats. The vat and some of the piping is still in the canyon and easy to locate. Moonshine was often the only way settlers in the area could earn cash during the depression years. Many of the canyons in the Robbers Roost/San Rafael Swell area contained a still during this era.

          A picture looking up at the old Sheep Bridge from the bottom of the slot canyon has become the signature photograph of the canyon. At one time there were several similar Sheep Bridges over slot canyons in the Robbers Roost/San Rafael Swell area but this is the last one remaining that I am aware of. The bridge is in frail condition and could tumble into the slot at any time. Getting sheep to cross this bridge must have taken an ingenious application of force. I tried desperately to get my canyoneering partner to stand in the middle of the bridge so I could take his picture but no amount of ingeniously applied force would get him to do it.


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