Canyoneering in Zion National Park
With a side of info about climbing and bouldering
Zion is home to some of the world's best canyoneering routes. Canyoneering is the sport of hiking/rappelling/swimming through narrow canyons filled with obstacles. Some of the most popular canyoneering routes include:
The Subway is one of the most beautiful slots in Zion Park. It is a strenuous 9.5 mile hike requiring short rappels or downclimbs. The route also requires swimming through several deep pools of very cold debris filled water. The normal route begins at the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead and ends at the Left Fork Trailhead. Read more
Orderville Canyon is another popular and beautiful canyon. It is a winding slot that is a tributary to the famous Zion Narrows. It also requires short rappels and extensive swimming. Read more
Mystery Canyon is lesser-known but it a favorite of many technical canyoneers. Only 12 hikers are allowed into the canyon per day. Technical climbing gear including two 140' ropes, harness descending equipment, emergency ascending equipment, emergency overnight gear and plenty of water are all necessary to do this hike.
Pine Creek is a technical slot canyon with rappels and wading/swimming through cold pools. The longest rappel is nearly 100 ft. and requires a 60 meter rope. This slot takes about 4 hours to complete.
Zion is famous for its big wall climbs; some take multiple days. Climbing conditions are best March through May, and September through early November. Summer climbing can be difficult because the unshaded walls can be extremely hot. Also sandstone is weakened when wet and can be dangerous, and degrades the route if climbed on. Climbs are high, big wall climbs and are not recommended for inexperienced climbers. Top roping is suitable in few areas.
There are two accessible bouldering areas in the main canyon. One is 40 yards west of the south entrance. This is a house-sized boulder that poses a variety of options. The other site is .5 mile north of the south entrance. Drilled Pocket Boulder is located on the west side of the road and is a slab with an obvious south-facing crack.
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