Pine Creek canyoneeringCanyoneering is an activity that involves hiking as well as rappelling, downclimbing, route finding, rope work, and swimming in cold water to allow you to see much more remote and secluded scenery than you could by simply hiking. Zion National Park is considered a mecca for canyoneering with several world-famous canyons like the Zion Narrows and the Subway, as well as countless obscure and remote canyons. These routes are not suitable for hikers who have no technical canyoneering experience.

Important Points:

Classic Canyoneering Routes:

Rating: strenuous hiking/semi-technical canyoneering. a Zion classictechnical canyoneering routeThe Subway, Zion National Park

The Subway "top-down" route via Russell Gulch is the classic way to hike the Left Fork of North Creek. This route is a long strenuous day and it involves several short rappels, a few downclimbs, and several cold swims. Starting from the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead, the hike goes down Russell Gulch to join the Left Fork. The highlight is the half-mile section of canyon known as The Subway. Once beyond the Subway section, the canyon opens up and it is a less-interesting hike out to the Left Fork Trailhead. This amazing hike is well worth the effort!
Canyoneering Guide  Photos

Rating: strenuous hiking/semi-technical canyoneering. a Zion classictechnical canyoneering routeOrderville Canyon, Zion National Park

Orderville Canyon is the amazing little sister to the famous Zion Narrows and is a good long day hike for beginning canyoneers. The lower sections can be explored as a side hike from the Zion Narrows, but the much better way is to do the top-down "semi-technical" canyoneering route. This hike involves two short rappels, several short swims, and a lot of downclimbs over boulders and rock formations. The canyon is tall, narrow, dark and wonderfully mysterious, and it is well worth the effort that it takes to get through it all!
Canyoneering Guide  Photos

KEYHOLE CANYON (Starfish Canyon)
Rating: short technical canyoneering. a Zion classictechnical canyoneering routeKeyhole Canyon

Keyhole Canyon barely shows up on a topo map, but it is a beautiful little subterranean slot that offers up some amazing other-worldly slot canyon scenery. This route takes roughly two hours to complete and involves 2-3 short rappels, and as such, it is quite a popular route for beginning canyoneers. This canyon also has many down-climbing obstacles, and a few wades and swims through cold water, so even though it is short, it should still be taken seriously. Full technical gear is required and wetsuits are recommended.
Canyoneering Guide  Photos

PINE CREEK (Middle Pine Creek)
Rating: technical canyoneering route. a Zion classictechnical canyoneering routePine Creek, Zion National Park

Pine Creek is one of the most popular technical canyoneering routes in Zion National Park and exemplifies the beauty of subterranean slot canyons. Starting at the Canyon Overlook parking lot and ending at the Route 9 switchbacks in the main canyon, Pine Creek is one of the few beautiful slot canyons that features such easy access. Although it is one of the easier technical canyons in Zion, it is still serious business with several rappels, downclimbs, and many swims through cold water. This route features the beautiful "Cathedral" section (complete with an arch doorway) and the final rappel -- an intimidating 100-ft free rappel.
Canyoneering Guide  Photos

Rating: fairly strenuous technical canyoneering. a Zion classictechnical canyoneering routeMystery Canyon

Mystery Canyon is indeed a mystery... a deep and beautiful hanging canyon that feeds into the bigger Zion Narrows. This "hike" is one of the the crown-jewel canyoneering adventures in Zion National Park, featuring a steep and intimidating entrance, numerous rappels in beautiful dark sculpted narrows, an enormous landslide/rockfall obstacle in the middle of the canyon, and two big-wall rappels near the end that really get your attention. The grand finale is the rappel down Mystery Falls that lands you right in the Zion Narrows only a quarter of a mile upstream from the Temple of Sinawava.
Canyoneering Guide  Photos

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Hiking symbols used for descriptions:
a Zion classic ZION CLASSIC: a must-do hike if you want to see the best of Zion!
family-friendly FAMILY-FRIENDLY: a good choice for those with children who like to hike.
backpacking route BACKPACKING: a route enjoyable as a multi-day hike.
technical canyoneering or climbing route TECHNICAL: canyoneering or scrambling route requiring technical gear and climbing and/or rappelling experience. Not suitable for casual hikers.

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