You will need a canyoneering permit to partake in this activity, but permits are relatively easy to obtain or you can utilize a guide-service, which is recommended for beginners. Some portions of parks, depending on the individual laws, may require that you are accompanied by a guide no matter what level of expertise you claim. We suggest taking a guide for the most rewarding overall experience, as they will be able to show you the ins and outs of the systems, and provide vital information on your journey.
If you are absolutely fascinated by rock-climbing and canyoneering, you should add Zion National Park in Utah to your list of places. The Zion National Park is the perfect place, the true mecca, for canyoneering enthusiasts. This outdoor sport combines running, climbing, swimming, scrambling, hiking, and more, so your limits are tested and your problem-solving skills are sharpened. At Zion, you will utilize it all to conquer the Narrows, the tightest section of the Zion Canyon.
The river that you will trudge through is most often knee-deep, but can get up to your waist, so you will want to plan a trip during the summertime, in order to ensure warmer waters. This is also the peak season for storms and flash floods, so avoid the Narrows during these times. The option for a daytrip is available, but if you’re looking for a true “all-in” adventure, take on the Top Down Hike from Chamberlain’s Ranch. A permit is required for this hike but it is well worth it, as you will be working your way through the canyons for 1-2 days. With surrounding walls as high as 1,000 feet, you will feel completely submersed by Zion’s breathtaking landscape.
If you can’t make it to Zion, try Antelope Canyon in Arizona or Smith Rock State Park in Oregon. Both offer amazing trails, and Smith Rock State Park has more than 10 different climbing areas alone. The Upper Canyon of Antelope is very easy to walk through and get to, so it is accessible for leisure walks only. The Lower Canyon is the tricky one that requires climbing skills and the use of the ladders to descend into the muddy, jagged rocks. This is an example of a climb that must be guided.