Behunin Canyon

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Behunin Canyon Canyoneering Canyoning Caving
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Behunin Canyon Banner.jpg

Difficulty:3B III (v3a2 III)
Raps:‌9, max ↨170ft
Overall:5-12h ⟷6.8mi
Approach: ⟷4mi ↑2700ft
Descent: ⟷1.8mi ↓1800ft
Exit: ⟷0.9mi ↓600ft
Red Tape:Permit required
Rock type:Sandstone
Condition Reports:
27 Oct 2023
"Behunin is great. Big raps, big views. We replaced webbing on a few anchors in canyon. A toggle was useful for second to last rappel for a clean pull.

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Best season:
Late spring through fall.


Behunin is one of the more straightforward and more popular of Zion's backcountry canyons. Those with good rappelling skills will find it pleasant and easy; for those without, this is not a good choice. Many rappels provide opportunities to get the rope stuck, and the backcountry nature of Behunin means you are on your own. This is not a good canyon for groups larger than six and DEFINITELY not a place to teach beginners how to rappel.


CanyoneeringUSA has a great description, as well as Brice Pollock's Trip Report

From the Grotto shuttle stop, head up the West Rim/Angels Landing Trail to the top of the Scout Lookout ridge. Turn left (north) toward the West Rim. The trail follows the crest of the ridge with spectacular views and then cuts left and down to cross a branch of Telephone Canyon. Follow the trail around the north end of Mount Majestic. The trail crosses slickrock and works its way into a steep-walled north-facing canyon then up to a pass, Behunin Pass. The West Rim Trail continues to the right, switchbacking up the steep sandstone on cut steps. The canyon over the west side of the pass is Behunin.


Drop over the pass and follow trails down and right about 120' (40m). Next cut right and carefully traverse across the top of steep slabs and then down to the base of a striped wall. Follow the bottom of the drainage, occasionally scrambling left to avoid the worst of the brush. After about 45 minutes, the canyon turns left and starts to descend. A scenic section of slickrock leads to pools and the first drop.

R1: from the lip of the drop, follow a narrow ledge left 60 feet (20 m) to a two-bolt anchor. Rappel 100 feet (30 m) down a low-angle slab to a flat area.

(Var-1a: (useful in winter) from the lip, look up and left to find a large ponderosa pine with slings around it. Climb up and traverse over (4th class, exposed) to the pine, possibly belaying off an intermediate tree. Rappel 165 feet (50m) off the large tree to a flat area).

R2: from a large ponderosa pine, rappel slabs and a few short, steep walls 150 feet (45m) to a small tree and ledge at a rollover. Where the water runs can be slippery, so stay on-rope all the way to the tree.

R3: from a small tree, rappel down a slab then steeper down a banded sandstone wall to a bowl/ledge, 150 feet (45m). When wet, this rap can be difficult to retrieve.

R4: rappel 100 feet (30m) from a bolted anchor to the canyon floor.

Hike downcanyon ¼ mile (400m).

R5: from a bolted anchor right of the watercourse about 50 feet (15m), rappel 90 feet (30m) to the edge of a pool.

Hike downcanyon ¼ mile (400 m). The watercourse comes to a complex small drop.

R6: A large rotten log would provide an anchor for a rappel into a pool, if it was not quite so rotten. Instead, pass the drop and climb a small trail into the woods. After 40 feet, a trail leads left and down to a tree with slings. Rappel 50 feet back into the canyon at the edge of the pool.

Hike downcanyon. A small drop is downclimbed directly - much easier than it looks. When wet, many will choose to follow a trail up right and then down to a single bolt for a short rappel or handline. Continue downcanyon through some nice narrows.

R7: the canyon turns left in a complex series of short drops and pools. Rappel 90 feet (30m) from a bolted anchor following the watercourse. The first part rappels to the edge of a pool. The second part rappels into a knee-to-chest-deep pool - take a few giant-steps right (rappeller's right) to avoid the deeper part of the pool, and to place the rope over a gentler edge. A 120 foot guided rappel can be used to avoid the deep wade (or swim, in winter and spring). (Do NOT take the trail up and left to a dirty and thoroughly annoying 2-stage rappel).

Avoid a pool by traversing a narrow ledge on the right. Continue downcanyon. The end of the canyon appears ahead. Scramble through large blocks to avoid pools, climbing to the top of a large boulder that blocks the end of the canyon.

R8: Rappel 150 feet (45m) from the top of the boulder using bolts on the right hand wall down a steep wall, over some steps and down to a huge ledge above a slot on the left. (The final person should pull the rope from the ledge above the slot and downclimb into the slot). This is a common place to get ropes stuck – be careful.

R9: Climb down into the slot then under a chockstone to the front. Clip your safety tether into the bolt garden under the chockstone and rig your rope off a two-bolt anchor around the corner a few feet on the outside face. Rappel 165 feet (50m) mostly free to a wet nook in the talus below.

If you have trouble pulling the rope, walk away from the cliff as far as possible, down to "The Beach".


Pack up the gear and shoulder the packs. From the shallow pool or sand flat below the large rock, boulder-hop directly down the streambed to the Middle Emerald Pool and the trail. Turn left to hike to either the Grotto or the Lodge.

The fastest way to Zion Lodge is to take the trail left. After a few minutes, a trail junction is found among giant boulders. Turn RIGHT and follow the trail steeply DOWN to the lower Emerald Pool and behind the waterfall. Follow to Zion Lodge.

Red tape

Behunin requires a Wilderness permit from the Park. Group size limit is 6.

Beta sites

Trip reports and media


First descent by Bob Sears, Jr., Tom Brereton, Paul Kuhn, Robert N. Sears 12/28/74


Information provided by automated processes. KML map by (unknown). Main photo by (unknown). Authors are listed in chronological order.

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