Kodels Canyon

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Kodels Canyon Canyoneering Canyoning Caving
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Kodels Canyon Banner.jpg

Difficulty:3B II (v3a2 II)
Raps:‌2-5, max ↨160ft
Overall:3h ⟷4mi
Approach:30min ↑200ft
Descent:2h ↓1200ft
Exit:30min ↑50ft
Shuttle:Required 15 minutes
Rock type:Sandstone and Granite
Condition Reports:
12 Nov 2023

"4 hours car to car at a moderate pace, fiddle sticked all rappels, top rappel had no webbing but plenty of good trees to work with. Water in slot sect

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Best season:
Mar-May, Sept-Nov


A short but fun canyon in Colorado National Monument. A quick and easy approach, a downclimb into the head of the canyon followed by a 50 foot rappel, short stemming section over water-filled potholes that ends with a handline for everyone and partner capture for last person down, a stunning 160 foot rappel into water, followed by two 50-60 foot optional rappels that can be climbed around, finishing with a downclimb/scramble section through a layer of beautiful polished granite. One of the best in the Monument.

  • Exit vehicle parking: 39.12846, -108.73639
  • Trailhead: 39.10097, -108.73495
  • Leave trail: 39.10132, -108.74470
  • Drop in: 39.10286, -108.74742
  • End of technical section: 39.11135, -108.74692
  • Exit right over knoll: 39.12711, -108.74317


Park shuttle vehicle near a recognizable transformer at the waypoint above. Drive up Rimrock Drive 4 miles to Colorado National Monument Visitor Center and park. The hike begins across the street from the Visitor Center. Head up the Alcove Nature Trail / Black Ridge Trail which has a prominent sign for about 20 minutes. Go right at the 3-way trail intersection with a sign for Fruita Dugway to the right. After 200 feet, head off trail to the left, over a knoll, and then down to the head of the canyon.


  • R1: 50ft, tree, canyon left, retrievable anchor
  • Slot: short stemming section over potholes, perfect geometry for first-timers learning to stem
  • R2: 25ft, meat anchor, this is at the end of the slot section. Intermediate/advanced canyoneers will downclimb, others may want to rappel or have a hand line. A spicey downclimb at the last 8 feet, LAMAR can be partner-captured. Landing zone may be filled with water and slippery boulders and would be dangerous to jump into. As of Sept 2020, there is a log propped up to aid this downclimb (Oct 2022- the log is now several hundred feet downstream)
  • R3: 160ft, retrievable, partial free-hang, into knee to chest deep water, possible swimmer in early season but no water in late season just mud
  • R4: 40ft, tree, canyon left, optional downclimb on right
  • R5: 50ft, tree, mid-watercourse, retrievable, optional downclimb on left
  • Granite Downclimbs: for about 1000 feet until a fence xing


Once you emerge from the granite layer take a trail branch right up over a knoll. On top of the knoll your exit vehicle should be visible. Skirt stakes marking an old fence on the left and follow it to your vehicle.

Red tape

Beta sites

Trip reports and media

April 2019 - the pool is absent as the dirt and rocks holding this pocket of water seem to have blown out on one side.

June 2022 - Beth Santoro and I performed what is probably a rare "down and up" journey through the technical part of the canyon, hard-rigging each drop as we went. This was due to a lack of shuttle out the bottom of the valley floor, plus I just like climbing rope. We found webbing at R1, R2, and R4, but nothing on the long R3 drop. A recent rain had filled up most of the pools including a thigh-deep mud wallow at the base of R3. The highly useful log is still present on the drop just past the narrows. --Andy Zellner

  • First rappel of about 30 feet, needs 50' rope
  • R2 about 30 feet, needs 40' rope rigged to chockstone webbing
  • The log was still there in 2022, very helpful
  • Beth on R3, needs 200' rope
  • Muddy seasonal pool at the bottom of R3
  • Background


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

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