Water Canyon (Zion National Park)
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Difficulty:3B III (v3a2 III)
Raps:14, max ↨170ft
Red Tape:No permit required
13 May 2023
"Flowing right from the top, but no difficulties. Great time to do it.
BEST in Apr;May;Aug;Sep
Water Canyon is a good alternative near Zion National Park when permits are not available. While it does have a few short sections of narrows, the canyon is mostly wider than other nearby canyons. It can be very hot and arid in mid to late summer.
Drive through the interesting town of Hildale, Utah and up into the slowly-narrowing canyon until the dirt road ends at a small dirt parking lot on the edge of a small pool. Follow the well-established trails up canyon. There are many side trails; do not turn off to the right to descend to the water course -- instead, try to go as straight as possible while staying on the major trail. Eventually, the trail will approach the left canyon wall and then head down hill to a wide, flat section of canyon with steep, slightly Subway-esque walls. The climbing (class 2) section of the approach begins here.
Look for a bypass of the 20' waterfall on your left (RDC). Continue following the prominent trail that climbs the left (RDC) side of the canyon to gain 800ft vertically. Sometimes the trail becomes hard to follow when it crosses slickrock, but it should reappear shortly thereafter. Eventually you will exit the canyon onto a plateau. There is a good rest spot with an excellent view called Top Rock. After recovering from the climb, descend to the northwest via smaller use trails until you reach the main water course and downclimb to the slick rock near a prominent hoodoo.
R1: 30' tree DCL
R2: 110' tree RDC set 30' back
R3: 50' bolt LDC (stem over pot hole, 2 stage)
R4: 30' bolt RDC (do not throw bag due to deep pot hole)
R5: 170' bolts RDC
R6: 15' bolt RDC
R7: 40' bolt LDC
R8: 65' tree (set 20' back, avoids pothole) or ghost from small tree into pothole
R9: 60' bolts RDC\
R10: 25' glue-in steel loop LDC up high, or climb up and around to the right
R11: 80' tree RDC or 100' bolts LDC
R12: 45' bolts LDC
R13: 105' bolts, either side of slot
R14: 40' bolts LDC on ledge
Retrace your steps out of the main canyon and down to your car.
- Climb-Utah.com : Water Canyon
- That Adventure Life : Water Canyon Video
- That Adventure Life : Water Canyon
- BluuGnome.com : Water Canyon
- Chris Brennen's Adventure Hikes (Southwest) : Water Canyon
- HikeArizona.com : Water Canyon - Vermilion
- Super Amazing Map : Water Canyon (Zion)
- AmericanSouthwest.net : Water Canyon
- ZionCanyoneering.com : Water Canyon
- RoadTripRyan.com : Water Canyon
- CanyonCollective.com : Water (Zion)
Trip reports and media
Climb Utah Water Canyon Video:
- Candition.com : Water Canyon
- Mark Kilian's Adventures : Water Canyon - Zion
The background of Hildale is worth learning before visiting.