Zion Canyoneering Information

Here is everything collected into one spot that you need to get out there and start exploring Zion's Down and Dirty Side. Whether you are new to the sport, an old crusty desert rat or just a weekend warrior you will find something of interest.


All Canyons listed above are rated using the American Canyoneering Association (ACA) Canyon Rating System. Below is the Canyon Rating System explained.


  • 1 - Canyon Hiking: Non-technical. No rope is required. See the route description for difficulties.
  • 2 - Basic Canyoneering: Scrambling, easy climbing or downclimbing. A rope may be handy for handlines, belays, lowering packs and emergency use. Exit or retreat possible upcanyon without fixed ropes.
  • 3 - Intermediate Canyoneering: Rappels or technical climbing and/or downclimbing. A rope is required for belays and single pitch rappels. Retreat upcanyon would require fixing ropes.
  • 4 - Advanced Canyoneering: Aid climbing, multi-pitch rappels and/or complex rope work (such as re-belays, tyrolleans and guided rappels) may be required. Might also require difficult pothole escapes, serious squeezing, extensive high-risk downclimbing, or have difficult-to-establish natural anchors.


  • A - Normally dry or with very little water. Wading to waist deep at most.
  • B - Water with no current or light current. Still pools. Falls are normally dry or running at a trickle. Swimming expected.
  • C - Water with strong current. Waterfalls. Wet canyon rope techniques required.


  • (no rating) - Normal risk factors are present on this adventure.
  • R - Risky: One or more extraordinary risk factors exist that will complicate the descent. Solid technical skills and sound judgement required. Not appropriate for beginners, even in competent company.
  • X - Extreme: Multiple risk factors exist that will complicate the descent. Errors in technique or judgement will likely result in serious injury or death. Descent should be attempted by expert canyoneers only.
  • *The presence of an R or X in the rating suggests that the canyon will involve higher than average risk, over and above the many risk factors found in canyons normally. Some examples of additional risks: long and/or difficult rappels, station to station rappels, exposed climbing or traversing, extensive 4th or 5th class climbing unroped, difficult anchors, sections of loose or dangerous rock, difficult or committing route finding, prolonged immersion or extensive swimming. Specific factors should be addressed in the route description.


Due to the wilderness nature of these hikes it is imperative that you understand what the risks are for each trip. These canyons require backcountry skills beyond those of the average hiker. In this case traversing narrow canyons can often involve route finding, technical descending and the possibility of flash flooding, cold water and the need to have the proper equipment and clothing. Knowledge and experience are important elements in determining whether you have a safe and enjoyable trip in this unpredictable and unforgiving terrain. Your safety is your responsibility!

Flash Floods

This is canyon country. Flash floods are a serious threat in Zion. July, August, and September are considered our "monsoon season" and therefore, flash floods are more likely to occur during this time of year. However, these powerful and potentially fatal floods can happen any time of the year. Your ambivalence and lack of information can kill you. Before you go, be sure you know! Stop by the Zion Backcountry desk or Zion Rock & Mountain Guides to find out the current weather conditions and patterns, flash flooding potential, and specific trail information.

Canyoneering Specific Gear

Certain times of the year these excursions require particular gear that can make your trip safe and enjoyable, such as drysuits, wetsuits, neoprene socks and drybags to keep Rock and Mountain Guides are committed to your safety.  We rent and sell specialized gear that meets the demands of traversing the diverse backcountry conditions encountered in Zion. They also have equipment available to keep your belongings and clothing dry. Plan ahead for unexpected events by staying prepared. Instructional courses are offered to help you gain the skills and confidence necessary to become a safe and competent backcountry traveler. Stop in at Zion Rock and Mountain Guides or the Zion Backcountry desk for up to date weather information and route conditions.

Making Reservations and Obtaining Permits

Due to the enormous popularity of Zion's slot canyons in recent years, and the wear and tear that has resulted from use, the park service has limited access by imposing a permit system. If you are interested in obtaining a permit you can contact the Zion National Park. There are a couple of ways to go about getting a permit for the Zion Narrows top down hikes.


  • Visit The Zion Backcountry Reservation Website
  • A reservation allows you to have a permit held for pickup once you arrive in Zion National Park. Reservations can be made three months ahead of your trip date. The soonest the permit can be issued to you is the day before your trip at one of the Visitor Center Backcountry Desks. Be sure to bring your reservation confirmation.
Zion Backcountry Desk


  • First Come/First Serve
  • Show up the day before the day you want to go at 6:30am and wait in line. Hint - Show up early! - Half of the dayhike spots as well as half of the overnight sites are open for walk-up spots.
Gettin' Around
THE ZION ROCK SHUTTLE Reservations - 435-772-3303 or [email protected]. Many hiking trailheads in Zion are outside the scope of the free shuttle buses. If you are seeking transportation to one of these trailheads Zion Rock and Mountain Guides offers a daily shuttle service to:

Zion Narrows Hiker Shuttle
  • Daily Departures (May-October)
    • 6:30am $55.00/person $52.00/person w/ rental
    • 9:30am $55.00/person $52.00/person w/ rental
Other Eastside Shuttles
  • Orderville Canyon
  • East Rim Trailhead
  • Englestead Canyon
  • Mystery Canyon (East Mesa Trailhead)
  • Birch Canyon
    • Daily Departures
      • 6:30 am $55.00/person $52.00/person w/rental
      • 9:30am $55.00/person $52.00/person w/rental

Kolob Terrace Road Shuttles
  • Lava Point (West Rim Trailhead)
  • Wildcat Canyon (Subway top-down Trailhead)
  • Hop Valley Trailhead
  • Connector Trail
    • Call for Reservations
      • $55.00/person
      • $220.00 minimum to run for 3 or less people
Kolob Canyons Shuttles
  • Lee Pass (Kolob Arch, Grandaddy Zion Traverse)
    • Call for Reservations
      • $55.00/person
      • $220.00 minimum to run for 3 or less people

Need a ride?? There is a free shuttle service provided by Zion National Park. This service runs in both Zion and the town of Springdale. Please see the provided map for a list of stops and notable important locations. The shuttles run March through October. See the park newspaper for a specific daily schedule as schedules change with the seasons. During these months private vehicles are not allowed up the main canyon which starts at canyon junction. The ride from the visitor center to the Temple of Sinawava takes about 45 minutes. Feel free to get off at any of the shuttle stops and trail heads.