A Nice Jaunt, Orderville combines a casual stroll down a dry and pretty wilderness canyon, with a few obstacles that require short rappels, plus a wet finish through “Lagoon in the Wilderness” – a natural waterpark for kids of all ages. It offers greater variety than its more famous cousin, The Narrows, plus a more reasonable length for one day’s adventure.
Drive East on Route 9 out the east entrance of the Park. Turn left 2.5 miles east of the Park Boundary on a paved road marked ” North Fork “. This turns into dirt after a few miles. Follow this road 11.7 miles (about 20 minutes from Rte 9) to a substantial and unmarked dirt road on the left. Follow this road .2 mile to a large corral. Just past the corral is a small parking lot. Most people will want to park here. Real 4x4s can drive another 2 miles, but remember you will have to fetch it later. (Note: the Kelsey guide has an incorrect mileage for the start of this canyon).
Hike down the rough dirt road 2 miles (45 minutes) to the end of the road. Take any of several paths into the bottom of the wash, and head downstream. After 15 minutes, you come to a big dropoff. Cut left along a prominent trail, and cross steep dirt to a trail down a gully. Descend. Resume tramping down the wash.
Unusual for a Zion Canyon , Orderville goes in and out of being narrow. The first several miles are mostly wide, sunny canyon bottom, with occasional sections of tall, pretty narrows. The narrow sections pick up tempo and depth, and eventually dominate. There are two or three large chockstones that require (for the wise) short rappels from bolts to pass.
This is a popular canyon with youth groups, who often “Boy Scout” the drops. This means sliding down or jumping. Not recommended, unless you are planning on practising first aid and litter carries. Sliding and jumping drops is a common way of breaking legs – be smart, bring a rope.
About 2 miles before the junction with the North Fork Narrows , Orderville starts picking up a little water, and the strolling becomes more fun. Eventually you end up jumping into puddles, swimming short pools, clamboring down waterfalls and generally having a good time. The water gets a little warmer at the bottom as you come to an open sunny section and the final water-park events. This is a good place to relax in the sun and warm up, because the rest of the canyon is fully shaded.
“How do you know when you get to the Narrows ?” “It gets wider!”
Then a final section of deep, twisty narrows leads to the North Fork Narrows . Saunter through the crowds to the Veranda and the Temple of Sinawava , and pick up the shuttle back to your car.