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Canyoneering in Utahs Slot Canyons

If you're heading to the Southwest and want to experience the canyons in a totally different and unique way, don't pass up your chance to try canyoneering!

By: Andrea Thompson + Save to a List

On my recent trip to the Southwest I knew I wanted to experience the slot canyons that I have seen so many photos of, I just wasn't sure how I wanted to do it. As I began to research I came across canyoneering and immediately knew it was what I wanted to do. 

I booked the day trip through Zion Adventure Company, based in Springdale Utah...just outside of Zion National Park. My guide met me bright and early in the morning and gave me a few different options with respect to canyons we could explore that day (based on the weather, daylight hours, etc.). After going over some safety instructions, signing my life away, and being fitted with the necessary equipment we set out on a 40 minute drive to the start of the canyon we were going to explore!

I really wasn't sure what to expect, but after about five minutes of walking over beautifully coloured sandstone with vast views of the horizon we came to what honestly just looks like a crack in the ground. As we began sliding our way into the crack an entire canyon exposed itself to us and I was immediately excited and eager to push forward to see what was around each bend ahead. 

The first major obstacle we came to was a 60 foot drop further down into the canyon with what looked like ice below. I harnessed up, tied my own knots and began to descend down into the canyon. Once I reached the bottom I realized that the area of ice was actually going to be much more difficult to navigate around and questioned our previous decision to not put on our drysuits. I tested the ice with my foot and figured it was now or never....and took a leap of faith. I feel like as soon as the ice knew I was coming for it, it shattered and sent me plummeting into freezing cold water up to my neck. I could feel the water seeping through the layers of insulated clothing I had on and scrambled to get onto the dry sand.

After the initial panic I was able to regain my composure and change into dry clothes (yes, in the middle of the canyon). I wasn't about to make the same mistake twice and this time I decided to put on the drysuit! The rest of the day went flawlessly and consisted of smaller less dramatic drops into the canyon that we were mostly able to navigate around with the assistance of rope. 

Canyoneering isn't something that I ever expected to love as much as I do, but I already can't wait to do it again!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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