The southwest is known for its beautiful, rippling, red rock slot canyons. Standing inside one of these stunning canyons makes you feel like you are standing inside an intricately carved sculpture. It is magical and awe-inspiring.
Many slot canyons in and around Zion National Park are easily accessible with a little bit of hiking, but there are many more that aren't. To explore the ones that aren't requires just a little extra adventure with canyoneering.
Other than the fact that I love the outdoors and I really like hiking, I'm a pretty regular girl without much in the way of special outdoor skills. That is why I love canyoneering!
Canyoneering is one of those unique outdoor activities where you don't need much skill (if you go with a guide), but you feel like a true legit hardcore adventurer. All you really need is a little bit of courage.
For canyoneering you do need special equipment and a lot of knowledge about tying knots and all the safety precautions to stay safe. I don't have any of that knowledge or equipment, so when I decided that I needed an adventure day, I reached out to Nathan with All Ways Adventure to guide me for a fun filled day of canyoneering.
Nathan is the guide that we used on our family canyoneering adventure a few years ago, and since then, he has started his own business. Nathan has been guiding for many years in the Zion area and is so knowledgeable and great with kids.
He knows all the best off the beaten path spots to explore. Since I had such a great time with Nathan on our first canyoneering adventure, it was a no brainer to use him again. I love that he started his own business!
Getting to go canyoneering on my own was such a different experience than the first time I went. I loved canyoneering with my kiddos but, I gotta say that canyoneering with just adults it a little more adventurous and dare I say........a lot more fun.
The day was just what I had hoped for and then some. I felt like a true adventurer as we started out trudging through the snow and bushwacking our way down to the first rappel. Given that these canyons require rappelling, the trails aren't as trafficked as most trails that I usually hike.
I don't normally do backcountry hiking, so I loved that the whole thing felt very off the beaten path, which always ups the adventure level in my book.
As I have only rappelled one other time, it took a minute to get used to the feeling of being suspended in air and trusting that I was completely safe. Once I got that down, I felt very little fear.
Mostly it was just fun and made me feel like a total badass. I should add that I am not a daredevil at all. Not even close. Nathan is really good at walking you through all the safety precautions, and I felt very safe the whole time.
The canyon that we did had six or seven rappels that ranged from super long to pretty short. We even got to rappel down a frozen waterfall. That was pretty cool!
I asked Nathan a few questions about canyoneering and rappelling for those of you who are new to this fun outdoor adventure activity.
What is the difference between canyoneering and rappelling?
Rappelling is the skill of descending a cliff with the use of a rope. Canyoneering is the sport of navigating a slot canyon. Many skills are involved in canyoneering, including rappelling, stemming, scrambling, sliding, squeezing, wading, swimming, and more. I think of it as an adventure hike with ropes.
Things to know about rappelling/canyoneering
I have guided and still guide many sports, Canyoneering is by far my favorite. Most anyone can do it, the only prerequisite is the desire, and the canyons have a way of bringing out the curious youngster in you no matter your age. I have seen success in children as old as three and as young as 80.
Is it safe for kids/families?
When is the best time to go?
Slot canyons are formed by water, and often there are pools. So, the warmer temps of Spring, Summer, and Fall are best though canyoneering is possible year-round.
Should I hire a guide?
Vacation time is limited and valuable. Hiring a guide is the best way to maximize your time. Additionally, whether you have experience or not a guide can help you go further, see more and do it with confidence.
Make sure to reach out to Nathan with All Ways Adventure to book an out of this world adventure that you won't forget. He is amazing at working with all adventure levels and tailors the adventure to just what you are looking for.