Canyoneering, in its truest form, is an exceptional experience… about so much more than just rappelling, or walking through narrow corridors. Exploring deep inside these earthen corridors, within anomalous beauty while also expanding your own physical and mental limits, will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable and exciting experiences of your life.
Our Half-Day Trips are perfect for the beginner or the busy vacationer. Lasting approximately 4-5 hours, they can be scheduled in the morning or afternoon, are close to town (transportation is provided!), and get you back by meal time.
Ephedra’s Grotto begins with a short hike across ancient petrified sand dunes, leading us into a dry rock wash. Quickly the wash turns into a dry waterfall that seems to almost disappear into the tightest, deepest rain gutter imaginable. “We go down there?!” is the usual question after peering over the edge, and indeed we do. This exquisite rappel is the first obstacle in reaching the entrance to the amazing and not-at-all-famous Grotto.
Now, totally enveloped in a small stone room, whose floor rarely sees the light of day, we exit to find our next challenge… a jaw-dropping rappel into the alluring green canyon below next to an enormous natural stone bridge! A cool spring-fed stream accompanies us for the rest of this outstanding hike, exiting into the Colorado river corridor.
Named for the shrub that inhabits this area, Chamisa is a half-day trip that packs a lot of punch into a very short distance! Often full of water, this tight canyon is a fantastic sampling of what our longer, wet canyons are like! Rappels, wading, swimming and beautiful scenery all await you! If you choose this trip, come prepared to get wet.
Hypatia Canyon is a special treat for off-season vacationers; we encourage people to take advantage of the cooler temperatures to see the treasures of this canyon system. Tucked within a sweeping lunar landscape of rock dunes and fins are several quiet and rarely visited canyons. Dinosaur tracks, a sweeping secluded arch, and a multitude of shady canyon obstacle-courses mark the passage to the first rappel. The canyon then opens into an impressive rock amphitheater, ushering us into our last challenge: an exposed 100′ rappel. A short hike back to the trips’ starting point closes this fantastic desert loop.
The trailhead for Granary Canyon is located high above Moab and very near to the mesa top of Dead Horse State Park. Suitable for adventurous beginners, this trip begins with a 45 minute shuttle where we’ll have perhaps the best view of the dramatic La Sal Mountains and the tortured and convoluted landscape west of Moab.
It is here where the Cane Creek Anticline brushes up against the Kings Bottom Syncline to create a roiling sea of polished ancient rock. Details of the geological processes at work are punctuated throughout the day (rock talk!) since the views beg to be discussed and interpreted.
This stunning view will be our steady back drop as we negotiate the beautiful canyons and corridors of Granary Canyon. Named for the occasional ancient storage bins used by Moab’s early inhabitants, the Ancestral Puebloans (formerly known as the Anasazi). These small, well-hidden rock structures were the first proto-types of the building technique (using local mortar) that gave rise to the more famous cliff palaces located elsewhere in the Southwest.
One challenge of the canyon (and there will be many!) will be to locate the granaries, arches and the occasional natural bridge that this impressive canyon harbors. Midway through the day we’ll have a first class meal at a rock table specially suited for dining.
Onto the other challenges! You’ll experience six miles of moderate hiking, 2000’ feet of elevation loss with an occasional short, easy section of down climbing–often with a rope on for extra security.
Then there are the rappels! With a mix of easy and challenging rappels you’ll have the chance to try out some “advanced” rope techniques. The rappels drop you into some incredibly beautiful and unique formations–the work of water & gravity creating artworks of stone.
Eventually the rappelling skills you’ll have mastered throughout the day will be tested at the very end of this amazing day, since the last big thing you’ll do is REALLY big—a 200’ rappel ending close to the banks of the Colorado River!
Though Little Sinbad is short in mileage, it’s packed with adventure, and is an exceptional step into a higher level of canyoneering, even if it’s your first time out!
This remote, twisty obstacle course requires: stemming through narrows, negotiating obstacles, using technical gear for assisted down-climbs, and or rappelling down drops.
Mandatory swims abound in this canyon so wetsuits are required in all but the hottest of days. As one progresses thru the canyon the fun becomes more challenging until we finally squeeze through the tightest section above an incredible swimming pool.
A final rappel into and across this large and shady pool concludes the fun!
For those of you who want even more from your canyoneering experience, we travel deep into drainage systems of Cedar Mesa and Hanksville…
These big-adventure canyons require more physical exertion than our local trips, and thus we refer to them as intermediate and advanced, though we can accommodate beginning skill levels.
We frequently do these canyons as part of our multi-day trip packages, but we can – and do – explore these areas in a single day. For more information, see Multi-Day Canyoneering.