Requiring physical exertion and stamina over two or three days, our Multi-Day “advanced” Canyoneering Trips are exciting and challenging for people who enjoy being active outside for a good part of the day, getting a full-body workout and pushing their own limits either physically or mentally.
Because sometimes one canyon just isn’t enough, we offer the option to customize a Multi-Day Canyoneering Trip to satisfy your thirst for canyon exploration and adventure by combining some of our spectacular canyon trips in the Hanksville / North Wash and Cedar Mesa areas. We are able to provide both comfortable camping amenities or suggest accommodations in nearby towns.
You can join one of our scheduled trips or, for groups of four or more, customize a trip of your own (perfect for bachelor/bachelorette parties! “What happens in the canyon, stays in the canyon.”)
Hanksville / North Wash
Within the Irish Canyon complex there exists a magical canyon system that is no longer the playground of only small bearded men dressed in green. It has been discovered and has even immortalized in films (127 Hours) and reality TV shows (I Shouldn’t Be Alive). Yet it retains an aura of mysticism, as tucked within its slots and exquisitely polished slots are hidden challenges, wonderfully polished and colorful striated walls punctuated with sections for roped downclimbs and fun rappels.
The Forks of Leprechaun
On either side of the Main Fork of Leprechaun are two other forks with similar beauty but vastly different obstacles that can challenge the strongest of athletes or be enjoyed by a determined group of beginner canyoneers.
More spectacular canyon options exist since none of these canyons is short of amazing!
Moab Cliffs and Canyons was the first canyoneering outfitter to ever be permitted to guide these canyons and our experience and depth of knowledge enables us to create a fantastic itinerary customized for you and your group.
Black Hole of White Canyon / Cedar Mesa
Undoubtedly, the Black Hole section of White Canyon is Southeastern Utah’s deepest slot canyon. While it doesn’t have the gravitational pull to consume massive stellar objects, it does have the ability blow peoples minds with its stunning depth, lengthy cold-water swims and tremendous beauty.
Getting to the bottom of White Canyon is the first challenge since one must descend nearly 500ft down to the floor of this boulder and gravel strewn canyon. Negotiating the mogul field of giant SUV sized boulders is another of the challenges that is part and parcel in the approach to the Black Hole. In all but the driest years one will have already waded, swam, dog-paddled, crawled, scrambled and been lowered over the massive fluted and varnished iron black boulders and bedrock.
As the canyon deepens and constricts, log jams appear nearly 100ft overhead, more evidence of how the power of water, rock and gravity have sculpted, caressed and devastated the canyon walls creating a multitude of natural cathedrals of epic proportions.
Ideal for the summer months when the temperatures are between 90-110ºF, you’ll wonder why on earth you’re carrying a black wetsuit, but don’t chuck it yet – you will definitely need it.
As the walls close in and the air temperature turns chilly, we arrive where boulders block the passage and a 10ft drop signifies the start of the serious fun. Shouts and squeals of brisk delight usually punctuate the start of the swimming – but wait. You must detach from the rope while floating before swimming towards the twisting corridors!
Depending on water levels, gravel bars appear – one can get out of the water and watch in giddy humor as the rest of your party figures out the best way to climb in and out of all the pools that comprise the depths of the Black Hole portion of White Canyon.
Soon the canyon begins to open and the pools begin to warm. Natural swimming pools are passed, beckoning a jump and a plunge in order to rewet the wetsuit since we are now seeing sections of full sun. Words fail to describe the sensational feeling of playfulness one feels from physically engaging one of Mother Natures’ most impressive and ancient creations!
Cheese Box, Gravel Canyon, Duckett, and more…
Cedar Mesa is the immense shelf that juts off the southwest side of the Abajo Mountains 100 miles south of Moab. It is also the name of the geologic layer that is thickest and most prevalent in this area. Over 600 ft deep, this layer has been stripped, chiseled, and scoured to expose the ancient red and white banded coastal sand dunes that lithified into a very dense and handsome sandstone.
It is here where these remote canyons provide the experienced canyoneer an athletic and deeply gratifying challenge. Like the Black Hole these canyons get deep and dark in sections and usually have long swims through chilly water with stupefying beauty.
By having adequate preparation, proper leadership, tools and skills, the challenges in these canyons fall to group problem-solving in the most stunning classroom imaginable. More remote and rope-intensive than the Black Hole, with more demanding route-finding, these canyons are perfect for people who are athletic and enjoy long, strenuous days in a wondrous and isolated landscape!
Drive from Moab: 2+ hours
Season: March – November
Technical: some very narrow slot canyons, rope-assisted down climbs, steep hiking, stemming, chimneying, bridging, un-roped down climbs, and multiple rappels up to 200ft.
Drive from Moab: approximately 2.5 hours
Season: May – October
Technical: steep hiking, scrambling, boulder hopping, tight narrows, multiple cold swims up to 100ft long, rappels to 70ft (some into water) and/or rope-assisted down climbs
What You Can Expect
New skills and specialized techniques for canyon travel
A knowledgeable, enthusiastic and professional guide
Geology, ecology and cultural history of the region
Challenging teamwork and group interaction
Physically active days immersed in remarkable beauty!
High-quality technical equipment suitable for the rigor of canyoneering
Healthy meals and snacks prepared by your guides
Two lodging options:
– Outfitted camping where our guides take care of you, or
– Motel/restaurant options where you’re on your own for food and lodging.
Skill & Fitness Level
Hanksville / North Wash Canyoneering
No canyoneering experience required
Intermediate to advanced athletic skill level
Must be able to travel for a minimum of 4 hours through tight canyon system requiring stemming, chimneying, scrambling and advanced hiking on steep grades
Minimum age: 8 years
Cedar Mesa Canyoneering
Intermediate canyoneering skill levels
Previous canyoneering or other forms of endurance athletic experience recommended
Moderate to advanced athletic skill levels
Must be able to travel through long canyon systems with large obstacles requiring stemming, chimneying, scrambling and advanced hiking on steep grades
Must be able to swim long distances through narrow corridors while carrying a wet backpack
Minimum age: 10 years (anyone smaller than a size X must supply their own wetsuit)
Children must be mature enough to use reason and logic to mitigate their instinctual fear of backing over a cliff edge and also weigh enough (around 50lbs.) to counter the mass of the rope they’ll need to push through their rappel device
What to Bring
Lunch & snacks
All of the technical gear you will need for canyoneering
Wetsuits, if deemed necessary
Rental canyoneering shoes with extra-sticky rubber for gripping the rock and quick-draining material for your comfort. See Pricing
What you should wear
Shoes with a soft, flexible sole, such as running shoes or lightweight hiking shoes that you are comfortable possibly getting wet or dirty
No open-toed sandals, please
Clothes that are light-weight and loose fitting so to allow you flexibility and freedom of movement
Clothes that are suitable for the season
No cotton jeans or sweatshirts
Other items we recommend that you bring
A long sleeve, quick-drying shirt to use to warm up after swims
Extra dry clothes may also be necessary depending on the temperature that day
Light long-sleeve shirt (for sun protection)
Light rain gear
Extra snacks if you get really hungry, are a growing teenager, or have dietary restrictions or allergies
Sample Trip Itinerary
Please note that the following itinerary is just an example; actual trips may differ. Because our groups are small and the different canyoneering areas are relatively close to one another, we are able to be very flexible with the itinerary, adjusting where and what we do to accommodate the group’s needs and desires.
Hanksville/North Wash: 1 Night, 2 Days
9:00 am: Meet at Chevron/Stan’s Burger Shack in Hanksville. Caravan to trail head. Outfit group with equipment, etc. Brief orientation on location and safety/evacuation procedures. Head into the canyon, where we cover skills and techniques as they are called for: stemming, chimneying, bridging, spotting your companions, rope assisted down-climbing, short roping and rappelling.
Lunch: Return to vehicles for healthy lunch and break. Afterwards, drive short distance to the second trailhead. Resupply water bottles and snacks and head out to another, fun slot canyon where we’ll employ virtually all the techniques we learned earlier in the day.
Late afternoon: After concluding day in the field, head to base camp for appetizers, beverages, and a tasty supper prepared by your multi-talented guides. Camp tales and camaraderie ensue before sacking out under the stars (or inside your tent!).
Morning: Enjoy buffet breakfast. Prepare equipment, packs, etc. for another exciting canyon adventure different in character from the day prior and accommodating the group’s objectives.
Lunch: We’ll either pack it with us or lunch at the vehicles, depending on the length of the canyon.
Finish: Wrap up the day according to the group’s travel needs, giving people plenty of time to get where they need to go.
Our outdoor desert basecamp will supply the comfortable camp amenities such as chairs, solar showers, and cold beverages. Your guides will use our comprehensive outdoor kitchen to prepare all of your meals. A sleeping kit with a comfortable sleeping pad, bag and tent is included.
For trips originating in Hanksville or Cedar Mesa, we recommend the Whispering Sands Motel in Hanksville (about 40 miles from Cedar Mesa), which offers simple and clean accommodations. Restaurants are available, but limited, so be sure to ask us for dining suggestions while in Hanksville.
From Salt Lake City, UT
Salt Lake City is 250 miles northwest of Hanksville, 240 miles northwest of Moab. Driving is the only way to reach Hanksville directly from Salt Lake City. Or, you can take the Bighorn Express shuttle from the Salt Lake City airport to Moab. From Moab, we can provide transportation to Hanksville or Cedar Mesa.
From Grand Junction, CO
Grand Junction is 180 miles northeast of Hanksville, 110 miles northeast of Moab. From Grand Junction you can rent a car and drive, take the Roadrunner Shuttle, or fly with Redtail Aviation. From Moab, we can provide transportation to Hanksville or Cedar Mesa.
From Denver, CO
Denver is 450 miles northeast of Hanksville, 350 miles northeast of Moab. You can drive I-70 almost the entire way (6 hours to Moab, 7 hours to Hanksville), or fly with Mesa Airlines. From Moab, we can provide transportation to Hanksville or Cedar Mesa.
Please call us if you need any help arranging your transportation as we are happy to assist you: 435-259-3317 or 1-877-641-5271
Departure Time will be determined by you and your guide depending on which lodging option and canyon system is chosen.
Early reservations are recommended!
Outfitted Camping Option:
2 days / 1 night:
$440 / person for group of 5
$500 / person for group of 4
$595 / person for group of 3
$795 / person for group of 2
3 days / 2 nights:
$660 / person for group of 5
$750 / person for group of 4
$895 / person for group of 3
$1195 / person for group of 2
Note: Includes all camping amenities, food and sleeping kits.
Town Lodging / Food Option:
2 days / 1 night:
$396 / person for group of 5
$450 / person for group of 4
$540 / person for group of 3
$720 / person for group of 2
3 days / 2 nights:
$594 / person for group of 5
$675 / person for group of 4
$810 / person for group of 3
$1080 / person for group of 2
Note: Guests choosing this option are responsible for their own breakfast, dinner, lodging and transportation to and from trailhead.
Canyoneering Shoes $8 / day – Sizes and availability are limited.
Private or Chartered Guide $45 / person added to your cost ensures that no one else will join your party, providing your group with more time for discussion and one-on-one instruction from our professional guides who specialize in the safest climbing/canyoneering techniques as well as the local natural history, geology, flora, and fauna.
Because a reservation guarantees space on a trip, we sometimes have to turn others away for those same dates. Thus, cancellations must be made at least two weeks prior to the trip dates in order to receive a full refund of the reservation deposit. Any cancellations made after the two-week cut off and up to 48 hours before the trip will forfeit the $20 per person deposit. To cover our costs, we must charge the full trip amount for any cancellations made less-than 48 hours before the trip.
We will refund your entire trip amount if we must make a cancellation due to adverse weather. Please be aware that weather cancellations are made only by our guides, based on how climbing and canyoneering conditions are affected.
Skinny canyons, deep dark slots, swims & starry nights!
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… definitely worth a few days of vacation time.