While most visitors pass through upper Refrigerator Canyon on their way to Angel's Landing, some of the more adventurous take the hard way down, descending three rappels through the lower part of the canyon.
- The high canyon walls provide shade and a cool breeze during the hot summer months.
- The first few miles of the trail are paved, making for easy hiking.
- Most visitors will continue through the canyon to Angel's Landing.
- Canyoneers will turn from the pavement a mile or so along the trail to start the route.
Of two sections in Refrigerator Canyon to hike, the easiest and most common is part of the trek to Angel's Landing or the West Rim Trail. The path goes directly up the canyon, following a series of paved switchbacks that lead visitors to the scenic outlooks.
The lower canyon is a technical route, with three rappels, including one over 190 feet. The route is short and sweet, with some pools to avoid and significant down-climbing. While it may not be the most popular of routes, Refrigerator Canyon is a great option for quick descent on a hot day.
While hiking around the area, keep you eyes peeled for sightings of the Mexican Spotted Owls. Zion is considered critical habitat for these federally protected gray owls who have found a home in Refrigerator Canyon and others in the park.
- Route distance: Angels Landing is 5 miles each way; the lower canyon route is just over two miles total
- Average time: 4-5 hours for both routes
- Canyon rating: 3A II for the lower canyon (Canyon Rating System)
- Best time to go: Because of the refreshingly cool breezes that pass through this canyon, hot summer days are a great time to escape the heat in Refrigerator Canyon
- Route beginning: Grotto Picnic Area
- Route end: Grotto Picnic Area
- Number of rappels: 0 on the upper canyon; 3 on the lower canyon
Because no technical equipment is necessary, a backcountry permit is not necessary to explore the upper reaches of Refrigerator Canyon.
A permit is necessary for the lower portion, however, where technical gear and knowledge is required. Make a reservation online at http://zionpermits.nps.gov/ or call (435) 772-0170 for more information.