Pine Creek Canyon, Zion National Park

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Pine Creek Canyon

With high arches, dark passages, potholes to traverse, a spectacular 100-foot rappel and swimming holes at the end of the hike, Pine Creek is a popular choice for intermediate canyoneers. Read More

  • Swim through potholes, hike through dark narrows and high arches, all within a half-day's adventure.
  • The technical challenges of Pine Creek Canyon are well-suited to expand on beginning canyoneering skills.
  • Combining ease of access with a shorter duration, the canyon is one of the more popular routes in the park.

Description

With some longer swims and committing rappels, Pine Creek is a great canyon for intermediates who are working to improve their skills and confidence. Many people first complete Keyhole Canyon to learn or refresh technical skills before coming to Pine Creek Canyon.

The slot canyon is a popular route with canyoneers, which forced the park service to limit the number of visitors permits issued. This helps control erosion and impact, while insuring that those who receive permits will have a pleasant experience.

As with most slot canyons, conditions are heavily water-dependent. In high water, some swims will be over 100 feet long, which can be an endurance challenge with all the heavy equipment. In low water, the swims will simply be short and refreshing. 

Don't underestimate the canyon's difficulty. The Subway and Pine Creek Canyon have more people rescued than any of the other canyons in Zion.

Another great aspect about Pine Creek Canyon is the option to head up to a cascading waterfall from the bottom. No equipment is necessary for this 2-hour out-and-back, making for a quick and fun trip up the canyon.

Canyon Specifics

  • Route distance: 1.5 miles
  • Average time: 5 hours
  • Canyon rating: 3B II (Canyon Rating System)
  • Best time to go: Mid-June to mid-September
  • Route beginning: East Zion Tunnel
  • Route end: Just below Zion Tunnel
  • Number of rappels: 6

Permits

For access to Pine Creek Canyon, Zion requires a backcountry permit, so be sure to make a reservation online at http://zionpermits.nps.gov/ or call (435) 772-0170 for more information.

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