North Wash 3-Day Canyoneering


  • So Good, So Different.

    Experience Canyoneering and Utah like few get to do. Find yourself in canyon country that is as vast as your imagination, and as untamed as your appetite for adventure. Stray from the beaten path to connect to a more wild place - beyond the National Park boundaries and into places few ever get to see. This is the version of wilderness that Edward Abbey only dreamed of. Immerse yourself in it, and see the desert from a perspective all your own.

    Intimidated? Don't be. Every trip is customized to you and your group. Trust in guides who value your input, for whatever goals you have and whatever your life experience has been. In a place that holds a lifetime's worth of potential adventures, we work with you choosing canyons that feel as though the slots were carved just for you. Perhaps they were.

    From those looking to physically challenge themselves like never before, to those looking to behold landscapes like nowhere else, this trip has some of everything. The only thing missing is you.
  • Canyoneering experience is not required. The desire to learn and try are most important. We ask participants to meet the following requirements:

      • You are at least 16 years old
      • You are in good physical shape
      • You feel comfortable moving through very tight spaces (1-4 feet wide)  
      • You feel comfortable hiking all day with a 20-lb. pack
      • You are excited about an adventure with unknown and unexpected events


    Exceptions to the above requirements are handled on a case-by-case basis. Please inquire if you have questions or concerns about the prerequisites.
  • North Wash 3-day Canyon Adventure
    Designed to help you experience canyoneering in the North Wash and learn a little bit about it.

    North Wash 3-day Basic Course

    Learn and apply appropriate canyoneering techniques in the North Wash canyons

          In either of the above, we will descend some of the classic North Wash slots over three days like the Blarney or Leprechaun forks. Your guides will select the specific canyons based on weather conditions, instructional goals, group ability, and group interest. Some canyons take all-day to descend, while others may require a few hours or a half-day, which potentailly enables us to have separate morning and afternoon events.

    North Wash 3-day Basic Course Curriculum

    1. Navigation - Using maps and/or canyon descriptions to successfully find and exit canyons in remote, wilderness settings.
    2. Anchoring - Using a variety of tools, including bolts, natural objects, sand bags, and Sandtraps, to descend technical drops with minimum impact.
    3. Canyon Movement - Learning how to climb, stem, galumph, and squeeze through a wide variety of canyon situations, using resting, spotting, catching, and roped protection techniques as appropriate to manage falling risk.
    4. Rappelling - Knowing how to set up for various rappel scenarios and when to use each.
    5. Equipment Choice - Shrewdly selecting and packing equipment so you have enough, but nothing more.

          Canyons in North Wash are very physical. Please expect LOTS of downclimbing, squeezing, and stemming (climbing between two walls like Spiderman), often without the protection of a rope. Using your body for friction against the canyon walls is imperative, so "body armor" (see What to Bring) is essential. Rappels will range between 10 - 80 feet, and are definitely the easy parts of this trip. Teaching will focus on moving through the canyons safely and efficiently. Incidental instruction on natural anchor methods can be included for motivated students.

          We will plan to make the most of our days. We rise, make breakfast, and pack for the day within 90 minutes after sunrise. Generally, we have about the same amount of time at day's end to unpack and change into comfortable, warm clothes before darkness falls. In the evening, we'll enjoy dinner and relaxation around the campfire, discuss canyon options for the next day, and try to stay up late enough so we sleep until dawn.

  • Participants must bring these items for canyon descents:

      • Clothes that protect the body but will likely be destroyed (tough, old, loose-fitting jeans or slacks, old heavy cotton sweatshirts, old fleece sweater, etc.) A good selection of clothing will allow adjustments to adapt to the weather conditions.
      • Heavy wool socks, preferably one pair/day
      • Two 1-quart water bottles (canyons destroy hydration bladders)
      • Good headlamp w/ fresh batteries
      • Keeper strap for your glasses

    Participants must bring these items for camp

      • Sleeping gear (sleeping bag rated between 0-20 degrees, sleeping pad for insulation, tent)
      • Warm layers for dark evenings around camp, including a warm hat and gloves
      • Personal snacks, like energy bars, chocolate, chips, etc.
      • Personal eating equipment (plate, bowl, fork, spoon, knife, mug)
      • Personal beverages of choice to drink and/or share
      • Toiletries

    A pit toilet is available near the camp (no running water)

  • Zion Adventure Company will provide:


      • All technical gear, including harnesses, helmets, and hardware including carabiners, rappel devices, autoblocks, etc.
      • One small and one medium-sized backpack per person
      • 15-liter drybag (to keep clothes and food dry)
      • Bunny strap (to hang your pack between your legs)
      • Wetsuits, if needed
      • 5.10 Canyoneers (canyon-specific shoes) and neoprene socks
      • Continental breakfasts, deli lunches, and hot, hearty dinners
      • Drinking water for the entire weekend
      • Group shelter in case of inclement weather 

    You can meet us:

      • At the group campsite on Hwy 95 south of Hanksville
      • In Springdale, UT at our Zion Adventure Company store
  • Hanksville, Utah is the "gateway community" to North Wash. Hanksville is home to the nearest phone, ice, cell service, gas, etc. Please do not expect anything like Springdale, however; amenities in Hanksville are bare-bones.


    Directions - From Hanksville, UT, drive approximately 28 miles south on State Route 95 to the Sandthrax Campsite, an unmarked dirt road loop on the northeast (left-hand, from Hanksville) side. Whether you arrive Thursday evening or Friday morning, you should see our party there in camp. If you reach the Hog Springs rest stop and picnic area, you've gone five miles too far. If you reach the Dirty Devil River, you've gone WAY too far.

    Approximate driving times: 5 hours from Salt Lake City, 6.5 hours from Denver, 5 hours from Springdale

    • ZAC staff will arrive in North Wash on Thursday evening around 5:00 p.m. to make camp and cook a simple dinner. We recommend participants camp with us Thursday evening to be well rested for Friday's canyon descents.
    • Camping in North Wash is primitive. There are no on-site facilities, though there is a public vault toilet 5 miles down the road at Hog Springs (thus, the dramatic early morning "Hog Run").


    • Participants should be packed, clothed, and ready to depart for the canyons each day at 8:30 a.m. Please respect your fellow canyoneers by being prepared and prompt.
    • If you have dietary restrictions or strong preference, please provide them to us so we can compose a menu fitting your needs. 


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    Dates for 2016:
      • Oct. 21, 22, 22
      • Oct. 27, 28, 29
    Custom dates available by request.

      • Includes top-notch guides, meals for three days (continental breakfasts, deli lunches, and hot, hearty dinners), water for the entire weekend, all technical gear, including harnesses, helmets, and hardware like carabiners, rappel devices, autoblocs, plus more - see the "What ZAC Provides" tab for full details.
      • Minimum of two participants. Maximum group size is 12 to ensure an intimate, flexible adventure experience. Client-to-guide ratio is 5:1.
      • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve your spot today!
  • Trips are 100% refundable up to 30 days prior to departure. Once inside the 30-day window, we deduct a 25% cancellation fee from any refunds.  You may apply this 25% fee toward any future services or products we offer within two years from the date of cancellation. Cancellations within 24 hours of trip departure are non-refundable.