Canyoneering in Zion National Park, Utah

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Red Desert Adventure offers private trips from Zion to go canyoneering or rock climbing. Technically these trips are just outside Zion National Park in Pine Valley, since tours aren't permitted inside the park. The nice thing about this is they'll pick you up from your hotel and you don't have to deal with the crowds and traffic inside Zion. Canyoneering is traveling in canyons using a variety of techniques like scrambling, climbing, jumping, rappelling, and swimming. We left at 7am to Yankee Doodle canyon, a "wet" canyon that has some pools of water to cross. We started with a few longer repels into the beautiful swirling rock formations, then continued scrambling through a dry canyon. When we arrived at our first pool of water, we were pretty surprised at how murky the water was (even though our guide had warned us). This was opaque brown, stagnant water, with tadpoles and a few dead bugs floating around. Yuck! We avoided getting into the water as long as we could by chimneying through the canyons. When we finally had to wade through I screamed and shrieked until I got to the other side. I am usually a prideful, "tough" women, but that all went out the window. We continued down the trail, a beautiful walled in path of Sienna colored stone. At a few points we had to swim through the pools! When we arrived at the final pool of water, there was a baby snake right next it. This snake wasn't poisonous, but still... deciding to wade into opaque water that there might be snakes in is scary!!! But there was no other option so we basically ran through that last pool as quickly as possible! After exiting the canyon, we then hiked back up to the top. As crazy as it sounds, this was my favorite day. It was full of action and adventure, and the canyon was truly beautiful. I'd highly recommend Red Desert Adventure, our guide and owner Eric was a great guy, and so knowledgable about the area. We enjoyed his company! There are alternatives routes you can do without water. If you squeamish, I'd opt for those routes.

Tips: Wear water shoes and clothes you don't mind destroying. The rock is pretty rough and can snag your clothes. Also wear long sleeves if you want to avoid scraping your elbows.

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