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Private trip courtesy announcement: Parunuweap Canyon, Utah, September 1-7, 2012

Sat, 2012-09-01
Martin Staley

This is a courtesy announcement for a private outing that is not under the auspices of the Mountaineers:
This will be a five-day backpack in beautiful Parunuweap Canyon (the East Fork of the Virgin River), in southwestern Utah, near Zion National Park. We'll drive to Kanab, Utah, on Saturday, September 1, and overnight there. The next morning, we'll place a car at Checkerboard Mesa, in Zion NP, the end point of our backpack. We'll then drive to our trailhead, south of Mt. Carmel Junction, and begin hiking.

The route follows Parunuweap Canyon to the south and west, downstream to just above Labyrinth Falls. There, a trail cuts north out of the canyon, and to Checkerboard Mesa, where our vehicle will be waiting.

The core hike is only about 20 miles, and could be done in less time. However, numerous remote and beautiful side canyons justify spending at least five days in the canyon, and will add a dozen or more miles to the total. Side canyons we may explore include Mineral Gulch, Rock Canyon, French Canyon, Poverty Wash, and Fat Man's Misery. Many of these, as well as numerous unnamed canyons, contain such "canyon country" treats as narrows, flowing streams, potholes, and pour-offs. We'll want to spend lots of time exploring, taking photos, swimming, and enjoying the solitude.

A permanent stream flows through Parunuweap Canyon, and, in the lower portions, we'll need to ferry backpacks across waist-deep or deeper pools, with flowing water as well as rough and slippery terrain. Participants should know how to swim, and should assume that they, and their backpacks, will be essentially submerged some of the time. Bring appropriate gear! For our explorations of the side canyons, we'll bring a rope to use as a handline. No technical climbing experience is required, but experience with rock scrambling and general canyoneering won't hurt. Nobody will be discouraged from bringing basic climbing gear, in case it would prove to be helpful during our side-canyon explorations!

The general plan, which we'll reserve the right to modify enroute if conditions warrant, is as follows. Drive out on Saturday, September 1st. Begin hiking on September 2nd, and find a camp near some good side-canyon hikes. Explore side canyons the next day, then stay in the same camp that night. Move camp downstream a few miles the next day. Explore more side canyons on the 5th, and stay in the second camp again. Hike out to the car on the 6th, and drive home the next day, Friday the 7th. 

Contact me, Martin,, for more information.


Potential participants are encouraged to google "parunuweap canyon", click on Images, and get an idea of what we're in for.

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