a bachelorette canyon | pine creek canyoneering

2.5 mi . starts at 5130 ft and ends at 4410 ft . up to 100 ft rappel . about 8 rappels

Zion National Park

Note: This is a technical route, rappelling and rescuing techniques required to descend the canyon.

Adventure bachelorettes are envious trips for the outdoorsy, when most are traditionally held in a city with heavy drinking involved. But if the outdoors is a big part of your life, why not make your bachelorette all about spending time outside? This canyon was part of a larger trip detailed in another blog here. In this photo blog, I’m going to share specifically about journeying through Pine Creek Canyon.

Pine Creek Canyon is one of my friend’s favorite canyons she’s done and felt it approachable and challenging enough for people new to canyoneering, given the fact that a handful of others have experience with canyoneering. It is located in the eastern side of Zion National Park. First things first, permits are required for any canyon trip in Zion. Permits aren’t terribly hard to get unless it’s like the famous Subway. There are daily lotteries for the most popular canyons, but for Pine Creek, an online reservation is fairly easily secured a month or two in advance. If you’re worried, make sure you get online on the quarter the reservations open. Check out the Zion National Park website for more details. Generally group sizes of 12 or less are allowed, some canyons only allow 6 — be sure to check first! Reservations can be made on

Once you’ve made your reservation, or if you opt for a walk-up permit, you’ll have to pick up the permit at the ranger station. If you’re keen on starting early, pick up the permit the day before. We felt no need to start too early since we had to drive 2 hours from Vegas. We also needed to pick up more gear to fully equip everyone. We had plenty of harnesses and helmets to share in our group, but needed more wetsuits because Pine Creek is a wet canyon with required swimming and wading. We rented from Zion Adventures where my friends and I have rented from nearly a decade ago. They’re great!

We got our gear sorted and permits obtained and started our car shuttle. Canyoneering USA has a great description of the canyon and what to expect. They’re my go-to for information! I’ve also enjoyed using Citrus Milo for more images describing the canyon. Please feel free to use those guides for more technical information. First, we dropped one car at the second switchback in the road. We made sandwiches and got gear packed before driving the other 2 cars up to the start of the canyon, at the first parking spot on the right just past the tunnel. It’s not labeled as parking because there’s only 5 or so spots, but it is opposite of where the Canyon Overlook Trail starts. If there’s no parking, go a little further for more parking at the official parking lot.

An eroded trail begins at the end of the parking near the toilet and weaves its way under the road. The fun starts once you’re under the bridge! The canyon begins to weave between narrow and into a series of short rappels (longer if you connect them). My friend, who happens to be the co-founder and guide for The Climbing School, was very efficient at using body belays and rappels off logs without bolted anchors. Eventually, we made our way to the first really cool rappel!

The Cathedral is one of the main highlights of Pine Creek Canyon. It is about 60 ft long. Arches line the sides of the large room and pictures really don’t do it justice. Swimming out of this rappel pool, we walked into a large dry opening. A couple more squeezes through slot canyons and rappels, we started opening out to the main drainage of Pine Creek. The last two main rappels are after a longer hike with views of the tunnel above. One dry rappel into the last one named The Grotto, around 100 ft long. It is extra fun for the free hang, where your feet don’t touch the wall at all and they dangle as you slide down the rope. The last little slide into a pool is the prettiest of them all!

And at last, you are left with a long scramble out of the boulder-filled Pine Creek drainage. We accidentally took a wrong turn but the route is to stay low in the valley! It’ll pop you right on that second switchback where hopefully, you’ll have left your first car!

Opening of the canyon with the tunnel above
Looking down the last rappel
Late afternoon light on the switchbacks
  • Pine Creek Canyon is rated 3BIII, meaning quite technical and wet with a fairly committing length of time to complete
  • Permits required in addition to national park entrance fee

Photos taken on Canon 5D Mark IV

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