Orderville Canyon - Zion National Park, UT

Date: 6/24/2012

Miles: 11

Elevation Loss: 1,900'

Trail type: Through hike

Trailhead: Google Maps

Trip report:

Orderville canyon hike trail map
Orderville canyon hike trail map

If you're willing to get a little wet, Orderville Canyon is a great day hike to see beautiful slot canyons, short rappels, some rock scrambling, short swims, lush greenery, and the Virgin River Narrows all in one. This hike is quite strenuous, and it is important that you have the proper footwear and water gear. We had 2 cars, so we were able to leave a car at the trailhead, but others might have to hire a shuttle.

Even though we were disappointed we couldn't snag a permit for the Subway, the top requested canyoneering permit in Zion National Park, we settled for the next hike that we could do with our 60' rope - the 11 mile Orderville Canyon. Kyle rented what we dubbed 'moonboots' since he didn't have close-toed shoes. The rest of us just wore old running shoes, but since mine were pretty old, 11 miles of rocks ended up tearing holes in them.

We had to drive out of the park to get to the TH, and the parking lot was just a small, square dirt lot. We would be hiking the trail from top to bottom, following the river along the way.

The beginning of the trail is very dusty, and for the first 2.75 miles it almost seems like we were on the wrong trail since we were walking by farms and fences.

The beginning of the hike
The beginning of the hike

As we entered the canyon, the walls rose above us and it was quite dry and easy going for several miles.

Entering the canyon
Entering the canyon
The trail was quite easy going at this point
The trail was quite easy going at this point
A view of the surrounding walls
A view of the surrounding walls
Taking a break at the mouth of a narrow section
Taking a break at the mouth of a narrow section
Even though we were in the canyon, there were lots of green trees and plants around
Even though we were in the canyon, there were lots of green trees and plants around
The canyon narrowing, but still no sign of any water
The canyon narrowing, but still no sign of any water

We finally reached our first rappel, a 15 foot tall boulder. Even though it looked short enough to jump down, we set up our rappel anyway and one by one rappelled down.

Kyle rappelling down the first boulder obstacle
Kyle rappelling down the first boulder obstacle
Clark belaying down the first boulder obstacle
Clark belaying down the first boulder obstacle
An owl! My favorite!
An owl! My favorite!

The ground slowly became wetter and wetter, and we eventually couldn't keep our feet dry.

Some well-placed stones to help us keep our feet somewhat dry
Some well-placed stones to help us keep our feet somewhat dry
Various parts of the trail were so lush
Various parts of the trail were so lush

We finally reached the Guillotine! We were happy to use our brand new rappelling gear to descend this one as well.

Aptly named, the boulder on top doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon
Aptly named, the boulder on top doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon

The last mile of Orderville canyon was quite wet, and there was even a deep pool that Kyle decided to jump in while we tried to scramble around the slippery steep rocks.

Carolyn climbing up the side of some dry rocks
Carolyn climbing up the side of some dry rocks
Clark after coming around the corner
Clark after coming around the corner
The trail involved lots of boulder scrambling into pools of water
The trail involved lots of boulder scrambling into pools of water
The river slowly taking over the trail
The river slowly taking over the trail

We reached the Narrows after 8.5 miles in, and we rejoined the crowds as we hiked out.

Part of the Narrows on our hike out
Part of the Narrows on our hike out
A self-timer group shot!
A self-timer group shot!

Our wet sneakers made squishy sounds as we walked on the paved path back to the shuttle. After spending all afternoon in wet shoes/socks, I couldn't wait to get them off and dry my feet.

The gang waiting for the shuttle (you can see Kyle's moonboots)
The gang waiting for the shuttle (you can see Kyle's moonboots)

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