Rappel Big Horn Canyon

Details

Distance

3.5 miles

Elevation Gain

500 ft

Route Type

Loop

Added by Kyle C

A scenic canyon with views of Arches National Park that can be done year round.

This canyon requires an Arches Canyoneering Permit, two 60m ropes, 100 ft of webbing, and your normal canyoneering kit.

To reach the parking for the canyon, drive five miles or so into Arches until you reach a bridge.  Shortly after the bridge, there will be a pull-off to the left where you can leave your vehicle.  From the parking lot, follow the wash directly west towards the cliffband.  Skirt south of the cliffs until you can start heading northwest and head directly north out of Courthouse Wash.  Here you gain a bit of elevation, cross through a tunnel and eventually reach the top of the mesa. The top of the mesa is fairly flat, but if you aim toward the right of a small bulge to the east you will eventually reach the top of the canyon.  The canyon is the second to the west of the end of the mesa. Watch your step and stay on slickrock or an obvious path until you reach the canyon. Don’t bust the crust!

At the top of the canyon, you will find a tree that will serve as your first anchor.  There could be a fixed line, webbing, or nothing at this anchor.  Without the fixed line, this is a double rope rap unless you want to utilize the anchor further down.  This involves a hundred plus feet of down climbing to a rap station consisting of a slung solution pocket and a bolt.

After this, the second rap is only a short bit away and is about 35 feet off of slung solution pockets and a bolt or two.  This rappel is the most exciting as it is free hanging towards the bottom.  Continue down canyon either directly north following the obvious drainage or cut left.  Going straight will involve some exciting offwidth/chimney down climbing.  As you eventually make your way left regardless of your original choice, you will see an obvious, large slung boulder.  From here it is a 20 foot rap, but it will utilize more of your rope due to the distance of the boulder from the edge.

After this last rap, pack your stuff and follow the drainage down towards the road.  You can then head to the right following the road a mile or so back to your car.

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Known for

Rock Climbing
Photography
Hiking
Easy Parking
Scenic
Wildlife

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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