Das Boot is an ice cold, dark and skinny canyon that requires the use of a rope and wearing a wetsuit. The end of the canyon opens up into the popular and easier canyoneering route, the Subway.
At a Glance
Never enter a technical canyon without the knowledge and skills needed to safely explore and return. Rappelling and down-climbing skills are required to navigate through Behunin Canyon. Do not jump. Jumping in Zion's canyons have resulting in many broken bones. Many technical canyons, such as Birch Hollow, also require gps skills or excellent map reading skills to navigate.
Das Boot Trailhead - Leave the main section of Zion Park and drive along SR-9 to the small town of Virgin. Turn onto the Kolob Terrace Road (Kolob Reservoir) heading north for approximately. 9 miles and park at the Left Fork Trailhead (first car) then continue north to the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead approximately. 8 miles to begin the Das Boot Hike.
The standard Subway Route begins at the Wildcat Canyon trailhead, and will follow the Wildcat Canyon Trail for 1 mile until coming to the Northgate Peaks Trail junction. Turn right at the junction onto the Northgate Peaks trail and follow it for approximately 200 yards. At this point there is a sign that indicates the "Left Fork of North Creek" and the "Subway". The trail crosses slickrock and descends to the southeast toward Russell Gulch. This trail is fairly easy to follow when in the forested areas, but on the slickrock watch for rock cairns. Travel this trail down towards Russell Gulch for approximately .5 miles then leave the trail to the east-north-east, finding the easiest path toward the bottom of Russell Gulch. Not far down steer more northerly toward the head of Russell Gulch to avoid dropping down and then having to climb back out of Russell Gulch. By staying High and contouring to the north you will be able to cross over on to the east side of the gulch with minimal elevation loss. Once on the east side of Russell Gulch traverse south-easterly gaining elevation to gain a slickrock ledge system - ridge and travel approximately .5 mile to the south-south-east staying at a fairly level elevation (Not up, and not down). Soon you will see Wildcat Canyon peeking from the corner to the east and hiking now toward Wildcat Canyon to the east you will soon encounter a prominent drainage that runs southerly into the Left Fork drainage to your right and and below. This is the ticket into Das Boot. Carefully working down this drainage for about .5 miles will put you into the Left Fork and the start of Das Boot. From this point have your wetsuit on and zipped up, anything you want kept dry stored in dry bags and your sense of adventure primed and ready. Double bag cameras in a wet canyon like Das Boot.Das Boot - Rappelling skills, the ability to downclimb difficult obstacles and get off rappel while in keep in water are required to navigate through this slot canyon. Remember slot canyons can change dramatically in a short time due to flash floods and water levels in this canyon change. These directions are only a general reference. Be prepared for variations in the canyon.
There will be several downclimbs into cold pools that must be swam, and you should have 60' of rope to negotiate rappels that you may not feel comfortable downclimbing. Although this additional .75 mile stretch of Left Fork of North Creek may seem short, it will provide long lasting memories of a spectacular, narrow slot canyon that tempts the adventure in all of us.
Beware: Das Boot presents difficult problems that need to be solved and only should be attempted if you have downclimbing skills and chimneying experience. To attempt this canyon without the proper equipment i.e. wetsuit and rope, could lead to serious consequences.
GPS Coordinates WGS84 Datum
Cross over Russell Gulch to
Start Down Drainage to Das Boot at: 37°19.5681 N
GPS coordinates are only references and may or may not be accurate. Do not rely on GPS coordinates as the sole method of navigation. Always have an accurate, detailed map at hand and have the proper map reading and navigation skills before setting out on any hike. Many of the hikes listed in this guide travel into canyons where a GPS has limited capabilities. Always check your position with a detailed map before dropping into a canyon.
To post trip reports, offer corrections, updates, or for more information please visit the Zion National Park Forum
Suggested Gear: A sturdy pair of shoes are recommend to hike the trails in Zion National Park. Many quality shoes will help grip the rocks and prevent injury.
Zion National Park, Utah
History of the Thunderbird
This is my new favorite quote:
"I don't know who Tanya Milligan is, but I mean www.zionnational-park.com
It's a better site than the NPS's anyway."
Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park