The Ultimate Southwest Vacation includes Zion National Park, Utah!
Stay in Mount Carmel Junction, the heart of the parks, and
visit the treasures of the Southwest.
Zion Park 12 miles
Grand Staircase 9 miles
Sand Dunes 11 miles
Dixie Forest 22 miles
Cedar Breaks 45 miles
Red Canyon 47 miles
Coyote Butte 57 miles
Bryce Canyon 60 miles
North Rim 85 miles
Toroweap 90 miles
Plan your Zion National Park Vacation with our Utah Maps and
In these pages you will find insiders information on Zion National
Park lodging, adventures and hikes. This detailed guide includes road maps, park
maps, pictures, trail beta, backpacking, history, fees, geology, flora, fauna,
campgrounds, things for kids to do and even information on Zion's hidden treasures.
Making summer memories in the Utah National Parks and National
Directions to Zion National Park From Salt Lake City: Travel I-15 south, past Beaver.
Exit on Hwy 20. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take U-9 to Zion's east
entrance. From Arizona: Travel 89A through Fredonia, Arizona
and Kanab Utah. Follow US-89 to to Mount Carmel Junction. Take U-9 to the east
park entrance. From Las Vegas: Travel I-15 north. Take exit 16 and
travel through Hurricane. Make a right on U-9 at the second traffic light in
LaVerkin. Continue on U-9 to the south entrance of the park. U-9 through Zion
National Park is always open and is also called the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway.
in Keyhole Canyon. This is a fun little slot canyon that "slots up" more than
most of Zion's slots. Keyhole is usually considered to be the slot canyon that
beginning canyoneers should venture into first before trying the more difficult
Keyhole Slot Canyon
Start of Keyhole:
End of Keyhole Slot:
Total Hike Length: .25 miles
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.
Beta: Coordinates and other trail and canyoneering information by Zion Park
search and rescue veteran team member Bo
Beck and www.zionnational-park.com author, Tanya Milligan.
Gear: Rope, webbing, harness and rappelling device. A sturdy pair
of shoes are recommend for canyoneering in Zion . Quality
shoes will help grip the rocks and prevent injury. Experienced Zion hikers and
canyoneers like the Sportiva Exum Ridge. This shoe is great for hiking, bouldering
Keyhole Canyon is a wonderful skinny slot canyon adventure with an easy and quick approach and exit.
Keyhole Canyon at a Glance
Photo Album: Keyhole Pictures
Trail Maps: Keyhole Topo Map
Day Canyon: Yes Distance: .75 miles Average hiking time: 2 hours Equipment: 100' rope, 20' of 1' tubular webbing,
harness, rappel device, map, dry bag, sticky rubber shoes and wetsuit. Technical: Downclimbing, rappelling and rope skills
are needed. Rappels to 25' into cold water pool. (Bring rope for a 50' combination
rappel) Cold water swimming. The first pothole can be difficult to get out of. ACA
Canyon Rating: 3BI Permits:
Required. Keyhole is in the primitive zone and 50 hikers are allowed in Keyhole
per day. Check the weather report
before hiking this trail. Do not hike if it looks like rain. Trailhead: Two miles east of the small tunnel. Trailend: Same as the trailhead. Trail Access: The Zion Mt. Carmel Hwy is open year-round. Off the Beaten Path: No Classic Zion Park Canyon: Yes. Best season: mid-June to mid-September when the water
is warmer and the air is warmer. Hazards: Call the Zion Canyon Visitors Center for weather
conditions prior to the hike: (435) 772-3256. Hiking in slot canyons presents
a very real danger from flash flooding. Do not hike this trail if it is raining.
Remember a storm far off can trigger a flash flood. Keyhole Canyon has a moderate
flash flood danger.
Canyoneering: Never enter a technical canyon without the knowledge and skills needed to safely explore and return. Rappelling and downclimbing skills are required to navigate through Keyhole Canyon. Do not jump. Jumping in Zion's canyons have resulting in many broken bones.
Keyhole Canyon Trailhead
Parking for Keyhole Canyon is 2 miles east of the small tunnel. A pullout
large enough for 3-4 cars is located on the south side of Route 9. The parking
area is at the end of the Keyhole drainage entering from the north. Standing
at the parking area and looking north through Keyhole, a glimpse of Jug Handle
Arch in the Skyline may be possible. Walk east on Route 9, passing Keyhole on
the left (staying on the shoulder) for nearly .25 miles, bypassing a second drainage,
entering from the left. Continue until another drainage is visible on the left.
Enter the third drainage and walk up it (north) until the slickrock on the right
side yields to travel. Continue up the slickrock bowl heading for the hoodoo
on top. Once on top, travel to the right side of the hoodoo and seek the steep
trail back down into the drainage on the north side of the saddle. At the bottom,
turn left into the Keyhole drainage and work through the narrow sections for
a short distance until arriving at the first rappel from the large pine tree.
Rappelling skills 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.
First Rappel - The first drop is about 20' but a longer rope
is needed because the anchor is set back. Use a 100' rope to complete the canyon.
Some people have slid down the log wedged in the slot at the first drop but is
not recommended. There may be a pool of water awaiting you at the bottom of the
first rappel. Getting out of the pool can be a challenge. Do not send anyone
down alone (first) who might have trouble getting out of the cold water pool
Obstacle - The next challenge is a short 7' downclimb into
another (possible) pool of water.
Second Rappel - Continue another 20' downstream to the next
anchor. This anchor is a glue-in type eyebolt anchor. This anchor will be used
to rappel 20' into a bowl below. Walking across the bowl will afford another
anchor opportunity which can be used to continue down another 20' on a low angle
slab. There is the option to continue down this slab using the same glue-in anchor
used to lower into the dish and then pull the rope once the low angle slab is
negotiated. At the bottom of the slab the canyon becomes very deep, dark and
Obstacles and cold water swim - Shortly down canyon a somewhat
awkward 8' downclimb is encountered providing the way deeper into the slot. A
little further down-canyon brings a somewhat easier 10' downclimb which ends
in a narrow section of swimming which may be somewhat long (100') and cold.
Notice how the water in Keyhole gets increasingly colder while navigating
through the canyon. Meandering down canyon for the next 150 yards brings a couple
of wading pools and eventually the end of Keyhole Slot Canyon. The road is visible
from the end of the canyon and once on the road the parking area of Keyhole is