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.
Country SAR Vice Commander, Dean
Kurtz waits on top of the first obstacle in
Orderville Canyon. Don't under estimate Orderville Canyon. Although this is a
semi-technical canyon it's chock full of obstacles, like the one pictured, that
require rope skills and - or downclimbing skills. Unprepared hikers end up jumping
off many of the obstacles, breaking bones and getting injured. Be smart
and go prepared. Don't ever Jump!
Turn left off of the North Fork Road 37°20.2231 N
Trailhead: end of the washed out road 37°19.9386
First waterfall after dropping into canyon
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.
Equipment: Bring a sturdy pair of shoes to hike the narrows of Orderville
Canyon. Some hikers prefer hiking boots due to the support they give to the ankles
and the cushion that helps to prevent bruising from hitting the rocks at the
bottom of the river. Most experienced canyoneers prefer a good quality rubber
shoe like the Sportiva Exum Ridge (which are also great for hiking) or
Five Tens and Water Tennies that are canyon specific. Some
hikers like to use a sturdy hiking stick in Orderville Canyon and the Zion Narrows.
The sport of canyoneering has gained momentum in Utah the past decade as intrepid explorers have been lured into dimly lit passages - caverns recessed into the earths thick crust. These channels form when flowing water detects a weakness in soft rock, then it gnaws away at the stone, creating twisted labyrinths and misshapen formations as it forces a path downward. Fantastic things have resulted - imagine if you can; vaulted cathedrals with towering arches born of sandstone. But it is not just the structural architecture that captivates us, it's also the intrinsic designs. Tiny whimsical waves, curves and whirls are splattered throughout long tunnels, and in many places, layers of hardened sand have been stripped away revealing slashes of color. These are not dark caves, but are fantastic slot canyons where light radiates from above resulting in an eerie incandescence that might just be the most seductive place in all of nature.
Orderville Canyon at a Glance Photo Album: Orderville Canyon
pictures Trail Map: Orderville
Canyon Topo Map Day Hike : Yes Distance : 10-12 miles depending on where you are able to park. Average Hiking Time : 8 hours Equipment: Bring water and a means of water purification, high energy food, extra clothing, trekking poles, 50 feet of rope and wear shoes with sticky rubber soles and quick dry clothing. Sun Exposure : Full Sun in most places. Technical: short rappels and - or down-climbing. Trail Usage: 80 permits are given out daily, less use in the cold months of the year. Permits : 80 permits are given daily. However, if they are all taken, then you can begin at the Temple of Sinawava and travel to the first obstacle within Orderville Canyon without a permit, just as you can explore the lower part of the Zion Narrows without a permit. Call the Visitor Center for permit and weather conditions prior to your trip: 435-772-3256 Rating: 3B III Difficulty: This is a technical slot canyon. Be prepared to climb down obstacles into cold pools of water and use a rope as a hand-line or be able to use a rappel device to get down short obstacles. River hiking is required. Trailhead: East Zion off North Fork Road Trailend: Temple of Sinawava in Zion Canyon Trail Access: The dirt road to the trailhead is impassible if wet. Best Season: mid-June to mid-September when the water is warmer. 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. Slot canyons can change dramatically in a short time due to flash floods and water levels. These directions are only a general reference. Be prepared for variations in the canyon. Elevation: Off the Beaten Path: A Zion Classic, but only 50 users are allowed in the canyon daily
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 Orderville Canyon. Do not jump. Jumping in Zion's canyons have resulting in many broken bones.
Orderville Canyon is an adventure through a slot canyon, so spectacular that it rivals the grandest of them all - the Zion Narrows. At the start of the route, juniper and pine trees abruptly give way, as hikers drop into a brushy waterway and see their first glance of a waterfall, if it has been a wet year. Rock walls and waterfalls slowly start to populate the stream as towering vertical barricades enclose the canyon. A trip through this slot is not a meager undertaking. Several obstacles requiring competent down climbing skills, and rope work complicate the 10 to12 mile trek. This one-way 'hike' begins outside the eastern boundary of the park and ends at the Temple of Sinawava in Zion Canyon.
Shuttle Setup - Park one car at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and drive another car to the Orderville Canyon Trailhead. To get there go 2.4 miles past the park's east entrance, turning onto North Fork Road. Drive 5.2 miles to the Zion Ponderosa. Continue past the resort where the paved road gives way to a dirt road. The turn-off to the trailhead is 6.2 miles past the Ponderosa or 11.4 miles from Highway 9, on the left side of the road. From this point a 4WD is required even in dry conditions, otherwise park at the gate and walk. Past the gate the road can be washed out, slippery and difficult to navigate. Most 4WD's can go about 2-miles, leaving a half-mile of hiking to get to the riverbed where this route begins.
Orderville Canyon -Walk in the waterway for a little over a half-mile, then follow the beaten path, heading left on top of the ridge, then drop into the canyon. The descent is about 175 feet. If water is flowing, look upstream to see the waterfall. Some canyoneers opt to rappel down this usually dry fall. Just over one mile into the hike, the canyon walls rise and move closer together.
Landmarks in Orderville Canyon
Birch Hollow - 2 miles - left side
Walker Gulch - 2.5 miles - right side
Esplin Gulch - 3.5 miles - right side
Englestead Gulch - 4 miles - left side
Bulloch Gulch - 5.75 miles - right side
Zion Narrows - 7.5 miles
End of Riverside Walk - 9 miles
Temple of Sinawava - 10 miles
Initial Obstacle - The first obstacle you should run into will be a large boulder. Locate the bolt on the right side and secure your rope. Those with proficient skills can go through the opening in the center of the rock, and then "chimney" when near the bottom. To chimney put your back on one wall and feet on the opposite wall, then work yourself down. Never jump!
Beyond the first obstacle there are several down climbs or short rappels to navigate along the way to the intersection with the Zion Narrows, including the following:
Log ladder - There should be an anchor present for this 15 foot drop. Set up a rappel, hand-line or climb down.
Logs - Logs in the waterway tend to be very slippery, so take care when going down them. Hand-lines or rappels are safer than trying to otherwise navigate them.
Moki-Steps - Experienced climbers can make their way down the steps, but a rope is safer even for climbers, since this area tends to be mossy and slippery. Don't jump!
Optional Bottom Entry - To avoid obstacles, hikers can explore a portion of the canyon from the bottom. A permit is not needed to do this. Take the shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava and take the casual stroll to the end of the Riverside Walk, then hike up stream, turning where Orderville Canyon enters on the right. A posted sign prohibits going farther than the "moki steps.' You don't need a permit to begin at the Temple of Sinawava and travel to the first obstacle within Orderville Canyon, just as you can explore the lower part of the Zion Narrows without a permit.
Hiking in slot canyons presents a danger from flash flooding. Do not enter this or any canyon if it's raining. A storm far off can trigger a flash flood where you are. Be prepared for variations in the canyon since flash floods rearrange obstacles.
To waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land
instead of using it so as to increase it's usefulness, will result in undermining
in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand
down to them amplified and developed.