Canyoneering Route Description

Ponderosa Canyon - 3A(B) I
North Wash, Utah

Quick Facts

03-23-19, 6 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 7 hours) Pictures Icon time includes both Who Knew and Ponderosa Canyons.

Time Required - 2 to 3 hours
Distance - 1.2 miles Total, 0.2 miles Technical
Rappels - 1 Rappels, Longest Rappel 150 feet.  Need 220ft rope or 70ft and 150ft ropes tied together due to long anchor set-back.
Elevation Range - 4420 - 4710 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Gear Used for Canyon

Rappelling and anchor gear, Ropes and or pull cords for rappels up to 220 feet and 40 feet of 1 inch webbing for sling placement. 

The longest rap uses about 150 feet of rope but the anchor is set-back about 70 feet using a total of about 220 feet of rope.  To keep from hauling a long rope, we used a 70 foot rope extended from the anchor to the top of the drop then tied a 150 foot rope to the 70 foot rope to rappel on.  Keep in mind you will still need a pull cord of at least 220 feet.

Optionally you could not use a pull cord at all and ask a friend to stay at the top, release the rope when everyone else is down then rim walk the LDC (east) side of the canyon and scramble down into the canyon below rap 1.

Wetsuits may be a good idea if there has been recent rains and cool weather. If dry conditions and warmer weather, wetsuits should be left at the car. Most water is avoidable but there is a chance you will need to or accidentally slip into water.

General Comments

Friends told me they went to check out Ponderosa Canyon and thought it was more enjoyable than satellite imagery suggested it would be.  Ponderosa is a short canyon (some may call it a micro canyon) good for killing some time, but I would not rate this a destination route.  If you are looking for more excitement and still want a short route in the same area, the nearby Bushwax Canyon would be a better choice.

The pictures from 2019 are from a route combining both Who Knew and Ponderosa Canyons following a route between the two not described in either of the routes here. The route between the two was from the bottom of Who Knew, we went down Butler Canyon about half mile then found a weakness to scramble up out of Butler and find our way to the head of Ponderosa. If you also want to combine the routes, a better and shorter way to do this would be to follow the exit for Who Knew up to the top of Sandthrax Canyon, then route find from the top of Sandthrax Canyon about 0.5 miles south to the top of Ponderosa Canyon.

Driving Directions

To get to the Trailhead

From the junction of highways 276 and 95, travel south east on 95 for 2.6 miles to where the bottom of Ponderosa Canyon meets the road (pkPonderosa) on the left (north).  There is no obvious parking spot.  Park anywhere room allows.

To leave the Exit Vehicle / Escape Pod

No exit vehicle is needed.  This is done as a loop route.

Maps

GPS coordinate information listed at the bottom.  For information about waypoint naming and map symbols, refer to the Glossary page.

Map Link Icon
Click the links for maps of the route.
Map of the entire route.

Details

The Approach:
From the parking spot (pkPonderosa) walk east into Ponderosa Canyon a little over 700 feet to a very tall large Ponderosa tree.

From the ledges going up the south side next to a large ponderosa tree (Ponderosa01) scramble up the ledges, veer right (southwest) and scramble up the more shallow terrain.

Example Pic.

After scrambling up the last couple short ledges (Ponderosa02), turn sharp left and route find northeast roughly following the rim of Ponderosa Canyon staying just below a few small prominent peaks.

Example Pic.

About 1000 feet farther is a small saddle / pass (Ponderosa03) where you can see a large sandy area ahead to the east. Continue east contouring around to the large sandy area.

From this large sandy spot (Ponderosa04) continue east up steep slickrock for about 400 feet then contour left (west) around a small slickrock hill and over to the head of the canyon (yPonderosaTp). 

The Canyoneering / Technical Section:
From the top of Ponderosa Canyon (yPonderosaTp) walk a short distance to the top of rap 1.

Rap 1 (dPonderosaR1) anchored using a bush / small tree about 70 feet back then drops another 150 feet down a series of drops to a large open section of canyon using a total of about 220 feet of rope. Some portions of the rappel are downclimable and some are not. After the first 20 feet is a pothole, which can hold water, that tall people can bridge / stem over then assist others over. The final 50ish feet are vertical and partially free hanging.

Note: To keep from carrying a long rope, we used a 70 foot rope from the anchor to the top of the drop then tied on a 150 foot rope for the remainder of the rappel.

Optionally you could not use a pull cord at all and ask a friend to stay at the top, release the rope when everyone else is down then rim walk the LDC (east) side of the canyon and scramble down into the canyon below rap 1.

Shortly after rap 1 is the start of (Ponderosa05) the 400 foot long final slot with a few easy downclimbs of about 8 feet each, a short section of easy galumphing and a final drop of about 6 feet. The final drop can be jumped to the side to avoid water at the bottom (yPonderosaBt).

The Exit:
From the end of the final slot (yPonderosaBt) walk wide heavily vegetated wash about 0.25 miles back to the road (pkPonderosa). There are some use trails that will help avoid some of the vegetation.

GPS Waypoint Information

GPX Files Available for DOWNLOAD.
Downloadable GPX files for many of the canyons listed here are now available at the BG-Gear Store.  In addition to the waypoints, the GPX files also offer routes and tracks for the canyon.  Over time more GPX files will be added.

If you want to avoid manually adding waypoints into your GPS or mapping software, want the additional routes and tracks or simply want to support the efforts put into BluuGnome, head over to the BG-Gear Store and grab the files that interest you.

Elevations are approximate.  Waypoints with no elevation data will display NaN in place of the elevation.

For information about my waypoint naming convention and map symbols, refer to the Glossary page.

Notes for GPS information:
BEFORE
entering coordinates from this website, please ensure your system (GPS or mapping software) is set to the same datum used here.  Waypoint coordinates are listed with WGS84 datum and in Lat/Lon hddd.ddddd° format.  Entering coordinate information with inconsistent datum's can result in the waypoints being off by hundreds of feet.  It is important to keep this in mind when entering waypoints from any source.

Ponderosa (1) - Approach
  1. pkPonderosa          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.01270   W -110.52775        Elev: 4,420 Feet
    Park along side the road where room allows near the bottom of Ponderosa Canyon. There is no obvious parking spot. Park anywhere room allows. To go to Ponderosa Canyon walk east into Ponderosa Canyon a little over 700 feet to a very tall large Ponderosa tree.
  2. Ponderosa01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.01290   W -110.52476        Elev: NaN Feet
    Ledges going up the south side next to a large ponderosa tree. To go to the top of Ponderosa Canyon scramble up the ledges, veer right (southwest) and scramble up the more shallow terrain.
  3. Ponderosa02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.01239   W -110.52495        Elev: NaN Feet
    After scrambling up the last couple short ledges, turn sharp left and route find northeast roughly following the rim of Ponderosa Canyon staying just below a few small prominent peaks.
  4. Ponderosa03          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.01366   W -110.52209        Elev: NaN Feet
    Small saddle / pass where you can see a large sandy area ahead to the east. Continue east contouring around to the large sandy area.
  5. Ponderosa04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.01444   W -110.52174        Elev: NaN Feet
    From this large sandy spot continue east up steep slickrock for about 400 feet then contour left (west) around a small slickrock hill and over to the head of the canyon.
  6. yPonderosaTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.01607   W -110.52190        Elev: 4,710 Feet
    Top of Ponderosa Canyon where deep slot forms running down southwest.
Ponderosa (2) - Canyon and Exit
  1. yPonderosaTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.01607   W -110.52190        Elev: 4,710 Feet
    Top of Ponderosa Canyon where deep slot forms running down southwest.
  2. dPonderosaR1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.01598   W -110.52191        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 1 - Ponderosa Canyon. Anchored using a bush / small tree about 70 feet back then drops another 150 feet down a series of drops to a large open section of canyon using a total of about 220 feet of rope. Some portions of the rappel are downclimable and some are not. After the first 20 feet is a pothole, which can hold water, that tall people can bridge / stem over then assist others over. The final 50ish feet are vertical and partially free hanging. Note: To keep from hauling a long rope, we used a 70 foot rope extended from the anchor to the top of the drop then tied a 150 foot rope to the 70 foot rope to rappel on. Keep in mind you will still need a pull cord of at least 220 feet. Optionally you could not use a pull cord at all and ask a friend to stay at the top, release the rope when everyone else is down then rim walk the LDC (east) side of the canyon and scramble down into the canyon below rap 1.
  3. Ponderosa05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.01497   W -110.52236        Elev: NaN Feet
    Start of the 400 foot long final slot with a few easy downclimbs of about 8 feet each, a short section of easy galumphing and a final drop of about 6 feet. The final drop can be jumped to the side to avoid water at the bottom .
  4. yPonderosaBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.01405   W -110.52341        Elev: 4,480 Feet
    Bottom of Ponderosa Canyon. Walk wide heavily vegetated wash about 0.25 miles back to the road. There are some use trails that will help avoid some of the vegetation.
  5. pkPonderosa          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.01270   W -110.52775        Elev: 4,420 Feet
    Park along side the road where room allows near the bottom of Ponderosa Canyon. There is no obvious parking spot. Park anywhere room allows. To go to Ponderosa Canyon walk east into Ponderosa Canyon a little over 700 feet to a very tall large Ponderosa tree.