Canyoneering Route Description

Zero Gravity Canyon - 3B II R
San Rafael Swell, Utah.

Quick Facts

09-16-12, 6 people, 2 Day (Travel time in route 2 hours) Pictures Icon

Time Required - 1.5 to 3.5 hours
Distance - 2.8 miles Total, 0.7 miles Technical
Rappels - 0 to 2 Rappels, Longest Rappel 0 to 20 feet.
Elevation Range - 4440 - 4800 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - High Clearance, 4WD  Permit Required - No

Gear Used for Canyon

Rappelling and anchor gear, Ropes and or pull cords for rappels up to 20 feet and 10 feet of 1 inch webbing for sling placement.  You will likely not need the rope or webbing but it is a good idea to have as there are a coup0le drops some may wish to rap instead of downclimb.

Wet suits recommended.  Even in warm days the short, deep, narrow slot with the keeper can have quite cold water.  The rest of the canyon will be fine with no wet suit on warm to hot days but you will be swimming a few times.

General Comments

Zero Gravity Canyon (generally referred to as Zero G) is a short fun canyon for a warm day to to go play in the water. The water in sections of canyon can be very cold making a wet suit a good idea. The stemming and galumphing is relatively easy and lends itself well as a good place to practice your techniques or simply warm up if you have not stemmed or galumphed in a while.

Zero G can be completed with no ropes but there are a couple drops that can optionally be set as rappels for those not comfortable with the downclimbs. Since ropes may or may not be needed, Zero Gravity Canyon is given a technical rating of 3.

One of the slots near the end of Zero G is about 250 feet long and is narrow enough that you will need to turn side ways in a few places to continue. Also in this 250 foot long slot is a keeper pothole that can be stemmed up out of with some effort. Fit people will likely be able to stem up out of the pothole with moderate effort. Always be prepared to do a pack toss to get out of the pothole if you find it needed. This keeper pothole is why Zero G is given an R for risk factor in technical difficulty.

Larger people may have a harder time getting through the final slot of Zero G. The slot to downclimb through out of the last slot is very narrow but can be done by larger people going out over a choke stone with more exposure.

On the drive in to the trailhead a 4wd, high clearance vehicle recommended. Crossing the wash on the way out to the start of the route can get rough and washed out.

Driving Directions

To get to the Trailhead

From the junction of I-70 and highway 24 drive south on highway 24 about 13 miles to a dirt road on the (right) west side of the road by mile marker 147.

Note:
Highway 24 meets I-70 in two places.  The junction referred to here is the junction about 11 miles west of Green River Utah.

Drive about 1.5 miles west on the dirt road to where it crosses a wash (Zero-G_DP01).  This wash crossing can get rough at times where high clearance and 4wd is recommended.

A few hundred feet after crossing the wash is a fork (Zero-G_DP02).  Stay right at a fork in the road.

About 0.2 miles farther the roads rejoin (Zero-G_DP03).  Continue northwest about 0.65 miles to a large dirt pull out on the left (west) side.

The dirt pull out (pkZero-G) is where you park to start the route. 

To leave the Exit Vehicle / Escape Pod

No exit vehicle is needed.  This is done as a loop / out and back route.

Maps - - - - GPS coordinate information listed at the bottom of this route description.

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

Map Link Icon
Click the links for maps of the route.
Map of the drive into the route.
Map of the entire route.
Map of the technical section.

Details

The Approach:
From the parking spot (pkZero-G) travel west on a not well used dirt road about 500 feet to where the road makes a sharp left bend just before getting to a side drainage leading north down into the wide wash you are rim walking along.

Note:
For the overall route, you will only follow this dirt road a short distance then begin walking open desert roughly following the rim of the large wash, which is the Zero G drainage to the right (north) for about 1.3 miles to where you can drop into Zero G. Descending Zero G Canyon will then return to here by walking down the wash.

Where the road makes the left (Zero-G_01) leave the road and continue west crossing over the side drainage. Then continue west and roughly follow the rim of the deep wash to the right (north) about 0.7 miles to where the dirt ends.

As the dirt ends (Zero-G_02) out to a point, walk down the short dirt slope down to rolling slickrock below. Continue west on rolling slick rock about 900 feet roughly following the rim to where you will need to go back up a little onto dirt again.

As the slickrock ends and you get to dirt again (Zero-G_03) continue west about 400 feet (still roughly following the rim) to the bottom of a steeper dirt slope and where a ravine / cross joint drops down into Zero G.

From the base of the steeper dirt slope (Zero-G_04) a use trail forms.  Follow the use trail west as it follows the lower edge of a dirt slope just above the dirt and slickrock boundary.  Follow the use trail west about 900 feet to where the use trail ends over looking the side of a large ravine / cross joint leading down into Zero G.

From the side of the large ravine (Zero-G_05) Route find your way northish about 300 feet down the dirt and rock slopes into Zero G (yZero-G_Tp). 

The Canyoneering / Technical Section:
Once down in Zero G (yZero-G_Tp) you are in a wide open fork on the canyon. Turn right and travel east down Zero G entering a slot abut 800 feet long before reaching a very brief open spot. This first slot has few pools that will be chest deep to full swims and involves a fair amount of easy galumphing / stemming.

Note:
Up the fork to the north is walking in wide canyon. Up the fork the west is a narrow section about 300 feet long that you can scramble up then is also walking in wide canyon. In the 300 fool long narrow section is two sets of potholes that are connected under arches between them. You can scramble around the pot holes to continue up to the upper end of the slot if desired.

From the brief open spot (Zero-G_06) the start of a second slot. This second slot is about 1300 feet long with sections of water that will likely be waist to chest deep. This slot has a significant amount of narrow walls allowing you to travel on the ground / water or practice stemming / galumphing a little ways up off the ground.

At the end of a narrow section (Zero-G_07) continue down canyon about 800 feet to the next deep narrow section. In the 800 feet between narrows is wide V slot canyon with two long swims if full.

The next slot (Zero-G_08 ) is a 250 long deep narrow slot with a keeper pothole a short distance into the slot. Down to the keeper is deep narrow canyon with scenic twisted walls and you may need to turn side ways in a few spots.

A short distance into the slot is the keeper pothole (Zero-G_09Kepr). Downclimb / stem into the pothole then stem up about 10 feet out of the pothole reaching from side to side. Fit people will likely be able to stem up out of the pothole with moderate effort. Always be prepared to do a pack toss to get out of the pothole if you find it needed.

On the other side of the pothole is a drop of 8 to 10 feet that can be downclimbed or optionally set as a rappel from a choke stone.

After the drop the slot continues with long narrow swims in sculpted walls before walking out into a brief open spot with sand (Zero-G_10).

From the short open sand area (Zero-G_10)  starts the final slot of Zero G that is about 200 feet long. Starting into this final slot is narrow and the bottom quickly drops out. As the bottom drops out you can easily downclimb about 15 feet by pressing between the walls and sliding down.

About 40 feet down canyon the skinny slot drops again under a large choke stone. Downclimb under the choke stone down the skinny crack pressing between the walls and slithering down where your body fits. At the bottom is a large pool to swim in wide canyon to a sandy exit.

Note:
Larger people will need to stem out over thee last large choke stone to a more exposed position to downclimb through the final drop.

After the final exit slot and pool (yZero-G_Bt) you are done with the technical portion where it opens up to wide wash walking after exiting the final slot and swimming the pool at the bottom.

The Exit:
From the end of the canyon (yZero-G_Bt) walk down the wash about 0.27 miles to a large slickrock patio (Zero-G_11) in the wash. 

Walk about 0.3 miles to where the RDC side gets shallow (Zero-G_12) scramble up the short side ravine up to the road then walk back to the cars (pkZero-G). 

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.

Zero G (1) - Drive in to Trailhead
  1. exZero-G          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.76040   W -110.44816        Elev: NaN Feet
    Exit off of highway 24 to a dirt road on the west side of th road by mile marker 147.
  2. Zero-G_DP01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.76579   W -110.47582        Elev: NaN Feet
    Crossing a wash. 4wd, clearance recomended.
  3. Zero-G_DP02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.76633   W -110.47669        Elev: NaN Feet
    Stay right at a fork in the road.
  4. Zero-G_DP03          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.76658   W -110.47870        Elev: NaN Feet
    Roads join back together.
  5. pkZero-G          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.77532   W -110.48327        Elev: 4,430 Feet
    Large turn out on the left (west) side of the road. Park here to start Zero G. To go to Zero G Canyon, travel west on a not well used dirt road about 500 feet to where the road makes a sharp left bend just before getting to a side drainage leading north down into the wide wash you are rim walking along. Note: For the overall route, you will only follow this dirt road a short distance then begin walking open desert roughly following the rim of the large wash, which is the Zero G drainage to the right (north) for about 1.3 miles to where you can drop into Zero G. Descending Zero G Canyon will then return to here by walking down the wash.
Zero G (2) - Approach
  1. pkZero-G          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.77532   W -110.48327        Elev: 4,430 Feet
    Large turn out on the left (west) side of the road. Park here to start Zero G. To go to Zero G Canyon, travel west on a not well used dirt road about 500 feet to where the road makes a sharp left bend just before getting to a side drainage leading north down into the wide wash you are rim walking along. Note: For the overall route, you will only follow this dirt road a short distance then begin walking open desert roughly following the rim of the large wash, which is the Zero G drainage to the right (north) for about 1.3 miles to where you can drop into Zero G. Descending Zero G Canyon will then return to here by walking down the wash.
  2. Zero-G_01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.77431   W -110.48507        Elev: NaN Feet
    The road from the car park makes a left turn here to go around a side drainage leading down into the wide wash below. To continue to Zero G, leave the road and continue west crossing over the side drainage. Then continue west and roughly follow the rim of the deep wash to the right (north) about 0.7 miles to where the dirt ends. On the exit scramble up out of the large wash of Lower Zero G up to here then walk the road back to the cars.
  3. Zero-G_02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.77202   W -110.49738        Elev: 4,700 Feet
    Route through open desert dirt along the rim gets out to the end of the dirt point. Walk down the short dirt slope down to rolling slickrock below. Continue west on rolling slick rock about 900 feet roughly following the rim to where you will need to go back up a little onto dirt again.
  4. Zero-G_04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.77105   W -110.50137        Elev: NaN Feet
    A use trail forms near the base of a steeper dirt slope and where a ravine / cross joint drops into Zero G. Follow the use trail west as it follows the lower edge of a dirt slope just above the dirt and slickrock boundary. Follow the use trail west about 900 feet to where the use trail ends over looking the side of a large ravine / cross joint leading down into Zero G.
  5. Zero-G_05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.76978   W -110.50376        Elev: 4,800 Feet
    Use trail ends over looking the side of a large ravine / cross joint leading down into Zero G. Route find your way northish about 300 feet down the dirt and rock slopes into Zero G.
  6. yZero-G_Tp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.77050   W -110.50470        Elev: 4,670 Feet
    Top of Zero G Canyon. This is at a wide open fork on the canyon. Turn right and travel east down Zero G entering a slot abut 800 feet long before reaching a very brief open spot. This first slot has few pools that will be chest deep to full swims and involves a fair amount of easy galumphing / stemming. Note: Up the fork to the north is walking in wide canyon. Up the fork the west is a narrow section about 300 feet long that you can scramble up then is also walking in wide canyon. In the 300 fool long narrow section is two sets of potholes that are connected under arches between them. You can scramble around the pot holes to continue up to the upper end of the slot if desired.
Zero G (3) - Canyon and Exit
  1. yZero-G_Tp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.77050   W -110.50470        Elev: 4,670 Feet
    Top of Zero G Canyon. This is at a wide open fork on the canyon. Turn right and travel east down Zero G entering a slot abut 800 feet long before reaching a very brief open spot. This first slot has few pools that will be chest deep to full swims and involves a fair amount of easy galumphing / stemming. Note: Up the fork to the north is walking in wide canyon. Up the fork the west is a narrow section about 300 feet long that you can scramble up then is also walking in wide canyon. In the 300 fool long narrow section is two sets of potholes that are connected under arches between them. You can scramble around the pot holes to continue up to the upper end of the slot if desired.
  2. Zero-G_06          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.77209   W -110.50160        Elev: NaN Feet
    Start of the second slot just after a brief open spot. This second slot is about 1300 feet long with sections of water that will likely be waist to chest deep. This slot has a significant amount of narrow walls allowing you to travel on the ground / water or practice stemming / galumphing a little ways up off the ground.
  3. Zero-G_07          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.77220   W -110.49825        Elev: NaN Feet
    End of a narrow section. Continue down canyon about 800 feet to the next deep narrow section. In the 800 feet between narrows is wide V slot canyon with two long swims if full.
  4. Zero-G_08          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.77312   W -110.49608        Elev: NaN Feet
    Start of a 250 long deep narrow slot with a keeper pothole a short distance into the slot. Down to the keeper is deep narrow canyon with scenic twisted walls and you may need to turn side ways in a few spots.
  5. Zero-G_09Kepr          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.77314   W -110.49579        Elev: NaN Feet
    Keeper pothole in the deep narrow slot. Downclimb / stem into the pothole then stem up about 10 feet out of the pothole reaching from side to side. Fit people will likely be able to stem up out of the pothole with moderate effort. Always be prepared to do a pack toss to get out of the pothole if you find it needed. On the other side of the pothole is a drop of 8 to 10 feet that can be downclimbed or optionally set as a rappel from a choke stone. After the drop the slot continues with long narrow swims in sculpted walls before walking out into a brief open spot with sand.
  6. Zero-G_10          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.77330   W -110.49521        Elev: NaN Feet
    Keeper slot ends by walking out a sandy exit after a long swim to a brief open spot. From here starts the final slot of Zero G that is about 200 feet long. Starting into this final slot is narrow and the bottom quickly drops out. As the bottom drops out you can easily downclimb about 15 feet by pressing between the walls and sliding down. About 40 feet down canyon the skinny slot drops again under a large choke stone. Downclimb under the chokestone down the skinny crack pressing between the walls and slithering down where your body fits. At the bottom is a large pool to swim in wide canyon to a sandy exit. Note: Larger people will need to stem out over thee last large choke stone to a more exposed position to downclimb through the final drop.
  7. yZero-G_Bt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.77382   W -110.49454        Elev: 4,540 Feet
    Bottom of Zero G where it opens up to wide wash walking after exiting the final slot and swimming the pool at the bottom.
  8. Zero-G_11          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.77437   W -110.48996        Elev: NaN Feet
    Large slickrock patio in the wash.
  9. Zero-G_12          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.77436   W -110.48534        Elev: NaN Feet
    When the RDC side gets shallow scramble up the short side ravine up to the road then walk back to the cars.
  10. pkZero-G          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 38.77532   W -110.48327        Elev: 4,430 Feet
    Large turn out on the left (west) side of the road. Park here to start Zero G. To go to Zero G Canyon, travel west on a not well used dirt road about 500 feet to where the road makes a sharp left bend just before getting to a side drainage leading north down into the wide wash you are rim walking along. Note: For the overall route, you will only follow this dirt road a short distance then begin walking open desert roughly following the rim of the large wash, which is the Zero G drainage to the right (north) for about 1.3 miles to where you can drop into Zero G. Descending Zero G Canyon will then return to here by walking down the wash.