Canyoneering Route Description

Cherry Canyon - 3A II
Virgin River Gorge, Arizona / Utah.

Quick Facts

12-29-12, 6 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 7 hours) Pictures Icon

Time Required - 4 to 6 hours
Distance - 1.8 miles Total, 0.5 miles Technical
Rappels - 12 Rappels, Longest Rappel 85 feet.
Elevation Range - 2000 -  3225 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Gear Used for Canyon

Rappelling and anchor gear, Ropes and or pull cords for rappels up to 85 feet and 75 feet of 1 inch webbing for sling placement.

General Comments

Thanks to Rick Ianniello for exploring and sharing this and other canyons with the community.

To start and finish this route you will need to cross the Virgin River.  Most of the time the river is safe to cross But during spring run off and after storms the river may be too high to cross safely.  Please use good judgment and evaluate the water level before fully committing yourself to the route.  If you start to cross and don't feel safe, turn around and come back during lower flow.

To check flow in the Virgin river for this spot check out this link for Water Flow for Virgin River Near St. George UT. When crossing the river here at about 120 CFS it was no more than shin deep and moving slowly.

Driving Directions

To get to the Trailhead

From Mesquite Nevada drive north on I-15.  As you cross the border into Arizona the mileage signs on the side of the road reset to zero and begin counting up.  Just after the 12 mile sign you will begin entering the Virgin River Gorge.  As you drive through the gorge there are a few large pull outs where you can park your car off the highway.  Shortly after passing mile marker 14 the Virgin River will pass under the highway as you go over a short bridge (its a smooth transition and you may not notice the bridge if you aren't paying attention).  About 1,000 feet after crossing over the bridge there will be a turnout on the right where the highway starts a bend to the left.  Continue another 700 feet around the bend to the next pull out on the right and park here (pkCherry).  The pull out you want is the one at about 14.75 miles.  This parking area is huge and can fit many vehicles.

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 (pkCherry) walk to the south end of the large pull out where you will find the start of a use trail heading down to the Virgin River (wCherryRP-01).  Follow the use trail down by a culvert then scramble down the rubble down to the river.  Cross to the east side of the river (since Cherry is a dry canyon you might want to take your shoes off for the crossing so you don't have wet feet all day).  After crossing the Virgin River walk a few hundred feet south to the start of a large wash running northeast away from the river (wCherryRP-02).

Follow northeast up the wash about 500 feet to a barbed wire gate to cross through (wCherryRP-03).  Continue up the wash about 0.33 miles to the confluence of two drainages (wCherryRP-04). 

At the confluence (wCherryRP-04) travel east up the left fork for about 300 feet to the confluence of another confluence (wCherryRP-05).  There will be some light scrambling in a couple spots.

At this confluence (wCherryRP-05) travel south up the right fork.  About 0.25 miles up the drainage, the right (west) side will begin to get less steep and allow easier access up to the ridge to the right (west).  When this happens travel up out of the drainage on the right (west) side and gain access to a small ridgeline (wCherryRP-06).  The spot marked here is an approximate spot.

Once on the ridge (wCherryRP-06) travel about 0.2 miles up the slope and slightly traversing to travel south.  You will travel over a couple minor drainages as you go up  / traverse this slope.At the top of the slope you will be on another ridge (wCherryRP-07).

On the south side of the ridge (wCherryRP-07) is the Cherry Canyon Drainage.  Scramble down the steep slope down into Cherry Canyon (yCherryTp).

The Canyoneering / Technical Section:
After dropping into Cherry Canyon start west down the drainage.  Rap 1 is couple hundred feet down canyon with one short downclimb on the way there.

Rap 1 (dCherry-R1) is anchored from a small tree on the RDC side about 15 feet back from the drop.  The drop is about 30 feet and can be downclimbed if desired.

Shortly after rap 1 is a drop of about 20 feet that is easily bypassed on the LDC side by scrambling up a little then down a ramp of rock.  As you head down the ramp of rock you will be above the canyon floor.  Instead of downclimbing to the cany9on floor look for a small tree at the end of the ramp which will be used as the anchor for rap 2.

Rap 2 (dCherry-R2-3) is anchored LDC from a small tree LDC and drops about 80 feet from the side back to the canyon floor.

 Rap 3 is about 40 feet down canyon of rap 2.  Rap 3 is anchored from a rock embedded in the canyon floor and drops about 40 feet down slope.

Rap 4 (dCherry-R4) is a little over a hundred feet down canyon of rap 3.  Rap 4 is anchored RDC from a tree and drops about 85 feet down a mostly sloped smooth wall.

between raps 4 and 5 is one easy downclimb.

Rap 5 (dCherry-R5-6) is about 200 feet down canyon of rap 4.  Rap 5 is anchored LDC from a small arch in the canyon wall about waist high and drops about 30 feet but is 40 feet of rope travel back to the anchor.

Rap 6 about 20 feet down canyon of rap 5.  Rap 6 is anchored from a small tree in the water course and drops about 30 feet down a sloped wall.  Rap 6 can likely be downclimbed if you want to spice it up a bit. 

Just after rap 6 is a cactus garden then a downclimb of about 30 feet.  About 300 feet farther is another downclimb of about 30 feet.  At the bottom of this downclimb is the top of rap 7.

Rap 7 (dCherry-R7-8) can be anchored from a small tree or knot chalk in the RDC wall.  Rap 7 drops about 70 feet down a sloped wall.

Rap 8 is about 40 feet down canyon of rap 7.  Rap 8 is anchored RDC from a rock protrusion on the RDC side and drops about 35 feet down a slightly sloped wall.

Rap 9 (d-Cherry-R9) is about about 90 feet down canyon of rap 8.  Rap 9 is anchored from a small tree in the wash and drops about 35 feet.

A little over 100 feet down canyon of rap 9 the upper slot of Cherry Canyon ends (wCherryRP-08) where the canyon opens to a wide wash walking section.

About 450 feet farther the canyon begins to get narrow again (wCherryRP-09).  As the canyon starts to get narrow again there are a few spots to scramble down.  About 100 feet farther is a drop that is much larger than what you have been scrambling down and is rap 10.

Rap 10 (d-CherryR-10) is anchored from a choke stone placed down in a crack where you will need to downclimb a little to get to it.  Rap 10 drops about 35 feet from the choke stone but may be longer if another anchor option is chosen.

Rap 11 (d-Cherry-R11) is about 60 feet down canyon of rap 10.  Rap 11 is anchored from a large rock in the middle of the wash and drops about 50 feet down a sloped wall.

Rap 12 (d-Cherry-R12) is about 100 feet down canyon of rap 11.  Rap 12 can be bypassed by climbing up and around on the RDC side but there is one spot that feels very exposed.  Rap 12 is anchored from rocks and drops about 50 feet.

Just after rap 12 is a drop of about 35 feet down to the end of the canyon.  This drop is a walk around by going up and around on the LDC side to get to the bottom of the canyon (yCherryBt). 

The Exit:
From the end of Cherry Canyon (yCherryBt) turn right in the drainage Cherry dropped into and walk down the wash to the north.  Follow the drainage about 0.6 miles as it winds its way back down to the Virgin River.  Cross the river then walk upstream a couple hundred feet, scramble up the bank back to your vehicles (pkCherry). 

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.

Cherry Canyon (1) - Approach
  1. pkCherry          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.91567   W -113.83517        Elev: 2,020 Feet
    Park her to start the route for Cherry Canyon and others in the area. While traveling north on I-15, pass the 14 mile marker, then cross over a short bridge, the travel about 1700 feet to a large pull out on the right.
  2. wCherryRP-01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.91548   W -113.83513        Elev: NaN Feet
    At the south end of the turnout is the start of a use trail dropping down to the Virgin River near a culvert.
  3. wCherryRP-02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.91424   W -113.83489        Elev: 2,000 Feet
    After crossing the Virgin River start walking northeast up the wash.
  4. wCherryRP-03          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.91479   W -113.83324        Elev: NaN Feet
    Barbed wire gate to cross through.
  5. wCherryRP-04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.91333   W -113.82956        Elev: 2,200 Feet
    Confluence of drainages. If doing the approach to Cherry Canyon follow east up the left fork. When exiting Cherry Canyon follow down the wash to the west.
  6. wCherryRP-05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.91311   W -113.82861        Elev: NaN Feet
    Confluence of draianges. On the approach to Cherry Canyon travel south up the right fork.
  7. wCherryRP-06          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.90987   W -113.82695        Elev: NaN Feet
    Aproximate spot on a ridge after getting up out of the drainge below on the approach to Cherry Canyon.
  8. wCherryRP-07          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.90732   W -113.82745        Elev: 3,225 Feet

  9. yCherryTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.90688   W -113.82751        Elev: 3,170 Feet
    Top of Cherry Canyon. This is where you drop in from the ridge on the approch.
Cherry Canyon (2) - Canyon and Exit
  1. yCherryTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.90688   W -113.82751        Elev: 3,170 Feet
    Top of Cherry Canyon. This is where you drop in from the ridge on the approch.
  2. dCherry-R1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.90720   W -113.82813        Elev: 3,100 Feet
    Rap 1 - Cherry Canyon. Anchored from a small tree about 15 feet back from the drop and uses about 45 feet of rope for a 30 foot drop. This rappel is also downclimbable.
  3. dCherry-R2-3          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.90740   W -113.82838        Elev: NaN Feet
    Raps 2 and 3 - Chery Canyon. Rap 2 anchored LDC from a small tree on a ledge and drops about 80 feet back to the canyon floor. Rap 3
  4. dCherry-R4          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.90770   W -113.82873        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 4 - Cherry Canyon. Anchored RDC from a tree and drops about 85 feet down a mostly sloped wall.
  5. dCherry-R5-6          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.90825   W -113.82894        Elev: NaN Feet
    Raps 5 and 6 - Cherry Canyon. Rap 5 anchored LDC from small arch in the wall about waist high and drops about 30 feet with 40 feet of rope travel back to the anchor. Rap 6 about 20 feet down canyon of rap 5, anchored from a small tree and drops about 30 feet. Rap 6 is likely able to be downclimbed.
  6. dCherry-R7-8          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.90906   W -113.82914        Elev: NaN Feet
    Raps 7 and 8 - Cherry Canyon. Rap 7 can be anchored from a small tree or a knot chalk in the RDC wall and drops about 70 feet down a sloped wall. Rap 8 is about 40 feet down canyon of rap 7, is anchored from a rock prtrusion and drops about 35 feet down a slightly sloped wall.
  7. d-Cherry-R9          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.90960   W -113.82901        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 9 - Cherry Canyon. Rap 9 is about 90 feet down canyon of rap 8, is anchored from a small tree and drops about 35 feet.
  8. wCherryRP-08          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.91000   W -113.82906        Elev: 2,600 Feet
    Upper slot of Cherry Canyon ends where the canyon opens up to a wide open wash walk.
  9. wCherryRP-09          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.91117   W -113.82917        Elev: NaN Feet
    Cherry Canyon begins to get narrow again after a short wash walk.
  10. d-Cherry-R10          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.91138   W -113.82914        Elev: 2,420 Feet
    Rap 10 - Cherry Canyon. Anchored from a choke stone placed in a crack under foot on a downclimb. Rap 10 drops about 35 feet.
  11. d-Cherry-R11          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.91162   W -113.82928        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 11 - Cherry Canyon. Anchore from a large rock in the wash and drops about 50 feet.
  12. d-Cherry-R12          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.91183   W -113.82956        Elev: 2,414 Feet
    Rap 12 - Cherry Canyon. Rap 12 can be bypassed by climbing up and over on the RDC side but it has a spot that feels very exposed. Rap 12 is anchored from rocks in the wash and drops about 50 feet.
  13. yCherryBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.91220   W -113.82995        Elev: 2,265 Feet
    Bottom of Cherry Canyon. The final drop of 30 feet before reaching here is a walk around on the LDC side.
  14. wCherryRP-04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.91333   W -113.82956        Elev: 2,200 Feet
    Confluence of drainages. If doing the approach to Cherry Canyon follow east up the left fork. When exiting Cherry Canyon follow down the wash to the west.
  15. wCherryRP-02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.91424   W -113.83489        Elev: 2,000 Feet
    After crossing the Virgin River start walking northeast up the wash.
  16. pkCherry          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.91567   W -113.83517        Elev: 2,020 Feet
    Park her to start the route for Cherry Canyon and others in the area. While traveling north on I-15, pass the 14 mile marker, then cross over a short bridge, the travel about 1700 feet to a large pull out on the right.