Canyoneering Route Description

Pine Creek Canyon - 3B II
Zion National Park, Utah.

Quick Facts

06-01-08, 6 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 4.4 hours) Pictures Icon
08-02-09, 4 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 4.25 hours) Pictures Icon
08-30-09, 5 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 5.5 hours)
07-10-11, 4 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 4.5 hours)
09-25-11, 6 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 4.5 hours)
03-31-13, 2 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 2.75 hours)
02-01-14, 3 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 4 hours) - Snow and light Ice
11-23-14, 5 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 4.8 hours)
07-17-21, 8 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 5 hours)

Time Required - 4 to 6 hours
Distance - 1.4 miles Total, 0.4 miles Technical
Rappels - 6 to 8 Rappels, Longest Rappel 100 feet (a couple raps are sometimes downclimbs depending on current debris)
Elevation Range - 5160 - 4310 Feet
Shuttle Required -Yes 3 Miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - Yes

Gear Used for Canyon

Rappelling and anchor gear, Ropes and or pull cords for rappels up to 100 feet and 30 feet of 1 inch webbing for sling placement.  Wet suits recommended year round.  3mm minimum for hot weather and 5mm for moderate weather.  The canyon can be cold do not be tempted to go without a wetsuit. swiss replica watches

General Comments

Although Pine Creek is often recommended as a beginner canyon, there should be at least one experienced person in the group.  The cathedral rap and the final rap can be a little precarious to safely get to and set up.  An experienced team mate can help keep things safer.

The technical portion of this canyon, while short, is awesome in terms of scenic beauty and worth occasionally taking the time to stop and take it all in.

After the last rap is a good time to take off wetsuits prepare for the exit hike down the watercourse which will involve a fair amount of boulder hopping and finding your way around pools.  Depending on the mood of the group or daytime temps you may enjoy a cooling dip into a pool or two.

Note: The final rap is about 100 feet but in 2009 rock-fall filled in the bottom reducing the rap to 85 feet.  Over the years the rock-fall has washed out and the rappel is again 100 feet.

Note: A project to update some of the anchors in Zion Canyons has made its way to Pine Creek.  This route description has been updated to reflect changes as of July 2021.  The most notable change is that rap 1 used to be a 2 stage rappel and is now broken up into 2 rappels to help reduce common rope pull issues.

Note: A couple of the rappels are not always rappels.  Large boulders wedged between the walls can sometimes be downclimbed under or if debris has filled in you will need to scramble up onto the boulders the rappel down. If debris is washed out you may scramble under the boulders and never notice anchors above.  Your rap count may vary so pay attention to rappel descriptions if you get confused on where you are.
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Driving Directions

To get to the Trailhead

From the south entrance to Zion National Park, drive highway 9 into the park for about 6.2 miles to a parking area by the bottom of Shelf Canyon (pkShelfCyn) that is just past the top end of the long tunnel and about 600 feet north of the Canyon Overlook Trailhead.

To leave the Exit Vehicle / Escape Pod

You can park the exit vehicle on the way up to the entry parking spot to prevent the need to backtrack.  From the south entrance to Zion National Park, drive highway 9 into the park for about 3.2 miles to a wide parking spot (pkPineCreekBT ) on the left side of the road at the apex of the 2nd tight right-hand bend / switchback in the road.

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.
Map of the technical section.

Details

The Approach:
From the parking area at the bottom of Shelf Canyon (pkShelfCyn) walk about 600 feet south to a parking area on the left (east) near the top of the tunnel. Simply drop into Pine Creek Canyon right next to the bridge by the road.

From that parking lot (tPineCreek) follow down a worn trail down into Pine Creek then turn right and walk west down Pine Creek toward the bridge.

Walk down Pine Creek about 400 feet to a downclimb (yPineCreekTp).

The Canyon / Technical Section:
The top of the technical section (yPineCreekTp) is a downclimb of about 10 feet to a pothole that if water levels are high will be a swimmer for a few feet before becoming more shallow.  At the other end of the pothole scramble up the slickrock nose on the RDC side to get to the first rappel.

Rap 1 (dPineCreekR1-2) 25 feet rope travel. Anchored from two glue-in anchors RDC up on a slickrock nose and drops about 25 feet then a short walk over to the top of the next rap.
Rap 2 - 20 feet rope travel. Anchored from two glue-in anchors RDC about head high and drops about 20 feet to what is usually long pool with about a 30 foot swim.

About 100 feet down canyon is the next rap.

Rap 3 (dPineCreekR3) 15 feet rope travel. Anchored RDC from two bolted hangers above a large boulder wedged between the canyon walls and drops about 15 feet.

Note: This rappel is not always a rappel. A large boulder wedged between the walls can sometimes be downclimbed under or if debris has filled in you will need to scramble up onto the boulder and rappel down. If the debris is washed out enough you may scramble under this boulder and never notice the bolted hangers above.

Shortly down canyon is the next rap.

Rap 4 (dPineCreekR4-5) 15 feet rope travel. Anchored from a log and drops about 15 feet with the next rap just down canyon.

Rap 5 - 50 feet rope travel. Anchored from glue-in anchors on the LDC side about head high and drops about 50 feet into a huge chamber with a pool at the bottom that is generally a swimmer. This rappel is known as the cathedral rappel and is well worth taking time to enjoy. This rap looks just as good from the bottom looking up but the depth and lack of sunlight makes this pool cold and difficult to get good pictures.

The next 1000 feet of super scenic canyon before reaching the next rappel is deep and narrow with a couple of 6 to 8 foot downclimbs and a couple sections with long swims or wades depending on water depth.

Rap 6 (dPineCreekR6) 25 feet rope travel. Anchored RDC from two bolted hangers above a large boulder and drops about 25 feet.

Note: This rappel is not always a rappel. A large boulder wedged between the walls can sometimes be downclimbed under or if debris has filled in you will need to scramble up onto the boulder and rappel down. If the debris is washed out enough you may scramble under this boulder and never notice the bolted hangers above.

A few hundred feet farther the canyon widens to a boulder debris area where you can find the next rappel on the RDC side on a ledge near the end of the boulder debris.

Rap 7 (dPineCreekR7) 55 feet rope travel. Anchored RDC out on a ledge from a mix or bolted hangers and glue-in anchors and drops about 45 feet down a sloped wall. Near the bottom of the rappel is a short sloped downclimb then a boulder debris field before reaching the next rap a few hundred feet down canyon.

Rap 8 (dPineCreekR8) 100 feet rope travel. Anchored from 2 large glue-in anchors and drops 100 feet into a huge rubble-filled chamber.
To find these anchors, when you get to the boulder at the top of the drop scramble up on the LDC side then go down canyon about 40 feet to find a coule of large glue-in anchors located over a void. You will need to lean out over the void to rig the rope to the anchor. BE SURE TO provide the first person a safety rope as they lean out and rig the anchor.

Note:   Multiple options for the final rap.
Option 1 - Go directly down the watercourse on the RDC side of a boulder using chockstones anchors (not recommended).
Option 2 - Go almost directly down the water course on the LDC side of a boulder using 2 bolted hangers on the top of the boulder. This option drops you into a chamber where you will then need to downclimb / slide down a final ledge of about 20 feet. The added downclimb for this option is scenic and mildly challenging.
Option 3 (described above) - When you get to the boulder at the top of the drop scramble up on the LDC side then go down canyon about 40 feet to find a coule of large glue-in anchors located over a void. Rappelling from here drops you downcanyon of the final downclimb into a huge rubble-filled chamber.

After the final rap walk about 200 feet down canyon to where the canyon opens up wider (yPineCreekBt) and you have a view over the boulder hopping mess ahead of you.

The Exit:
From the bottom of the canyon (yPineCreekBt) continue down canyon with a mix or walking and a lot of boulder hopping.  There will be a few pools to bypass or find your way around.  In the warm summer months the pools may be a welcome cooling break or cool faster path down canyon.

About 0.5 miles down canyon of the end of the canyon defined use trails begin to form (PineCreek01).

About 0.3 miles farther is the trail (PineCreek2 ) up out of the wash up to the exit parking area..  If you keep a close eye on the LDC (south) side you will be able to see the short rock wall on the rim and a use trail leading up to it.  Go up the steep but very well worn trail up to the parking area and to your vehicle (pkPineCreekBT).

GPS Waypoint Information

Downloadable GPX files available at BG-Gear Store (easier than manual entry and a great way to support Bluugnome).
Waypoint naming convention and map symbol information can be found on the Glossary page.  Elevations are approximate.
BEFORE
manually entering coordinates set your system to WGS84 datum and Lat/Lon hddd.ddddd° coordinate format
Inconsistent datum's and coordinate formats will result in location errors.

Click to show / expand the list of waypoints below........
Pine Creek (2) - Approach and The Canyon
  1. pkShelfCyn          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.21464   W -112.93977        Elev: 5,160 Feet
    Parking lot near the lower end of Shelf Canyon about 600 feet north of the Canyon Overlook Trailhead.
  2. tPineCreek          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.21310   W -112.94046        Elev: 5,140 Feet
    Parking area across the road from the Canyon Overlook Trail. To start Pine Creek follow down a worn trail down into Pine Creek then turn right and walk west down Pine Creek toward the bridge. To go to Gifford Wash follow down a worn trail down into Pine Creek then turn left and walk east up Pine Creek away from the bridge. Optionally to avoid a pool in pine creek you could scramble up the slickrock to the east of the restrooms then turn right and scramble down slickrock into Pine Creek.
  3. yPineCreekTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.21313   W -112.94186        Elev: NaN Feet
    The top of the technical section with a downclimb of about 10 feet to a pothole that if water levels are high will be a swimmer for a few feet before becoming more shallow. At the other end of the pothole scramble up the slickrock nose on the RDC side to get to the first rappel. Note: There are multiple anchors about 20 or 30 feet back from the down climb before rap 1.  These anchors have been installed by and are occasionally used by SAR. These are not the anchors for rap 1.
  4. dPineCreekR1-2          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.21315   W -112.94208        Elev: 5,120 Feet
    Raps 1 and 2 - Pine Creek. Rap 1 (25 feet rope travel) anchored from two glue-in anchors RDC up on a slickrock nose and drops about 25 feet then a short walk over to the top of the next rap. Rap 2 (20 feet rope travel) anchored from two glue-in anchors RDC about head high and drops about 20 feet to what is usually long pool with about a 30 foot swim.
  5. dPineCreekR3          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.21323   W -112.94242        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 3 - Pine Creek (15 feet rope travel). Anchored RDC from two bolted hangers above a large boulder wedged between the canyon walls and drops about 15 feet. Note: This rappel is not always a rappel. A large boulder wedged between the walls can sometimes be downclimbed under or if debris has filled in you will need to scramble up onto the boulder and rappel down. If the debris is washed out enough you may scramble under this boulder and never notice the bolted hangers above.
  6. dPineCreekR4-5          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.21321   W -112.94253        Elev: NaN Feet
    Raps 4 and 5 - Pine Creek. Rap 4 (15 feet rope travel). Anchored from a log and drops about 15 feet with the next rap just down canyon. Rap 5 (50 feet rope travel). Anchored from glue-in anchors on the LDC side about head high and drops about 50 feet into a huge chamber with a pool at the bottom that is generally a swimmer. This rappel is known as the cathedral rappel and is well worth taking time to enjoy. This rap looks just as good from the bottom looking up but the depth and lack of sunlight makes this pool cold and difficult to get good pictures. The next 1000 feet of super scenic canyon before reaching the next rappel is deep and narrow with a couple of 6 to 8 foot downclimbs and a couple sections with long swims or wades depending on water depth.
  7. dPineCreekR6          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.21175   W -112.94391        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 6 - Pine Creek (25 feet rope travel). Anchored RDC from two bolted hangers above a large boulder and drops about 25 feet. Note: This rappel is not always a rappel. A large boulder wedged between the walls can sometimes be downclimbed under or if debris has filled in you will need to scramble up onto the boulder and rappel down. If the debris is washed out enough you may scramble under this boulder and never notice the bolted hangers above. A few hundred feet farther the canyon widens to a boulder debris area where you can find the next rappel on the RDC side on a ledge near the end of the boulder debris.
  8. dPineCreekR7          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.21146   W -112.94511        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 7- Pine Creek (55 feet rope travel). Anchored RDC out on a ledge from a mix or bolted hangers and glue-in anchors and drops about 45 feet down a sloped wall. Near the bottom of the rappel is a short sloped downclimb then a boulder debris field before reaching the next rap a few hundred feet down canyon.
  9. dPineCreekR8          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.21145   W -112.94550        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 8 - Pine Creek (100 feet rope travel). Anchored from 2 large glue-in anchors and drops 100 feet into a huge rubble-filled chamber. To find these anchors, when you get to the boulder at the top of the drop scramble up on the LDC side then go down canyon about 40 feet to find a coule of large glue-in anchors located over a void. You will need to lean out over the void to rig the rope to the anchor. BE SURE TO provide the first person a safety rope as they lean out and rig the anchor. Note: Multiple options for the final rap. Option 1 - Go directly down the watercourse on the RDC side of a boulder using chockstones anchors (not recommended). Option 2 - Go almost directly down the water course on the LDC side of a boulder using 2 bolted hangers on the top of the boulder. This option drops you into a chamber where you will then need to downclimb / slide down a final ledge of about 20 feet. The added downclimb for this option is scenic and mildly challenging. Option 3 (described above) - When you get to the boulder at the top of the drop scramble up on the LDC side then go down canyon about 40 feet to find a coule of large glue-in anchors located over a void. Rappelling from here drops you downcanyon of the final downclimb into a huge rubble-filled chamber.
  10. yPineCreekBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.21176   W -112.94615        Elev: 4,740 Feet
    Bottom of the Pine Creek Canyoneer Route.
Pine Creek (3) - Long Exit, option 1
  1. yPineCreekBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.21176   W -112.94615        Elev: 4,740 Feet
    Bottom of the Pine Creek Canyoneer Route.
  2. PineCreek01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.21327   W -112.95258        Elev: NaN Feet
    Defined use trails begin to form.
  3. PineCreek2          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.21483   W -112.95750        Elev: 4,310 Feet
    Exit for out of the wash to the parking area for the car.
  4. pkPineCreekBT          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.21462   W -112.95810        Elev: 4,209 Feet
    Parking for exit vehicle for Pine Creek Canyon. Wide parking area for many vehicles.