Canyoneering Route Description

Checkerboard Canyon - 3B IV (or V)
Zion National Park, Utah

Quick Facts

10-29-11, 4 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 15 hours) Pictures Icon Time is for using the old approach via roads not the shorter Dakota Hill route.
08-24-11, 4 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 14 hours)  Time is for using shorter approach via Dakota Hill route. 

Time Required - 12.5 to 15.5 hours
Distance - 13.8 miles Total, 1.9 miles Technical
Rappels - 13 Rappels, Longest Rappel 200 feet.
Elevation Range - 6820 - 4440 Feet
Shuttle Required -Yes 27.6 Miles Vehicle - Passenger  Permit Required - Yes
Optionally using a 4WD - High Clearance vehicle will get a little over a mile farther into the approach.

Gear Used for Canyon

Rappelling and anchor gear, Ropes and or pull cords for rappels up to 200 feet and 100 feet of 1 inch webbing for sling placement.  Be sure to bring extra webbing since this is likely a seldom visited canyon.  Wet suits are not needed in hot weather.  In the cooler months of late fall a minimum of a 3mm full wet suit is recommended for the lower half of the canyon and may be nice to have while exiting the narrows. 

Bring map, compass, GPS or anything else you find useful for difficult to  navigate areas!  A portion of the approach is in trail less land and may be difficult to navigate to the correct drop in.

General Comments

While Checkerboard is rated a 3 there are still anchor building challenges that may exist in some conditions.  Particularly rap 6.  There may be very little here in the way of anchor options.  Before the last person goes down rap 5, be sure you have an anchor possibility for rap 6.  If there is no dead man material and the pinch point at the top of the drop can not be located or dug out, you will need to farm anchor material from above rap 5 to build a dead man.

Also of note is rap 12 (next to last rap) that can be a little problematic.

Navigating Dakota Ridge toward Checkerboard Canyon follows a series of high points along Dakota Ridge and is pretty straight forward to follow. However there are a few spots where smaller ridges branch off and a GPS may be a good idea to help ensure you stay on course.  Once down off Dakota Ridge near the head of Checkerboard Canyon it is a 900 foot walk over to the shallow drainage of upper Checkerboard.

Checkerboard Canyon offers a lot of variety in scenery.  A huge beautiful red wall, a few narrow twisting slots (one of which is pretty dark), potholes (no technical escapes though), and views over sections of the canyon that just make you say wow.  The final rappel is 190 feet down a fluted wall that is a visual and physical treat all in it self.

Checkerboard Canyon can be done in a very long day or broken up into a two day trip to keep the pace relaxed and enjoy the canyon more.

Note:
Originally we followed the maze of roads south of Dakota Ridge making the route convoluted and difficult to describe.  Thanks to Tom Jones for letting me know staying on Dakota Ridge all the way to Checkerboard was a smooth route.  The ridge is surely an easier route to follow but is still difficult to put in written form.  A GPS sis still a good idea just as a back up navigation tool.  To see what this route was all about we used it while going over to do the Paper Bag Fork of Bulloch Canyon.

Driving Directions

To get to the Trailhead

From the East Gate of Zion National Park, travel 2.4 miles east on highway 9 to the turn for North Fork (wEngDP-01).  Turn Left (north) toward North Fork.

Drive 5.3 miles on the paved North Fork Road to the turn for the Ponderosa Ranch. The pavement ends (wBirchHlwDP-01) a few hundred feet past the turn for the Ponderosa Ranch. 

From the turn off for the Ponderosa Ranch continue on the North Fork Road for 3.1 miles to a large turn out on the left (west) side of the road which is the trailhead for Birch Hollow (tBirchHollow).

From the turn off to Birch Hallow continue on the North Fork road for 3 miles to a turn off (extOrderville) on the left (west) for the Upper Orderville Trailhead.

From the turn off to the Upper Orderville Trailhead continue on the North Fork Road for 1.6 miles to a turn off (extCotageWoods) on the right (east) that goes up to a community called Cottages in the Woods.

From the turn off to Cottages in the Woods continue on the North Fork Road for 0.9 miles to a turn off (pkBulloch1) on the left with a brown road marker signed as 90 and 92.  If you are driving a passenger vehicle and do not have high clearance or 4WD find a place to park here to start the approach toward Bulloch Canyon.

Note:
The North Fork road is dirt and usually in good enough condition for a standard passenger car to travel unless muddy from recent rains.  So passenger cars will normally be able to get to this point.  Turning off of the North Fork Road here to go toward the Bulloch Canyon approach starts down a road that gets significantly rougher and is not suggested for passenger vehicles.  High clearance 4WD vehicles are suggested past this point.  Driving in past this point will get you a little over 1 mile farther.

If you are using a 4WD high clearance you can drive a little over a mile into the approach to another turn off to park at (pkBulloch2).  See approach description for details.

Warning:
The dirt portion of the North Fork Road can become impassable with rain.  The road has a lot of clay content and becomes very slick with just a little rain.  Even 4WD vehicles quickly become useless.  If there is a high likelihood of rain, consider opting out of this route that day.  Afternoon showers at some times of the year can create an impassable road in a very short time.  We got stuck overnight only 0.5 miles from pavement (4WD vehicles included).

To leave the Exit Vehicle / Escape Pod

Leave an exit vehicle at the Zion Visitor center.  After the route take the Zion shuttle back to the visitor center to pick up the vehicle.  Then drive up to retrieve the entry vehicle.

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 entire route.
Map of the first part of the approach section.
Map of the second part of the approach section.
Map of the technical section.

Details

The Approach:

From turn off (pkBulloch1) of the North Fork Road for the approach for Bulloch Canyon walk southwest on the road marked as 90 and 92. 

About 600 feet from the North Fork Road will be a fork in the road (wBullochRP-01).  Stay left and the fork.

About 550 feet farther will be a road (wBullochRP-02) joining in from the right (north) that can easily be over looked due to the angle of approach.

About 0.9 miles farther is another fork in the road (pkBulloch2).  This fork is about 1.2 miles after leaving the North Fork Road.  When walking in on the approach for Bulloch Canyon turn right (north) at this fork. 

Note:
If you have high clearance and 4WD this is where you can park to begin the route.  Driving farther is possible but the road quickly deteriorates and is not recommended.

About 600 feet down this road you may notice a faint road joining in from the left(south).  Continue past the faint road and stay on the more obvious road continuing west).  As you continue the condition of the road quickly deteriorates in spots making short sections of the road harder to follow but over all the road is easy to follow.

About 1.1 miles down farther the road goes sharply around a corner to the left (jDakotaHill) and begins to drop south down toward Walker Gulch.   A game trail leaves the road here and continues west up a ridge from here toward Dakota Hill.

To follow the Dakota Hill ridge toward Bulloch, Eastern Son or Checkerboard Canyons, leave the road here and start up the trail to the west toward Dakota Hill.

Note:
To follow the road over toward Walker Gulch, Esplin Gulch or Squeeze Play, stay on the road and continue down to the south.

About 100 feet up the trail (DakotaRdgRP01) is a point where a minor ridge joins the the main Dakota Ridge. The minor ridge drops down to the south. Continue west up Dakota Ridge.

There is vegetation to push through in places as you travel this part of Dakota Ridge but not too thick to make travel a hassle.  It does get in the way of what you can see at times so you may find your self trying to see which way the ridge goes.   Continue northwest following the ridge for about 0.25 miles to high point on the ridge (DakotaRdgRP02).

From the high point (DakotaRdgRP02) the ridge turns left and begins to go up to the southwest.

Note:
The Deadeye Dick drainage is visible to the north. It is possible to drop down into Deadeye Dick from the saddle near here but not the best option.

To continue toward Dakota Hill veer left and follow the ridge to the southwest where it is mostly rolling up and down.  Travel about 0.25 miles to the top out on Dakota Hill (pDakotaHill).

From the top out on Dakota Hill continue southwest along the ridge as it gently slopes downward.  About 500 feet from the peak the ridge starts to drop off rapidly (jSalamander1).  From this point notice two ridges running down from here; one to the west and the other to the south. To continue to Eastern Sun, Checkerboard Canyon or the Paper Bag Fork of Bulloch Canyon veer right and follow down the ridge running west.

Note:
 If your route is to go to Salamander Fork of Bulloch Canyon you would drop down southwest between the two ridges.

About 750 feet farther west will be a minor top out along the ridge (DakotaRdgRP03).

Continue west about 0.22 miles along the ridge over to a larger peak (DakotaRdgRP04).  As you approach this peak route find your way along the right (north) side of the peak then begin to follow the ridge running down to the northwest.

Continue northwest down the ridge for about 900 feet to a saddle (DakotaRdgRP05).

Continue northwest up the ridge for about 0.2 miles to another high point along the ridge (jEastrnSun) where the main ridgeline veers left and travels almost level to the southwest and a smaller ridge drops down to the northwest.  To go to Checkerboard Canyon or the Paper Bag Fork of Bulloch Canyon, veer left and follow the main almost level ridge to the southwest for about 900 feet to the next high point.

Note:
Eastern Sun Canyon can be seen down to the northwest. If you were going to Eastern Sun you would leave the ridge here and drop northwest down toward Eastern Sun.   Also of note 375 feet west of here is where you will enter the Zion National Park by crossing the boundary line.

From the next high point (DakotaRdgRP06) continue west along the ridge about 700 feet to a very wide high point.

From the very wide high point (DakotaRdgRP07) there is a gate in a fence to cross. To continue on the main ridge line travel north about 1000 feet to the next high point.

From the next high point (DakotaRdgRP08) veer left and travel slightly more southwest then down slope over to a wide open saddle about 800 feet away.

From the wide saddle (DakotaRdgRP09) continue up the gentle slopes to the west about 1000 feet to the next high point on the ridge.

From the next high point (DakotaRdgRP10) continue west following a well defined and easy to follow ridge line with steep red and white slopes on the left (south) and heavily vegetated slopes on the right (north).  About 0.5 miles farther the ridge will start to end.

As the ridge begins to end (DakotaRdgRP11) there will be two short ridgelines going northwest and southwest. Veer left and walk about 400 feet on the ridge to the southwest where the slope down begins to get steep.

From the top of the steep slope (DakotaRdgRP12) route find your way down the steep slope to the southwest for a little over 200 feet to where it levels off.

Note:
From here you can see a large drainage off to the west which is Checkerboard Canyon and a large drainage off to the south which is one of the upper drainages of the Salamander Fork of Bulloch. The Left Fork of Bulloch Canyon is not yet visible.

After getting to the bottom of the steep dirt (DakotaRdgRP13) to go to Checkerboard Canyon veer right and walk west about 900 feet and drop into the Checkerboard drainage (yChekrbdTp).

Note:
If you were going to the Left Fork of Bulloch Canyon / Paper Bag Fork of Bulloch Canyon you would walk southwest down the gentle slope about 800 feet to where you will cross over a wide shallow drainage.

The Canyoneering / Technical Section:
Once down in the upper drainage for Checkerboard Canyon (yChekrbdTp) travel southwest down the drainage.

The upper drainage of Checkerboard Canyon has areas of vegetation making travel on the bank easier than in the wash.  Travel is pretty easy on the LDC bank for about 0.5 miles to where some sandstone outcroppings start to show up in the wash (wChekrbdRP-01).  There are a lot of rose hips here with some nasty thorns to keep an eye out for.

About 0.3 miles farther down canyon the drainage turns to a slick rock slot.  Rap 1 is about 100 feet down canyon through this slot with an easy down climb just before of about 8 feet.  Rap 1 over looks the upper portion of the technical canyon.

Rap 1 (dChekrbdR1) is anchored from two bolted hangers RDC about head high and drops about 180 feet down a mostly vertical wall.  A pool at the bottom of rap 1 may be waist high if full but a shallow almost knee high way can be found through it.

After rap 1 continue down canyon on the RDC side along a slick rock ledge to rap 2.

Rap 2 (dChekrbdR2-3) is about 200 feet down canyon of rap 1, is anchored from a rock embedded in a pothole about 10 feet back from the drop and drops about 30 feet down a sloped wall to a gravel filled pothole.  Rap 2 drops down into a series of potholes.

Rap 3 is right at the bottom of rap 2, is anchored from logs and drops over 3 stages with a total of 100 feet of rope travel so a 200 foot rope is just right.  Rap 3 travels down a series of potholes first stage 20 feet, second stage 15 feet third stage about 45 feet.

About 50 feet down canyon of rap 3 is a series of down climbs ranging from 4 to 10 feet (wChekrbdRP-02).  The first of these down climbs is a challenging and a meat anchor from above is recommended sending the better down climbers last.  From the top of these down climbs you can see a beautiful red wall down canyon on the LDC (south) side.

After the down climbs walk about 200 feet down the wash to the base of the red wall then continue along the base of the red wall.  About half way along the base of the red wall is the top of rap 4.

Rap 4 (dChekrbdR4) is a little over 300 feet down canyon after the series of down climbs, is anchored from a rock embedded in the wash at the top of the drop and drops about 20 feet over an overhung boulder into a narrow slot.

The slot at the bottom of rap 4 continues down canyon with a few down climbs of up to 10 feet.  The slot is deep narrow and winding.  A section of the slot is slanted and has a huge boulder wedged overhead. 

Just after the slanted section is a sliding down climb of about 15 feet that is better done without wearing your pack and taller people will have an easier time.  At the bottom of the slide down climb is the option to follow the water course left and down climb another 15 feet or go right around a rock feature and enjoy a fun slide down of about 15 feet.

After the slide down is another section in the deep slot that is slanted.

The first narrow slot ends about 300 feet down canyon of rap 4 near the end of the red wall (wChekrbdRP-03).  This is also where large drainages join in from both sides.  The side drainages are more like ravines and might provide escape if needed.

As the narrows slot opens up to where the drainages join in from both sides the canyon widens out a bit and has trees and bushes that look great in autumn when they are changing colors! 

About 150 feet down canyon is a down climb (wChekrbdRP-04) of about 8 feet over a large boulder with an awkward over hang.  For safety, one of the better down climbers in the group could provide a top belay then down climb last. Those at the bottom can provide assistance from the bottom if needed.  This down climb is also where the second narrow section begins.

Almost 100 feet down canyon in a corridor like area is the top of rap 5.

Rap 5 (dChekrbdR5) drop starts over a red boulder between the white walls and can be anchored from that boulder or a log embedded in the dirt about 8 feet back from the drop to make the start a little less awkward.  Rap 5 is a 2 stage rap using about 75 feet of rope travel.  The first stage drops about 15 feet over a red boulder with an awkward overhang.  The second stage of rap 5 is about 35 feet down canyon and drops down a near vertical wall for about 20 feet. 

Rap 6 (dChekrbdR6) is about 50 feet down canyon of rap 5, is anchored from a dead man anchor about 12 feet back from the drop and drops about 25 feet with an awkward start.  It is a good idea to set the anchor webbing over the drop to avoid rope pinch points at the top of the drop.

Note:
The old anchor for rap 6 was from a pinch point between a wedged boulder and the RDC canyon wall under foot at the top of the drop.  This pinch point can get filled in with sediment during flooding making the dead man anchor possibly faster.

Warning:
There may be very little here in the way of anchor options.  Before the last person goes down rap 5 be sure you have an anchor possibility for rap 6.  If there is no dead man material and the pinch point at the top of the drop can not be located or dug out, you will need to farm anchor material from above rap 5 to build a dead man.

Down canyon of rap 6 is easy travel with a few easy down climbs and slides.  Sections of this slot are slanted like sections of the first slot up canyon.

About 250 feet down canyon of rap 6 is a down climb of about 12 feet that is more of a slide than a down climb (wChekrbdRP-05).

About 50 farther down canyon is another drop that is more of a slide but is steeper and taller than the last one.  This drop is almost 20 feet and is semi controllable except for the last 8 feet.  For safety, one of the better down climbers in the group could provide a top belay then down climb last. Those at the bottom can capture that last man down as he slides the last 8 feet.

About 50 feet farther the canyon widens out into a vegetated wash where a drainage joins in from RDC (wChekrbdRP-06).  Just before exiting the slot and getting to this side drainage is a pothole to get across that may be well over waist deep if full and can be mostly avoided with some skillful moves.

As the narrow slot ends at this side drainage the canyon turns sharp left and travels in an easy to walk wash for about 200 feet to where another drainage joins in from LDC and the canyon turns sharp right to continue west.  At this right turn by the drainage is where the canyon slots up again for the start of a third narrows (wChekrbdRP-07)

The first long section of this third narrows has a few scrambles but is overall very easy travel in an incredibly beautiful slot that also has sections of slanted walls.  This is a very photogenic slot. 

About 700 feet into this third narrows is a sloped down climb of about 15 feet that is more of a slide down a chute than a down climb.  Just after this down climb / slide is the top of rap 7.

Rap 7 (dChekrbdR7) is anchored LDC from choke stones and drops about 20 feet down a sloped wall.

After rap 7 are a few short easy down climbs then a long almost straight narrow section of about 300 feet to where the narrows opens up a little.  As the third narrows starts to open up and end (wChekrbdRP-08) the canyon makes a sharp left right jog just before getting to a long straight open wash walk. 

Next is a long straight open wash walk for about 0.2 miles.  As you walk the long open corridor like section you will see a tall tree in the water course all by itself.  That tree is about 80 feet before the easy walk ends and you start into the forth narrow section.

The forth narrows starts (wChekrbdRP-09) with a couple short easy down climbs as the narrows twists and winds.  The portion of this fourth narrows gets dark and reminds me of the Das Boot route.

Continue down canyon in the slot over multiple short easy down climbs and through pools to waist deep for about 300 feet to the top of rap 8.

Rap 8 (dChekrbdR8) is about 300 feet into the fourth narrow section, is anchored from logs jammed at the top of the drop and drops about 20 feet to a waist deep pool.  Rap 8 is mostly free hanging.

Down canyon of rap 8 the narrow section continues for about 300 feet and is again slanted.  There are also a few pools to wade to up to chest deep.

Rap 9 (dChekrbdR9) is about 300 feet down canyon of rap 8, is anchored from logs and drops about 25 feet down over a large overhanging boulder.

Rap 10 is about 60 feet down canyon of rap 9 with a short down climb and a waist deep pool between them.  From the top of rap 10 you are presented with very nice view down canyon that just makes you say wow and you can tell the Zion Narrows is getting very close.

Rap 10 (dChekrbdR10) is anchored LDC from a choke stone in a side ravine about 10 feet back from the drop and drops about 35 feet down a sloped fluted wall to a pool that is almost waist deep.

Rap 10 is the end of the fourth narrows since the canyon widens out a bit and loses the real narrow feel.

After rap 10 are a three easy down climbs of up to 8 feet followed by a drop of about 20 feet that makes for a fun slide.  Looking down the slide from the top grabs your attention but the slide is easily controlled and fun.  After the slide walk across the sand over to the anchor for rap 11. 

Rap 11 (dChekrbdR11) is almost 300 feet down canyon of rap 10.  The anchored for rap 11 is about 25 feet back from the drop from logs jammed around some boulders.  The actual drop of rap 11 is about 35 feet down a slot to a pool that is a swimmer for a short distance.  The pool at the bottom of rap 11 can be crossed by only getting wet to the knees if you are tall and are comfortable with bridging between the walls.

Rap 11 drops into the fifth and final narrows section.  After rap 11 are a couple of short down climbs before reaching rap 12. 

Rap 12 (dChekrbdR12) is about 100 feet down canyon of rap 11, is anchored from log and appears to disappear into a twisted slot since you can not see the bottom of rap 12 from the top. 

Rap 12 is not a rap where you simply rappel to the bottom then pull your ropes.  Since rap 12 twists on the way down pulling the ropes from the bottom may be very difficult!  The total drop for rap 12 is about 80 feet and all but the last person down can rappel the entire length.

About 40 feet down the rap is a ledge that you can stand on in a wider part of the slot.  The last person down can rap down just until the slot widens out, but NOT dropping down to the inviting looking ledge.  The last person can then pull the ropes from there and toss them down to those below.  After tossing the ropes the last person can carefully work over to a crak on the RDC side and downclimb it to the bottom.  The final 10 feet of the down climb will be a semi uncontrolled slide and those at the bottom will be able to assist with the final portion.

Note / Warning:
The reason for the last person not rapping down to the inviting ledge is that getting from this ledge back up and into the crack to down climb can be difficult.  If there is significant amounts of sand on the walls it is likely a person will break loose while climbing up to the downclimb crack and slide down.  If you slide too far you could drop over a ledge to a drop of about 8 feet then tumble down the rest of the sloped drop.  Ask me how I know this can happen.

Note:
The first part of rap 12 may be down climbable but not confirmed.

After an elevator down climb of about 10 feet is rap 13.

Rap 13 (dChekrbdR13) is about 75 feet down canyon of rap 12, is anchored LDC from two bolted hangers and drops about drops about 200 feet down an almost vertical wall with a very nice flute in it.  At the top of the rap the flute is more of a wide shallow trough.  As you rappel down the flute gets narrower and deeper and eventually too narrow for you to fit in.  Rap 13 is both visually fun physically fun as you slide down into the flute with a view of the narrows about 200 feet way. 

At the bottom of rap 13 is a pool in the sand that can be a swimmer if holding water but will only be a swim for a few feet.  The entire area at the bottom of rap 13 is sand so the pool size depth and shape will likely change.  At the time of my first visit rap 13 was actually about 190 feet.  For safety it is stated as 200 in case the sand changes.

From the sandy area after rap 13 walk about 200 feet to the end of Checkerboard Canyon (yChekrbdBt) where it meets the Zion Narrows about 60 feet up canyon of Camp Site 9.

The Exit:
Once in the Zion Narrows (yChekrbdBt), turn left and start south down canyon.

From the confluence of Checkerboard Canyon and The Narrows (yChekrbdBt), turn left (south) and hike 5.9 miles down The Narrows to the Temple of Sinawava Trailhead.

0.7 miles from the Kolob Creek is Goose Creek joining in from RDC (west).
0.6 miles from Goose Creek is Corral Hallow joining in from RDC (west).
Big Spring is just down canyon from Corral Hallow on the RDC side (west).
1.9 miles from Corral Hallow is Imlay joining in from RDC (west).
Imlay Canyon is not visible from The Narrows since it joins via a 170 foot rappel.
0.2 miles down canyon of Imlay is Orderville Canyon joining in from LDC (east).
1.3 miles down canyon of Orderville is Mystery Canyon joining in from LDC (east).
Mystery Canyon is noted as a smooth wall with a trickling water fall flowing down it.
0.2 miles down canyon of Mystery is where the paved sidewalk part of the trail begins.
1.0 miles of paved trail gets you to The Temple of Sinawava trailhead and shuttle stop.  

From here get on the shuttle and ride it back to the Zion Visitor Center.

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.

Checkerboard (1) - Drive to Trailhead
  1. wEngDP-01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.23934   W -112.83230        Elev: NaN Feet
    Turn to the North Fork off Highway 9.
  2. wEngDP-02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27285   W -112.87304        Elev: NaN Feet
    Exit to the Ponderosa Ranch. If going to Englestead turn left, to the Ponderosa Ranch. If continuing up the North Fork road stay straight.
  3. wBirchHlwDP-01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27620   W -112.87358        Elev: NaN Feet
    Paved road turns to Dirt road.
  4. wBirchHlwDP-02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30654   W -112.86085        Elev: NaN Feet
    Dirt road / ATV trail leaves main road. Follow this to start an alternate route into Birch Hollow.
  5. tBirchHollow          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30973   W -112.85655        Elev: 6,740 Feet
    Trailhead for Birch Hollow. It is a very large turn out on the west side of the road.
  6. extOrderville          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.33710   W -112.83050        Elev: NaN Feet
    Turn off for Orderville from the North Fork road. 11.4 miles from highway 9.
  7. extCotageWoods          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35044   W -112.83240        Elev: NaN Feet
    Turn off of the North Fork Road to go to Cattages in the Woods community.
  8. pkBulloch1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35896   W -112.84125        Elev: 6,745 Feet
    Turn off of the North Fork Road on the left as the main road makes a sharp right hand bend. Road sign post labeled as 90 and 92.
Checkerboard (2) - Approach
  1. pkBulloch1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35896   W -112.84125        Elev: 6,745 Feet
    Turn off of the North Fork Road on the left as the main road makes a sharp right hand bend. Road sign post labeled as 90 and 92.
  2. wBullochRP-01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35865   W -112.84336        Elev: NaN Feet
    Fork in the road. Stay left on the main road to continue on the approach to Bulloch Canyon.
  3. wBullochRP-02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35784   W -112.84508        Elev: NaN Feet
    Road joins in on the north side of the road and is easily overlooked on the route into Bulloch due to teh angle of approach of the side road.
  4. pkBulloch2          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35226   W -112.85921        Elev: 6,640 Feet
    Fork in the road on the approach to Bulloch Canyon. Turn right (west) at this fork. Optionally you can park here if you have high clearance and 4WD to drive in this far.
  5. jDakotaHill          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35313   W -112.87547        Elev: NaN Feet
    The road goes sharply around a corner to the left and begins to drop south down toward Walker Gulch. A game trail leaves the road here and continues west up a ridge from here toward Dakota Hill. To follow the Dakota Hill ridge toward Bulloch, Eastern Son or Checkerboard Canyons, leave the road here and start up the trail to the west toward Dakota Hill. To follow the road over toward Walker Gulch, Esplin Gulch or Squeeze Play, stay on the road and continue down to the south.
  6. DakotaRdgRP01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35374   W -112.87820        Elev: 6,400 Feet
    A point where a minor ridge joins the the main Dakota Ridge. The minor ridge drops down to the south. Continue west up Dakota Ridge.
  7. DakotaRdgRP02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35558   W -112.88237        Elev: 6,500 Feet
    High point on the ridge where the ridge makes a turn and begins to head up to the southwest. The Deadeye Dick drainage is visible to the north. It is possible to drop down into Deadeye Dick from the saddle near here but not the best option.
  8. pDakotaHill          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35354   W -112.88593        Elev: 6,640 Feet
    Ridge tops out here on Dakota Hill.
  9. jSalamander1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35276   W -112.88736        Elev: NaN Feet
    End of the gently sloped ridge runing southwest from the peak of Dakota Hill. From this point notice two ridges running down from here; one to the west and the other to the south. To go to Salamander Fork of Bulloch Canyon drop down southwest between the two ridges. Start by dropping down toward the ridge running south for about 250 feet down to a small saddle To continue to Eastern Sun, Checkerboard Canyon or the Paper Bag Fork of Bulloch Canyon veer right and follow down the ridge running west.
  10. DakotaRdgRP03          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35346   W -112.88988        Elev: 6,540 Feet
    Minor peak along the ridge, continue west.
  11. DakotaRdgRP04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35349   W -112.89386        Elev: 6,560 Feet
    Larger top out along the ridge. As you approach this peak route find your way along the right (north) side of the peak then begin to follow the ridge running down to the northwest.
  12. DakotaRdgRP05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35488   W -112.89638        Elev: 6,420 Feet
    Saddle along the ridge. Continue northwest up the ridge about 0.2 miles to the next top out with a short bit of vegetation to push through just before getting to the next top out.
  13. jEastrnSun          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35589   W -112.89988        Elev: NaN Feet
    Another top out on the ridge. From this high point the main ridgeline here veers left and travels almost level to the southwest and a smaller ridge drops down to the northwest. About 375 feet west of here is where you will cross the boundary line and enter into Zion National Park. To go to Eastern Sun Canyon leave the main ridge dropping down to the northwest toward the large Eastern Sun Canyon you can see down in the distance. To go to Checkerboard Canyon or the Paper Bag Fork of Bulloch Canyon, veer left and follow the main almost level ridge to the southwest for about 900 feet to the next high point
  14. DakotaRdgRP06          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35420   W -112.90204        Elev: 6,625 Feet
    Another high point along the ridge. Continue west along the ridge about 700 feet to a very wide high point.
  15. DakotaRdgRP07          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35361   W -112.90435        Elev: 6,645 Feet
    A very wide high point along the ridge. There is a gate in a fence here to cross by. To continue on the main ridge line travel north about 1000 feet to the next high point.
  16. DakotaRdgRP08          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35469   W -112.90747        Elev: 6,640 Feet
    Another wide high point on the ridge. From this high point veer left and travel slightly more southwest then down slope over to a wide open saddle about 800 feet away.
  17. DakotaRdgRP09          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35356   W -112.90918        Elev: NaN Feet
    Wide open saddle. Continue up the gentle slopes to the west about 1000 feet to the next high point on the ridge.
  18. DakotaRdgRP10          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35411   W -112.91244        Elev: 6,735 Feet
    Another high point on the ridge. Continue west following a well defined and easy to follow ridge line with steep red and white slopes on the left (south) and heavily vegetated slopes on the right (north). About 0.5 miles farther the ridge will start to end.
  19. DakotaRdgRP11          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35564   W -112.91996        Elev: 6,820 Feet
    Ridge line begins to end here with two short ridgelines going northwest and southwest. Veer left and walk about 400 feet on the ridge to the southwest where the slope down begins to get steep.
  20. DakotaRdgRP12          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35452   W -112.92081        Elev: NaN Feet
    End of the ridge where steep slopes begin to form down to the soutwest. Route find your way down the steep slope to the southwest for a little over 200 feet to where it levels off. Note: From here you can see a large drainage off to the west which is Checkerboard Canyon and a large drainage off to the south which is one of the upper drainages of the Salamander Fork of Bulloch. The Left Fork of Bulloch Canyon is not yet visible.
  21. DakotaRdgRP13          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35419   W -112.92151        Elev: NaN Feet
    Bottom of the steep slope down off of Dakota Ridge. To go to Checkerboard Canyon veer right and walk west about 900 feet and drop into the Checkerboard drainage. To go to the Left Fork of Bulloch Canyon / Paper Bag Fork of Bulloch Canyon walk southwest down the gentle slope about 800 feet to where you will cross over a wide shallow drainage.
  22. yChekrbdTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35402   W -112.92477        Elev: 6,490 Feet
    Top entry for Checkerboard Canyon.
Checkerboard (3) - The Canyon
  1. yChekrbdTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.35402   W -112.92477        Elev: 6,490 Feet
    Top entry for Checkerboard Canyon.
  2. wChekrbdRP-01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34899   W -112.93068        Elev: NaN Feet
    Sandstone out croppings start to show up in the drainage.
  3. dChekrbdR1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34656   W -112.93515        Elev: 6,160 Feet
    Rap 1 - Checkerboard Canyon. Anchored from two bolted hangers RDC about head high and drops about 180 feet down a mostly vertical wall.
  4. dChekrbdR2-3          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34626   W -112.93573        Elev: NaN Feet
    Raps 2 and 3 - Checkerboard Canyon. Rap 2 anchored from a rock embeded in a pothole about 10 feet back and drops about 30 feet down a sloped wall to a gravel filled pothole. Rap 3 starts at the bottom of rap 2, is anchored from logs and drops over 3 stages with a total rope travel of about 100 feet. Stages are 15, 20 and 45 feet over potholes.
  5. wChekrbdRP-02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34613   W -112.93586        Elev: NaN Feet
    Start of a series of down climbs of 4 to 10 feet each. First down climb is challenging and may need meat anchor from top.
  6. dChekrbdR4          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34516   W -112.93673        Elev: 5,840 Feet
    Rap 4 - Checkerboard Canyon. Anchored from a rock embedded in the wash at the top of the drop and drops about 20 feet into a narrow deep winding slot.
  7. wChekrbdRP-03          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34497   W -112.93777        Elev: NaN Feet
    End of first narrow slot and is where large drainages join in from both sides.
  8. wChekrbdRP-04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34466   W -112.93805        Elev: NaN Feet
    Down climb of about 8 feet over a large choke stone boulder with an awkward overhang. This is the start of the second narrow section.
  9. dChekrbdR5          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34442   W -112.93814        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 5 - Checkerboard Canyon. Anchored from either the red boulder at the top of the drop or a log embedded in the dirt about 8 feet back from the drop. Rap is done as a 2 stage rap with stages of 15 and 20 feet and about 35 feet of horizontal wash between them and total rope travel of about 75 feet.
  10. dChekrbdR6          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34428   W -112.93821        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 6 - Checkerboard Canyon. Anchored from a dead man anchor or from a pinch point at the top of the drop between a boulder and canyon wall RDC. Rap 6 drops about 25 feet.
  11. wChekrbdRP-05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34407   W -112.93904        Elev: NaN Feet
    First of two slide down climbs before getting to the end of the second narrow section.
  12. wChekrbdRP-06          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34401   W -112.93944        Elev: 5,560 Feet
    End of second narrows where the canyon opens a little and turns sharp left as a drainage joins in from RDC.
  13. wChekrbdRP-07          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34355   W -112.93971        Elev: NaN Feet
    Start of the third narrows where the canyon turns sharp right as it passes a drainage joining in from LDC.
  14. dChekrbdR7          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34315   W -112.94218        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 7 - Checkerboard Canyon. Anchored LDC from choke stones and drops about 20 feet down a sloped wall.
  15. wChekrbdRP-08          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34265   W -112.94316        Elev: NaN Feet
    End of third narrow section. As the narrow section ends the canyon makes a sharp left right jog just before getting to the the long straight open wash walk.
  16. wChekrbdRP-09          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34363   W -112.94717        Elev: NaN Feet
    Start of the fourth narrows and is the end of long flat open wash walk. This is about 80 feet down canyon of a tall lone tree in the wash.
  17. dChekrbdR8          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34341   W -112.94812        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 8 - Checkerboard Canyon. Anchored from logs jammed at the top of the rap and drops about 20 feet to a wiast deep pool.
  18. dChekrbdR9          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34326   W -112.94946        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 9 - Checkerboard Canyon. Anchored from logs and drops about 25 feet down over a large over hanging boulder.
  19. dChekrbdR10          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34335   W -112.94966        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 10 - Checkerboard Canyon. Anchored LDC from a choke stone in a small side ravine about 10 feet back and drops about 35 feet down a sloped fluted wall to a pool about waist deep.
  20. dChekrbdR11          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34348   W -112.95019        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 11 - Checkerboard Canyon. Anchored from a log jammed in boulders about 25 feet back from the drop and drops about 35 feet inot the fifth and final narrows.
  21. dChekrbdR12          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34360   W -112.95053        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 12 - Checkerboard Canyon. Anchored from a log and has a total drop of about 80 feet down a winding slot that you can not see the bottom of from the top of the rap. All but last person can rap entire length. Last person should pull ropes from part way down the drop then down climb. See route description for details.
  22. dChekrbdR13          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34383   W -112.95078        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 13 - Checkerboard Canyon. Anchored from 2 bolted hangers and drops about 200 feet down a very fun and scenic fluuted wall to a sandy area with a pool that can be a swimmer for a few feet if full.
  23. yChekrbdBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34432   W -112.95125        Elev: 4,880 Feet
    Bottom exit of Checkerboard Canyon. Checkerboard Canyon dumps into the narrows a short distance up canyon of Narrows camp site 9.
Checkerboard (4) - Exit
  1. yChekrbdBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34432   W -112.95125        Elev: 4,880 Feet
    Bottom exit of Checkerboard Canyon. Checkerboard Canyon dumps into the narrows a short distance up canyon of Narrows camp site 9.
  2. yGooseCreekBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.33845   W -112.95709        Elev: 4,790 Feet
    North Fork Virgin River
  3. yCorralHlwBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.33138   W -112.95711        Elev: 4,740 Feet
    Bottom exit of Corral hollow where it meets the Narrows just above Big Springs.
  4. sBigSpring          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.33111   W -112.95688        Elev: NaN Feet
    Big Spring
  5. yImlayBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30986   W -112.94923        Elev: 4,670 Feet
    Bottom of Imlay Canyoneering route where it dumps into The Zion Narrows.
  6. yOrdervilleBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30803   W -112.94661        Elev: 4,670 Feet
    Bottom exit of Orderville Canyon. Junction where Orderville Canyon meets the narrows in the North Fork of the Virgin River. Zion Ntl. Park
  7. yMysteryBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29928   W -112.94447        Elev: 4,560 Feet
    Bottom exit of Mystery Canyon where it meets the Virgin River Narrows after the 120 foot Rap 11.
  8. jRiverWalkEnd          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29672   W -112.94818        Elev: 4,560 Feet
    This is where the river walk side walk meets the river in The Narrows.
  9. tNarrowsBot          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.28535   W -112.94785        Elev: 4,440 Feet
    Bottom trailhead for the Virgin River Narrows at the Temple of Sinawava.