Canyoneering Route Description

Spearhead Canyon - Rating Undetermined
Approach to canyon head only so far.
Zion National Park, Utah.

Quick Facts

07-04-09, 2 people, 2 Days - Scouting and enjoying a night on Mount Majestic. Pictures Icon

Time Required - Unk
Distance - 7 miles to the Head of Spearhead Additional distance to descend and exit.
Rappels - xx Rappels, Longest Rappel xxx feet.  -- Scouting trip to head is all that has been done.  No rappel info available.
Elevation Range - 4280 - 6800 Feet
Shuttle Required -No Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - Yes

Gear Used for Canyon

Since only the approach was done so far, the gear listed is only for the approach.  Rappelling gear, 200 foot rope, cam (for temporary anchor) and 30 feet of webbing.  The last part of the route onto Mount Majestic is very steep, very loose and has significant exposure on each side of the ramp up.  For the approach it is recommended that a couple large cams be brought along as intermediate anchors on the final climb up onto Mount Majestic.

General Comments

The route to the head of Spearhead Canyon uses the same approach as for Behunin Canyon.  The route then continues down Behunin Canyon to just prior to the first rappel.  Just before reaching the first rappel in Behunin the route climbs up out of Behunin and up onto Mount Majestic.  Once on Mount Majestic the route circles around to the head of the canyon where you will drop in.

The final climb up onto Mount Majestic up out of Behunin Canyon involves a climb of just over 200 feet up a very steep chossy section with VERY significant exposure on both sides.  This section will result in death if you fall off either side.  With this in mind, that portion of the approach suggests this may deserve to be rated a level 4 route.  Be very careful going up this section.

We set out to explore the route and possibly descend Spearhead Canyon.  When we got to the head of Spearhead, we decided to turn back and save the descent for another day after gathering more information.

Spending the night on top of Mount Majestic was one of the more beautiful spots I have camped.  If you enjoy difficult to access places and great views, Mount Majestic should be added to your list.  Once on the top it is a huge flat meadow like plateau.  A couple of short hikes over to the edges will offer views down onto sections of the West Rim trail and down into various canyons.  There has been fire up there in recent years which has knocked down most of the dense vegetation.  The area is recovering with a lot of new growth reemerging.  For now travel along the top of Mount Majestic is easy but as the re-growth of vegetation continues travel will become more difficult and likely involve a lot of bush whacking.

Driving Directions

To get to the Trailhead

Park your vehicle at the Zion visitor center.  From there take the shuttle to the Grotto stop to begin the route.

To leave the Exit Vehicle / Escape Pod

There is no need to leave an exit vehicle.  The Zion Shuttle will bring you right back to the visitor center.


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.


The Approach:
After getting off the shuttle at the Grotto stop (wGrottoBusStp), walk across the road and start down the trail to Angel’s Landing.  The trail starts out flat and easy for a while but soon starts to climb switchbacks as it climbs to Refrigerator Canyon.  Continue on the trail through Refrigerator Canyon.  Next will be a series of 21 short but steep switch backs called Walter’s Wiggles (sWaltrsWiglsTp).  A short distance after getting to the top of Walter’s Wiggles you will come to Scout’s Lookout which is about 2.1 miles from the trailhead.  From Scout’s Lookout follow the signs pointing to the West Rim Trail (not Angel’s Landing). 

As you continue up the West Rim Trail you will come to a section of slick rock where it would be easy to lose the trail.  A few sign posts along the slick rock with a boot print on them have been placed to mark the way over to the continuation of the trail.  After crossing the tailless slick rock area, the trail will begin to descend again.  About 1.2 miles after Scouts Lookout the trail will have a bridge that crosses a stream (cWstRmBridge). 

As you continue on from the bridge the trail will slowly begin to climb again through wide open spaces with lots of views to take in.  About 0.75 miles after crossing the bridge the trail will begin to get steeper as it starts into an area with more vegetation (some of which had recently burned in a fire).  The trail will no longer be in a wide open area but will have walls on both sides.

The trail will start up a series of gentle switch backs with an overall direction of southwest.  About 1 mile after crossing the bridge is where the switch backs will top out at an area kind of like a saddle.  At this saddle the trail will turn from an overall direction of southwest and start up northeast.  This is where you will leave the trail (yBehuninTp).  You will not be going up the trail to the northeast.  Look over the saddle to the southwest to see into Behunin Canyon.

From the saddle where you leave the main trail (yBehuninTp), follow a use trail down the slope and to the right (west or northwest).  This use trail will work down the slope toward the canyon floor at the top of Behunin Canyon.  

The tall vertical wall at the head of the canyon is impressive as you get closer to its base.  Once on the canyon floor follow down canyon along intermittent paths.  In this upper part of the canyon it is usually easier to travel up on the left (south) side of the bank and out of the main water course.  When traveling in the water course and find an obstacle like a water filled pothole or a tricky down climb, look around.  There are lots of ways around these, usually up and over to the left.  

Depending on the amount of water in the canyon there may be some pools of water to get across.  Most are not very deep.  One pool may be about waist high and might be a short swim if there were more water.  From the looks of things the depth might make it to about 6 feet for a short distance if full.

About 0.4 miles from leaving the West Rim Trail is a pool of water with a drop before it (wBehuninRP-1).  There is no easy way to down climb into the pool since it has a bad overhang.  Climb up and over LDC (south) to get up to a bypass use trail that will take you a couple hundred feet down canyon before dropping back in.

Continuing down canyon are a few more spots of heavy vegetation or small pools to bypass and some easy down climbs.  About 0.9 miles after leaving the West Rim Trail, the canyon turns sharply to the left (east).   

About 200 feet from where Behunin Canyon turns left (east) start the climb out (jMtMajestic) of Behunin Canyon by starting up the slope to the north.  You will see a peak about 0.2 miles away to the north or northeast.  The left side of the slope leading toward the peak has a gentler angle but is still a steep climb. 

There is no clear easy path up this slope.  Along the way you will need to scramble up some difficult sections.  About 400 feet after leaving Behunin Canyon, there is a relatively flat area along the climb up (wMejesticRP-1).  About 0.2 miles after climbing out of Behunin will be the peak (wMejesticRP-2).

Staying left (west) on the way up to the peak looks like it may be a little easier.  After trying this option it is not.  The best route is to keep heading up toward the peak.

Once at the top of this first peak (wMejesticRP-2) you will be greeted with great views down Behunin Canyon and some of the peaks in the surrounding area.  Looking down and to the west you will see the left fork of Behunin Canyon with the main peak for Mount Majestic jut beyond.  Looking south will give great views down Behunin Canyon with Mountain of the sun and Twin Brothers way off in the distance.  South west you can now see the top of Castle Dome.  Now that you can see the top of Castle dome it is obvious why it is called that.  Looking north from this peak you will be able to see part of the large plateau for Mount Majestic and the steep final climb up to the top.

After taking some time to enjoy the view, start north to continue on the route.  A ridge line leaves the peak headed north.  Do not stay high on this ridge line.  Instead drop down to the ledge just below and west of the ridge line and continue along that ledge system to the north.  As you follow this ledge system you will feel like you want to stay high and not lose elevation.  While you can do this it will make your travel more difficult.  Continue north and drop down to lower ledges a little as you go.  Along the way you will pass one other smaller peak on the right (east).

About 0.3 miles along this ledge system from the peak (wMejesticRP-2), you will see a large slope / cliff side of slick rock with very little vegetation on it.  To the right (east) of this slope / cliff is a steep ridge running up to the top.  The ridge is a mix of slick rock and chossy dirt and rock that is very steep and has a few trees along the way up.  To the right (east) of the ridge is a chute or gully running up alongside the ridge.  Make your way to the bottom of the chute or gully (wMejesticRP-3). 

The chute is steep with lots of loose rock but has lots of features to help you climb up it.  About 300 feet up the chute you will be able to work up the left side of the chute wall to get onto the crest of the ridge.  Another 100 feet or so up the ridge you will find yourself at the bottom of the steep final climb up to Mount Majestic (wMejesticRP-4).

The final climb is a very steep 200 feet and is made up of loose chossy dirt and rock.  The rock is brittle white sandstone and there is significant exposure on each side.  It is best to use rope here to make things a bit safer.

I recommend using rope to belay each other and ascend the final climb up to Mount Majestic climb style.  One person can anchor in at a large pine tree and feed rope to a second person as they climb.  Along the first portion of the climb are cracks that will allow the use of cams to be placed as intermediate anchors before reaching another large pine tree.  Once at the large pine tree the top person can anchor in and belay the bottom person up.

To get up the second portion of the climb the process is repeated to get to the top.

At the top of the final climb (wMejesticRP-5) is a wonderful view.  The area is flat and meadow like.  There has been a fire here in recent years so most of the heavy vegetation is gone but new growth seems to be well under way.  Travel along this area is easy and flat.  Over time as the new growth comes back in the travel will likely be very difficult as it will involve a lot of bush whacking.  Another nice thing about the recent fire is there are few ants along the top.  There are ant hills but they seem to be unoccupied which makes camping nice.  On the way up to the top there were ants everywhere making it difficult to enjoy a break of any length.

From the top of the final climb up, you can take a short side trip of about 0.4 miles round trip over to the north western edge of the plateau which gives a view down onto the head wall for the left fork of Behunin Canyon (the standard canyon route) and down onto the West Rim Trail.  From there you also get a great view down on the part of the West Rim Trail that is cut into the rock wall as it leads up toward cabin spring.

Next, travel around the plateau for Mount Majestic to the east.  If you walk all the way over to the eastern edge (sMajesticView2) another great view down onto another section of the West Rim Trail is had, as well as a view into Hook Canyon.

As you travel around the plateau and it begins to turn south, you will see the main peak for Mount Majestic.  Continue south toward the peak for Mount Majestic.

You can traverse around the peak of Mount Majestic on the right (west) or left (east).  Both sides will go around the peak.   The east side route is best used if going to Hook Canyon.  The right (west) side route is described here.

The right or (west) side of Mount Majestic is slopped steeply with a sudden sheer drop at the bottom of the slope.  Staying higher helps keep a distance between you and the drop off.  But staying lower is easier travel with less vegetation.  To start the traverse using the right (west) side go over to point (wMejesticRP-6).

Once on the southern side of the Mount Majestic Peak the area will open up and become meadow like again.  As it opens up veer left (east) to get to the base of the southern end of the peak (wMejesticRP-7).   

From the southern end of the peak, go about 600 feet north east to a saddle between Mount Majestic and Cathedral Mountain.  The saddle (ySpearheadTp) divides the heads of Spearhead Canyon (running to the south) and the top of Hook Canyon (running to the north).    

On our trip 07-04-09 we scouted the approach to the head of the canyon.  We did not unanimously agree to continue down canyon as we did not have enough information.  We then returned along our route up and dropped down to Behunin Canyon.  Once back in Behunin we descended Behunin to finish our route for that trip.

The Canyon / Technical Section:
On our trip 07-04-09 we scouted the approach to the head of the canyon.  We did not unanimously agree to continue down canyon as we did not have enough information.  We returned by reversing our route until back in Behunin Canyon.  Once back in Behunin we descended Behunin to finish our route for that trip.

The Exit:
To be Continued

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.
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........
Spearhead (1) - Approach
  1. wBusStpGrotto          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.25908   W -112.95121        Elev: 4,280 Feet
    The Grotto shuttle stop on the Zion - Floor of the Valley road.
  2. tAngleLnd          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.25998   W -112.95152        Elev: 4,300 Feet
    Angel's Landing Trailhead.
  3. sWaltrsWiglsTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27534   W -112.95128        Elev: NaN Feet
    Top of Walter's Wiggles. 21 short steep switchbacks cut into the rock for the trail.
  4. jWestRimS          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27492   W -112.95085        Elev: 5,330 Feet
    Junction off the Angel's Landing trail for the Southern West Rim Trailhead. This is known as Scouts Lookout.
  5. cWstRmBridge          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.28598   W -112.95582        Elev: 5,590 Feet
    A bridge allowing the trail to cross a stream.
  6. yBehuninTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.28253   W -112.96999        Elev: 6,300 Feet
    Top entry for Behunin Canyon.
  7. wBehuninRP-1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27785   W -112.97060        Elev: NaN Feet
    Pool of water with no easy down climb to it. Climb up and over to the left (east) to bypass along intermittent paths.
  8. jMtMajestic          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27176   W -112.96934        Elev: 5,780 Feet
    Junction (no trail) where the route to Mount Majestic starts out of Behunin Canyon. This is just after where Behunin turns sharp left (east) and just before rap 1.
  9. wMejesticRP-1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27289   W -112.96956        Elev: 7,901 Feet
    Large flat area part way up the climb out of Behunin Canyon.
  10. wMejesticRP-2          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27389   W -112.96870        Elev: 8,188 Feet
    First peak along the route from Behunin Canyon floor to Mount Majestic. You can stay just below and to the west of this peak for the route. A very short side trip to this point is a good idea for the views down Behunin Canyon.
  11. wMejesticRP-3          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27799   W -112.96839        Elev: 8,257 Feet
    Bottom of a chute that will lead up to the final climb to Mount Majestic.
  12. wMejesticRP-4          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27898   W -112.96830        Elev: 8,495 Feet
    Bottom of the steep final climb to Mount Majestic. This slope is very steep and full of chossy rock and dirt. There is significant exposure on each side.
  13. wMejesticRP-5          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27951   W -112.96809        Elev: 8,674 Feet
    Top of the final climb up to Mount Majestic. It's all flat meadow like area up here.
  14. wMejesticRP-6          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27497   W -112.96343        Elev: 5,676 Feet
    Start of the traverse along the bottom of the main peak of Mount Majestic.
  15. wMejesticRP-7          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27193   W -112.96092        Elev: NaN Feet
    Near the base of the southern end of the peak for Mount Majestic.
  16. ySpearheadTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27258   W -112.95956        Elev: 6,600 Feet
    Top entry for Spearhead Canyon.
  17. ySpearheadBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.25805   W -112.96018        Elev: 4,600 Feet
    4600 ft