Canyoneering Route Description
Spearhead Canyon - Rating Undetermined
Approach to canyon head only so far.
Zion National Park, Utah.
07-04-09, 2 people, 2 Days - Scouting and enjoying a night on Mount Majestic.
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
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.
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
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
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
Click the links for maps of the route.
Map of the entire route.
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
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.
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
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
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.
To be Continued
Downloadable GPX files
(easier than manual entry and a great way to support
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|
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.25908
Elev: 4,280 Feet
The Grotto shuttle stop on the Zion - Floor of the Valley road.
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.25998
Elev: 4,300 Feet
Angel's Landing Trailhead.
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.27534
Elev: NaN Feet
Top of Walter's Wiggles. 21 short steep switchbacks cut into the rock for the trail.
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.27492
Elev: 5,330 Feet
Junction off the Angel's Landing trail for the Southern West Rim Trailhead. This is known as Scouts Lookout.
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.28598
Elev: 5,590 Feet
A bridge allowing the trail to cross a stream.
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.28253
Elev: 6,300 Feet
Top entry for Behunin Canyon.
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.27785
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.
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.27176
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.
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.27289
Elev: 7,901 Feet
Large flat area part way up the climb out of Behunin Canyon.
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.27389
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.
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.27799
Elev: 8,257 Feet
Bottom of a chute that will lead up to the final climb to Mount Majestic.
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.27898
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.
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.27951
Elev: 8,674 Feet
Top of the final climb up to Mount Majestic. It's all flat meadow like area up here.
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.27497
Elev: 5,676 Feet
Start of the traverse along the bottom of the main peak of Mount Majestic.
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.27193
Elev: NaN Feet
Near the base of the southern end of the peak for Mount Majestic.
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.27258
Elev: 6,600 Feet
Top entry for Spearhead Canyon.
Lat/Lon (WGS84): N 37.25805
Elev: 4,600 Feet