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Guided canyoneering with kids near Zion National Park

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What is canyoneering?

Canyoneering is an awesome family adventure that includes descending and exploring slot canyons.  Excursions involve hiking, rappelling, stemming, down-climbing, and in sometimes wading and/or swimming, depending on the season.

Our first experience with canyoneering was through water-carved, sandstone slot canyons in gorgeous southern Utah.

We had just finished 3 days and nights of camping and exploring the Havasupai waterfalls in Arizona, and we spontaneously set our sights on Zion National Park.


Zion National Park 

Our family had been to Zion once before. This time we were traveling with some good friends of ours who had never been, and no lie, we were dying to get back too. So much to do!

Last time we were in Zion, we hiked the Narrows and it was epic! 

This time around, we were ready for some canyoneering and technical slot canyons. 


Canyon locations with great routes

Red Desert offers a fantastic selection of canyon routes. We were near the Kolob Terrace.

Here's what you should know: commercially guided canyoneering trips are not allowed within Zion National Park. When you take a guided canyoneering trip, you will be taken to slot canyons found on public lands surrounding of the park (ie. near Kolob Terraces).

Any technical canyoneering within Zion National Park must be done as a private party. You won't be able to hire a guide for canyons like the Subway, Pine Creek, or Keyhole Canyon.  Furthermore, a backcountry permit is required for all canyoneering routes within Zion and you must know what you are doing.

Book a canyoneering trip

Since we didn't own our own ropes, harnesses, and such, we made reservations with a local adventure company in Springdale, Utah - the sweet little town that sits at the edge of Zion.

Zion wasn't originally on the road trip itinerary; we're known to switch gears and switch plans!

We lucked out with 12 last-minute spots for a half-day (4-5 hours) canyoneering trip with Red Desert Adventure, but I would definitely recommend planning this trip a few weeks out in advance. If the weather doesn't play nice, they'll work with you.

Red Desert Adventure Company's invitation:

"Join us for a trip. Experience the water carved landscapes of Utah on a canyoneering trip through a sandstone slot canyon. Guided tours involve hiking, rappelling, down-climbing, stemming, and in some cases wading or swimming.

Our trips are efficient and streamlined to maximize your time in the field. We use modern safety systems and simple instruction"

Benefits of booking a canyoneering trip with an adventure company

  • Free pick-up and transportation from your hotel in Springdale

  • No experience necessary for most trips

  • All canyoneering equipment is provided within the price

  • Knowledgable guides will customize a trip that suits your group

  • You will be told what to expect and what to bring

Curious about the price and details? Go here. 

What should we plan to wear and bring along?

Basically, you will dress for the season in active wear. 

  • Knee length shorts work best

  • Athletic / comfy T-shirt

  • Layering top if it's chilly

  • Lightweight hiking shoes, tennis shoes, or approach shoes

  • Daypack with water reservoir (or 1-2 Liter water bottle/person)

  • Sunscreen

  • Camera

Where to stay in Springdale

We stayed in the Hampton Inn when we hiked the Narrows and La Quinta Inn & Suites during our second visit to Zion. While everything is expensive in Springdale, these both had wonderful breakfasts and fantastic outdoor pools. 

Outdoor adventures with kids and teens in Utah and Arizona:

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Have you been to Zion? What was your family's favorite adventure there?