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Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Zion Park Allows More Canyoneers Into Spry Canyon

Spry Canyon is a technical slot canyon in Zion National Park. It is becoming more popular every year because it offers outstanding scenery and a challenging canyoneering adventure with relatively easy access.

Permits are required to hike through Zion's technical slot canyons, and the number of visitors per day is limited to protect the park's resources. After evaluating conditions, the Park Service has increased the use limit for Spry Canyon from 12 people per day to 20 people per day. This news release explains the decision. Below are excerpts.

In the past, the limiting factor for the number of visitors allowed in Spry Canyon was a severely eroded exit trail visible from the park road. For the last several years, canyoneers have been asked to avoid the eroded trail and follow a more durable trail down a rocky watercourse. Compliance has been outstanding. As a result, the erosion problem has been reduced to acceptable levels allowing for the increase in use limits. The trail will continue to be closely monitored to ensure that compliance remains high with the increase in use limits.

While canyoneering in Zion can be a challenging and rewarding activity, it is not one that should be entered into lightly. At least one member of each party should be experienced in canyoneering and the use of any required technical equipment. Hikers should also be aware of weather conditions and the possibility of flash floods. By entering into a narrow canyon, visitors take safety as their own responsibility. All persons canyoneering in the park should stop by the visitor center and talk to qualified park staff before their hike. Some canyon hikes in the park (including Spry Canyon) require advance permits. For more information on canyoneering in Zion, contact the park at 435-772-3256 or visit the park website at www.nps.gov/zion.

Spry Canyon is a typical canyoneering route in Zion Park. The hike involves route finding and scrambling to get into the canyon, then multiple rappels and chest-deep wading through cold water.

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