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Activity Spotlight: Canyoneering in Zion

Zion National Park

Talk about a place that can make you feel oh so small, but in the very best ways! This little spot on the map has over 200 square miles of insane terrain – high plateaus, waterfalls, red-orange sandstone cliffs & canyons, springs, lush gardens. You can see it all from above at the highest viewpoints, or up close on the ground floor, looking up at the giant rocky landscapes.

There’s a special activity that covers all those views and feels in one – canyoneering! If you want to activate those granola vibes, get outside, and really immerse yourself into the natural elements of Zion, a guided canyoneering trip will do just the trick. You can expect to scout for new routes, rappel down canyon walls, test your problem-solving skills, swim in the natural springs, hike some of the coolest trails out there, and so much more. Let’s dive into some more details, shall we?

What is Canyoneering?

Canyoneering is an adventurous sport of sorts that entails exploring canyons by means of several technical skills. These skills vary within the following:

  • Rappelling down canyon walls – descending down a near-vertical service with support from a double coiled rope. Typically, an anchor point will be set at the top, and weight-distribution will guide you down the wall.
  • Hiking – you know this one, going off-road by means of your feet, taking the road-less traveled, walking through nature!
  • Scrambling – not as frantic as it sounds, this is basically getting onto all fours and crawling or climbing up a slanted surface. 
  • Wading – walking through water that can be anywhere from ankle deep to higher than waist deep!
  • Climbing / down-climbing – climbing is what you usually think of: climbing or pulling yourself up and through different rock formations. Down-climbing is the same concept, but heading down rather than up.

Reasons Why You Should Book a Canyoneering Trip

We could totally chalk it up to – why not book a canyoneering trip? But, if you insist, here’s a few more really solid reasons to do so!

  1. When going on a trip, we often ask ourselves, “how am I going to see/do everything in one trip?!” This activity allows you to see and do that all-in-one adventure, and in an epic place we might add!
  2. You also get to see the park in a different light. Embarking on a guided tour pairs you with a local expert. You can go beyond the map, for a better lack of terms. These guides have access to different areas of the park that not everyone gets the chance to see. It’s like unlocking the door to a whole new world inside Zion, exploring your own little secret, and one that is bound to be kept in the box of favorite adventures.
  3. This is not for the faint of heart. Yes, the technical activities included in canyoneering can seem a little daunting but, the challenge of learning a new skill and moving through an activity like this breeds so much good for the soul. You have the comfort of knowing you are in safe hands with a professional guide, but have the freedom to push your own boundaries, build your mental toughness, and revel in the excitement of completing a task.
  4. Piggybacking off of the above, this challenge is also great for family bonding! Canyoneering serves as the perfect opportunity for encouragement. Seeing your kids or your partner maneuver through an obstacle and cheering them on along the way; it creates a genuine sense of pride and togetherness.
  5. Canyoneering absolutely qualifies as one of those bucket list/once in a lifetime/ location specific activity. There is no better place than Zion to do it!

Guided Canyoneering Tours: What to Expect

You can opt in for a half-day adventure (4-5hrs) or a full day of exploring (8hrs) on your canyoneering experience. There are a few different companies you can book through, but they operate relatively the same. Pricing averages between $130 – $200/person depending on the length of your experience, amount of people in your group, and what the tour entails (relative to the particular company you book through).

A few companies we recommend. If anything else, take a look at their websites to get your canyoneering curiosity flowing! Zion Adventure Company, Red Desert Adventure, Zion Guru.

Canyoneering tours are offered year-round, so sky’s the limit on when to book. However, Tumbleweed Travel’s travel tip here, and most always, is to try and book during the off season and/or during the week. This avoids crowds in the park and just adds to that exclusive experience! The best time to visit Zion is between the months of April & November, the summer months being peak season. You’ll find that sweet spot just outside of the Summer months.

These are typically private tours, so your canyoneering trip will consist of yourself, whoever you are traveling with, and your guide! This makes for a personalized trip, easy for 1:1 guidance, comfortability with your crew, and all around safety while you are trekking through the canyons.

When you book with a tour guide, they provide all the gear, so you just need to worry about your essentials. Your comfortable hiking gear: breathable shirt & layers, thicker pants or shorts to avoid scuffing against the rocks, sturdy, but light-weight shoes, snacks, water, and a camera!


And that’s our take on canyoneering in Zion! An activity worth a highlight but even more so, worth doing. We at Tumbleweed Travel Co. are here to inspire the spirit of adventure, but also the excitement of a road trip. Customizable trips of a lifetime at your fingertips, canyoneering is just a glimpse of what is out there. We’ll catch you in the next slot canyon!