Tom’s Experience canyoneering through Englestead Hollow:
This was quite the adventure. We went with my dad and brothers while we were staying in St. George, Utah. This canyon requires a permit through Zion National Park if you are going to finish the hike out through Orderville and then the Narrows. Right as we were passing the East Gate of Zion’s my brother said “oh shoot, I forgot my harness.” The car was silent for a little bit and I was thinking that he must have been joking. Then my dad spoke up and said “I think I forgot my harness, too” at which point my youngest brother then said “me too.” I stopped the car and asked my dad what he wanted to do seeing as how we only had two harnesses and two ATCs for the five of us. He said he would make some harnesses for the three of them and we would just have to share ATCs.
When we parked the car we had a little bit of a difficult time trying to find the trail but once we did it was easy to follow. The canyon literally just opens up from flat ground into a giant hole in the ground, which was pretty neat. My dad started working on making harnesses for him and my brothers. At this point we decided to take a vote to see if we should keep going or turn back. The vote was 4 votes to keep going and 1 vote to go back. My wife was the vote to go back. She didn’t approve of the homemade harnesses.
We did not have a long enough rope to make it from the top of the first rappel to the bottom, which was 300 feet. We had to rap down to a ledge, and since my dad had just cut up his second rope to make harnesses and we only had two ATCs, we all had to rappel to that ledge before we could go on further. We were all hooked in into the rock by some anchors but it was still pretty airy. Once we finally got to the bottom of the first rappel we saw some snow. I think it may be there year round just because the sun never hits it to really melt it. It was very cold in the slot canyon but we didn’t see any water in Englestead Hollow which was nice. My dad brought a beanie and put it on when we reached the bottom of the first rappel, then announced, “A beanie is probably the most important thing you can bring canyoneering.” I would have thought a harness was, but I guess I was wrong. In the picture below you can see my father setting up the second rappel on the first 300 foot rappel. It really wasn’t much of a ledge.
The canyon then goes through quite a few rappels. It took us quite a while to make it through the canyon because of the ATC restriction that we had, but it was still really fun. I don’t think I’ve ever been in any canyon that has as many rappels so close together as Englestead Hollow. The first rappel was by far the longest, the other rappels were also pretty good sizes or made difficult due to the debris that was at the top of the rappel, so go prepared. Right near the end of Englestead Hollow there is an arch that you get to walk through. It can be easily missed since the walls are so narrow but it really isn’t too difficult to find.
You can finish this canyon by rappelling or down climbing into Orderville and then out through the Narrows or hiking up Orderville. Both ways require a shuttle. We decided to do the down climb and it wasn’t too bad but it was a little exposed.
Dogs are not allowed in the back country at Zions National Park
Trailhead Info: the Englestead Hollow trailhead is a little difficult to find and it is accessed by dirt roads. It shouldn’t be too difficult with a 4-wheel drive car and dry conditions. After leaving Zion’s East Gate drive 2.4 miles on highway 9 and turn north (left) towards north fork. This road will be paved. Drive 5.3 miles and you will see Zion Ponderosa on the left but don’t turn in. Continue another 2.8 miles past Zion Ponderosa and you will see a road go to the left between 2 ranches that is fenced on both sides. This is the trailhead. Make sure you bring the appropriate gear and skills necessary for a difficult slot canyon.
Englestead Canyon Zion Trailhead – 37.300937,-112.892093
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