Benson Creek |

Brian Head

Canyoneering Benson Creek - Brian HeadHiking Benson Creek - Brian Head Canyoneering Benson Creek
Brian Head

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments

Overview

RATING: 3C
LENGTH: 2-4 hours
MAPS: Parowan, UT;

Wed

69 | 46

Thu

69 | 46

Fri

69 | 46

Sat

68 | 45

Sun

68 | 46

View Full Weather Details
SEASON: Summer, Fall
GEAR: Standard Technical Gear
RAPPELS: 4 to 32 m ( 105 ft. )
WATER: Small flowing stream
FLASHFLOOD: Moderate

Wed

69 | 46

Thu

69 | 46

Fri

69 | 46

Sat

68 | 45

Sun

68 | 46

View Full Weather Details
Benson Creek from the hiker/canyoneer junction.

Benson Creek from the hiker/canyoneer junction.

Benson Creek is a family friendly hike to a waterfall or a high adventure canyoneering outing. Ok, truth be told, it is a tame short canyoneering adventure as well a family friendly hike.

For hikers, this is a pleasant outing, complete with benches and picnic tables near the falls. Bring the family, bring a lunch, and enjoy the day. The short distance and easy trail make it suitable for most, though floods in recent years have made the trail a bit tougher. My 3 year old made it, but with a little assistace in spots.

For canyoneers, the approach is relatively short and soon leads to an excellent but short slot canyon section and four rappels. The shortness of the approach and easiness of the technical section make this suitable for most canyoneers.

Note: The creek flows fairly low most of the year. Summer and fall are the recommended seasons if taking the canyoneering route. During cooler times of the year, rain pants and a rain jacket can help keep you warm and dry. Wetsuit never needed, as the pools should only be ankle deep. If the stream is flowing more than ankle deep, as it could be in spring runoff, consider waiting until tamer conditions.
Looking down the first rappel in Benson Creek.

Looking down the first rappel in Benson Creek.

Start of the narrows in Benson Creek.

Start of the narrows in Benson Creek.

Getting There

The trailhead is on the road to Brian Head Ski Resort from Parowan, UT. To get there, take exit 78 from I-15 and head east into the town of Parowan. Follow Main Street from the highway about 1.2 miles to Center Street and turn left on Center Street.

After 0.3 miles, Center Street curves right and becomes Canyon Road. Follow this 5.5 miles to a large parking area on the left that is signed Parowan Canyon Wildlife Management Area. This is the trailhead, and mile post 8.6 on SR-143.

Second rappel in Benson Creek.

Second rappel in Benson Creek.

Looking down the second rappel in Benson Creek.

Looking down the second rappel in Benson Creek.

Route

From the parking lot, follow the wide and well-used trail. It goes back down the canyon for a few minutes, nears the road, then crosses the stream on a footbridge. A small social path goes off on the left just after the bridge, stay right on the main trail.

A few minutes past the first bridge is a trail junction. Again, stay left on the most used trail. A few minutes after this second junction is a third, at the edge of a sage brush clearing. This is where the hiking and canyoneering routes diverge.

Hikers (20-30 minutes total from trailhead):
Stay left. A few picnics tables and benches appear before the trail enters the stream bottom. Follow the trail a few minutes up to the 10 m ( 33 ft. ) falls. This section washed out a couple of years ago and the trail is re-emerging. Follow the most used path. Return the same way.

Canyoneers (1-1.5 hours total approach time / 2 miles total approach):
Go right. Stay on the most used social trail. There are many animal trails that can make this a bit confusing. With a close eye, the main trail should be easy to follow. The trail climbs, then bends east as it climbs more steeply. It soon flattens out, contours around, and drops steeply into the bottom of Benson Creek.

Once in the canyon bottom, it is an easy stroll to the slot and first rappel.

Canyon (30+ minutes)
R1 32 m ( 105 ft. ) - Off a tree on the left. A 60 m rope will not work doubled here. Make sure you have enough rope for a 32 m rappel! The rappel drops 4 m to a ledge, then continues down.

R2 13 m ( 43 ft. ) - Right after rappel 1 is a bolted anchor on the right for a two stage 13 m ( 43 ft. ) rappel. Stunning section.

R3 16 m ( 53 ft. ) - The canyon is easy walking for a few minutes to where it slots up again at rappel 3. The drop is about 12 m ( 40 ft. ), but the anchor is 4 m ( 14 ft. ) back from the edge.

R4 13 m ( 43 ft. ) - The final rappel is shortly down canyon from rappel 3. This is the waterfall that is reached by hikers. Rappelling off the tree on the left is highly recommended as it puts you near the flow of the waterfall. There is another anchor on the right wall that avoids the waterfall altogether but doesn't seem like much fun.

A couple of fixed pieces (piton and bolt) on the left side of the waterfall make me wonder if this is occasionally climbed.

From the bottom of the waterfall, follow the trail a few minutes down to the junction, then back to the trailhead.


Maps

Route - Canyoneering / 2.89 miles / Elevation Range 7,087 - 7,973 ft.
Route - Hiking / 1.40 miles / Elevation Range 7,087 - 7,314 ft.
Printable Maps:
Trailhead

12S 337910mE 4182134mN

N37° 46' 20" W112° 50' 26"

Bridge

12S 338082mE 4182422mN

N37° 46' 29" W112° 50' 19"

Right

12S 338117mE 4182446mN

N37° 46' 30" W112° 50' 17"

Left

12S 338169mE 4182429mN

N37° 46' 30" W112° 50' 15"

Junction

12S 338347mE 4182203mN

N37° 46' 22" W112° 50' 08"

Rappel 1

12S 338736mE 4181968mN

N37° 46' 15" W112° 49' 52"

Rappel 4

12S 338574mE 4182099mN

N37° 46' 19" W112° 49' 58"

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