Right Fork of North Creek |

Zion West Side

Canyoneering Right Fork of North Creek - Zion West Side Canyoneering Right Fork of North Creek
Zion West Side

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


TICKS & TODOS: 7 Todo Lists / 1 Ticks
GEAR: Standard Technical Gear
RAPPELS: 10+ to 30 m ( 99 ft. ) or 15+ to 50 m ( 165 ft. ) (Hammerhead)
WATER: Generally quite a bit of swimming. Treatable water for drinking the last 1/2 of the trip. Wetsuit required for the direct, recommended for Bypass in all but the very hottest weather.
SEASON: Late spring, summer, fall
Fri Hi:86 Lo:60 Sat Hi:83 Lo:57 Sun Hi:81 Lo:58 Mon Hi:75 Lo:56 Tue Hi:67 Lo:51
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Right Fork is one of the Zion classics. The standard route is not-to-technical and makes a fantastic 2 day backpack for the intermediate canyoneer. Because of its position, it has a remote feel and is not often trod. The falls below the technical section, Barrier and Double Falls, are sublime and often photographed by hikers coming up from the bottom.

For overnighters, near the end of the slot the Great Alcove is encountered, an amazing camp spot that rivals any other campsite in the park. Unfortunately, after the last rappel, the Right Fork involves a fair bit of slogging in open, hot canyon to get to the trailhead. If camping, start early the last day to beat the heat when hiking out.

To get to the Right Fork, there are 3 common approaches: Wildcat (where the Left Fork / Subway hike starts), Little Blue Canyon, and the Hammerhead. Having done all 3 approaches, I would recommend Hammerhead for groups having done the canyon before and looking to add a bit more technical canyon, and Wildcat is my go to route for first timers. Little Blue was a thrash for us with no real redeeming qualities. I don't recommend it. (and its not described here)

The "standard" Right Fork avoids an upper direct section that has many potholes and pools. This is a great section, and highly recommended, but requires much more effort, and requires a wetsuit in even the hottest temperatures. First time intermediate canyoneers may want to do the standard route, while very experienced canyoneers may want to do the direct for the extra section.

Note: The few times I have done the direct section, it has seemed quite tame and straightforward. A few pools, and stunning narrows. There have been groups, however, that have encountered substantial keeper pothole obstacles in the direct section during times of extended low water. If doing the direct, you MAY not run into potholes, but you also MAY if the water levels are low. Bring pothole escape gear! If inexperienced, skip the direct section until you have pothole experience!

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