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A slot canyon experience in Zion, without the hassle of ropes and technical gear?!? Shelf Canyon is a short canyon right off the highway through the park. Though it doesn't look like much from the highway, it quickly narrows into a deep, shelf-lined slot canyon (hence the name). It is short but makes for a fun family-friendly outing to a dark slot. Canyoneers will likely not be impressed by this one, but hikers are likely to enjoy the canyon.
From the park entrance, follow highway 9 into the park. Continue past the junction with the main Zion Canyon. Continue up the switchbacks and through the tunnel. Just on the other side of the tunnel is a small parking area on the right. This is the Pine Creek trailhead, continue a few hundred feet past to other parking for the Canyon Overlook Trail. Shelf Canyon is just past the Canyon Overlook trail. Parking can be tough on busy days.
From the parking area, find a way down into the canyon bottom on the north side of the road. Easiest is following the slickrock on the left side of the canyon for a minute or two, then hiking down in.
Once in the canyon bottom, head up canyon. The few obstacles en route to the slot can generally be easily surmounted by hiking around on the right side. After a few boulder piles, the canyon quickly narrows.
Water is common in this section, but generally less than knee deep. Diane was able to stay dry in this section with some solid stemming skills, though most may just want to wade the shallow pools.
Once the canyon narrows, the end is in just a couple of minutes further along at a shelf-lined dryfall. Return the same way.
12S 327903mE 4120466mN
N37° 12' 53" W112° 56' 22"