Zion National Park is full of scenic narrow canyons only accessible to adventure seekers with the right equipment and expertise. This type of amphibious, technical hiking is called canyoneering. The park features many technical routes that will challenge even the most experienced canyoneer. Most of Zion's popular canyoneering routes, including Mystery Canyon, Behunin Canyon, and Spry Canyon, require rappelling gear and wetsuits to descend steep inclines and swim in frigid water. Adventurers will also have to climb up and down boulders and scale slick rocks on their journey through Zion's rewarding backcountry. There are many bolts used for rappelling in the canyon walls throughout many of Zion's canyoneering routes. The park service encourages canyoneers not to add more and to leave as little trace as possible when traversing the park's scenic backcountry.
All overnight trips and adventures necessitating the use of ropes require a backcountry permit, obtainable at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center or Kolob Canyons Visitor Center. Rangers at the backcountry desk can supply you with valuable information and steer you toward the route most suitable for your skill level. Permits are limited. The Park Service usually only allows 50 people per day through each canyon. For all routes except for the Subway and Mystery Canyon, approximately half of the available permits can be reserved. The other half are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Hikers desiring a permit to enter the Subway and Mystery Canyon must enter a lottery. To increase your chances of obtaining a permit for your desired route, plan your trip on a non-weekend day. You could also book a guided canyoneering trip through one of the local outfitters.
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