Canyoneering is a common word used to describe an outdoor activity that is rising in popularity. It generally involves exploring remote slot canyons, found in a variety of locations around the world. These narrow, twisting, rock corridors are often mazes, requiring navigational skills to successfully negotiate. Along the way, hikers may be requiried to scramble, rock climb, swim, or even abseil their way over and around any number of obstacles.
One of the premiere places to explore the activity in the U.S. is in the deserts of southern Utah, as writer Tony Perrottet recently discovered while writing this story for the New York Times. He traveled to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument where he discovered three very remote slot canyons where the trails were unmarked, water was scarce, and there wasn’t another person in sight.
Perrottet was following in the footsteps of adventuer Frederick Samuel Dellenbaugh, who would eventually found the Explorers Club, but as a teenager, Dellenbaugh and a few friends, mapped the first route through the iconic canyons of southern Utah, making all kinds of discoveries along the way.
Some of the other top spots in the U.S. to go cayoneering include Zion National Park and the San Rafael Swell, both are also in Utah. Arizona, New Mexico, and California aslo have a number of great places as well. On an international level, cayoneering is popular on nearly every continent, with great routes in Australia, New Zealand, eastern Europe, and any number of other places. For more information, checkout the American Cayoneering Assocation.