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Orderville Gulch

Zion National Park

Zion + Bryce Canyon Area, Utah

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Orderville Gulch

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  • The Orderville Canyon Trailhead.- Orderville Gulch
  • This is where you drop down to gulch.- Orderville Gulch
  • Interesting geology along this hike into Orderville Gulch.- Orderville Gulch
  • Orderville Gulch.- Orderville Gulch
  • Layers in the sandstone in Orderville Gulch.- Orderville Gulch
  • Enjoying the canyon walls in Orderville Gulch.- Orderville Gulch
  • An anchor at the first chokestone.- Orderville Gulch
  • The second chokestone.- Orderville Gulch
  • Orderville Gulch.- Orderville Gulch
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Extraordinary slot canyons. Varied terrain with interesting geology. Solitude.
Cons: 
High potential for flash floods. Rough access road may be impassable, which extends the hike.
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Region:
Zion + Bryce Canyon Area, UT
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Highest point: 
1,755.00 ft (534.92 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Permit required: 
Yes
Permit reservation URL: 
https://zionpermits.nps.gov/wilderness.cfm?TripTypeID=3
Permit self-issue on site: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
11.00 mi (17.70 km)
Total elevation gain: 
-400.00 ft (-121.92 m)
Trail type: 
Shuttle
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,755.00 ft (534.92 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

A less commonly known but spectacular slot canyon hike intersecting with the Narrows in Zion National Park, Orderville Gulch requires some technical canyoneering skills but is an adventure not to be missed. 

Depending on road conditions, the hike may start at the upper parking area. In that case, follow the rutted road downhill 2.25 miles to the actual trailhead. From the parking area, follow the path through juniper and ponderosa pines, weaving in and around the creekbeds for about three-quarters of a mile. Drop down into the canyon proper by descending about 175 feet. There is no clear trail, but it isn't difficult to make it down the dirt slope, especially by staying to the left until you reach the canyon bottom. 

In the sandy canyon bottom, hike about a mile as the gulch walls narrow in. After about 2.5 miles the obstacles begin: chokestones and log jams typically block the canyon. The first one is a chokestone with a 15-foot drop. Several, including the first two, have rappel anchors on the left side. Tie in and descend - never jump! Locals shared horror stories of broken ankles and a long trip out of the canyon! Each obstacle is slightly different and requires some scouting; most drop about 10 to 15 feet into a plunge pool. Be aware that the water is quite cold and the depth is variable depending on recent precipitation and the nature of the blockage affecting water flow. Logs and steeply sloping stones may be slick.

Most of the water in Orderville comes from springs that originate from snow seeping through Navajo sandstone over long periods of time. You may notice a trickle of water about three-quarters of a mile past the first chokestone  that may change seasonally, but it quickly accumulates into an ankle- to knee-deep stream. Where the flow is less, deep mud will be unavoidable. The canyon walls tower above and the path becomes quite narrow, showcasing the spectacular geology. The last mile of the canyon is referred to as the waterpark because of its many obstacles and abundant water. After Veiled Falls, the last obstacle, you'll start encountering hikers who venture up Orderville from the Narrows.

At about 8.5 miles in you'll encounter the confluence of the Narrows and the Virgin River coming in from the right. From this point, work your way down through the Virgin River with scads of other hikers in the Narrows until you reach the paved path taking you to the Temple of Sinawava (hopefully you've arranged a shuttle!). 

Gear and technical note: According to the Canyon Rating System, Orderville is rated 3B III. It is a challenging hike that takes about 8 hours. Since several cold water swims are likely, drybags and sturdy closed-toe shoes are recommended. If you'll be hiking in spring or during cool weather, waterproof clothing is helpful. Bring at least 50 feet of rope or webbing.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(48 within a 30 mile radius)

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