Behunin is one of the more straightforward and more popular of Zion's backcountry canyons. Those with good rappelling skills will find it pleasant and easy; for those without, this is not a good choice. Many rappels provide opportunities to get the rope stuck, and the backcountry nature of Behunin means you are on your own. DEFINITELY not a place to teach beginners how to rappel.
In 1863, Utah pioneer Isaac Behunin built a small cabin near the current location of Zion Lodge, across from the Emerald Pools cirque. He grew melons and tobacco during the summer, and wintered in Springdale. A narrow canyon that drops into that cirque was named for him, and it is a fine canyoneering adventure. Two hours of hiking up the West Rim trail takes the intrepid canyoneer to the head of the canyon. Eight rappels and a bunch of fun hiking lead to a final precipitous drop of 165 feet (50 meters) into the Emerald Pool cirque. Behunin is a great backcountry canyon, with mostly fixed anchors and one short swim.
Behunin has become popular in winter and spring, because people think it is dry. Sometimes it is, but in winter and spring, melting snow vastly complicates the descent. At least one canyoneer spent a few hours stuck on a rope under a waterfall, contemplating his fate. Luck was in his favor, as the Zion SAR team responded in time to save him.
The popularity of Behunin is also its curse - it showcases the impacts canyoneers can have in the fragile desert environment. As you descend, note eroded social trails in several places, cutting around drops and pools. Where possible, avoid further erosion by travelling in the watercourse, rappelling and downclimbing rather than scrambling around. Many of these eroded areas are returning to a natural state now that canyoneers have stopped using them.
|WGS84 UTM 12S Waypoints|
|Head of Canyon||325364.73mE||4128053.12mN|