Among the Best. Boundary is a sweet canyon tucked between "The Big Ones" up on Kolob Terrace, and is one of the best canyons in Zion. It makes a nice daytrip exiting out the MIA, or a great way to access Kolob Creek for a high-class, technical backpack trip. The technical part of the canyon starts right AT the Park Boundary, thus the name.
In the spring the canyon runs with snowmelt and can be too burly. By the time the West Rim Trailhead opens, it may or may not be down to a reasonable level. In recent years, after big winters, it has run strong all summer, and full wetsuits have definitely been required. In dry years, it may dry out in summer - hard to say when. When wet, Boundary is as cold as Imlay or Kolob - bring plenty of warmth or suffer mightily.
The walk from the intersection with Kolob Canyon to the MIA exit is IN Kolob Creek, so be sure to check the release level of the Kolob Dam by calling the Washington County Water Conservancy District (435-673-3617) AND check the flow where the Kolob Terrace Road crosses Kolob Creek, 1.2 miles north of the Lava Point Road. Hiking in Kolob Canyon with more than 10 cfs, even just to the MIA exit, can be challenging and slow; but there are no technical obstacles so it is certainly possible.
Boundary Canyon is a Class C canyon when wet and Class C techniques should be used. Carry an extra rope in case you get one stuck. Perhaps two.
Though not INSIDE the Park, any rescue in Kolob or Boundary would involve the NPS SAR team.Zion Wilderness Desk: 435-772-0170Zion EMERGENCY: 435-772-3322
Note: this is a revision to the approach in the Zion: Canyoneering book.
The approach to Boundary starts the same as that for Kolob Canyon. Park at the West Rim Trailhead. Walk back along the road a few minutes to the big turn. Continue straight north across the meadow to a gap in the trees, a post and the start of a road. Follow the road down a few feet, then follow it left and traverse steeply downhill 15 minutes to the bottom of a hill and a meadow, that holds the spring at the head of Boundary Canyon. If the spring is running, it likely means that Boundary is running too. Follow a logging road right and down along the side of the stream and through lush woods.
Follow the grown-over logging road east, mostly along the right side of the drainage, to the Park Boundary (wire fence) and the head of the canyon. Allow one hour walking time to the head of the canyon.
Note: The MIA road is not always locked, but could be locked at any time. Please DO NOT drive the MIA road without permission; doing so is not only illegal, but it estranges the relationship between the canyoneering community and the (thus far) friendly land owners.
Note: this is a revision to the description in the Zion: Canyoneering book.
R1: Find a tree to sling at the head of the watercourse. Rappel 100 feet (30 m) past several waterfall steps to a round pothole with a log in it and a tree on the side, with a bolt at its base.
R2: 100 feet (30 m) past several ledges to a large pothole ledge. Make sure the rope does not cross any remnant cairn anchors where it could get stuck.
R3: 50 feet (15 m) off a tied-off log to a ledge. Lots of wood debris is in this area, and might be unstable.
R4: 50 feet (15 m) off a tied-off log down a short flute to a ledge. Use the log back one step and pass the sling over a fin, so the rope does not get jammed in the chockstone at the lip of the drop.
R5: 80 feet (24 m) off bolts down nice flute. Wonderful!!
R6: 100 feet (30 m) off bolts down a great flute. An interesting arch!
R7: 30 feet (10 m) off natural anchors.
R8: 30 feet (10 m) off natural anchors.
R9: Off bolts, 70 feet (21 m) down a steep wall to the bottom of the canyon.
The rappel sequence leads to the floor of a beautiful canyon, lush with vegetation, with huge sweeping walls. Descent of the lush, rugged canyon to the intersection with Kolob Creek takes about 1 hour.
March down Kolob Creek to the MIA Exit, and back up to the West Rim TrailheadOR
Hike down Kolob Creek to The Narrows, likely camping in there somewhere, and out to the Temple of Sinawava.
A printable canyon descriptionand map you can take with you.
Have all Zion's classic canyonsin one convenient book.
Zion: Kolob Terrace Area Map
Click on any map to browse a larger view,then right-click to save and print.
Kolob Canyon, Boundary Canyon, MIA Exit
Deluxe maps are available in two formats:
• 1 Mb files in the Map Download Center, designed for printing on 11" x 17" paper • Canyoneering Maps for Purchase in the Canyoneering USA Store. Printed maps are 13" x 19", nicely presented on 24 lb. white paper.
Zion: Kolob, Boundary and Oak
I first did Boundary in the fall of 2002, I think, in dry conditions with Kurt and Melody Bellock, Alicia Scotter and Allen Sanderson. I have repeated it about once a year since, though it is more fun in recent years as the flows have been higher.
Boundary Canyon, 6/17/10 - Tom and visiting friends have a cold trip through Boundary.Boundary Canyon, 9/02/10 - Tom and Bailey Schofield do a canyon together.
Boundary Canyon, June 2006 - Jason Robertson shares his first day at Tom's Fest.Boundary Canyon, 6/21/08 - Christian "Beefcake" Nelson finds snow still in the canyon at the end of June.Boundary Canyon, June 2009 - Christian "Beefcake" Nelson and gang descend Boundary during BogleyFest.
BluuGnome.com, Boundary Canyon