A Sweet Little Gem. Rock Canyon is a sweet little gem of a canyon, with difficult access. It drops into the East Fork of the Virgin River a few miles east of the Park boundary, from the south side – a dune-sand area known generally as Elephant Cove. All access roads cross long stretches of soft dune sand, requiring a fully-capable 4x4 vehicle to reach the trailhead. Even with good vehicles, the drive from Springdale is long and will discourage many.
OK, how about the good news? Rock is a great little canyon with a four rappels, including one spectacular 110-foot rappel into a dramatic alcove. Close to the East Fork, Rock Canyon goes all riparian on us, with large cottonwood trees, grasses, and horsetail creating a lush, green contrast against the sandstone. Sweet! Once at the East Fork, you can climb a short rock step and return to your vehicle quickly... but why not enjoy the East Fork by sauntering down "The Barracks" section of the East Fork to an exit canyon on the left? This variation leads to a moderate up-climb to the rim, about a mile from your vehicle. There is a lush garden of poison ivy in the exit canyon, so some might want to wear long pants for this section.
Do not underestimate the driving challenges. The drive to the trailhead from Springdale is about two hours twenty minutes. This canyon works out better, logistically, if coming from the St George/Hurricane/Washington area, or from Kanab.