A Good 'un.

Englestead is a deep canyon with a dramatic start. After an initial 700 feet of rappelling, the canyon continues through marvelous narrows with some downclimbing and a few short rappels to intersect with Orderville Canyon just inside the Park boundary. One can turn left and enjoy the best parts of Orderville, exiting out The Narrows, or turn right and climb up Orderville Canyon.

Other than a few bolts at the beginning, Englestead is bolt-free. Please respect this and DO NOT PLACE BOLTS in this canyon. The drops lower in the canyon can be easily rigged using natural anchors.


Canyon Profile


4BIII or IV ★★★★☆

6-10 Hours

YES - if exiting down The Narrows & YES - if exiting up Orderville

Summer or fall

300 feet (91 m)

The initial long rappel (260 or 300 feet) deserves special respect, and has been the scene of several incidents.


Helmets, rappelling gear, webbing, rapid links.


Some available to filter once in lower Orderville. Bring plenty if hiking upstream to Orderville Trailhead; the hike is long and in full sun.

Wetsuits or drysuits recommended in cool weather, especially if continuing down Orderville Canyon.

All natural, except two bolt anchors near the beginning. Bring plenty of webbing to re-rig, if necessary.

Moderate - The collection zone is small and wooded, but the canyon has extended narrows that are inescapable.

Requires car spot or shuttle service. Canyon starts near Zion Ponderosa and either finishes at the Orderville Trailhead (also on the North Fork Road) or downstream at the Temple of Sinawava.


Getting there


Englestead is approached using an old logging road off the North Fork Road. Drive north on the North Fork Road 5.4 miles to the entrance of the Zion Ponderosa Resort. Continue on the North Fork Road 2.8 miles to a small dirt road on the left (west), between two fenced ranches. Park here (2WD) or drive the small dirt road ¼ mile to a small parking area at the top of a hill. The road from this point is an ATV trail, not suitable for even 4X4 vehicles.


Follow the old road down through the scrub. After 15 minutes, an ATV trail branches right toward Birch Hollow. A couple minutes further down, a campsite is seen to the right. Twenty-five minutes from the car, a log staging area is reached, with an interesting log-loader rusting back into the environment. Continue following the road off the end of the ridge and down into the wash below. Follow the wash 15 minutes further to the BIG DROP at the head of Englestead. Approach time is about 45 minutes. Alternatively, Englestead can be approached from a trailhead near the East Mesas Trailhead...

Alternative Driving

From the East Mesa (Mystery Canyon) Trailhead, drive back 1/10 mile to the last intersection – turn left. At 2/10 mile, turn right on an ATV trail. At 4/10 miles, another trail comes in from the right – go straight. At 7/10 miles, park at the end of the road.

Alternative Approach

From the carpark, find a small trail heading down and right. Follow the trail right a couple hundred yards (200m) to a fork left, and follow this down to a piney wood. Head left through the wood and find an old road. Follow this about 200 yards (200m), then head right and down to a second overgrown old road. Follow this past several gullies and ribs to the head of the canyon, then descend easily a dirt rib 100 meters to the canyon floor. Follow the canyon 10 minutes to the big drop. Approach time is about 45 minutes.


The Business

There are several ways to rappel the first drop, and there are often a lot of trees rigged with webbing. Consider your choices carefully.

Walk about 50 feet (15 m) along the left edge to a tree standing proud above a steep wall. Rig the tree up high for an easier start and a cleaner pull.  (The tree above the corner is often rigged, but the rope pulls into the crack and gets stuck). Rappel from this tree to a 1st pothole ledge, then further to a 2nd, larger pothole. Total length is 300 feet (91 m).

(Var-1: Rappel 90 feet (28 m) from tree to a small stance w/ 2 bolts under a block to the rappeller's right. Rappel from bolts 200 feet (60 m) to the upper pothole ledge. Rappel from a single, suspect bolt (or cairn) 50 feet (15 m) to the larger pothole ledge).

Several rappels follow, one after the other. The last is the longest (120 feet, 40 m), off a long sling tied to a tree wedged above the canyon floor. Though difficult, inspect the entire length of the sling. The rappel drops 10 feet into a pothole, then across the pothole and 100 feet down beautiful flutes to the ground. Carefully rig this rappel, because the pull is often difficult.

Follow the canyon to Orderville. Several short rappels off logs and other natural anchors present the only obstacles. There's a really nice natural bridge that some people miss. At the last drop (intersection with Orderville), climb up left and downclimb a crack (5.2, exposed) to the ground.


The Exit

Two options exist; hiking up (RIGHT) Orderville to the Orderville trailhead, or continuing downstream (LEFT) to the Narrows confluence and ending up at the Temple of Sinawava.

Hiking down Orderville gets the best parts of Orderville (check out the Orderville Canyon description), but involves splashing through quite a bit of water, and usually at least one swim. Exiting UP Orderville makes for a shorter and dryer day, and requires climbing one short chimney (5.2) that can be muddy (5.5 M1?).


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