The Dye Clan
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  • TR: Jun 2009
  • TR: Sep 2016

Keyhole Canyon

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Keyhole Canyon is an awesome little canyon in Zion National Park. It's short but fun. There are several rappels, very scenic deep canyon walls, and lots of swimming.

Approach

Park at one of the pullouts near Keyhole Canyon. Follow the road until you get to the turnof. Hike up a short but steep slickrock hillside and scramble down the other side. 

Route

Rappel #1: 15 ft off a 2-bolt anchor into a pool of water.

Climb #1: Downclimb under a log. Can also be rappelled.

Rappel #2: 15 ft off a single-bolt anchor into a pool of water followed by a downclimb. Alternatively, you could do this as a 2-stage rappel.

 

Interactive Map

Download KML file to view in Google Earth.

Waypoints

Waypoint Latitude Longitude Description
PARK -112.9039005353741 37.22359996176491  
JUNC1 -112.9005619927002 37.2239373715958 Leave the road and hike up the slickrock.
TOP1 -112.9008628329205 37.22683782004467 Top of Middle Keyhole
TOP2 -112.9023616905137 37.22685975170758 Top of Lower Keyhole
R1 -112.9024105961025 37.22688007409053 Rappel #1 15 ft off a 2-bolt anchor into a pool of water.
BOT1 -112.9021330182617 37.2266479048291 Bottom of Middle Keyhole.
BOT2 -112.9026474333643 37.22497228879568 Bottom of Lower Keyhole.
R2 -112.9033601707307 37.22640510634531 Rappel #2 15 ft off a single-bolt anchor into a pool of water followed by a downclimb. Alternatively, you could do this as a 2-stage rappel.
DC1 -112.9033635476063 37.22654999131008 Down Climb #1 Under a log. Can also be rappelled.

Trip Report: June 5, 2009

Trip Members

Jeremy Dye, Tara Dye, Zachary Dye

Trip Time

3.5 Hours.

Description

Friday, June 5, 2009, Zac, Tara, and I did Keyhole Canyon. It was supposed to take 1-2 hours, but we did it in 3.5. It was a lot of fun and involved a few rappels and a lot of very freezing cold water.

Keyhole Canyon Zion National Park Utah
Keyhole Canyon Zion National Park Utah
Keyhole Canyon Zion National Park Utah
Keyhole Canyon Zion National Park Utah
Keyhole Canyon Zion National Park Utah
Keyhole Canyon Zion National Park Utah
Keyhole Canyon Zion National Park Utah
Keyhole Canyon Zion National Park Utah
Keyhole Canyon Zion National Park Utah
Keyhole Canyon Zion National Park Utah
Keyhole Canyon Zion National Park Utah
Keyhole Canyon Zion National Park Utah

A couple highlights from this hike:

At the start of the second canyon, there is a rappel down into a pool of water. Zac went first and tried to kick off the wall and drop onto the opposite bank. He fell short and landed all-out in the water. Tara went next and stopped on the near bank. I came down last. When I got to the bottom, I unhooked my harness and held onto the rope to swing closer to the opposite bank. I held on with one hand and threw the free end of the rope to Zac, who wrapped it around a tree branch so I could hang onto the rope as I crossed the water.

Keyhole Canyon Zion National Park Utah

Tara followed and splashed in the water but managed to stay at least mostly dry.

Keyhole Canyon Zion National Park Utah

Then the rope got stuck. We accidentally pulled on the short end, and the long end had a couple loops, which we tried to shake out unsuccessfully. I volunteered to swim back over to untangle the rope, but it was too high for me to reach. Eventually I was able to climb up the rope (because the knot was stuck in the carabiner) and grab the free end enough to get it out.

Keyhole Canyon Zion National Park Utah

The second awesome moment was at another pool of deeper-than-head water. Tara and Zac went first. I didn't want to swim with a backpack (containing a 250-ft rope) on, so I chucked it to them. It fell short and floated over to them. Then I chucked my shirt (wanting to keep it dry if I could). It sailed over their heads and over a cliff into a pool of water. So much for keeping it dry. We had to rappel down the next part before we could get it back.

Towards the end of the hike, there was a very long section of narrow canyon filling with bitter-cold water. We started chimneying across but each step took us closer and closer to the water. Knee deep. Waist deep. Neck deep. It was so cold. And the end was nowhere in sight. Eventually we reached a spot where we could walk again. I noticed a dead squirrel floating tail-up in the water, and the thought occurred to me that the reason it died was because it froze to death before it could get out. Not wanting to send anyone into a panic, I saved that information until we safely reached the end of the canyon. After a few more swims and a bit more walking, we made it back to the road. And you guessed it, we turned the heater on full blast when we got back to the car. We're thinking it might be a good idea to invest in wet suits.

Keyhole Canyon Zion National Park Utah

Trip Report: September 24, 2016

Trip Members

Jeremy Dye, Anthony Dye, Randy Riddle, Barbara Riddle.

Trip Time

Start: 8:45

Finish: 10:30

Total: 1.75 hours

Description

There was some heavy rain a few days before our trip, so the canyon was full. We grabbed our permit at the backcountry desk, waited forever at the tunnel, parked, suited up, and hit the canyon. It was tons of fun.