Send us a suggestion!

Zion permits

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Flatiron, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. Flatiron

    Flatiron

    Messages:
    9
    Likes:
    3
    Location:
    Lafayette, Co
    New member - long time reader -1st post. So just did the Zion reservations and Mystery Lottery thing for a trip to Zion in Oct. Have not been there for yrs so the lottery was new. OMG - we had 5 people submit for same 3 days for Mystery - bupkis ! I just checked Zion website and you can get a reservation for almost any other canyon any day in Oct. Seems really bizarre that there are so many requests for Mystery and not same volume or even close for other canyons. Am I missing something? Which also makes me think if that many people are requesting and being rejected for Mystery, they are also running it without permits, yes? So are the Rangers hanging out at last rap into Narrows, or at end of sidewalk into Narrows to catch the cheaters? Any Zion regulars or more recent travelers input would be appreciated.
    Also any ETA on the Angel's Landing Trail opening back up? Thanks
  2. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

    Messages:
    1,377
    Likes:
    1,611
    Mystery is a very popular destination. With a max. of 12 people allowed in there per day, it's one of the hardest permits to get (along with Subway). Rangers don't "hang out" so much, but they do check permits when the opportunity presents. Angel's Landing trail reportedly closed for up to a year.
    Rapterman likes this.
  3. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

    Messages:
    1,146
    Likes:
    1,040
    No, it isn't bizarre. As Hank mentions, Mystery and the Subway (and sometimes Kolob, but for other reasons) are almost always the hardest canyons in Zion to get permits to. This is almost always the case.

    And yes, people do poach canyons at times. It's not a good idea. In addition to ethics, the fines are steep and you can get banned for the National Parks for doing so.
    Rapterman likes this.
  4. Flatiron

    Flatiron

    Messages:
    9
    Likes:
    3
    Location:
    Lafayette, Co
    Ok thanks for info. The ratio for Mystery VS other canyons seemed way off. We did Zion for 6-7 yrs in early/mid 2000's and did not have this issue. I would reserve canyons months ahead and never had a problem setting up a week's schedule. I never have poached canyons and would not do it - more so just curious on how big of a problem it has become after Lottery instituted. And if the permit system is overwhelmed. Or maybe people did same as I and left Zion for more open/unrestricted areas.
    So what are chances on the Last Minute Drawing?

    Concerning AL Trail - wow a year huh? That seems really really long. I saw the pics on how bad the damage was. And I understand it is very difficult to restore - but I assumed the park would make it a top priority being as ALanding is such a popular destination and one of the signature trails.
  5. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

    Messages:
    1,146
    Likes:
    1,040
    Canyoneering in Zion has seen a huge increase in numbers from the early 2000's compared to now. It's a completely different world now.
    Rapterman likes this.
  6. deathtointernet

    deathtointernet

    Messages:
    101
    Likes:
    248
    I've always good remarkably good luck with the last minute permits. Part of it is being local... I don't get it, I'll just try again the next week or whatever. Another part is that I usually only go with small groups, as a personal preference. It's amazing how many "popular" canyons a group of two can sneak into getting a permit for. For Mystery you've got six permits in the drawing, that means your group of five *has* to get the first drawing or it doesn't have a chance. I used to run through the Subway solo all the time because there'd be odd-numbered groups and no one wanted a single permit. Of course I'd end up finishing with a group of newbies I had to rescue... but that's literally a story from another thread, haha!

    I've run through Mystery quite a few times and probably half of those times was through last minute permits. Honestly, I'm not entirely sure of the allure of Mystery... I've done it mostly by request, and consider it myself to be a pleasant enough canyon with a lot of variety but without anything truly spectacular about it. Last section of course is where it gets good and by then it's basically over. I suppose it's the ease of access with a car shuttle and ease of exiting. Yet for as long as I've been doing canyons it's been one of the single most popular canyons and I've never really quite got that. I suppose it could just a factor of it being on the easier side of the spectrum of canyons ( a la Pine Creek, Keyhole) combined with a much smaller permit pool compared to those. So no, it's not weird that it's difficult for you to get a permit just to that canyon, but I honestly don't have a good reason why that should be so.

    In all the times I've done Mystery there have been few times I've run into other groups. I haven't seen much evidence of anyone poaching the canyon, though I imagine someone does it from time to time cause people are basically trouble. Besides the already-stated personal consequences one could face for such an action, it can have consequences for the community as a whole. Folks not following the rules is a wonderful way to get more restrictive enforcement or even canyons closed. So if you hear of anyone doing that you give 'em hell :)
  7. Rapterman

    Rapterman

    Messages:
    1,029
    Likes:
    1,353
    I have had rangers check our permits at multiple canyons.
    Usually at exit points
    Wet, sandy, exhausted, holes in pack bottoms...
    neoprene/pee odor gives it away every time
    :D
  8. Taylor

    Taylor

    Messages:
    149
    Likes:
    98
    Somehow there were 4 unused Mystery permits a couple of weeks back on a Friday. We were headed to Zion (from SLC) with a group of 4 anyway so plans were changed and Mystery was done. It’s a nice hike but as others have said, not spectacular nor worthy of the hype. Seems I do Mystery about once every 3 years or so and that’s often enough. We were checked for our permit when we hit the narrows and have been checked a few other times.
  9. Flatiron

    Flatiron

    Messages:
    9
    Likes:
    3
    Location:
    Lafayette, Co
    That is what I had heard and read and was most worried about this time. So with AL Trail closed, Behunin, Telephone, Imlay and Heaps all closed indefintely. And no Mystery or Subway or Das Boot This trip was more for friends who had not done canyons in Zion yet and wanted to see it at least once. Need to talk and see if we want to bail, or maybe try next year. Which is too bad cause I love the place. Me and thousands of others. Sighhhhh.
  10. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

    Messages:
    1,146
    Likes:
    1,040
    Misery, Birch Hollow, and Boundary don't need a permit.

    Icebox and Right Fork (I suggest 3 days for this one) are seldom full. Checkerboard too, though Icebox and Checkerboard are very long if you do them in a day.

    Pine Creek, Keyhole, Orderville, and Echo are usually pretty easy to get permits to. Spry goes either way.

    The canyons in Escalante are as good as the ones in Zion and require no permit.
    Rapterman likes this.
  11. gajslk

    gajslk

    Messages:
    481
    Likes:
    370
    Imlay and Heaps are easily accessed from Lava Point ...
    Rapterman and hank moon like this.
  12. Flatiron

    Flatiron

    Messages:
    9
    Likes:
    3
    Location:
    Lafayette, Co
    Zion website shows Heaps closed - I assume due to Upper Emerald Pools trail closed. It previously also had Imlay closed.
  13. Flatiron

    Flatiron

    Messages:
    9
    Likes:
    3
    Location:
    Lafayette, Co
    We have 5 people who have never done/seen Zion Canyons, some who are not into really harder canyons/primitive camping/etc. They might never come back - so this was meant to be a 'tour de Zion classic fun canyons' trip for them, not me. With that in mind we did not want to be driving outside Zion every day which adds on considerable time. Myst, Beh, and Tele are easy to access, fun canyons with easy hiking and no car time. Park your car for the week and enjoy the place.
    Yes Misery and Boundary now on our list. Have reservations for PC, Key, Spry and Engle. Might also do Lodge, throw in Mtn to the Sun scramble. So that means 3 drives out interspersed with 3 in canyon shorter days. Very doable - for newbies they just don't get to see canyons on west side of main canyon, spectacular view over to Kolob from West Rim trail, Angel Landing. Stuff happens you can't plan on, the Lottery is a whole diff animal.
  14. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

    Messages:
    244
    Likes:
    269
    Location:
    La Verkin
    Observation Point Canyon is a good option; can do the hike for the sake of the viewpoint, then drop the canyon itself. Englestad has it's big drop, but OPC has several. Be sure to have a Sqwurel/Critr.

    Hidden is another main canyon romp that I enjoy, but hiking to it from Weeping Rock is not enjoyable. I like hidden because it can be done with 2-10 rappels, depending how good you are at downclimbing. And there's /never/ anybody in there. If you drive to Stave Springs and drop the canyon, once out on the East Mesa Trail, you can have one person hand off all their gear and hero-haul it back to the car to save a shuttle (4mi, +2500').

    The same can be done with OPC (6mi, +3500'). Then again, I'm young, dumb, and a glutton for punishment, so I don't mind the extra miles.

    The same can be done with Englestead; send the group down Orderville with the heavy gear, send one guy up and out Wild Wind Hollow (by Birch) and hitch/walk the couple miles from there to the Englestead parking spot (1-2 hours total, depending on hitch). Or, if you have 2 vehicles, you can spot one at the lower Orderville parking lot; using this tac, I have been 3 hours car to car through Englestead.

    On the west side of the park, if you need a shuttle, you can hit me up and I can try to haul you guys up there; always looking to accrue good canyon karma. ^_^

    Note: Icebox is prohibitively long right now due to Kolob Canyon being closed for an overhaul of the road; might be open again in October, might not.

    Note: Checkerboard requires a Narrows permit as well; might be an issue come October, might not.

    Note: Due to guiding companies, these days Birch is a parking lot on weekends. Should take an hour through the technical, ends up taking 3-6.

    IMO: Orderville is more a walk than a technical canyon.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
    Rapterman likes this.
  15. Canyonero

    Canyonero

    Messages:
    772
    Likes:
    800
    Yes, I've been carded by a ranger at the bottom of mystery. She was chilling there asking anyone walking down the narrows with an Imlay pack, harness, or helmet for their permit.

    No, don't run it without a permit. There are so many canyons in Zion, much less the rest of Southern Utah, there should be no need to poach one. Mystery is good but not that good anyway.

    If you want to have it to yourself I hear the week of Christmas is good...
    Yellow Dart likes this.
  16. Canyonero

    Canyonero

    Messages:
    772
    Likes:
    800
    I don't think I've ever done Subway and not been carded at the top parking lot.
  17. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    4,356
    Likes:
    5,281
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Personally, I believe that poaching canyons in Zion is at a very low level.

    Mystery has a lottery because it is in high demand. Because Mystery has a lottery, it is in high demand. It is a great canyon; it deserves the hype.

    The several times I have done Obs Pt Cyn, it has been very hot, as in sweat running into my eyes while downclimbing - in December, January and February. I cannot imagine... okay, I CAN imagine doing it on any day other than a cool to cold day, and have no interest in getting zapped. The middle part of the canyon faces south, with a vertical reflective wall on the left and on the right.

    Plenty of good canyons that are not hard to get into.

    Tom
  18. Canyonero

    Canyonero

    Messages:
    772
    Likes:
    800
    I think the comment about it being your favorite Zion canyon on your site/in your book isn't helping!
  19. Ram

    Ram

    Messages:
    2,274
    Likes:
    4,027
  20. Kip Marshall

    Kip Marshall Bshwakr

    Messages:
    70
    Likes:
    40
    Maybe that was his intention. Because it's not a great canyon.
Similar Threads: Zion permits
Forum Title Date
Meet Up Zion permits sept 7th-12th few spots open Aug 26, 2018
General Discussion Zion overnight permits denied? Jun 28, 2016
General Discussion Zion SAR and Permits (Split from Arches Discussion) Jun 11, 2013
General Discussion Zion Permits Mar 21, 2013
Archives - Yahoo Canyons Group Zion canyons and permits Jun 21, 2011
Archives - Yahoo Canyons Group Zion Permits: Can you pick them up at Kolob Visitor Center? Aug 4, 2010