Canyoneering Route Description

Not Imlay Canyon - 3A III
Zion National Park, Utah.

Quick Facts

09-24-11, 4 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 9 hours) Pictures Icon

Time Required - 8 to 10 hours
Distance - 6.9 miles Total, 0.2 miles Technical
Rappels - 7 Rappels, Longest Rappel 230 feet.  (bring rope for 250 foot drop)
Elevation Range - 4280 - 6000 Feet
Shuttle Required -No Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - Yes

Gear Used for Canyon

Rappelling and anchor gear, Ropes and or pull cords for rappels up to 250 feet and 80 feet of 1 inch webbing for sling placement. 

Wet suits are not needed in Not Imlay Canyon.  However during cold months you  may want neoprene socks and a wet suit from the waist down for the 0.7 mile walk down the narrows after the canyon.

The longest rappel is 230 but rope for 250 feet should be brought as a safety margin.  Also note that if the anchor webbing is not extended all the way to the drop on rap 7, more rope will be required as well as having a more difficult rope pull.

General Comments

The route to Not Imlay Canyon uses the sneak route for Imlay Canyon.  Some people would not want to take the effort to get that close to Imlay and not descend Imlay Canyon.  However if you are looking for something to do other than the same standard routes, Not Imlay may be an option.

The technical part of the route is the last 750 feet before reaching the Virgin River Narrows and drops about 850 feet.  The technical portion is fun scenic and in my opinion worthwhile.  However, the canyon is quite short compared to the length and effort of the approach.  If you are looking for classic routes or bang for the buck this may not be the route for you.  If you are looking to have some fun, don't mind the work to get up to a short canyon and want to do something a little off the beaten path this is something to consider.

Note / Warning:
There are not excessive amounts of loose rock around the top of rap 7 nor do any of them appear to be poised to be easily knocked over rap 7.  However there are rocks laying around the area.  Please be VERY CAREFUL not to knock any rocks over the edge of rap 7.  Anything going over the edge will drop directly on top of people hiking the Narrows.  Please use caution while at the top of rap 7.

This applies to a rope bag as well.  DO NOT TOSS THE ROPE BAG OVER RAP 7 until you are far enough down the rappel to be able to see the ground below.  The first person down should attach the rope to their harness and carry it down until they can see the ground below.  When you can see no one will get hit with the rope bag feel free to toss it.  Keep in mind that the people below will not be able to hear you yell "Rope" before you toss since they are surrounded with running water.  Use your eyes and your brain on this one!

Other options for getting down the last rappel have not been explored.  There may be a shorter rappel option down a ravine / slope to the left (north) of the last rappel.

Driving Directions

To get to the Trailhead

Park at the visitor Zion Visitor Center and ride the shuttle to the Grotto bus stop.

To leave the Exit Vehicle / Escape Pod

No exit vehicle required.  This is done a s a loop route.

Maps

GPS coordinate information listed at the bottom.  For information about waypoint naming and map symbols, refer to the Glossary page.

Map Link Icon
Click the links for maps of the route.
Map of the entire route.
Map of the approach and exit near the canyon.
Map of the technical section.

Details

The Approach:
After getting off the shuttle at the Grotto stop (wGrottoBusStp), walk across the road and start down the trail to Angel's Landing.  The trail starts out flat and easy for a while but soon starts to climb switchbacks as it climbs to Refrigerator Canyon.  Continue on the trail through Refrigerator Canyon.  Next will be a series of 21 short but steep switch backs called Walter's Wiggles (sWaltrsWiglsTp).  A short distance after getting to the top of Walter’s Wiggles you will come to Scout’s Lookout which is about 2.1 miles from the trailhead.  From Scout's Lookout follow the signs at the junction for the West Rim Trail (jWestRimS) pointing to the West Rim Trail (not Angel's Landing).  

As you continue up the West Rim Trail you will come to a section of slick rock where it would be easy to lose the trail.  A few sign posts along the slick rock with a boot print on them have been placed to mark the way over to the continuation of the trail.  After crossing the trail less slick rock area, the trail will begin to descend again.  About 1.2 miles after Scouts Lookout the trail will have a bridge (cWstRmBridge) that crosses a stream.

As you continue on from the bridge the trail will slowly begin to climb again through wide open spaces with lots of views to take in.  On the right (north) side of the trail will be a deep drainage roughly paralleling the trail.  About 0.2 miles after crossing the bridge, the deep drainage will be less deep and easy to cross over (jImlaySneak).  This is where you will leave the trail.  Leave the trail and walk north across the drainage. 

After crossing over the drainage that paralleled the West Rim Trail, you will see a large wide open drainage running to the north in the direction you are walking.  Staying high on the left (west) is easy travel along slick rock.

A little over 0.25 miles after leaving the West Rim Trail, the large drainage splits into 2 parallel drainages continuing north.  The contour of the slick rock will soon force you down into the western of these two drainages.

Note:
Staying high on the slick rock until forced down to the drainage below helps with navigation.  If you drop down too early it can be a bit confusing to find the proper drainage easily.

After dropping down into the western drainage, look for a way to climb up onto the ridge that divides these two drainages.  There will be a path running north along the crest of the ridge between the drainages (wImlaySnkRP-01).  The path is actually slight west of the crest of the ridge.

Follow the path north along the 2 parallel drainages.  After about 500 feet the path becomes very well defined and easy to follow.

About 0.5 miles along the path on the ridge between drainages the trail comes to an abrupt stop (wImlaySnkRP-02).  The trail drops down a steep dirt slope about 60 feet and into the drainage on the right (east).  The drop down is steep and soft dirt winding down through trees and bushes.

Once down in the drainage on the right (east), follow up the drainage to the north.  There are multiple paths that lead up and out of the drainage to avoid obstacles.  Some are helpful, others are not.  Follow up the drainage using whatever path looks best for a little over 500 feet to a fork in the drainage (wImlaySnkRP-03).

Follow the path leading up between the two forks.  The path will shortly drop back down into the left (west) of the two forks.

About 0.2 miles from the fork in the drainage is the top of the first climb on a saddle (wImlaySnkRP-04).  This saddle is about 1.3 miles from where you left the West Rim Trail.

From the top of the saddle (wImlaySnkRP-04) start down the slope on the other (north) side.  Dropping down will be very steep and loose dirt.  About 300 feet later the slope begins to level off in a section of the ravine that has a lot of ferns and other vegetation.  This is a pretty section, take time to enjoy it.

A little over 600 feet from the saddle will be a drop of about 25 feet that is bypassed on a short path LDC.  

About 250 feet after the drop to bypass the drainage you are in T’s into another drainage (wImlaySnkRP-05).  To the right (east) is down hill in the drainage which leads toward the Narrows. To the left (west) is up hill in the drainage. To continue on the Sneak Route to Imlay Canyon stay left (north) and continue up the drainage. To drop down the canyon known as Not Imlay turn right (east).

Note:
This drainage is known as Not Imlay Canyon.  To continue the Imlay Sneak Route turn left and walk upstream in the drainage.  To leave the Imlay Sneak Route and start down into Not Imlay Canyon, turn right (east) and walk down canyon.

This is where you start down into Not Imlay Canyon.  Turn right (east) and start walking down canyon in Not Imlay pushing through sections of vegetation, scrambling down short down climbs and ducking under a lot of downed logs.

About 0.3 miles down canyon will be a drop of about 40 feet (wNotImlayRP-01).  This drop is easily bypassed by walking the dirt ledge LDC and following game trails back down the the canyon floor.

About 0.2 miles farther the Not Imlay drainage dumps out onto a wide open slick rock area (wNotImlayRP-02).  From there are good views of the landscape on the other side of the narrows.  Follow the now shallow drainage southeast down the gentle slope of the slick rock bypassing a couple drops on the sloped slick rock to the left (north).

About 500 feet down the slick rock is a drop that is significantly larger than the couple just before it with a brown water stain running over the slope down the drop (yNotImlayTp).  From here you start to be able to see down toward the narrows and you begin to get a feel you are in for some big drops. 

The Canyoneering / Technical Section:
From the drop with the brown stains (yNotImlayTp)walk down the sloped slick rock on the left (north) bypassing the drop. 

About 250 feet down canyon is the top of a drop that can not be bypassed (dNotImlay-R1-2).  Rap 1 is anchored form a pine tree about 40 feet left (north) of the center of the watercourse and drops right at 100 feet into a side ravine.  At the bottom of rap 1 the ravine is steep and dirt filled so be careful not slide down uncontrolled while getting off the rappel.

Note:
From the top of Rap 1 you can see people hiking down in the narrows if you look carefully.  Also of note from the top of rap 1 you are only 750 horizontal feet from the river down in the narrows with about 850 feet of elevation to lose to get down to the river.

Rap 2 is right at the bottom of rap 1 and is anchored from another pine tree.  Rap 2 drops about 180 feet down a series of ledges to a large ledge.  The intermediate ledge on rap 2 is about 100 feet down while the large ledge that rap 2 stops on, 180 feet down.

To get down off the ledge at the bottom of rap 2, traverse the ledge RDC over to a ravine like slope that can be scrambled down.  At the bottom of the ravine is a pool that if full of water you will need bridge stem over.  Traversing the ledge at the bottom of rap 2 can be a little sketchy, be careful here.

After down climbing below the ledge at the bottom of rap 2 you will find yourself on a very large ledge with a lot of vegetation on the LDC side.  There are a lot of cacti here.  If you walk around to explore you just might have some hitch hiking cactus needles with your socks and pants for days!  Ask me how I know this.  Rap 3 is over this very large ledge. 

Rap 3 (dNotImlay-R3-4) is about 70 feet down canyon of rap 2 is anchored from a couple of the larger shrubs on the ledge about 40 feet back from the drop and drops about 115 feet down a vertical wall.

 At the bottom of rap 3 is down climb of about 10 feet.  After the down climb is another drop of about 25 feet which is rap 4.

Rap 4 is anchored from a large rock about 5 feet back from the drop in a narrow section and drops about 25 feet down a narrow section.  The layout of rap 4 makes for an overall awkward rappel.

Note:
Raps 3 and 4 could be combined but this is not suggested.  There are multiple pinch points at the top of rap 4.  If you were to combine the two raps and pull the ropes across rap 4 you would likely get your ropes stuck.  On my first trip through we found ropes stuck at the top of rap 4 from a previous party.  We used remnants of the previous party's ropes for the anchor of rap 4.

Down canyon of rap 4 is a section of narrow canyon to stem down.  This type of narrow is not common in Zion canyons and is a nice treat.  About 100 feet down the narrow section is the top of rap 5.

Rap 5 (dNotImlay-R5) is about 100 feet down canyon of rap 4, is anchored from a single bolted hanger LDC about head high and drops about 25 feet.

The bolt for rap 5 did not appear to be installed properly although it is likely fine.  The bolt was not sunk all the way up to into the nut. Everything appeared to be tight and solid though.

At the bottom of rap 5 the narrow section continues with part of it being slanted reminding me of the slanted narrow in Telephone Canyon.  A little over 200 feet down canyon of rap 5 the narrow section opens up to a rock fall debris area.  After scrambling through the boulder debris will be the top of rap 6.

Rap 6 (dNotImlay-R6-7) is about 350 feet down canyon of rap 5, is anchored from a small tree RDC and drops about 90 feet down a vertical wall.   After rap 6 scramble down the slope to get to the top of a ledge and the top of rap 7.

Note / Warning:
There are not excessive amounts of loose rock around the top of rap 7 nor do any of them appear to be poised to be easily knocked over rap 7.  However please be VERY CAREFUL not to knock any rocks over the edge of rap 7.  Anything going over the edge will drop directly on top of people hiking the Narrows.  Please use caution while at the top of rap 7.

This applies to a rope bag as well.  DO NOT TOSS THE ROPE BAG OVER RAP 7 until you are far enough down the rappel to be able to see the ground below.  The first person down should attach the rope to their harness and carry it down until they can see the ground below.  When you can see no one will get hit with the rope bag feel free to toss it.  Keep in mind that the people below will not be able to hear you yell "Rope" before you toss since they are surrounded with running water.  Use your eyes and your brain on this one!

Rap 7 is about 40 feet down canyon of rap 6, is anchored from a pinch point of a huge boulder and the canyon floor about 15 feet back from the drop and drops about 230 feet.  The first part of rap 7 drops over a few ledges before going over a ledge and giving way a free hang of about 170 feet down to the narrows.

The anchor webbing for rap 7 should be extended from the anchor all the way over to the drop.  Extending the anchor all the way out makes for a better rope pull and gives a rope travel of 230 feet.  If the anchor webbing is not extended all the way out the required rope length will be longer.

Note:
Rap 7 is 230 feet and the longest rappel on the route.  A side ravine / slope is located a short distance LDC (north) of rap 7.  Thant slope would likely provide a route down to the narrows with a shorter rappel.  It was getting dark so we did not take time to explore this on our first trip down.  In the future I may go check this out.

Also of note is a ledge about 25 feet down rap 7 with a few cracks that can easily be used for knot chalk anchors.  If one is comfortable with knot chalk anchors rappel 7 may be able to be re-rigged on this ledge and possibly done with a 200 foot rope.  THIS HAS NOT BEEN CONFIRMNED and was briefly thought about during decent while using one of the cracks to rig a knot chalk anchor as an intermediate tie in point.

At the bottom of rap 7 the water may be waist deep or more depending on time of year.  The first person down maybe able to use the rope to guide others to shallower water though.

Rap 7 drops right over the center of one of the huge alcoves carved out in the canyon wall of the narrows.  It is a very scenic end to the canyon and worthy of pictures if you get there with enough light left.

At the bottom of rap 7 in the narrows is the end of Not Imlay Canyon (yNotImlayBt).

The Exit:
After landing in the narrows (yNotImlayBt) walk about 0.7 miles down stream to the stairs leading up out of the river (jRiverWalkEnd).  Follow the side walk 1 mile to the shuttle stop for the Temple of Sinawava (tNarrowsBot).  Ride the shuttle back to the visitor center to your car.

GPS Waypoint Information

GPX Files Available for DOWNLOAD.
Downloadable GPX files for many of the canyons listed here are now available at the BG-Gear Store.  In addition to the waypoints, the GPX files also offer routes and tracks for the canyon.  Over time more GPX files will be added.

If you want to avoid manually adding waypoints into your GPS or mapping software, want the additional routes and tracks or simply want to support the efforts put into BluuGnome, head over to the BG-Gear Store and grab the files that interest you.

Elevations are approximate.  Waypoints with no elevation data will display NaN in place of the elevation.

For information about my waypoint naming convention and map symbols, refer to the Glossary page.

Notes for GPS information:
BEFORE
entering coordinates from this website, please ensure your system (GPS or mapping software) is set to the same datum used here.  Waypoint coordinates are listed with WGS84 datum and in Lat/Lon hddd.ddddd° format.  Entering coordinate information with inconsistent datum's can result in the waypoints being off by hundreds of feet.  It is important to keep this in mind when entering waypoints from any source.

Not Imlay (1) - Approach
  1. wBusStpGrotto          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.25908   W -112.95121        Elev: 4,280 Feet
    The Grotto shuttle stop on the Zion - Floor of the Valley road.
  2. tAngleLnd          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.25998   W -112.95152        Elev: 4,300 Feet
    Angel's Landing Trailhead.
  3. sWaltrsWiglsTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27534   W -112.95128        Elev: NaN Feet
    Top of Walter's Wiggles. 21 short steep switchbacks cut into the rock for the trail.
  4. jWestRimS          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.27492   W -112.95085        Elev: 5,330 Feet
    Junction off the Angel's Landing trail for the Southern West Rim Trailhead. This is known as Scouts Lookout.
  5. cWstRmBridge          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.28598   W -112.95582        Elev: 5,590 Feet
    A bridge allowing the trail to cross a stream.
  6. jImlaySneak          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.28683   W -112.95903        Elev: 5,690 Feet
    This is where you leave the trail to start the off trail portion of the Sneak Route to Imlay Canyon.
  7. wImlaySnkRP-01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29155   W -112.95688        Elev: NaN Feet
    A path is here running north along the crest of the ridge that divides the two parallel drainages.
  8. wImlaySnkRP-02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29834   W -112.95899        Elev: 5,820 Feet
    Trail along the ridge ends and drops down into the drainage on the right (east). The path down into the drainage is steep and soft dirt.
  9. wImlaySnkRP-03          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29975   W -112.95885        Elev: NaN Feet
    Fork in the drainage. Follow up a path between the two drainages.
  10. wImlaySnkRP-05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30475   W -112.95850        Elev: NaN Feet
    The drainage dropping down from the saddle T's into another drainage here. To the right (east) is down hill in the drainage which leads toward the Narrows. To the left (west) is up hill in the drainage. To continue on the Sneak Route to Imlay Canyon stay left (north) and continue up the drainage. To drop down the canyon known as Not Imlay turn right (east).
  11. wNotImlayRP-01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30245   W -112.95471        Elev: 5,730 Feet
    Drop in the canyon of about 40 feet. Bypass LDC along the dirt rim. Working back down to the canyon floor following game trails.
  12. wNotImlayRP-02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30187   W -112.95227        Elev: 5,650 Feet
    Not Imlay Canyon dumps out ont a wide open slick rock area.
  13. yNotImlayTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30075   W -112.95168        Elev: 5,545 Feet
    Larger drop on the slick rock with brown stains running over the drop. Bypass LDC down the slick rock slope.
Not Imlay (2) - The Canyon,
  1. yNotImlayTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30075   W -112.95168        Elev: 5,545 Feet
    Larger drop on the slick rock with brown stains running over the drop. Bypass LDC down the slick rock slope.
  2. dNotImlay-R1-2          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30036   W -112.95095        Elev: 5,440 Feet
    Rap 1 and 2 - Not Imlay Canyon. Rap 1 anchored from a pine tree about 30 feet left (north) of the center of the water course and drops 100 feet down into a side ravine to another pine tree. Rap 2 anchored from a pine tree and drops 180 feet down a series of ledges to a large ledge.
  3. dNotImlay-R3-4          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30017   W -112.95047        Elev: 5,260 Feet
    Rap 3 and 4 - Not Imlay Canyon. Rap 3 anchored from shrubs about 40 feet back from the drop and drops about 115 feet. At the bottom of rap 3 is a down climb of 10 feet to the top of rap 4. Rap 4 is anchored from a large rock in a narrow section and drops about 25 feet.
  4. dNotImlay-R5          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30036   W -112.95006        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 5 - Not Imlay Canyon. Ancored from a single bolted hanger LDC about head high and drops about 25 feet. Natural anchors could be used if you took the time to make one.
  5. dNotImlay-R6-7          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30031   W -112.94881        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 6 and 7 - Not Imlay Canyon. Rap 6 anchored from a tree LDC and drops 90 feet down a vertical wall. Rap 7 anchored from a pinch point of a huge boulder and the canyon floor and drops about 230 feet. Bring rope for a drop of 250 feet to be safe.
  6. yNotImlayBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30029   W -112.94849        Elev: 4,580 Feet
    Bottom of Not Imlay Canyon. The last rap is over the center of a huge alcove.
Not Imlay (3) - Exit
  1. yNotImlayBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30029   W -112.94849        Elev: 4,580 Feet
    Bottom of Not Imlay Canyon. The last rap is over the center of a huge alcove.
  2. yMysteryBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29928   W -112.94447        Elev: 4,560 Feet
    Bottom exit of Mystery Canyon where it meets the Virgin River Narrows after the 120 foot Rap 11.
  3. jRiverWalkEnd          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29672   W -112.94818        Elev: 4,560 Feet
    This is where the river walk side walk meets the river in The Narrows.
  4. tNarrowsBot          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.28535   W -112.94785        Elev: 4,440 Feet
    Bottom trailhead for the Virgin River Narrows at the Temple of Sinawava.