The Top-Down Approach to Moab Canyons | Buzz Blog

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Top-Down Approach to Moab Canyons

Posted By on April 4, 2013, 4:11 PM

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When it comes to the beautiful canyons surrounding Moab, you can get tied to a harness and climb up, or start at the top and go down. The top-down approach is called canyoneering, and can be a great way to spend a day in Moab, which is now in full bloom for the summer season. ---

The great thing about canyoneering is that it’s easy to do when you’re with an expert guide. If you can hike to where you’re rappelling from, you’ve already done the hard part since the guide will make sure you’re safe. At first, it’s hard to get used to letting yourself lean back and trust in the rope, but once you get going, and especially when you get free from the wall, it’s an amazing experience to just let the rope out as you gradually go down, all the while looking around at stunning beauty. Even though you didn’t work that hard, you still have an intense sense of accomplishment if you’re a first-timer because you likely had to overcome some very real fears at the beginning.

There are several outfitters in Moab who do canyoneering. We went with Cliffs and Canyons earlier this week and had a great experience. They do a trip where you hike about a mile in to Ephedra’s Grotto and do a rappel of about 70 feet down inside of a natural grotto. You then walk over to Morning Glory Natural Bridge, which spans 243 feet and sits just 15 feet away from a cliff that rises up over 100 feet. (The photo accompanying this post is taken below Morning Glory Bridge, looking up.) You go off of that cliff, at first with your feet against the wall, but then the wall recedes and you go down, just you and the rope the last 70 or so feet, with a guide having hold of an emergency safety line the whole time.

From there, you have a two-mile hike out to the road, where a van picks you up and takes you back to town for a well-earned lunch at a spot like the Moab Diner, where you can get breakfast any time of day -- don’t fear to have something topped with its famous green-chile sauce.

For a fun time in Moab, don’t be afraid to try the top-down approach.

Kathleen Curry and Geoff Griffin write about their treks in City Weekly and host the Travel Brigade Radio Show. Follow them on Twitter @TravelBrigade.

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