Sunday, February 24, 2013
Yankee Doodle Slot Canyon
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Yankee Doodle is the perfect introduction to canyoneering for people of any age or ability, with competent leadership. Just as a warning however, you will become immediately hooked.It is located north of Saint George (much of it is on a dirt road but is passable in a passenger car) and will take you about 40 minutes to reach the trailhead from downtown. It is nice because there is no permit required, but sometimes it can be very crowded. It starts with a rappel down a beautiful dryfall with stunning features and has two options: 120 feet from the top, or 80 feet from down inside the first section of slot. Sometimes rappelling down 20 feet into the first little section of slot is a good idea for a warm up before hitting the big waterfall depending on your group. The whole canyon trailhead to trailhead will take 2-3 hours.
Once you're down the first rappel, hike downcanyon and you will encounter a five foot drop-off and then a 10 foot drop-off which can be easily downclimbed, especially with a handline. There are a couple of bolts as well if you're more comfortable setting up a quick rappel. Depending on the water levels, the 10 foot drop-off may be into water. You can stem over the water here with relative ease.
There is great camping nearby at Red Cliffs Campground. It is $15 per night but you get bathrooms, water, dumpsters, grill, table, and fire ring. There is also a cool non-technical hike through some sections of slot canyon that starts at the campground.
There is even closer camping on your way to Yankee Doodle if you're okay with primitive camping. There are designated sites shortly after the paved section ends along Oak Grove Road and other unmarked spots further along so take your pick. There are about five large camping areas. spaced out over a couple miles. Next to Campsite 3, there is a 30 foot cliff with three sets of anchors on top which can be used to set up a top rope for climbing or for rappelling.