A Good 'un.

Englestead is a deep canyon with a dramatic start. After an initial 700 feet of rappelling, the canyon continues through marvelous narrows with some downclimbing and a few short rappels to intersect with Orderville Canyon just inside the Park boundary. One can turn left and enjoy the best parts of Orderville, exiting out The Narrows, or turn right and climb up Orderville Canyon.  

Engelstead has become a magnet for over-ambitious / under-skilled canyoneers. Yes, the big first rappel is RAD – but really only if you arrive at the bottom in one piece. There has been one death and several severe injuries here in the last decade. The long, vertical first rappel requires long-rappel specific skills which should be learned in a safe environment. 

Other than a few bolts at the beginning, Englestead is bolt-free. Please keep it that way. The drops lower in the canyon can be easily rigged using natural anchors. 


Canyon Profile


4A III or IV ★★★★☆

6-10 Hours


Summer or fall

260 feet (80 m)

Starts off North Fork Road. Finish at Temple of Sinawava or at the Orderville Corral.


Helmets, long-rappel specific rap device, webbing, rapid links. Bring a 40 foot piece of webbing for rigging the last rappel in the opening sequence.

None available, bring plenty.

If going down Orderville, wetsuits are recommended in all but the hottest weather.


Moderate and special. While Engelstead’s collection zone is heavily vegetated, Orderville Canyon and The Narrows are prone to flashing in thunderstorm conditions.

The long initial rappel deserves special respect, and has been the scene of several accidents.

Except for the first two rappels, all anchors are natural.

Seasonal Adjustments 

Englestead holds snow and water through the spring. Very challenging in winter, can have dangerous ice chunks hanging over the canyon. 


Getting there

Car Spot: Spot a car at the Temple of Sinawava or at the Orderville Corral.

Driving: Englestead is approached using an old logging road off the North Fork Road. Drive north on the North Fork Road 5.4 miles to the entrance of the Zion Ponderosa Resort. Continue on the North Fork Road 2.8 miles to a small dirt road on the left (west) between two fenced ranches. Park.

Approach: Follow the road/ATV trail between the fences then down through the scrub oak. After 15 minutes, an ATV trail branches right toward Birch Hollow. A couple minutes further down, a campsite is seen to the right. Twenty-five minutes from the car, a log staging area is reached with a log-loader rusting back into the environment. Continue following the road off the end of the ridge and down into the wash below. Follow the wash 15 minutes further to the BIG DROP at the head of Englestead. Approach time is about 45 minutes.


The Business

Walk about 50 feet (15 m) along the left edge to a tree overlooking a steep wall. 

R1: 260 feet (80m) Rappel from this tree to a large ledge. 

R2: 50 feet (15m) from a 2-bolt anchor. 

(R1 and R2 can be combined if your rope is long enough. Total length is 300 feet (91 m).) 

(Var-1:  Rappel 90 feet (28 m) from a tree to a small stance w/ 2 bolts under a block to the rappeller's right.  Rappel from bolts 200 feet (60 m) to the large ledge. Rappel from a two-bolt anchor 50 feet (15 m) to the larger second ledge). 

Several rappels follow, one after the other. The last is the longest (120 feet, 40 m) off a long sling tied to a tree wedged above the canyon floor. Though challenging, inspect the entire length of the sling. The rappel drops 10 feet into a pothole then across the pothole and 100 feet down beautiful flutes to the ground. Carefully rig this rappel as the pull is often difficult. 

Follow the canyon to Orderville. Several short rappels off logs and other natural anchors present the only obstacles. There's a really nice natural bridge that some people miss. At the last drop (intersection with Orderville), it is possible to climb up left and downclimb a crack (5.2, exposed) to the ground.


The Exit

Two options exist; hiking up (RIGHT) Orderville to the Orderville trailhead, or continuing downstream (LEFT) to the Narrows confluence and ending up at the Temple of Sinawava.

Hiking down Orderville gets the best parts of Orderville (check out the Orderville Canyon description), but involves splashing through quite a bit of water, and usually at least one swim. Exiting UP Orderville makes for a shorter and dryer day, and requires climbing one short chimney (5.2) that can be muddy (5.5 M1?)


Author’s Experience 

I first descended Englestead in August 2001, soon after a few friends had descended it and scoped it out. I have descended it once every two or three years since. 

Trip Reports


Click for higher resolution


Photo Gallery