Top California Technical Slot Canyons To Canyoneer
Combining both geological diversity and year-round canyoning, California is one of the most fantastic places to go canyoneering in the US. You can take your pick from the southern deserts, the beautiful granite canyons in the Sierras that are just perfect for hot summer descents or the mountain ranges near Los Angeles. Additionally, Death Valley National Park and its surroundings offer up hundreds of canyons to suit every canyoneer from those who prefer simple hikes to those who go for lengthy technical descents.
To have a good time canyoneering in California, you need to have the requisite technical skills, knowledge and the right canyoneering gear and equipment to get the job done. You also need to pick a crew with the right skills. A rudimentary understanding of the canyon rating system, the unspoken rules and ethics of canyoneering as well as the inherent hazards of the sport will keep you from running into any trouble in the canyons.
Top Slot Canyons to explore in California
Monkeyface Creek – San Bernardino Mountains
With a rating of 3B III, Monkeyface Creek is a classic canyon popular with many canyoneers. It is spring-fed, flowing throughout the year making it a playground for any season. When tackling this canyon, expect to go through 12 rappels with short free-hangs in a sequence of waterfalls and gorgeous granite gorges.
Eaton Canyon – San Gabriels Front Range
Eaton Canyon is considered one of the crown jewels of San Gabriels near Los Angeles for a reason. Once you experience the waterfalls, waterslides and jumps all while surrounded by high beautifully carved canyon walls, you start to see why. Expect to spend 6-12 hours in this canyon and while the 7 rappels are pretty straightforward, you need to be well prepared for them especially if water levels are high.
Darwin Falls – Death Valley National Park
If you have 3-6 hours to spare, you can head to Darwin Falls located at the western edge of Death Valley. Be prepared for a 3.3-mile hike as well as 3 rappels with a maximum of 110ft. The first rappel drops to a pool of waist-deep water that offers incredible views of the bottom of the canyon. This is a perfect canyon for those who aren’t looking for something too strenuous.
Seven Tea Cups – Sequoia National Forest
The Seven Tea Cups is one of the best Class C canyons in California. It offers an exciting series of challenges in form of 7 round pools plus waterfalls in between rappels and is perfect for those looking for wet canyons. The best time to descend this is summer or fall when water levels are low to avoid flow-related challenges.
Sheep Canyon – Ice House
For those looking for a canyoneering experience coupled with a beautiful hike, Sheep Canyon is the one to visit. The canyon itself has a rating of 4A IV R and offers 260-300 feet of multi-pitch rappels. For a great experience, these should be done in 2 or 3 stages. Be sure to carry along rappelling or anchor gear to get through the canyon.