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Top Colorado Technical Slot Canyons To Canyoneer

Part of the fun of canyoneering is finding new remote places to explore. Places where few people have ventured and Colorado has an abundance of such canyons. Canyoneers looking for adventure in Colorado will be pleased to find an ample supply of damp, cold river-carved ravines as well as gorges hidden deep in remote areas such as the Rocky Mountains.

One thing to remember is that Colorado’s slot canyons are damp and sometimes frigid so canyoneers are advised to always carry or wear thick wet suits to protect them from the cold. You’ll also require helmets, harnesses, canyon-specific boots, ropes, and packs. All the canyoneering and rappelling gear you need can be found at affordable prices at ROCNER Canyoneering Gear.

Here are some of the slot canyons worth visiting in Colorado:

  • Cascade Creek, Ouray.

Ouray is an incredible area for canyoning in Colorado. It’s surrounded by high mountains carved by wind and water, perfect for finding interesting slot canyons. Cascade Creek is one of Ouray’s classics and features the longest rappel of any Ouray Canyons at 300ft. This canyon has a 3C2 III R rating and would take about 8-12 hours to complete. One of the inherent hazards to watch out for is high water levels which could lead to drowning.

  • Booth Creek, I-70 Mountains.

For beginners looking for an easy canyon, Booth Creek is the one to visit. Here those new to the sport can get a feel of what to expect from other canyons in Colorado i.e. a big drop, flowing water, deep pool and a narrow section of the canyon. This canyon only has two rappels that are not strenuous at all. However, canyoneers should carry wet suits to protect them from the frigid water.

  • Wolf Creek, Pagosa Springs.

Canyoneers can choose to either tackle upper or lower Wolf Creek. Lower Wolf Creek is the more scenic of the two while Upper Wolf Creek offers a more technical adventure. Both of them offer some of the best technical canyon descents in Colorado and draw lots of canyoneers annually. Upper Wolf Creek has about 10 rappels, putting you directly in the water as well as a few short swims and jumps.

  • Niagara Gulch, Silverton.

Niagara Gulch is located in the San Juan and is rated 3C1 III R. The R rating is because of the Class 4 climbing required to tackle the scree slope on the approach along with the possibility of foot entrapment as you deal with the 3rd rappel. Due to this, you should choose canyoneering crew members with the right skills and ability to handle the slope.

  • West Fork of San Juan, Pagosa Springs.

For a full day’s canyoning, head to the West Fork of San Juan. Here you’ll find a series of moderate wet canyon challenges such as swims, slides or downclimbing while rappelling through waterfalls. While no special recreational daytime use permit is required, you may need a camping permit if planning an overnight stay.

Canyoneering in Colorado is an experience like no other. Just remember to be responsible, adhere to canyoneering ethics and leave the environment better than you found it.

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