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Top Nevada Technical Slot Canyons To Canyoneer

When thinking of places to go canyoneering, Nevada probably doesn’t cross your mind. This state is famous for Las Vegas, casinos and the party life. However, Nevada’s desert environment is home to some really awesome slot canyons. The best of these are found in the Red Rock Canyon, the Virgin River Gorge, State Line Hills, and Mount Charleston.

Here are some of the top technical slot canyons in Nevada:

  • Ice Cube Canyon (The Maze)

This is arguably the best technical canyon near Las Vegas and one of the most popular too. Located in the Red Rock National Conservation, Ice Cube Canyon provides varied scenery and a good variation of raps (the largest is 190ft). This canyon should only be tackled by experienced canyoneers and even then, it would take them anywhere between 10-14 hours to complete. One thing to note is that bolted raps are illegal in this area so ensure that you and your crew members know how to evaluate and use natural anchors.

  • Questionable Decision Canyon

This is a skinny canyon found in the Red Rocks, but don’t let appearances fool you, the 4A IV R rating is well earned. This has been ranked as the most technically challenging, strenuous and rewarding canyon in Las Vegas. It has difficult class 5 climbs, tough descents with tight rappels and also has difficult anchor placement. You’ll need all your experience in high stemming and ropework as well as the right quality canyoneering gear to make it through this one.

  • Old Bill Canyon

Also found in the Red Rock area, Old Bill Canyon boasts a 3B IV rating and takes a competent canyoneering group 8-13 hours to complete. The route has 8 compulsory rappels and about 20 downclimbs promising lots of fun for canyoneers. The best time to explore this canyon is from March to November and you’ll need a wetsuit for the cooler months.

  • Cherry Canyon

With exquisitely curved limestone walls, Cherry Canyon ranks up there with some of the best canyons in Nevada. It has a 3A III rating and canyoneers have to contend with strenuous scrambling, along with about 9-12 raps. The best time to explore this canyon is during the fall and winter months. During the spring, there is a high risk of flash flooding as the Virgin River fills up. To avoid this hazard, canyoneers should pay attention to the area’s weather forecast and avoid the canyon if it’s about to rain or it just rained.

  • Desperado Canyon

Desperado Canyon is considered the most scenic canyon in State Line Hills. It offers 5-7 raps as well as a 5.3-mile hike to the canyon entrance. As you descend the canyon, keep an eye out for interesting fossils embedded within the canyon walls. Also remember not to place bolts in the canyon but to instead use natural cairn anchors.

So the next time you are in Nevada, don’t confine yourself to the Las Vegas casinos. Get out there and explore some of the canyons.