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Top Washington Technical Slot Canyons To Canyoneer

From the very highest peaks of the Northern Cascades to the wilderness that is the Gifford Pinchot State Park, Washington teems with opportunities for adventure. Those looking for canyoneering locations won’t be disappointed either. The best spots are found in 6 main areas- The Columbia River Gorge, the Olympic Peninsula, the Alpine Lakes, the North and South Cascades as well as Mt. Rainier National Park.

We have picked the best technical slots for canyoneering in each of these locations:

  • South Fork Snoqualmie River - Alpine Lakes

This is easily one of the best places for technical canyoneering in the Northwest. It is easily accessible, fairly straightforward and offers incredible water action. You’ll get to jump, slide and downclimb through a series of tumbling cascades and deep emerald pools in the course of your adventure. However, the water flow can be extreme sometimes so only experienced swift water canyoneers who know how to deal with this canyoneering hazard should attempt it.

  • Davis Creek Canyon –South Cascades

This is another great classic canyon in Washington. It has a 3C2 II rating and offers 9-10 rappels and short swims. You’ll go through deeply incised basalt gorges with plenty of waterfalls decked in ferns and moss. This canyon is technical and dangerous at times and calls for experienced canyoneers with the right canyoning gear, rappelling devices and swift water skills.

  • Thornton Creek – North Cascades

Located in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Thornton Creek isn’t for the fainthearted. The 3C II rating is well earned as there are numerous waterfalls ranging from 10 to 30ft high and about 9 rappels. A typical rappel here will have you going down waterfalls and swimming through potholes with very strong currents so this is only recommended for experienced canyoneers who are strong swimmers.

  • Olallie Creek – Mt. Rainier National Park

If you’re looking for a challenge, Olallie Creek will not disappoint. It offers plenty of obstacles with about 17-27 rappels to keep you busy right from the start. Expect lots of downclimbing and short swims amidst stunning scenery. To safely get through this canyon, ensure that your canyoneering crew has sufficient anchor building experience and materials since some of the rappels have limited options for setting anchors.

  • Murhut Creek- Olympic Peninsula

Found within the Olympic National Forest, Murhut Creek has the highest number of rappels among canyons in the Olympic Peninsula. It should take you about 6-8 hours to make your way from the base of Murhut Falls to the confluence with the aquamarine waters of the Duckabush River. This canyoneering journey involves a lot of downclimbing as you look to get to the end near the viewpoint of the Murhut Falls. Remember to carry a helmet, wetsuit, enough webbing and rope to see you through to the end.