Misery Canyon just east of Zion - west or east fork?


May 18, 2012
Anyone hiked both the East and West Forks of Misery Canyon before they join and lead to the Barracks (Parunaweep). I wondered which is better to go down from a purely scenic and photographic viewpoint, ignoring any fun to be had from the swimming or rappelling element?


Feb 15, 2013
By your criteria alone, West is the more scenic . It is also more open to light, for better and worse. More diverse features also. Recommended that you walk past the exit, to the top of the Falls in Parunaweap, before returning and exiting up the standard exit, if that is your plan. Beware the heat this time of year.


Aug 9, 2007
I've only done the west fork on down. What a great canyon. You will not be disappointed. But yeah, the heat right now could be dangerous, especially on the hike out.


May 18, 2012
Thanks guys. Should have said, I'm thinking of going Oct if I can find a canyoneering guide to do it as I've little canyoneering experience - and as I want to exit through Parunuweep's spectacular canyon the one I'm thinking of would have the shuttle car at the top of French Canyon - so my issue will be is wetsuit good enough or do I need drysuit ad I'll be cold!
Last edited:


Feb 15, 2013
Thanks guys. Should have said, I'm thinking of going Oct if I can find a canyoneering guide to do it, so my issue will be is wetsuit good enough or do I need drysuit ad I'll be cold!

A wet suit is fine. You will be comfortable enough to get the pictures you want. Sun angles are lower that time of year, but the lower canyon runs north-south, so late AM early PM should have some lighting on a sunny day

Howells Outdoors

Adventure is my middle name...actually it's Keith.
Sep 26, 2012
You won't be able to do the west fork with a guide. Unless they just ignore the whole guiding in the National Park since you start that one in the park or they could have you hike a ridiculous trek from the east side.
I've done each of the variations of Misery -- down the east and up the main exit, down the west and up to French -- and I have to say the best, in terms of beauty is regular route through Misery. That would be down the west fork and then downstream through Parunuweep's Narrows, side trip to Labyrinth Falls, then out at the main exit or Powell Plaque. Going upstream in Parunuweep to French is an awesome trip and worth doing. However, in my opinion the downstream sections are more fun and more scenic.
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