Zion Trip Planning: Misery Canyon --> The Barracks --> West Rim

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Iceman

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Feb 20, 2014
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6
I'm looking to get some insight from Zion veterans on a planned trip in mid-May. A group of 10 of us are flying up from Texas & Georgia to do 5 days of hiking. We're flying into Vegas late on a Monday, camping outside of town, then driving up to Zion the next morning. We were planning to be on the trail by 11am the next morning at the latest. We're wanting/hoping to do Misery Canyon, the Barracks, the West Rim, and Angel's Landing over the course of nearly 5 full days of hiking.

I've looked for trip reports over the last 6 months, but have never seen anyone talk about entering the Barracks via Misery Canyon, then hiking out to Mt. Carmel Junction. I know many do a one day Misery Canyon route, coming back out via Checkerboard Mesa. But, is there any reason why we can't - or shouldn't - come in via Misery, then hike through the Barracks, and exit at Mt. Carmel Junction? And, if it is doable, is Misery something we should attempt on day 1 with an 11am start time if we're planning to set up camp in the canyon? Any idea how long it'd take intermediate canyoneers (and experienced hikers) to descend Misery and make it to a spot capable of housing 10 overnight?

Our thought was to take 2.5 - 3 days to do Misery & the Barracks (along with side canyons), then another 1.5 to do the West Rim & Angel's Landing. Our flights leave Vegas at 7pm on Saturday, so we just need to make sure we're in the car by 2pm at the latest. Would we be better starting with Misery or the South Rim with an 11am (possibly earlier) start time? Our plan was to place a car at our intended Mt. Carmel Junction exit, then drive to the Checkerboard Mesa entrance. We'd need to camp at/near the exit for Mt. Carmel Junction on the 3rd night, b/c we'd need to pick up the other car the next morning, then be in Sprindale by 6am to catch a shuttle up to Lava Point to start the West Rim.

I've hiked the narrows in Zion before, but none of the other guys have ever been to Zion. So, we were hoping to do some narrows (figured the Barracks over the narrows due to foot traffic), some canyoneering (though not too advanced), take in some incredible vistas, and climb something (ala Angel's Landing). So, I'm open to ideas if we'd be better served doing something else, or in a different order, or if I have my timing wrong and we can squeeze in another hike (or need to account for everything taking longer than I'd planned).

Thanks!
 
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Jammer

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I've hiked the length of this canyon (and may again soon!)

Most people don't do this because a) the necessary car shuttle and b) the most scenic area is the lower end thus accessible via shorter trips. But... if you have the time and the shuttle then you should take advantage of it as it's a great backcountry experience.

Two questions first:
-- Are you talking about descending the technical canyon or the hiker route into the Barracks?
-- When you say South Rim, do you mean the Grand Canyon? This seems so far away from the rest of your itinerary so I just want to make sure.

My quick thoughts on the Barracks:

-- finding nice sites for a group of 10 might be tough -- especially in the lower canyon.
-- if the plan is to explore up Mineral Gulch, you may want to exit that way (via Meadow). The upper-most portion of the Barracks isn't as scenic and has a bunch of cows and some ATVs.
-- bypass the rockjam obstacle via cave/arch on SW side.
-- check out the rockart in Rock Canyon and just upstream.

- Jamal
 

Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
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First, mid May might be a little early........ you need to watch the water flows closely. You cannot get through most canyons if too high and/or the threat of fast snowmelt. NPS has a flow limit for the main narrows, you may want to check with them as well for flows when you are planning. I just flew over Zion this week and even though there is not much snow in the local higher elevations right now, that can change, plus the drainage basin is very large.

Orderville Canyon is a long day hike and is really neat. Way good narrows, day hiker limits as you need the permit. Requires car shuttle as well, but you end up at the Zion Narrows TH in the main canyon. No overnite.

Years ago we did the Barracks from Mt Carmel and out Fat Man's (checkerboard). The only real narrows are from Powell plaq to the falls. They are as good as the main narrows in Zion. It is a steep partially exposed climb out to the mesa top from the river...consider that as well. You can drive quite a ways down to a ranch and park. There are cows and ATV access still for about a half day hike. You may look into coming in from the Elephant Butte area (southside) ...French Canyon I think? As said Mineral Gulch is good access as well. The entire canyon is a nice hike though.

You can also drop in off of Lava Point CG into Kolob Crk (steep) and out the narrows, one night camping in Kolob Cyn outside park (no permit) Still a car shuttle. We did this years ago as well as a trip going up canyon and out Deep Creek to the road.

Finding room for 10 people will be a problem anywhere in the Zion canyons area.

May find info you seek here as well: http://www.zionnational-park.com/
 

HomerJ

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Jan 19, 2012
Messages
1,199
-- When you say South Rim, do you mean the Grand Canyon? This seems so far away from the rest of your itinerary so I just want to make sure.
I think he means the West Rim.
 

HomerJ

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Jan 19, 2012
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I'd save Angels Landing for your last day. It can be hiked in 3-4 hours pretty easy.
 

Iceman

Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2014
Messages
6
I've hiked the length of this canyon (and may again soon!)

Most people don't do this because a) the necessary car shuttle and b) the most scenic area is the lower end thus accessible via shorter trips. But... if you have the time and the shuttle then you should take advantage of it as it's a great backcountry experience.

Two questions first:
-- Are you talking about descending the technical canyon or the hiker route into the Barracks?
-- When you say South Rim, do you mean the Grand Canyon? This seems so far away from the rest of your itinerary so I just want to make sure.

My quick thoughts on the Barracks:

-- finding nice sites for a group of 10 might be tough -- especially in the lower canyon.
-- if the plan is to explore up Mineral Gulch, you may want to exit that way (via Meadow). The upper-most portion of the Barracks isn't as scenic and has a bunch of cows and some ATVs.
-- bypass the rockjam obstacle via cave/arch on SW side.
-- check out the rockart in Rock Canyon and just upstream.

- Jamal
My apologies. I meant to say the "West Rim", not "South Rim". Our plan was to take the technical route into the Barracks via Misery Canyon, then hike out by way of Mt. Carmel Junction.......although, using Mineral Gulch as an exit sound like a great idea as well. We'll be in Zion May 12th - May 17th. Is there any reason we can't rappel down through Misery Canyon, set up camp, spend a day exploring, then hike out through Mineral Gulch (as you suggested)?

We figured when we finished our 2 night trip to the Barracks, we'd catch a shuttle to Lava Point to hike the West Rim, finishing with Angel's Landing. If you had 4-5 days to kill, and you wanted to see some vistas, hike some narrows, do rappelling, and avoid crowds, what would you suggest? Thanks!
 

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