1000peaks, I was just disagreeing with some information presented, not trying to pick a fight or anything. It wouldn’t be worth doing so. Sorry if it sounded like an attack or disrespectful.
Anyway, the Subway is a great hike. It’s one of the best ones in the world and highly recommended. You should do it sometime. March isn’t the best time though, unless you have full wetsuits/drysuits and lots of experience.
I read it as some rope work necessary.
Yes, only a little rope work is required in good conditions. In late May through sometime in October, it’s basically a hike with some good scrambling and a few rappels. As semi-technical canyons go, it’s a pretty easy one (in season).
In winter though, it’s a whole different animal. Even if you are used to climbing snow and ice (I climb mountains year round in -60F windchills), the slot canyons are still really serious propositions in winter. Because the sun doesn’t reach the bottom, but the water still flows and splashes, ice coated walls are a serious problem. Add that to the fact that you might be swimming while busting ice, all while moving slowly (and hopefully restricted in a wetsuit), it’s really easy to have an accident. I winter, swimming through a slot is different from doing cold swim while out on a hike. Winter descents of the Subway have been done, but they are rare. Speaking from experience, I would consider doing wet slots in winter to be much “colder” than say climbing the Colorado 14ers (or even the Tetons) in the winter and certainly much more dangerous.
If it were a different season though, the Subway suggestion is a great one. You should do it sometime. The summitpost information is excellent; better than the info on the NPS site:http://www.summitpost.org/canyon/366669/the-subway.html
It is not the most challenging canyon, but it is still one of the most fun and certainly the most beautiful I have seen (anywhere in the world) when you consider the beauty per mile ratio of the canyon.
If you come from the bottom though in March, it might be reasonable, but you would also miss some of the best parts. I would highly recommend the Subway as one of the best, if not the best summer/early fall hike in all of Zion. You should do it sometime.
The map they gave out in Sept. 2009 indicates no other trails, than what I said, by my memory. Then they do not want tourists on bc routes.
It sounds like the NPS may have given you bad information. If interested, here are the maps on the NPS site that show the trail options down there. I would definitely recommend spending a week in the area.
Zion Canyon:http://www.nps.gov/archive/zion/images/ ... yonMap.pdf
Zion NP (most of Zion NP is actually outside Zion Canyon):http://www.nps.gov/archive/zion/images/ ... ap_web.pdf
For the popular trails (even though crowded), Emerald Pools, Angels Landing (has exposure) and Hidden Canyon Trails shouldn’t be missed. If you haven’t done those, they are good (but crowded) hikes. You can actually go much farther up Hidden Canyon than the "official trail" marked on the map is, but eventually there are scrambling obstacles and you have to be careful. Hidden Canyon can be icy in March though. You Possibly Angels Landing too. Next time you are in Zion outside summer, I would recommend those ones, though it sounds like you’ve already done Angels Landing.
Farther north, I like the Taylor Canyon Trail and the Kolob Arch Trail too. Some people don’t like the Kolob Arch Trail as much, but it’s quite scenic since it passes by so many soaring cliffs. Farther up La Verkin Creek, Beartrap Canyon has a nice waterfall and some nice narrows. March is usually OK for Kolob Arch, but Beartrap is sometimes hard to get to before April. Some people really like the Hop Valley Trail; I think it’s good, but not the best. I like the Deertrap Mountain Trail for its isolation, but for views it isn't any better than the much shorter routes up Obervation Point and Angels Landing.
In winter, the Sand Bench Trail is pretty nice, but I would only recommend it in the winter when the other trails are closed. Coalpits Canyon is another good winter one, but I like the upper canyon the best which is quite a long hike. By April, Northgate Peaks trail is good.
By late spring, the watery hikes are in season (though on occasion the Narrows can be closed due to high water). I would recommend Orderville Canyon, Subway and maybe Right Fork from the bottom (the best parts of Right Fork require ropes to access). Lower Kolob is a good one and is mostly non technical.
Just outside the park is Canaan Mountain which is also worthy of several days (or weeks) of exploration.
Of course, for off the beaten track routes the possibilities are endless, but I guess that’s another topic altogether.
Any recommendations are greatly appreciated. Just looking for things to do in and around the area. I am definitely capable and interested in heading into the backcountry to do any scrambles or hikes.
Also in the area is Red Cliffs and Quail Creek which is worth a stop and a hike:
Snow Canyon State Park (named for a person, not the cold snow!) is another area woth a visit.
Red Mountain is a great little climb.
And whatever snow there may be it will be less than what I am used to up here in Duluth, any escape from it is going to be great.
In the bottom of Zion Canyon and along the Virgin River and St. Geoge areas, this is true (snow is pretty rare in those places), but the high elevations of Zion get plenty of snow (more than 200 inches a year), so much of it is inaccessible without skis,/snowshoes. Just north of the park, parts of Cedar Breaks and Brian Head get over 400 inches of snow a year.
That said, it is actually worth it to ski to Cedar Breaks in winter if you can swing it (the road is snowbound), but there's plenty to do in the desert as well. Bryce Canyon is also a neat place in winter, but they get quite a bit of snow there too.
You can also head south to the Arizona Strip, but you will have plenty to keep you occupied up around Zion. Valley of Fire is neat too, but is less spectacular than Zion, but is still worth a stop if it's on the way.
I'll be headed down to Zion myself this weekend and can't wait.
Have a great trip.