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The Barracks section of Parunuweap Canyon- my packraft trip report

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The Barracks section of Parunuweap Canyon- my packraft trip report

Here is am email I posted to another packrafter. I thought perhaps some here might be interested in my trip report as well.

I was able to paddle the Barracks section of Parunuweap.  I hiked in from some narrows on the west side of Checkerboard Mesa.  It took a half day of hustling and navigating through the slickrock, cactis, and ponderosa down to the river take-out. I spent the night on a shelf overlooking the river.  The next day I down climbed the 200 feet to the river, leaving my camp set up on the shelf.  The climb was class 3 with a few 4 sections.
      A clear little stream comes in at the take-out, from which I drank from, untreated, having left my eyedropper of bleach back at the campground.  This was a about 4 days ago, and I havent come down with illness from criptosporidium.  Any giardia symptoms will have yet to manifest, but the place from which I drank appeared to be not far from the spring source. 
     The gage for the East Fork of the Virgin read at about 80 cfs at the gage below near Springdale.  I could float but a quarter mile below that canyon bottom access point because the river seived out at a fall which I couldnt climb down.  I then hiked up canyon with my packed raft for about a 1.5 miles.  This area was the deepest and narrowest stretch of the canyon,  the narrowest being 15 feet across from wall to wall,  but at 80 cfs it was an easy wade upstream, getting up to thigh deep where the pools there.  But, I only managed about a mile per hour.  In this stretch there is a slot canyon with a warm spring inhabited by many tree frogs just beyong the entrance.  When I return, I will explore higher up that canyon. 
     A mile above that slot entrance was the 15' waterfall that I was concerned about.  The river was flowing high enough and the sandstone so slippery that I could climb up it.  There was also a head deep pool at its base.  I decided to give up and turn around after taking a picture from atop some rocks and jammed logs before the base of the fall when I saw some light shining between the talus rock fall at the base of a high-rise sized boulder that formed the canyon blockage on river left. I scrambled up to light and found a 'tunnel' underneath the massive blockage.  It was a class 4 scramble through, and I was able to climb back down to the river.  There were some good eddies above the falls to portage from on my paddle back down the canyon.  
     I hiked up 4 more miles, and the canyon widened beyond what could be considered a slot.  There were trees, grass, and cattle trails to hike along above the banks. Unfortunately the river flow decreased quite a bit due to the many small springs in the canyon.  It was only flowing at about 30 cfs when I decided to rest and float back down.  However, the river channel looked runnable at even at couple hundred cfs.
     On my descent back to the take-out there were no portages beside the falls, not even for wood or sweepers.  The river was technical class II.  I think with a couple hundred cfs flow, then it would be class III, but have ample eddy service.  The gradient was about 50 fpm.  In the future, I would definately like to  put in somewhere along the riverside jeep road that heads west from the highway 89 bridge about 20 miles upriver from my take-out.


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The Barracks section of Parunuweap Canyon- my packraft trip report :: Comments

Post on Wed 17 Apr 2013, 10:02 am by dman

I wondered last year after reading a hiking trip report on that area if a packraft would be the ticket to an early spring run. I can't wait to get a packraft so I can hit some of these smaller hike and float streams and rivers here in the St George area.

If you want to run it as a shuttle we could start at hwy89 just outside Mt Carmel Junction and leave a vehicle in the Canyon for the exit.

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Post on Wed 17 Apr 2013, 3:29 pm by riverogue

I saw youtube footage of kayakers descending Deep Creek into the Zion Narrows, so that is another future possibility right there.
I wonder if there will be enough water ever this April to put in at Mt. Carmel Junction. The gage above there would have to read at least 50 cfs to bump down. So far it has only been like 15 cfs.
Have you kayaked from Falls Park in Virgin down to to Timpoweap? Its been runnable at 150 to 200 cfs, and there is a fun technical slide rapid thingy at the Park.
Can I get your phone number? I am staying outside Hurricane with my tent perched up in the cliffs there. Give me a call 385 201 0181.

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