Courthouse Towers

U-Turn Canyon – Moab, UT

Coiling RopeThe Low Down: This canyon has a nice warm-up for beginners. The first two rappels are 10-15 foot ramps that you can mostly walk down. The third rappel is more vertical with a slight overhang toward the bottom. If you divert to the east along a large slab of rock, you will come to some rock towers- one called Wile E. Coyote Rock- and a grand overlook of Park Avenue. The real reason to do this canyon, however, is the fourth and final rappel. Just at the top of this rappel, there’s a stunning view across the canyon toward the Courthouse Towers. After soaking in the view, you can enjoy 95 feet of lowering down a canyon wall. There’s a shelf about halfway down, and then you get some overhang in. Don’t forget to smirk as you walk out past the people gaping at Courthouse Towers from the concrete “viewpoint”.

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ApproachGetting There: Drive 3 miles into Arches National Park to the Park Avenue Trailhead on the left. From the trailhead, hike 350 feet southwest on a trail along the road. The trail will lead to the base of two sandstone formations. Climb north/northwest up the crack between them. Once on top, take a sharp right turn (hence the name U-Turn). Bypass the domes to the left. After you pass the second dome, look for a single bolt under a small boulder on the right hand side of the canyon. This is the start of the first rappel.

Equipment Needed: One 60-meter rope, 10-12 feet of webbing, anchor

Anchor Types: Bolts on Raps 1, 2, and 4. Boulder to build webbing anchor on Raps 1 and 3 (it’s advisable to build an anchor on the boulder rather than using the single bolt on 1).

Highlights: Overlook to Courthouse Towers, optional detour to view Park Avenue and Wile E. Coyote Rock

Considerations: None – low flash flood danger and available year round.

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