The 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”.
Getting 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.