Canyoneering at Leprechaun Canyon, Utah

hunter leprechaun

Full of enthusiasm from our Little Wild Horse Canyon day, we headed south down the highway past Hanksville to the North Wash area where there are a cluster of slot canyons that are fairly family friendly. We determined that our monstrosity would not fit into the trailhead so continued down the road about 3 miles and found a fabulous dirt pull-off that became our campsite for the night. The full moon was out and the valley was awash with light.

camper redcliff pull out oct 18


The full Leprechaun Canyon is a drop in slot that requires a bunch of technical gear and 6-8 hours to complete. The family friendly version is to hike about 1.5 miles up the creek bed at the bottom, climb up some rocks and enter into the bottom of the canyon. This takes you over top of some cracks and into an amazing subway (big space) that is full of red stripes and makes lots of echoes.

hunter rock leprechaun

lee hunter subway leprechaun

After the subway you reach some water. We did this hike when Hunter was 3 and success was making it to the subway as he walked most of the way on his own. Neither one of us could remember what the trail write up said about the water and after much discussion, decided that this is an ADVENTURE and we should push through to check it out. Our standard approach on things like this is to send Tim first… lucky him!

tim going into water

He made it through with only his shorts wet so he returned, we had more discussion, and then loaded Hunter onto his shoulders and off they went…

tim hunter pre water

hunter tim heading into water

The great news is that everyone made it across the VERY cold waist deep water. The not so great news is that there was another water feature about 10 feet further down. Both Tim and I tested it out and after 2 feet it was already close to waist deep and had a really slimy/slippery bottom.

lee heading into water #2

More discussion ensued and we determined that safety had to prevail and we would turn back. That meant going BACK through the very cold waist deep smaller pool AGAIN!

lee in water

lee coming back in water


It was a very fast run from the edge of the water back out to the main canyon and the sun beam – the water was FREEZING…

We felt somewhat validated when a group of 4 men came through about 10 minutes later (doing the same sprint from the water to the sunbeam) as they had rappelled into the canyon and then had to swim across water feature #2!

hunter leprechaun muck

Hunter decided to play in the muck zone as we headed back out of the main canyon. 2 1/2 hours of hiking / exploring and everyone had fun. We will come back again one day and rappel in from the top and that will officially complete our Leprechaun Canyon experience.

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