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We recently took a full-day North Wash Canyoneering trip to the Irish Canyons near Hanskville, Utah, about 2 hours’ drive from Moab. We’ve explored these canyons before by hiking them from the bottom up and were left wanting to explore more as there were many areas accessible only with ropes.

We reached out to one of our outfitter partners, Moab Cliffs and Canyons, and blocked off one epic Tuesday for day trip to the North Wash. Through both the hiking and the canyoneering trips, we found the Irish Canyons to be some of the best slot canyons to explore near Moab. There are several other canyoneering options closer to Moab, but the Irish Canyons are smaller slot canyons, and get SUPER narrow!

Our video of the North Wash Canyoneering trip
Aaron, our adventure guide for the day

Irish Canyons in the North Wash

The day started by meeting our guide Aaron at the office where we hopped in the car and drove to the trailhead where we met our two other adventure buddies for the day, Denise and Marnie. The drive is about 2 hours with a pit stop in Hanksville to for water, snacks, and bathroom. The drive went by fast as we admired the red rock landscape famous in this part of the country.

At the Leprechaun Canyon trailhead, Aaron asked our group what type of adventure we were interested in. The options were either one long canyon exploration or hopping into several different canyons and doing some shorter experiences in each. We all agreed to go for one long epic adventure and opted to explore the east fork of the Leprechaun Canyon. Aaron set us up with some knee pads, elbow pads, harnesses, and helmets while he carried all of the ropes and anchors for the group. We head out into the canyon around 9:30 AM.

Canyoneering and Rappelling Leprechaun Canyon

Leprechaun Canyon, located in the Irish Canyons area near Hanksville, Utah, is a popular slot canyon known for its narrow passages and stunning rock formations. It’s accessible to adventurers of varying skill levels, offering both hikes from the bottom up and challenging technical routes requiring rappelling, stemming, downclimbing, sliding, and scrambling over and under rocks. The canyon’s unique sandstone walls, vibrant with reds and oranges, create a striking and photogenic landscape.

The canyon has a few different forks that you can rappel into, canyoneer, and explore. We dropped into the east fork of the canyon, there were around 3 main rappels varying from 20 to ~40 feet.

Exploring the Middle Fork of Leprechaun Canyon

After we rappelled our way down to where the east fork of the canyon meets the middle fork, we dropped our packs and harnesses and ”hiked” up to explore the middle fork of the canyon.

This was where the canyon got especially exciting… and it was one of our favorite parts of the trip as it required squeezing through some really tight canyons, scrambling under and over rocks, sliding down slick sandstone walls, stemming, using our elbows, knees, arms…anything it takes to get through the canyon! It was such an epic experience, it truly brought out our inner child!

After hours of playing in the canyon, our trip ended around 4:30 pm. With a quick stop in Hanksville for refreshments, we headed back to Moab and got beta on future adventures that we can’t wait to come back and explore around Moab and beyond.

At the end of the day, we were all worked! It was a full-body experience that required using every part of your body to get through the canyon. The best part about this trip was that it was a ‘choose your own adventure’, you could opt to take it easy and just do the rappels and easier canyons or go as adventurous as you want!

We joined an open group and loved meeting new adventure buddies and our guide, you can also opt for the private group where your party decides how adventurous you want to be on this trip.

Every time we explore Moab and southeast Utah, we keep creating a longer come back list. There are just so many incredible places to visit that nobody ever talks about (at least in the mainstream). One of the reasons we love taking trips with local guides and experts is to get the beta for future adventures. On the 2 hour journey back, Aaron gave us so many future trips to think about like packrafting various rivers, dropping into bigger, darker and water filled canyons that are great to explore in the summer, and the best places to go rock climbing for complete beginners (like us).

We’re grateful to have Moab Cliffs and Canyons as our newest outfitter partner in Moab! Until next time, adventure on!

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