The White Domes
Amazing Off Trail Hike in the Canaan Mountain Wilderness
The first thing you should know about White Domes is they are very clearly GREY. There are even whiter rock formations on the way there. Nor are they a unique form of rock. I’ve seen the same type of stone in a couple of other places, like the north rim of Parunuweap. They do have cool veins of white quartz coursing through the cross bedding.
Getting to the domes is the real reward of making it your destination. This is an epic hike through a big variety of terrain and scenery. It’s very strenuous with only about 1.5 miles of real trail. The mileage and altitude gain are similar to the Observation Point trail in Zion but without the trail. Expect 10+ miles of hiking and up to 3,000 feet of elevation gain, depending on how much you want to see during your trip. It requires route finding and some exposure. During most of the year there is no water at all on top of the mountain and virtually no shade. It gets very hot, and there is only a single, very easy to miss spot for getting off the mountain. I’ve missed it every time I’ve been up there.
I was very lucky this trip to be able to see waterfalls and streams up on top of Canaan Mountain. I’ve been up there other times during sandstorms or when it was hot and dry.
On the left is the hardest part to get out of the canyon. It’s a narrow ledge that feels exposed because there is a very large void to the right of the picture. Eight years ago this wasn’t a big deal but foot traffic has eroded the base of the ledge down more than a foot, so now most people will have to reach over their heads to grab the ledge. On the right is a nice waterfall that added quite a bit of noise to the upper reaches of the canyon.
In water canyon the stream tends to make a lot of 90 degree turns. When I had come up earlier in the day an adventure company was guiding rappelling down these waterfalls. This is a really cool, very scary view, if you can find it, looking straight over the side of an leaning cliff face.