Zion: East Fork Three

Categories: Hiking, Utah, Zion

Every few years I like to take a trip down the East Fork of the Virgin River. It’s very long so there are numerous parts of it that provide a different kind of fun. The last time I tried to get to Labyrinth Falls I didn’t know about the log jam that serves as a major obstacle; nor did I know at the time there is a tunnel nearby that can be used to bypass the falls.

Last summer I went back, ready to access that tunnel, but low and behold, the log jam that had been present for years was completely gone! Despite being gone, I still didn’t feel completely comfortable climbing down the slippery rocks so I took the tunnel anyway. On the way back I opted to try the falls. The rocks are indeed slippery so i might recommend going around or being prepared to jump into the pool on the way down.

The falls where the log jam was. Just past the falls are a lot of familiar looking logs on top of a boulder. Must have been quite a flood because at this point the bottom of the canyon is pretty wide open. I have to admit I did expect things to be different after our record wet winter.

This trip was the hottest time that I’ve been down there. It had to be in the 90’s even in the shady portions of the canyon, but there were still some areas that were nice and cool.

I think this was my favorite shot of that day. This is just a very nice place to take a break.

A nice piece of driftwood marking a high water level in the past.

The Barracks sections of the East Fork alternate between slotting up for short distances then get a little wider.

A brave little cottonwood. I wonder how long it will last?

The gradient steepens.

Near the end of what is accessible from the East Fork. One of the last bends.

This falls gave me some problems. It doesn’t look like much but the current was too strong and deep for me to climb down. I bypassed it by climbing up a log jam off to the side of the boulder on the right.

After bypassing the falls I only made it a short distance to a much bigger obstacle. Another fast moving cascade forced me on top of a boulder with a rope tied to a tire, wedged between the boulder and the canyon wall. Unfortunately the rope was jammed into the crack as well, and i could not remove it. Climbing down would have meant trying to climb back up an overhang, and that didn’t look at all promising. It was very frustrating because i was probably 1,000 feet from the last falls. Oh well, maybe another time when the water is lower or I bring my own rope!

The end of Fat Man’s Misery canyon. This exceptionally clear pool is where it comes out of the slot. I left my water bottle here. Sorry. I wasn’t happy about it either. I had one more but it was already empty and i didn’t bring a filter that day. So on the way back I drank out of some springs emerging from the rocks.

There were some interesting plants in the bottom of this pool and they looked blue even accounting for the depth of the water. Maybe they are reflective?

Another great day. Maybe next time i’ll get 1,000 feet farther.

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