Tag Archives: Birch Hollow

BLM Encouraging More Reasonable Group Sizes in Birch Hollow

We recently received a letter from Tom Christensen, Outdoor Rec. Planner with Kane Co. BLM, detailing some great educational and monitoring initiatives to help with the crowding problems that have been worsening in Birch Hollow. Birch has become hugely popular over the last five years, mainly because: • It is a classic slot canyon (unlike many un-notable hollows and draws in the area). • It is fairly short, making it an easy day trip (unlike Fat Man’s). • It is easy and straightforward (unlike Englestead Hollow). • It is almost always dry (though it can be quite muddy). • And, most influentially, it does not require a Zion National Park permit. Because Birch Hollow doesn’t require a Park permit, it becomes a strong candidate for anyone who fails, for one reason or another, to score a canyon permit on a given day. More important, since large groups cannot get permits for any canyon in Zion National Park (some canyons max out at 12, while groups size is limited to 6 or 8 for others), ALL the big groups go to Birch Hollow. Boy Scouts troops may by the most infamous examples of big groups in Birch Hollow, but there are … Continue reading

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Quick Birch Hollow Trip Report

Descended Birch Hollow yesterday. Still flowing. Water flows right over the downclimb routes at the early down climbs. We were able to avoid getting in more than knee deep. Got wet from pools and spray from waterfalls. Didn’t use suits. High temp was 80 in Springdale. We were a bit cold at times, but not drastically uncomfortable. Water below knee in Orderville. Winter mudslides have made the early part of the steep ascent to the Orderville meadow a bit arduous and difficult to follow. Dave

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Wet Spring Conditions in Birch Hollow

A few interesting things to glean from this video of a recent (4/29) Birch Hollow descent: • Birch is still flowing (2 -3 cfs, from the vid?), which makes for a fun and interesting decent of a usually-dry canyon. Birch is NOT somewhere I’d want to be in a flash flood, but the relatively constant nature of spring melt makes for great wet conditions. • These guys demonstrate a nice variety of assisted-downclimbing and rappel techniques, along with the benefits and detriments of each. Definitely entertaining and educative to compare. •  The author notes that while the canyon was fun, it was also cold and slow. The entire party was numb halfway through, which probably decreased the fun value. Bringing wetsuits or drysuits would have likely made things a lot more comfortable.

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Birch Hollow and Buckwater Draw in the News

Noticed two recent newspaper stories on canyon descents, one on the Hiking Utah section of the Salt Lake Tribune and another in the Vernal Express. Erin Alberty wrote a short blog piece for the Tribune on her descent of Birch Hollow. Birch is just outside Zion’s eastern boundary, a pretty 3AI canyon draining into Orderville Hollow. Erin hooked up with a couple kind guys from the Wasatch Mountaineering Club to show her the ropes in Birch, which I’m sure she appreciated. Gary Lee Parker reported on his descent of Buckwater Draw in the Vernal Express. I’m not quite sure where Buckwater lies, but from the article it looks like it’s near Vernal, in the central/eastern part of Utah. Always fun to see canyons in the news, especially when they include pictures (both these articles do).

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