Tag Archives: left fork of north creek

The Subway: A Classic Canyoneering Route in Zion National Park

I came across some wonderful images of Zion’s Subway route the other day, and the photographer, Daniel Peckham, graciously granted me permission to display them here. Above is the climactic “subway tunnel” after which The Subway takes its name. The colors in this section are dazzling; it looks like someone dumped a truckload of gasoline in the water, creating the shimmering, iridescent colors typically seen in oil or fuel. I asked a local botanist about this once, thinking the colors might be from a bacteria in the water. Turns out the colors come from chemical leached by a few different plants in the area. Either way, it’s nice to know these sorts of visual effects are completely natural (and nicely captured by Mr. Peckham). A little ways past the classic subway section, this micro slot creates a gorgeous whitewater flume and showcases the fault-induced nature of The Subway. The canyon, properly called the Left Fork of North Creek, runs directly above a minor fault line, creating the weaknesses that the water follows downcanyon. Over millions of years, water followed the narrow fault cracks through the harder Navajo sandstone and reached the softer Kayenta layer, below. Since the Kayenta layer erodes … Continue reading

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