Arch Canyon has to be one of the best beginner friendly canyoneering adventures in the Saint George area. Good anchors, relatively short, with some impressive rappels and nice (though short) narrow sections, this is a good one I highly recommend. The rappels start small and get bigger, culminating in a 60 m ( 197 ft. ) rappel near Johnson Arch.
Directions (Shuttle) - End: Johnson's Arch Trailhead outside Snow Canyon (will need $10 for day pass or State Parks Pass - there is a online pay option)
Entrance: West side pullout just east of canyon and just north of large metal pile-ons on sides of freeway. (Normal start is at Chuckwalla trailhead but this shortcut from the locals cuts out 2+ miles of desert hiking supposedly not through private property. *This is a locals shortcut and NOT the recommended way.)
Cost - Permit: $6 (can only go Sept-March due to endangered turtles)
Snow Canyon Parks Pass $10 or State Parks Pass
Canyoneering Johnson's Arch - 2.5 ish miles total. Start from Pullout (stated above) and take the desert social trail due west. Cross over a dirt road and continue west. You cross into the State Park through a barbed wire fence, then continue west to the Gila Trail. Turn right on this trail and then left to the top of the canyon. (See map below). You can also take the Chuckwalla trail from the south, which adds another 2 miles. It was about a 50 min hike from the car to the first rappel.
Rappel 1: about 15 ft with 2 bolts/chains and a boulder half-way, biner-block anchor, dry
Rappel 2: 5 min hike, about 30 ft w boulder half-way, 2 bolts/chains, biner-block anchor, knee-deep water, 20 ft walk to second 15 ft rappel (do on same rope), dry
Rappel 3: 20 min hike with 2 potholes you can avoid by going up left (we did a roped hand-line 10 ft to get to rappel station due to some exposure), 25 ft with 2 bolts only (will need about 10 ft webbing and repead) on left side wall, biner-block, trace water
Rappel 4: 1 min walk and under large chock stone used as anchor (2,15 ft webbing with repead), 20 ft, biner-block, knee-deep pool
Rappel 5: 2 min walk, 5 min scramble down to bolts/chains on left - protected with a meat anchor for 10 feet if needed, 100 ft sloping with crack, totem-jester anchor(can't see bottom), mid-calf water
Rappel 6: 5 min walk down streambed - after 100 ft turn left up and then after about 20 ft take sharp rt down small cliff to streambed again and continue to top of rappel, 200 ft straight down, 3 bolts on rt side (8mm rope cordelette set up as a quad), 2- 65 m ropes connected, biner-block, no water
20-30 min hike to trailhead.
Gear - harness (can rent), helmet (can rent), rappel device (ATS, Squirrl, Critter, etc), locking carabiners, (NO COTTON) thin liner T-shirt, hiking pants, fleece jacket, rain/windproof jacket, hiking boots or grippy shoes, headlamp, backpack, 2 L water, 6-8 snacks, first aid kit, small knife, sunscreen, sunglasses, 3 65 m 8-9mm static ropes w rope bags, repeads, webbing.
Rentals (on your own) - Harness: $5/day (BYU Outdoors Unltd); $17 (BYU Outdoors Unltd)
Helmet: $4/day (BYU Outdoors Unltd); $4/day (UVU Outdoor Adventure Center)
Sample Itinerary -
Snow Canyon, Arch Canyon - Set up shuttle – 45 min (10 am)
Hike in - 30-60 min (11 am)
Canyon - 2-4 hr (12-4pm)
Hike out - 30 min (5pm)