The Barracks Obstacle


– The Obstacle 5/2009 –

The Barracks is a great canyon just outside Zion National Park’s east boundary.  Hikers wishing to travel the length of the canyon must get past one obstacle in between the Poverty Wash and Misery Canyon tributaries. At this spot a rockfall has created a constriction in the canyon resulting in a 12′ waterfall and logjam.

At times it’s possible to carefully climb up/down the boulders and logs on the side of the waterfall. This method will likely require wading through a chest-deep pool below the obstacle.  However, at other times conditions have known to be different  and the changes result in water rushing over the entire obstacle and/or unstable logs on top.   Luckily in this situation there is a cave-like bypass route which can be used.

From below, back away from the obstacle and note the dark entry to the bypass on the right:


Climb up onto the bench and then up through the crack in the wall. It never gets that dark. The climb requires some effort and one will have to shuttle packs up in a few spots. At one point hikers have the option of squeezing through a tight rabbit hole or scaling a log ramp.


Above this spot, crawl out of the small opening and return back out into daylight.

One can see the river again below on the left, however there is no way down at this point. One must instead scramble back down another gully behind another large boulder and then back up and around a corner.


At this point a gently sloping gully of rocks leads one back down to the river just above the obstacle:

Route back down to river above the obstacle

Route back down to river above the obstacle

Walk just about 20′ downstream and you can stand on the precipice of the obstacle which you just conquered!


On Top!

Here’s a short video showing the process:

And a gallery with more photos in high-rez:


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