A couple years ago, Blake and I were hiking Cassidy Arch in Capitol Reef National Park. Blake noticed that there was webbing wrapped around the tree next to the arch. That sparked some interest; Blake did quite a bit of research and there honestly wasn’t much beta on this canyon.We found one really informative post about Cassidy Arch Canyon that gave us all we needed to know.
Blake, Dan, Bret and I got on the road around 8:00 Saturday morning. As soon as we got to the park, we hit the trail. The hike to Cassidy Arch is fairly easy and has great views. It is about a mile and a half to the arch and is mostly uphill. When we reached the top, we were surprised to find a bolted anchor. Everything we had read said that there were not bolts on this rappel and that you would have to use a retrievable anchor off the tree in the canyon. It is about 140 feet rappel right through Cassidy Arch. The beginning is a little intimidating; I had to inch myself off the cliff but once I was off I felt comfortable.
Shortly after walking under the arch, the second rappel shows itself with two bolts. This rappel is also about 140 feet. Once you’re roped in, you walk down a steep slab until you reach a narrow slot. This part of the rappel was amazing; a free rappel through a narrow section into an alcove room.
The third rappel is a two stage rappel. You rappel about 10 feet, to a sandy floor, stay connected and walk about 10 feet then rappel through a natural bridge for another 20 feet.
About a ten foot walk from the bottom of the third rappel is the fourth. It is a very awkward start because it is so narrow. You have to squeeze yourself through the narrow part while attached to the rope and then rappel about 15 feet. There is a small down climb immediately following that rappel. It is easy with good hand holds and places to put your feet.
My favorite rappel was definitely the fifth one. It has a pretty awkward start but as soon as you get going, you free rappel through an amazing natural bridge. We had some fun here and staged a rope swing out of the alcove. We spent about a half just playing and having fun here.
There is an old cable attached to the wall here so we clipped in and traversed to the bolted sixth rappel. A 50 foot rappel provides an interesting view of the old bridge that was built by the Park Service many years ago.
The last rappel was off a tree and only about 40 feet. It was pretty straight forward and easy.
At the bottom of the canyon, you have a short, quarter mile, walk back to our car along the road. Overall, we loved this canyon. It fairly easy, because all the rappels were bolted, now including the first one. It was also nice because all the rappels were so close to each other. This canyon took us about 4 hours, including time we waited at the top before we jumped into the others groups lineup and time we spent playing on our rope swing. This has probably been my favorite canyoneering trip. We can’t wait to go back.