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Circle of Friends:
San Rafael Swell
Quandary Canyon provides a beautiful romp in a geological wonderland as it slices through
the San Rafael Reef. This is one of the most scenic canyons in the area. Several rewarding
route options are presented to meet the desires of the novice, intermediate or expert
Canyon is part of the "Circle of Friends"
program. Members of the "Circle of Friends"
have access to more specific information, explicit route information, GPS waypoints,
trailhead location and detailed maps. If
you would like more information on joining the "Circle of
Friends" visit the sign up page.
"Circle of Friends"
Canyon is a technical canyoneering adventure and requires complete technical gear. A GPS is extremely useful. Good map
reading skills are essential. Navigation for this route is moderate.
canyon has a modest flash flood danger, but
don't let that fool you. At least one person has died in this canyon as a result of a
flash flood. Check the weather report and the sky above before entering this canyon. The
entire drainage is easily visible before committing to this route.
Quandary By-Pass is rated 3B III
using the Canyon Rating System. The technical portion of the canyon consists of knee to
chest deep wading and fun scrambling. The By-Pass Route is suggested for those doing their
first descent of the canyon or those with less than advanced canyoneering skills. Total
time required for a round trip using the By-Pass Route is 6 to 8 hours.
Quandary Direct is rated 4B III
using the Canyon Rating System. The technical portion of the canyon consists of several
short swims, wading and fun scrambling. The Direct Route contains several keeper potholes
that you must escape. This is not a route for novice, those lacking the proper skills
might become skeleton soup. Advanced canyoneering techniques are required to escape the
keeper potholes. Total time required for a round trip using the Direct Route is 8 to 10
In addition to the standard routes presented; members of the Circle of Friends program will also receive optional route
information for Quandary Canyon that is not published or documented anywhere else. It is
the intent of this website to make certain that members always have the best and most
accurate information and route descriptions possible.
Canyon and Muddy Creek Gorge are both commonly used as return routes. Maps, route
descriptions, GPS waypoints and other benefits are provided.
car during good weather can access this trailhead. This is also the trailhead for Knotted Rope Canyon. There are several nice campsites in the
vicinity of the Trailhead.
Enjoy a short video of Quandary Canyon in the San Rafael Swell compliments of Blake Merrell.
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