Low-Impact Canyoning

Plan Ahead

While it may sound obvious, proper trip planning can prevent high-impact travel, such as:

New to PNW Canyoning? Take The Mountaineers online Canyon Trip Planning Course

At the Parking Lot

The Approach

Flagging & Cairns

In recent years, flagging has been used in excess in Washington. Flagging should be used as a temporary tool only when necessary to reduce our impact.

Travel in the Creek

Before going into a canyon, we need to ensure there aren't fragile aquatic species (such as spawning salmon) that would be disturbed by our presence. Once we've done that, we should travel in the creek, below the high-water mark whenever possible, even if it would be easier to scramble around an obstacle on the side of the creek.

Our creeks are scoured annually during high-flow season, so staying in that scoured boundary avoids damaging adjacent soils & vegetation. Some high-use canyons already have mid-canyon social trails along the side. Please avoid contributing to this. Plan to creek-walk.

Noise & Visibility

To ensure each party has an opportunity to experience the solitude canyoning offers, and to ensure we don't have a negative impact on other users, like hikers, we must minimize our noise & visibility.

Don't Poop in the Canyon

Just don't. Come prepared to pack out all waste, including human waste. Why?


It's hard to stay fed and hydrated in an aquatic canyon. Everything is wet, some canyons offer few spots to sit and open a keg, and the whole team often is busy. Plan ahead to manage your food based on the canyon and the team.


Our choice of anchor determines our impact on the canyon environment.