Photo: Andrew Humphreys

A safe and welcoming community

The Pacific Northwest Canyoning community is, and has been, committed to welcoming all trained aquatic canyoneers into our canyons. As more Washington Canyons become established, and as more visitors come in from the Southwest, our small community is doing what we can to help ensure folks are choosing to descend canyons that are within their skillset.

about washington canyons

Washington State has the highest concentration of highly aquatic canyons in the US. The aquatic nature of our canyons is not to be underestimated, even if you have experience in the aquatic canyons of CO, AZ, CA, ID or OR. Most importantly: many of our canyons are much less forgiving when things go wrong. Errors can compound quickly, making bad situations quickly worse. As canyoning is relatively new in Washington, our SAR teams are only just beginning to train for canyon terrain. You should be prepared with a self-rescue plan.


Photo: Kevin Steffa
PNW Canyons - How to Prepare.mp4

Courtesy of V7 Academy

training & experience

We cannot stress enough the importance of both aquatic training and aquatic mileage to ensure your party is appropriately managing risk in Washington canyons. While each canyon has unique characteristics, the following is a list of general pre-requisite skills for safely descending our canyons:

training opportunities

We encourage everyone to have at least some training in aquatic canyon techniques. Here are some opportunities:

V7 Academy - The online Level 1 course is free, so there are no excuses not to take it! The Level 2 course is $295 and worth every penny, especially if you haven't had any training in aquatic techniques.

The Mountaineers - The Mountaineers offers both a Basic and Intermediate Canyoning Course. The 8-day Basic Course happens in June/July, while the 2-day Intermediate Course happens once in the winter and once in the spring. Throughout the year, including in the summer, The Mountaineers hosts practice sessions.

The Mazamas - The Mazamas hosts an aquatic canyoning course once a year.

Cascade Canyon Guides - Hosting hybrid American Canyoneering Academy/Swiftwater courses.

American Alpine Institute - Hosting 2-day beginner and desert crossover swiftwater canyoning courses, as well as a 6-day comprehensive course. Dates in June, July and August.

Uber Adventures - Hosts 3-day swiftwater canyoneering courses in Aug and Sept in Kern County, CA.  In addition, although Uber is based in the southwest, their L2 and L3 courses include key skills from the list above. 

Pacific Northwest Canyoning Facebook Group - Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. This friendly group will hook you up with answers to your questions (after you've done your own research on Ropewiki), and you'll likely find canyoning partners, even if you're a beginner. You may be able to hook up with an informal practice session as well!

Photo: Haruka James-Clay Lipscomb

your role in a safe community

We are a community of canyoneers who love to welcome new folks and want to empower new and visiting canyoneers alike to contribute as assets to our community. Whether you're just starting out under more experienced mentorship, or whether you're visiting from another region, here are some ways you can contribute to our collective safety: