We are here to foster a professional relationship with the community through promoting responsible use of one of Canada's last terrestrial frontiers. How is this going to be accomplished?

  • Setting Canadian standards for guiding
  • Fostering partnerships with other Canyon Associations across the globe
  • Creating a Canyon SAR curriculum
  • Providing training and education opportunities for recreational users
  • Developing meaningful relationships with land managers 
  • Promoting access for Canyoneers 
  • Establish standards for bolting
  • and this is only the beginning!

The Canadian Canyoning Association has created a set of guidelines for all Canyoneers to follow. These guidelines are intended to promote and support ethical use of canyon environments throughout Canada. It is expected that everyone play a role to ensure future access and continued support of these exceptional environments.

Canyoning Ethics

Access to canyons is not guaranteed. Poor behaviour can negatively affect everyone's access. If everyone applies prudent and reasonable decisions to their travels, we will have continued freedom to access and use of these areas. 

Consider two aspects when participating in canyoning activities. One is the canyon environment in which we explore, and the other is our personal health and safety. 

Canyon Environment

Canyons can be extremely durable, yet many fragile elements may exist. Follow these core principles to ensure delicate features are not impaired. Here are 10 environmental rules for canyon exploration:

1- Leave no trace (waste, fire pits, markings, garbage). Leave the area in better condition than when you left it. Remove trash where possible. Take only photos and memories.

2- Anchoring materials will inevitably be left behind. Ensure that anchors are necessary and are placed to minimise impact. Remove old anchoring materials and replace where prudent. Bolting is a specific topic and discussions on such are located in a separate section. 

3- Respect rules, regulations, laws, public and private property owners, land owners and mangers, and the environment.

4- Keep group sizes to a maximum of 6- 8 people depending upon the type of canyon being explored. Larger groups should be divided up to ensure efficient travel and reduced impact.

5- Do not mark, damage or handle natural items such as trees, rocks, flora, fauna and cultural objects. Do not build cairns or create other markers unless it is critical for safety. Part of the allure of exploration is the sense of discovery.

6- Keep to established routes and trails. Spread your group out in areas with no established trail. Do not create new trails or short cuts.

7- Travel within the watercourse, on boulders or on bedrock. This will minimise impact to soils, vegetation and erosion.

8- Minimise noise. Be courteous to other people and fauna in the area. Of course, follow Bear Aware guidelines when travelling in bear courntry.

9- Do not camp, defecate, start fires within canyon environments. Perform these activities a minimum of 20 meters from the area.

10- Minimise publicity of canyon locations and other wilderness areas to the general public. CCA does encourage the exploration of canyons, but it must be done responsibly and with proper education and training. 

Personal Health and Safety

Canyons have unique challenges that can render rescue extremely difficult One must consider access, remoteness, skill level and necessary gear required to travel through these remarkable natural features. Here are 10 safety rules for canyon exploration:


2- Seek proper training from qualified instructors in canyoning techniques. This is what the CCA is for. Check our list of qualified companies for proper training.

3- Recognise and be prepared for the Point of No Return. Understand that canyons may not have escape/ egress points within them. Once the rope is pulled at the PNR the only way out is down.

4- Ensure you have appropriate equipment for the canyon you are attempting. Do you have a long enough rope? Your team should carry enough rope for 3x the longest rappel.

5- Ensure you have enough food and water. Don't count on being able to drink directly from watercourses.

6- Inform a local contact about your itinerary. This can include family, friends, or authorities about your trip intentions. Follow your plan.

7- Do not enter a canyon in adverse weather or conditions. Flash flooding may occur and cause stranding or flushing that may lead to severe consequences.

8- Do not enter areas that are closed for safety reasons. Canyon in groups of two or more (depending upon the difficulty of the canyon) for rescue purposes. Solo trips are not recommended.

9- If you are uncertain about logistics of a particular canyon, seek advice from experienced canyoneers, or do not attempt the trip!

10- Thoroughly inspect each anchor before use. Treat everything as suspect. Ensure that your anchor is more than sufficient to support placing a life on it.