BETA PHOTO: Upper Narrows, south side, looking upstream.
South Willow Canyon is found in the Stansbury Range, which forms the western boundary of Tooele valley. It is nearest the city of Grantsville, and is about an hours drive west of Salt Lake City.There are numerous limestone outcroppings along the forest service road along the canyon bottom. These are home to some quality bolted sport routes ranging in difficulty from 5.9 to 5.14a (The Big Smile). There are routes to be found in and around the lower narrows, but the majority of the routes are found in the upper Narrows These areas are shady in the summer, and though the upper narrows can be crowded at times on the weekends, a mid-week excursion can offer up a quiet and cooler alternative to the more popular canyons to the east. For trad guys, there is at least one naturally protected route (5.9ish) that climbs a crack system on a sharp and solitary outcrop (The Suicide Arete), which can be found on the south side of the road near the Boy Scout Campground.
P.S. A stick clip may be handy for clipping the first bolts on some of the south side routes that climb the walls above the creek.
From Salt Lake City, take I-80 west bound past the Great Salt Lake and take the Grantsville exit #88. From the exit head south on Burmester Road into Grantsville. Find your way to Main Street and turn left, heading west until you see the rec sign for North and South Willow Canyons. Turn left and follow the road south out of town until you see the sign indicating the right turn for South Willow Canyon. From there just drive west until you reach the forest service gate (closed in winter). Proceed up the roughish dirt road past numerous campsites. Once you see the solid limestone outcrop and the first narrows, you can stop and climb or continue up to the upper narrows. Always park either above or below these narrows and as far off to the side of the road as possible. Be cautious while climbing as some routes are very close to passing vehicles.
Summer 2005 camping was $8 per night. Because the canyon offers good car camping close to Tooele, it is VERY popular on weekends and crazy around holidays. I would also advise that you avoid the place during during hunting seasons because it is very hard to find parking anywhere along the road. You will be continously contending with hunter traffic.
There is free camping one canyon north in North Willow canyon or Davenport Canyon. Also there are climbs in both the lower and upper narrows. My personal faves are the bolted routes on the cliff face right of the lower narrows. The large rock west of the Boy scout campground also has an awesome 5.10 tips crack that ascends near the North east arete of a beautiful limestone tower.