register help
Pumphouse Wash (Lower), AZ
339 27 0 0 official
Description 27 Triplogs  0 Topics
RatedFavorite   Wish List Region
 Sedona NE
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Surrounding topography and forecast knowledge recommended yet does not eliminate risk.
View 2
Difficulty 2    Route Finding
Distance Round Trip 4.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,740 feet
Elevation Gain 370 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.05
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Author joe bartels
Descriptions 204
Routes 615
Photos 8,378
Trips 2,719 map ( 14,114 miles )
Age 45
Location Phoenix, AZ
Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
16  2013-05-26 paulhubbard
73  2012-05-12 WilliamnWendi
16  2011-06-06
James Canyon
15  2010-11-14 juliachaos
10  2010-11-14 Hikergirl81
3  2010-08-28
James Canyon
27  2010-06-05 Al_HikesAZ
24  2009-09-19 crispycreme
18  2007-10-21 joe bartels
55  2007-06-02 AzTEC
8  2005-10-29 MJB
40  2005-10-22 AZ-Outdoorsman
Page 1,  2
Trailhead Forecast
Historical Weather
Forest Coconino
Backpack - No
Seasons - Spring to Late Autumn
Official Route
Alternative Routes
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
0.5  Oak Creek Over Look / Griffo to Duck Soup
0.5  Oak Creek Over Look / Jungleland
0.5  Oak Creek Over Look / Orange Out
0.5  Oak Creek Over Look / Syzygy
0.5  Oak Creek Over Look / Trinity
0.5  Oak Creek Over Look / Davey Jones Locker
[ View More! ]

by joe bartels

Pumphouse Wash is the headwaters of Oak Creek. The canyon I describe spans 4 miles from FR 237 to the Pumphouse bridge on 89A. Kelly Canyon enters from the east near the top of Pumphouse Wash. James Canyon also enters from the east at the halfway point. James Canyon captures most of the water from an area around and across I-17 that you have likely driven over without knowing. Packed with narrows, pools and several waterfalls James Canyon is awesome but not really in the category of a day hike. The upper section of Pumphouse from James Canyon to FR 237 is wide and low. From James Canyon down to the Pumphouse bridge the canyon is narrow and much higher. Therefore I have split Pumphouse Wash into upper and lower descriptions.

From the parking area head down the steep slope into the canyon. I made it down no problem. The gal behind me slid down on her butt. Once in the wash head back under the bridge and up the canyon. The wash is rocky with mid size boulders from the beginning. Please note this is not an area to be exploring with rain in the forecast. You will find yourself a river ornament if you choose unwisely.

Large smooth finished gray boulders get you thinking about fierce currents in the canyon. Turning the first left bend the noise of 89A gives way to the peaceful wilderness. The going was easy having hiked this canyon after nearly four months with little rain. Usually numerous pools are passed. Some wall to wall requiring a swim. Many have scramble routes to one side or the other. Two pools may require a swim.

I passed several trees wedged in-between the canyon walls. Hopefully this should forewarn those planning a rainy day hike. Keep in mind it doesn't have to be raining in the canyon for a flash flood to occur. If it's raining to the north or east you're in trouble.

A short steep canyon enters from the east near the 1.5 mile mark. Continue on up to the larger and wider canyon coming in from the east which is James Canyon. Here I opt to turn around. You can continue on up Pumphouse, but a 14 foot fall is encountered soon. The only means of getting around is a steep scramble route to the right. It's easier getting up than down in my opinion so keep that in mind. You can also head on up James Canyon which is awesome. Though you'll probably just get into more than expected.
© 2000 - 2015


    Map Drive
    Water none
    Sun5:18am - 7:45pm
    Preferred May, Jun, Sep, Oct → Early
    RoadPaved - Car Okay
    Permit $$
    Red Rock Pass - may or may not be required. The "more" link within the FS website does not work so it is confusing. If you have questions contact the Coconino forest service.

    Directions To canyon trip
    From the 'Y' in Sedona go north for 13.2 miles to what would be mile marker 387.7 There is a pullout just after crossing the bridge on the opposite side of the road. The trick is to slow down the traffic behind you to make a safe turn. Be careful as this pullout is small and on the side of the canyon.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
    Since 1996! Member driven since 1996! or

    HAZ was created for the love of hiking. It is something special. The content is family friendly for all to enjoy. Take a few minutes to keep it the best hiking resource on earth. Write a triplog that will be useful to someone you do not know. Post photos on less used trails. Inspire a future generation. If your bills are squared away consider a donation.
    enjoy life, be careful & be kind
    Back to the Basics
    Hiking 101
    Warning: heat kills! Avoid 8am to 5pm over 90 degrees. Prehydrate & stay hydrated.
    Hikebot recommends using an umbrella to block the sun.
    Avoid Heat Illness - do NOT hike when temps exceed 100 degrees, period.
    © 2015 HAZ