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Voodoo Canyon, AZ

no permit
173 12 1
Guide 12 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona NW
3.2 of 5 by 6
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 5.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,777 feet
Elevation Gain 1 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,800 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 7-12 hrs
Kokopelli Seeds 14.5
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
5  2015-09-19 CoryTallman
44  2014-08-31 GrottoGirl
17  2013-09-14 desert_boonie
45  2011-08-07 Vaporman
11  2010-06-15 nonot
51  2010-06-12 Vaporman
Author nonot
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 236
Photos 1,969
Trips 476 map ( 4,511 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jun, Jul, Aug → 7 AM
Seasons   Early Summer to Late Summer
Sun  6:15am - 6:26pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Geology Nearby
...that you do
by nonot

A technical canyoneering trip into Secret Canyon.

This is a technical canyoneering hike, which will require appropriate gear and preparation, which should include a harness, helmet, biners, rappelling device, wetsuit, 50 ft of webbing, several rap rings, adequate food and water, 2x100 ft ropes, and possibly a GPS to aid in navigation. Canyoneering involves rappelling in slot canyons in which flash floods are a great danger, always check the weather before departing and do not go if there is any chance of rain.

Discovered by Joe DeSalme, later publicized in Todd's guidebook: "Arizona, Technical Canyoneering". The trailhead register was damaged, but what is left tells of interesting tales of the early history including aborted attempts at winter descents through ice covered potholes.

From the rim, find the faint trail that proceeds southwest off the ridge and bends south. Follow the ridge down the diminishing path until you reach a saddle area where a few minor drainages meet. Find the vague route up a ridge to the southwest and climb up approximately 600 feet to reach a large flat ridge, which you follow south. Upon nearing the edge of the ridge, attempt to find the faint trail into the canyon to the east. Follow the canyon bottom south until you find the first rappel, which consists of a pair of approximately 10 ft rappels (from a single anchor) through some shallow pots. Immediately afterwards is rigged well back from the edge, which you will downclimb 12 feet into a small pot and rappel over the edge approximately 50 feet.

Next is a set of pots which includes a semi-keeper. Rap and swim through these and over the second lip another 10 feet for a total of approximately 50 ft. A little hiking after this rappel is required through ferns, greenery, and some deadfall. Next on the platter is a rappel down a slope with vertical drop off at the end of about 30 feet.

A 65 ft rappel is found from an extended anchor into a wet slot full of rotting vegetation. Shortly afterwards is another short rap into water that might be downclimbed were the walls not so slippery and mossy. The next rappel anchor can be made of fallen sturdy logs across a narow constriction for a short rappel into a nasty pool. After this is a rap of 15 feet into a chest deep pool as the canyon slightly widens. Continuing downcanyon is a short rappel of 15 ft, a 40 ft rappel down a dihedral, and a bunch of bushwhacking. Downclimb several obstacles and do 2 more short rappels of 20 feet until you reach the junction with the red subway of Secret Canyon.

Take off wetsuits and gear here. Head upcanyon approximately 1 mile though gorgeous sections of slickrock, fallen logs, and one bypass around a pool. At the junction with a drainage, get out of Secret Canyona nd turn right (LUC) and proceed up the brushy drainage. After then minutes you will find a bench on the right (LUC) that you can hike on, out of the logs and rocks in the drainage bed. Proceed along the bench about 40 yards then look right through the vegetation to find a hidden drainage on your right. Do NOT descend forward or left back into the drainage, instead head right into this brushy slot. Climb up the center of this drainage through tons of deadfall and brush until you reach the saddle. Turn slightly left and go around and over an enormous fallen tree in a clearing. Trails proceed downhill to the east until you arrive the trail you came in on. Follow the trail back north to the rim.

Warning: The exit it pretty nasty and it is easy to miss the final turn from the bench into your drainage. A GPS is recommended.

Water Sources
Nothing you'd want to drink, bring plenty with you.

Plenty of dispersed camping on the rim, practice backcountry ethics and clean up the site before you leave.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your canyon trip to support this local community.

2010-06-15 nonot
  • Sedona Trails 2018
    region related
    Sedona Trails 2018
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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Voodoo Canyon
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After doing Sunburst canyon 2 weeks ago I just had to go back and see what her sister canyon Voodoo had to offer. I called up Mike and asked if he wanted to make another run up to the area camping out the night before so we didn't have 6 hours of driving in one day again. He was in so Friday evening we made our way up to Flagstaff for dinner and then onto FR231 to head to the top of the canyon to camp out.

As we got to our destination and were about to set up, Mike yelled out some bad words and I thought he had forgotten something important. It turns out he only forgot his tent so I have him my poncho to lay on the grond for him to use as a pad while I set up my nice comfy tent. I guess during the middle of the night something little starting to chew on him a bit so he decided to sleep in my Jeep.

Morning came and we were up at the sunrise and got our stuff ready to go. We found a little bit better route down and almost right at the entrance to Sunburst where we knew now we had to climb the hill and drop down the other side to get into Voodoo. This climb up the hill wasn't bad at all and at the top is a perfect open area with great views which would make for a perfect campspot. We could see the narrow drainage heading down so we stayed out of it to the side as long as we could before the steep drop off towards the bottom. We were in the drainage which was thick with lush shrubs and dead branches as usual for this area. A few minutes in the drainage and we came to the entrance of Voodoo. More brush and some fresh small pools of water were encountered before the canyon started to narrow up.

After a couple easy downclimbs in some sweet rock formations we arrived at the first rappel and the canyon register. This register needs to be improved upon, I opened it up and it was 1/4 full of water with one soaked pencil and piece of paper in it. I drained the water out and put the delicate paper back in but we could not sign it and I even debated on taking it out but left it.

The first rappel puts you into some water and then the canyon turns and drops down with some fantastic views and rock formations in sight. The first big drop had a little water going over the edge after we stirred the pool a bit which made it pretty sweet. Always a jot to rappel down a wall with some water going down it. This canyon was a bit different as once it narrowed up it opened up and then narrowed up again. It really offered a great canyon experience. There was a semi keeper pothole that was full of water which made for getting out easy with another beached whale move I have perfected now. The second big rappel down into a pool and chamber was amazing and I took my time enjoying what it had to offer.

In the middle of this canyon is a log jam galore which I said there should be a name change to this canyon to "dead fall canyon" We made our way through this mess and towards the bottom. A short rappel into a stinky pool made us shake our heads but then towards the bottom of the canyon was a fresh clear small pool we slid into and washed off. We couldn't beleive how clear that water was, fresh rainfall. The canyon provided more lush brush to go through and then it opened up into Sunburst.

We had our lunch at the same spot right before we dropped into Secret Canyon and then made our way out. Again this section of Secret Canyon is just amazing, the water had rised about 6 inches from two weeks ago changing it just a bit for us which we enjoyed. The narrow section through the red supai is just awesome. We came to the dreaded exit climb out through the dead fall drainages. If it was not for this part I would come back to these canyons. :)

On the final climb up the hill back to the Jeep the skies began to darken and the flash of light was starting followed by some of the loudest crackling thunder I have ever heard. Five minutes from the Jeep the clouds opened up on us and drenched us with rain. Back at the Jeep the lightning was close and the thunder was blowing our ear drums out. We made a quick clothing change and got in the Jeep to get out of here. The roads were like rivers as they were rushing. The small pools we drove through the day before were almost too deep to go straight through now, but the Jeep did just fine and got a good bath at the same time. Back onto FR 231 and right before we got to the West Fork of Oak Creek crossing it was over. The rain stopped and the skies were blue and offered us a great view on the drive out of the SF Peaks and the surrounding meadows in the area. Another great trek. Thanks for going Mike.
Voodoo Canyon
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This is like my 4th time doing a technical canyon from this remote rim TH and the first time the group actually drove ALL the way to the TH even though some recent logfall tried real hard to stop us. :lol: I wanted to show my hiking/canyon buddies a more difficult canyon than the easy & moderate ones they'd done so far this summer and this canyon spiked my interest since I'd only done it once before and they had a ride to make it back in there to the TH. ;) They canyon was drier than before but still a fair amount of water. I was wearing a shorty wetsuit but could have gone without though I did really enjoy it while crossing that cold stinky swimmer midway thru the canyon. :lol: We carried my 120, 80, and 50ft ropes and they got plenty of use on the 10 or so rappels we came across in this rugged & remote canyon. :sweat: This was such a great canyon that I'm almost tempted to redo Sunburst Canyon also before summer is over; though that was before we started on the exit hike. :sl: The exit hike is long & rocky & bushy & loose & seemingly never-ending elevation gain, but I've slowly gotten used to it by now and just endure thru it. : rambo : My friends hadn't done it before and had much to complain about though they hammered it out fairly well. :sweat: Some other canyoneers coming out of Sunburst caught up with us and they joined us on the exit hike and good thing they did because they didn't seem to think the exit we took was the 'proper exit'. Hmm, I have no idea where you think this other proper exit could be?!? :roll: They started going crazy on us by running around & cussing but turns out they both stepped on a ground wasp hive and got stung like crazy. :o One was a Coconino SAR guy and was cool to later see his photos from the Insomnia SAR rescue. Small world! :)
Voodoo Canyon
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I was carrying the big rope on the way in. On the major uphill portion I lagged behind about 5 minutes. Followed the trail to the top and didn't see anyone, so I keep going along the ridge and dropped down into Voodoo, still no dice. Waited half an hour and got out the response. Did they get lost? No apparent ground disturbance in the canyon in awhile so I'm the first one here...probably, unless they dropped in further. I was getting cold and eaten by bugs so I continued on to the first rappel. Another half hour passes by. I read the remains of the trail register. Whistle every 5 response to my whistles. I have enough rope to do the canyon, should I solo it or turn around and look for the rest of them? If they went to the wrong drainage I may never find them...what to do...

Well, if they don't show up in another 10 minutes I've got to figure they got lost and gave up trying to find Voodoo and are just going to try to find their way back...if I wait any longer I'm at risk of running out of daylight before the end. At least I can log Voodoo and show them the route later. 5 minutes pass, 7...then a yell...finally! They were looking for me? Hmmm, where?

Canyon was alright and we missed the "good" exit. I wanted to climb to the top but everyone else wanted to go down to get back on the route from the guidebook. Got a branch in the shin that did quite a bit of damage, but by then everyone else tasted the top and left me behind with some of the rope. Got to the top quite a bit behind the rest, didn't see anyone again...waited awhile, nope, they must have headed back. Explored a better way to the campsite for us to use the next day.
Voodoo Canyon
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We drove down that Woody Mt road Friday evening and setup camp up on the rim near upper Secret Canyon for an adventurous weekend of canyoneering down Voodoo & Sunburst canyon. :y: We didn't camp right on the edge of the rim, so had an extra mile of road/forrest walking in & out of both canyons though the sweet place we camped made up for the extra miles. We dropped down a use trail along that ridge into upper Sunburst Canyon, then climbed up that South Pocket to drop into one of the upper forks of Voodoo Canyon. We got a little separated up on that ridge and three of us spent an hour waiting & searching for him while he marched full steam for the first rappel where we thankfully we met up with him. Any chance I could get an emergency contact number from ya? :lol: So far we'd hit a lot of bushwhacking & rock hopping but now we were dropping into some narrows, putting on our wetsuits and rappelling gear, and the real fun was about to begin. : rambo : The first rappel was a slick double drop of about 10ft each, followed by another double drop of 10ft & 50ft alongside a log, ring into rappel #3 which was another double drop of 10ft into a chilly semi-keeper and 15ft down to were the canyon open up a bit. Sweet! :GB: Some rock hopping and we soon hit a 30ft sloping rappel, followed quickly by another 70ft drop into a chilly swimmer into some more sweet narrows, with another 20ft rappel from a log into another swimmer. Super sweet! :y: The canyon opens up again with some more rock hopping and tree fall bypassing and we hit that tricky rappel #7 of 15ft that's complicated by a log wedge in the drop... :roll: The next 45ft rappel was soon afterwards and it also had a tricky start, then we walked along a cool big wall section, followed by another 20ft rappel and some log down climbing before hitting the confluence with Sunburst Canyon. Just when we thought the technical section was over, we hit another 10-12ft tricky down climb or easy rappel followed by a slick 8ft drop we used a handline on while going thru a cool subway section in the Supai Sandstone before finally reaching Secret Canyon were we can finally drop our gear and start the long hike back out. :sweat: The 3/4 mile rock hop upstream Secret also involved some sweet slickrock sections, big walls, a few log jams to bypass, and a murky pool to traverse past before reaching our exit canyon. We made our way up this side canyon and when we hit a confluence we took what we though was a right but in hindsight ended up being the center drainage, so further upstream when we took a right that put us going up the side a a mountain to a ridge overlooking our exit canyon. :roll: Hmm, I think we can go down this steep chute here... : rambo : After skiing down that sandy/rocky chute we were thankfully now in the proper exit canyon. :) After that ordeal, the climb up to the saddle didn't seem too bad and from there we dropped back down to upper Sunburst Canyon and made the final climb back up that ridge we dropped in on that morning. :sweat: Wow, that was quite the adventure but I don't think I'll be running back to hit that canyon any time soon especially with an exit like that! Time logged excludes the hour while being on a volunteer SAR crew... :lol:

Permit $$

Map Drive
High Clearance possible when dry

To canyon trip
Located off of Woody Mountain Rd. Many may wish to camp in the area and hike a few miles on forest roads and through the forst to the starting point of this hike.
page created by nonot on Jun 15 2010 12:14 am
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