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Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
Coconino National Forest
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Aug 14th to TBD
Brisk but a Steep Kick in the Pants
Overview: Class 3 canyon that is a very short tributary of Little LO Spring Canyon and contains 4 official rappels, one is up to 35'.
Warning: This is a technical canyon, you will need a full set of canyoneering gear (1x100ft rope, 30' webbing, 4 rap rings, harness, descender, helmet, and carabiners). This is a short and fun canyon great for beginners but please never go into a canyon without an experienced leader. Though it's short, an easy trip can always turn into a disaster if the unexpected happens. In the summer a wetsuit is not required for this canyon, the water is very warm. All ropes pulled easily, I had a backup but it was not necessary, bring one if you choose
DANGER: ALWAYS CHECK THE WEATHER BEFORE HEADING INTO A CANYON, DON'T PUT YOURSELF AT RISK OF A FLASH FLOOD!
Hike: From Kelsey Spring Trailhead descend down into the canyon a few short but steep switchbacks. The trail then levels out, still descending but more moderately. After about 10 minutes you will arrive at the Kelsey spring, A piped spring and an old steel tank, which are about 15 feet off the trail to the right in a lush grassy area. The trail bends left and continues through the forest. Within a few more minutes you will come across a dry streambed filled with dark-gray boulders
This is where you leave the trail, rock hopping downstream. It's very scenic due to a few very small springs popping out of the ground here and there.
After about 30-45 minutes you will reach a 15' drop off with your options being to rappel or down climb into the canyon. Looking down canyon, on your left is a large tree with webbing. Once down this rappel do not coil up your rope for there is a 35' drop into the main canyon. This area was wet and slick with running water from above as we rappelled it. It gave a very tropical feeling with all the green lichen and water. After walking a few more feet down the canyon we came across a 25' chute that was also very slick with water so we rappelled this rather than down climbing.
Keep walking down canyon, you'll soon be faced with a long down climb, if you're not comfortable with your skills look for webbing because this is also set as a rappel. Next you'll come across a 20' drop, from a tree on canyon left. Following this you'll encounter a large chokestone that forms a 10-foot drop off, a belay may be required but even our worst climber in the group made is safely on their own.
A very short walk will bring you to the drainage of Little LO Spring Canyon near it's confluence with Sycamore Canyon. We basked in the sun for a brief moment to eat a snack and then headed out. Following Little LO we had one deep wader, then we were walking the shallow creek until we saw a pile of white rocks forming a cairn on canyon left. On the way up you'll encounter Babe's Hole Spring, with a sign and a scuba mask. The hike up is well defined and gradually gets steeper as you near the top.
Personal Note: This was a very fun short trip, would definitely bring beginners here or hit it up when itching to get out and adventure with only a limited amount of time available.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.