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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.
It Ain't Worth It!!
As I hiked in the lower sections of this canyon, I was pleased with the variety and ease of the course, realizing that it would make a great introductory route for those wanting to get a taste of canyoneering. It has all the features, just in small doses.
The route starts off along T104 (Alamo Canyon trail) for the first half mile, then instead of turning up canyon when the trail hits the wash, or instead of diverting up T107 (Roundup Ground trail) you simply move to your right and enter the wash coming in from the south side, heading east up into this nice canyon cut. After about a mile of very pleasant canyon walking the drainage splits... and you take the left (north) fork. The hike gets ever nicer as you work up and over bedrock falls... at least for the next half mile. At that point, the introductory canyon hike is over. The 15' overhanging waterfall can be easily worked around on the right side, but from here on it is not for beginners.
There will be a number of additional falls in the 20 to 35 foot range, some climbable... all easily worked around.. and fun.
Finally, the drainage climbs and splits... and the smart move would be to move out to the left and cross over to the Roundup Grounds, the large plateau meadow to the north and east. Connect up with the Roundup Trial to create an interesting loop. Or... continue on up to cap out this north fork drainage in the cliffs above you. It gets very steep... and the route is broken and obscured by intermittent cliffs that have to be either climbed or worked around. With enough effort, you will top out the drainage... and then you have the not fun task of downclimbing this same upper slope. Might have made sense to stop at one of the lower waterfalls and simply enjoy a shorter in/out hike.
If you are a real glutton for punishment, continue on up to the top of Long Ridge and hike out to the very prominent Steamboat formation. That is not a suggestion, but it is a possibility.
This is a very off trail hike if you are including this upper portion of the drainage... grades over 60%, lots of loose rock, and cliffs to scale. Budget plenty of time and take lots of water.
Don't forget your cell phone... you may need it.
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