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Punchbowl Canyon, AZ

no permit
213 10 0
Guide 10 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
4.8 of 5 by 4
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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Distance Round Trip 2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,857 feet
Elevation Gain 1,800 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 11
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
15  2016-04-23 oceanwithin
7  2016-04-10 Alaskantraveler
10  2015-09-26 Outdooraddict
3  2012-04-14 azmike
71  2012-01-21 Vaporman
60  2011-01-23 Vaporman
47  2011-01-23 suzaz
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb
Sun  6:10am - 6:29pm
0 Alternative

Overview: A few different way to approach this amazing canyon off the NW side of Horse Mesa with about a dozen rappels, many swimmers, loads of down climbing, and access issues.

Notice: SRP will allow access to punchbowl for canyoneering under the following conditions:

Restricted Government Property
Limited access for hikers is permitted into and out of Punchbowl Canyon only

• No vehicles allowed beyond the first gate at the top of the hill

• Approaching the camp beyond Punchbowl is strictly prohibited

• Approaching the dam beyond the old dynamite shack is strictly prohibited

Violators will be prosecuted under state and federal statutes

Please: If you are approached by SRP personnel, be kind and courteous and explain that you are canyoneering in PunchBowl Canyon. Let's not lose access to this great canyon.

Check out the Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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

2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
    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
    Punchbowl Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    amAZingly beautiful canyon and easily the best in the Supes! :y:

    You can walk the SRP road in past the first warning sign, it's only when you pass the 2nd sign where you'll have trespassing issues though that can change in the future... ](*,) The approach drainage is actually just to the right of the 2nd sign. ;) We again took the exposed sheep route on the way up the ridge since it's SO scenic, challenging and direct. :sweat: It has a few exposed sections and class 3 climbs. Once up on the mesa, we veered up canyon for a easy place to climb down into the upper canyon. The upper section if full of rock hopping & bush whacking but you hit the first rappel soon enough. In a canyon as technical as this one with 12-15 rappels, it's redundant and should be unnecessary to report them all for the experienced canyoneer. :whistle: Most are short in the 20-60ft range but there's a few longer 80-120ft drops in the middle with the final one being that overhung 120ft drop to the Punchbowl itself. There's a sweet 100-120ft drop in the middle but the bolt is back like 40ft so bring at least a 150ft rope as your longest rope. When you rappel down to the Punchbowl you're actually a quarter mile past the 2nd sign and technically trespassing at that point when you hop back on the road, so don't say I didn't warn ya... :whistle:

    Ironic that this is triplog 911. :sl:
    Punchbowl Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I believe I first laid eyes on this canyon back in 2005 when a friend (one of the first to descend it) shared some pictures. 5 years later ---Jan 13, 2010 I received special info/access permission for the canyon and area. This canyon crosses into private SRP land and they are very serious about security.....see the first picture in the photoset. Finally after 6 years of lusting after this canyon (can you really lust for a canyon?) a trip was planned! I was very thankful that Brian stepped up to coordinate a trip to this massive and stunning beauty.

    There are multiple approach options to gain access to the canyon.(providing you have permission to be there) We selected the Scenic Sheep-like route :) IMHO the approach was almost as much fun as the canyon. The day, the weather, the lighting, the temps, the people.....ALL PERFECT! We had heard there were 13 rappels but I had a hard time counting them all.......I think we ended up with 15!!

    I am grateful to those that pioneered this canyon, those that have gone before me and those that shared information. We had a pretty awesome group of canyoneers with stellar teamwork for this unforgettable experience! Thank you Brian, Stephen and Eric for sharing this gorgeous canyon.
    Punchbowl Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    There's a few different ways to approach this amazingly beautiful and rugged canyon and we definetly choose the short, nasty, and exposed route with sweet views of course. :o This one has been on the list since last winter but winter has rolled around again, I'm now a strong enough canyoneer to descend a tough canyon like this, had a friend with permission to use the SRP road, and was able to assemble a solid group of experienced canyoneers. :y:

    The beginning of the canyon starts innocent enough with some pools to avoid, light down climbing, and loads of rock hopping. :sweat: But as the canyon narrows up and the walls get higher, we reached the first optional rappel were we geared up and most of us made the first rappel down a double drop falls that were lightly flowing. The water here was only knee to ankle deep from the trickling creek but they foreshadowed the wet canyon that was yet to come. :) The next drop oddly had no anchor even though this canyon has been descended by a few other groups recently. Secret bolts? :-k We hit drop after drop after drop and we started loosing count of the short 20-50ft rappels as the pools got deeper & deeper and before you know it chilly swimmers were a common thing with a couple potential keepers in dry winters. So glad I had my new 4/3 wetsuit on! : rambo : Somewhere in the middle of all those drops, we hit a super sweet narrows section with a double drop of 140ft into a glowing slot with a couple swimmers below. :D After that rappel, most of the remaining drops were bigger in the 50- 100ft range. There was a dry section near the end that had a few short drops that were oddly anchorless. More secret bolts?!? I managed to find one of them hidden behind a bush and saved some of my webbing for another day... :roll: The sweet final ~120ft rappel was from two solid bolts down a slippery chute with a super refreshing punchbowl swimmer to cool off in on this warm January weekend. :sweat:

    So many winter technical canyons in the area, but this one BLOWS them all out of the water with a whopping 15 rappels. :o No other winter canyon comes even close to the ruggedness, beauty, and excitement of descending this amazing GEM!!! So thrilled to have finally explored it... :y:

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To canyon trip
    AZ88 to Horse Mesa Dam Road, north to the SRP gate...
    page created by Vaporman on Jan 24 2011 8:55 pm
    $17 3L Hydration Bladder
    help comment issue

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