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Big Kahuna Canyon, AZ

no permit
136 11 0
Guide 11 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson W
4.5 of 5 by 2
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 6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,240 feet
Elevation Gain 2,000 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 16
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
65  2011-12-11 Vaporman
33  2011-03-04 Vaporman
38  2011-01-29 Vaporman
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   Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr
Sun  6:13am - 6:24pm
0 Alternative

Overview: Technical canyon up & along the Barnhardt trail with up to six waterfall rappels up to 120ft starting up above the Big Kahuna Falls...

1998-03-17 Joe Bartels named the large waterfalls in the tributaries along Barnhardt Canyon that split off of 7403 as Big Kahuna and Hawaiian Mist on St Patty's day 1998.

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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
    Big Kahuna Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Well after last weekend's storm dumped loads of snow & rain on central AZ, it got me itching to do another flowing canyon and I noticed that Sunday was forecasted to be a sunny warm day. :y: Lucky the crew was just as interested in getting wet as I was. We came across loads of snow & ice while hiking up Barnhardt and was pleased to hear a light flow in the Big Kahuna fork. :D We scoped out the Big Kahuna falls to make sure it wasn't ice over and then scrambled up and over the ridge to drop down above that 120ft falls. Even more snow & ice up here, but with thick wetsuits, neo socks, warm gloves, wind breakers, and beanies we all seemed to stay plenty warm. :sweat: Someone removed that big anchor around the dead tree, so I was kneeling in 3 inches of snow building a new one. :roll: Luckily we all avoided falling in the frigid pool of ice cubes that way midway down the 120ft rappel. :o Once down, we had a fair amount of rock hopping thru snow & ice before hitting the slickrock and lower narrows section. This lower narrows is a true GEM of the Mazatzals! :D Three rappels in the 40-60ft range and a few knee to chest high deep pools to wade. : rambo : The flow was fairly light today and there wasn't much snow or ice to contend with so nothing too crazy to deal with today. Once out of the narrows, we boulder hopped and down climbed until we hit that short rabbit hole rappel. Ten minutes later we were dropping our wetsuits and changing into dry clothes while our wet skin was in shock when it hit the cold air. :o Though we quickly warmed back up while hiking out the Barnhardt trail with BIG smiles on our face for playing in that amAZing canyon again. :y:
    Big Kahuna Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    First water flowing canyoneering trip, Flow was minimal, however we had to rappell and downclimb through snow and icy patches. Never was too cold since the deepest pool was only chest deep. The two other pools were ankle or thigh deep. However I had 5/4 MM wetsuit and wind breaker and neoprene socks.
    Big Kahuna Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Woohoo, had the day off from work and threw a canyoneering trip together the night before and managed to get one unemployed friend to join me. :D I really wanted to hit this sweet canyon again while the flow was good and was rewarded to 2-3 times the flow as last time. :GB: This time instead of doing the upper extended start, we just looped around to the top of Big Kahuna Falls and dropping in at that amazing falls. It was flowing very nicely and a great way to break in my new pair of 5.10 canyoneers. :) We again crossed the trail and rock hopped our way down canyon to drop into the lower narrows with a few sweet waterfall rappels in there that were also flowing quite well. Enough to spook us a bit and give us a healthy respect for the power of water. :o After the narrows, we had some rock hopping & down climbing before we reached the exit where the trail comes very close to the canyon. Dropped gear after enjoying this amAZing canyon again and hiked out on a canyon buzz. :GB:
    Big Kahuna Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    This one has been on my list to check out for the last few months ever since it cooled off but like most canyons, this one is best done when wet! :D We took advantage of the warm weekend to run up the Barnhardt trail to above the snow level and play in the snowmelt. Most people like to take photos of Big Kahuna Falls...well we like to rappel those falls! : rambo :

    We went a bit further up canyon than needed and got an extra 50ft rappel in and got to play in loads of ice and drop down a cold falls into a cold pool with iced over rocks & logs. :o A fair amount of rop hopping later and we reach the top of Big Kahuna Falls and make the 120ft drop down that beauty. Crossed over the trail and continued down canyon with some down climb and cold pool bypassing as it drops into a super sweet set of narrows! :y: The next 40ft drop was around a large chockstone and down a slick falls into a knee-high pool. The next 40ft drop was my fav of the day from a sturdy tree and down a slick chute into a chilly chest-high swimmer but the cool part was how some of the flow was diverted around to the side and came back in as another falls. :D A couple down climb and smalls pools to navigate and the next drop was a 50ft falls into yet another chilly pool. Loads of serious down climbing and we reach the final 6th rappel thru a hole to get past a huge boulder jam. A little more rock hopping later and the creek goes underground and the trail makes a close pass by the canyon. So we dropped the gear & wetsuits (so glad I had a warm 4/3 suit on :) ) and hike the rest of the trail back to the Barnhardt TH. :sweat:

    So much water flowing in the Mazzies right now and can't wait to come back and hit another of these gems. :GB:

    Permit $$
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    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To canyon trip
    Drive to Barnhardt TH off of AZ87
    page created by Vaporman on Jan 29 2011 11:03 pm
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