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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Cardiac Canyon - Canyon X Loop, AZ

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Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northeast > Hotevilla
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.
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,310 feet
Elevation Gain 2 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,000 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 7 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Ruins, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
64  2013-05-25 Kel1969
14  2010-09-13 georgesteel
37  2010-05-15 RickVincent
31  2008-07-21 PaleoRob
Author PaleoRob
author avatar Guides 137
Routes 111
Photos 5,253
Trips 942 map ( 2,097 miles )
Age 38 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:07am - 6:35pm
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Culture Nearby
by PaleoRob

Likely In-Season!
Canyon X may be one of the least visited slot canyons open to the public. Generally only between 4-6 people are allowed into the canyon per day, and only one company is allowed to bring people into the canyon. No private hiking of Canyon X or Cardiac Canyon is allowed at this time.

After being driven out to the trailhead by your guide, near the upper end of Canyon X, you begin the hike. The first portion of the hike is the most exposed as you cross the bench between X and Cardiac. The tours run down Cardiac and up X because the entrance into Cardiac would be a serious pain to use as an exit.

After a couple miles along the bench, the trail drops down into Cardiac via a short side canyon almost entirely filled with a giant sand slide. This steep entrance is part of the reasoning for the name 'Cardiac'. After sand-sliding down the slope to the bottom of Cardiac, most guides will take you upcanyon for about a quarter mile to the base of waterfall/plunge pool. This route is not for the large, unathletic, or generally out of shape as some serious scrambling and contorting, as well as chimneying up to ledges. The rewards are worth it, however. The narrow, convoluted walls are magic in the morning light, and the vertical waterfall face is amazing. Not a place to be stuck during a flash flood, but when it is dry it is a sight to behold.

Returning downcanyon back to your entrance point into the canyon, the group should regather and begin heading down again. The canyon slots and opens on and off throughout the descent of the canyon. During dry spells walking in the wash bottom can be quite taxing, while after an overnight rain the going can be somewhat easy. Great Horned Owls are often seen in this section of the canyon, and Mountain Lion and Bobcat cats are commonly sighted too. The slots and open areas alternate more as you continue down towards the mouth of X, with broad open areas beginning to predominate.

At the mouth of X, your guide will turn right and head upcanyon. At first it appears the canyon dead ends, but then suddenly turns to the right. After traversing a broad, shadeless area of canyon bottom, the canyon slots up yet again. This section is the most spectacular stretch of all the Cardiac/X system, with deep, tight twists and a natural bridge. It doesn't last for long, but it is amazing.

Exiting this stretch of slots, you cross another short area of open wash bottom, and then enter the last, upper section of slot that also, like Cardiac, dead-ends at an enormous pourover. After oohing and aahing, the guide will lead the group up a much more manageable sand hill to the rim of the canyon, then along a fenceline back to the guide's vehicle.

While at the time of writing there are no unguided hikes available to the public, and the tour company providing tours will cancel or cut short any tour if there is any chance of thunderstorms or flash floods, it is worth re-mentioning that slot canyons should not be entered when there is a good chance of rain or flash floods.

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2008-07-21 PaleoRob
    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 Review
    Cardiac Canyon - Canyon X Loop
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I made arrangements for a guided hike through Cardiac and X. Our guide, Barry, was just as excited as we were to get in there. He was mostly happy that it wasn't another overcrowded tourist-fest into Antelope. Barry did a great job of getting our group of six into the canyon. He mostly kept a low profile, allowing our group to explore the canyons any way we like. Sometimes its like he was hardly there. Every now and then he would offer some new bit of information about the history of the area, or share some other canyon facts. This is the first time I've ever paid money for a guided hike. I can tell you, the money was well spent. I would definitely do it again.

    The descent into Cardiac Canyon down a very steep sandy slope was worth the price of admission alone. I found myself crouched down, leaning backward, and literally surfing down the edge of the canyon, occasionally reaching into the sand with my trailing hand for balance. The descent was borderline out of control but seemed relatively safe at the same time...I loved it.

    Once at the bottom of the canyon, the first order of business was to dump the 1/2 cup of red sand out of my shoes. Then it was on to the first narrows of twisted and contorted sandstone walls. Getting into a few impressive parts of the canyon required some awkward climbs. Some chimneying required. Sounds easy, but challenging as it is hard to find good hand and foot holds in the smoothly sculpted sandstone. Regardless, everyone (novices included) was able to make it up and down the climbs, some with a little help from others in the group.

    The hike is not all narrows. At times it opens up pretty wide and seems very much like the hike to Coyote Buttes North. The twisted narrows only made up about 20% of the total distance, but wow are they good.

    Overland Canyon Tours provided water for the trip and a hefty sack lunch. Kudos to whoever prepared the sandwiches and snacks. We found some shade, enjoyed our energy rebuilding meal and continued on towards Canyon X.

    Canyon X was even more beautiful than Cardiac Canyon. Impressive deep narrows, and spectacular colors and dramatic rock formations that left you wondering if nature had an intelligent hand in the design of this masterpiece.

    After about 6 hours we made our way up and out of the canyon across a steep staircase of loose rock. We drove back into town, learning more about the town of Page along the way. Barry even took some extra time to show us a few extra sites including a quick touristy stop at the lookout near Glen Canyon Dam. From there, he led us off trail to a vertical cliff where he and his friends used to climb 600 feet down a rope ladder to go fishing.

    I took many photos along the way and also took home some great memories of our journey into this incredible place.

    Permit $$
    Special Use

    check Taadidiin Tours for info

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To canyon trip
    Taadidiin Tours is located approx. 10 miles southeast of Page, AZ on Highway 98 at milepost 307.8
    page created by PaleoRob on Jul 21 2008 8:05 pm
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