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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.
pass the basalt
A rugged, non-technical canyon with seasonal water flow and some short falls. Late spring is probably the best time to catch lightly flowing conditions that won't be ice cold.
From your car, hike south paralleling the freeway, up and over the hill, and then work your way down into the shallow canyon near the overpass. Head downstream over the water-polished basalt rock, with pools and moderate vegetation to navigate. The canyon gradually deepens, and a couple of miles down hits a nice section of basalt narrows where the canyon turns abruptly to the north and starts to broaden. Depending on water levels, you can probably keep your feet dry with some moderate scrambling.
Continuing down-canyon, the yellow Coconino sandstone starts to appear, and as the canyon turns back to the west, there is a lovely section with a waterfall and narrows, which you can bypass on the left. This is probably the most scenic section and a good turnaround point.
Some nice stretches of red Supai slickrock appear if you continue, providing relief from the constant rock-hopping on the basalt boulders that fill the creek bed. But about two miles below the falls, the canyon enters the private property at Indian Gardens in Oak Creek Canyon. Note that before you reach the private property, it is possible to bushwhack up the slope north of the creek and intersect Thompson Ladder Trail #14, which takes you back up to the rim and makes for an easy cross-country walk back to the start. The trail is steep, heavily overgrown, and unmaintained, but reasonably easy to follow, and this makes for a nice alternative to rock-hopping back up the canyon. Having some GPS waypoints for guidance is recommended.
None are reliable, and the water probably contains fertilizer runoff from the golf course.
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