register help

Ermahgerd Canyon, AZ

no permit
126 7 0
Guide 7 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions SW
4.5 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.
View 5
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Loop 5.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,080 feet
Elevation Gain 2,376 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,600 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 18.7
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
18  2015-02-23 vanman
27  2014-12-08
Turks Backyard - The Canyon
44  2014-03-09 jrbowman
8  2014-02-17 azflyguy
29  2013-12-08 azmike
Author azmike
author avatar Guides 4
Routes 20
Photos 544
Trips 22 map ( 173 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location San Diego, CA
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn
Sun  6:13am - 6:24pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
2nd Best Technical Canyon in the Supes
by azmike

A class 3BIII technical canyon loop hike in the Superstition Wilderness just below Superstition Peak. The approach to Ermahgerd Canyon starts out at the HIeroglyphics trailhead in Gold Canyon, AZ on a well-maintianed trail for one mile until veering off-trail for a steep and rugged climb to just below the hoodoos of Superstition Peak. Ermahgerd Canyon is a major drainage directly south of Superstition Peak one-half mile. There are two entry rappels into Ermahgerd Canyon: 215 ft and 250 ft. Down canyon, there are 4 more rappels where you will encounter pools of water and a final rappel of 270 ft. before exiting the canyon and picking up the Lost Goldmine trail and a 1.75 mile hike back to the Hieroglyphics trailhead. This is arguably the second best technical canyon in the Superstition Wilderness with a strenuous climb on approach, but well worth it.

Ermahgerd Canyon is a technical canyon requiring rappelling and down climbing skills. Required gear includes climbing helmet, harness, carabiners, descender, ascender, ropes, webbing, rap rings, gloves, and canyoneering shoes with good traction. This canyon can be done with a 300 foot rope, two 200 ft ropes, 50 feet of webbing and 5 rap rings. Flash flooding is a possibility following the rains so canyoneers must monitor the weather and exercise caution before dropping into this canyon. There are two big rappels in this canyon requiring a 300 ft. rope so canyoneers should be comfortable rappelling longer distances. Although this canyon contains water, the pools could be easily crossed by wading through them. Only in colder weather would wetsuits be required.

The Approach
From the Hieroglyphics trailhead, start hiking on the Hieroglyphics trail for approximately 1.1 miles where you will leave the trail and start climbing up the steep grade at (33.40473 -111.42041). There are no cairns marking the point where you leave the trail. The off-trail hiking begins about 0.45 miles prior to the Hieroglyphics Spring further up the trail. Continue to climb in a northeasterly direction with a major drainage to your left. Do not enter the drainage, but hike around the top of it until you see a cliff wall to the north of the drainage (33.40804 -111.41498). Continue hiking in an easterly direction for one mile until you drop down to the entrance of Ermahgerd Canyon. You'll pass another major canyon prior to reaching Ermahgerd. Ermahgerd is exactly one-half mile due south of Superstition Peak. There is an east fork (N33.40497 -111.39984) and west fork (33.40510 -111.40183) for Ermahgerd Canyon separated by less than an eighth of a mile. Ermahgerd can be rappelled into from the east fork or the west fork.

Rap1 - East Fork
The east fork first rappel is a 215 ft. partial free hang from anchor at (33.40432 -111.39951). The pull cord should be slung over the large rock in front of the anchor to avoid a stuck rope situation.

Rap1 - West Fork
The west fork first rappel can be found at the end of a narrow drainage on the northwest side of the canyon (33.40510 -111.40183). You'll encounter some down climbs and bushwhacking as you make your way down the drainage. The first rappel is a 250 ft. rappel down a seasonal waterfall (33.40407 -111.40183) on a BFR several feet back from the drop. The rappel starts down a narrow chute before opening up. This is a pretty cool rappel especially when the water is flowing. You'll be on the wall the entire time with no free hang. The pull location is best accomplished as far RDC as you can get.

The second rappel is a short distance from the first rappel and is an 85 ft. rappel anchored from a rock.

Rap3 (optional)
The third rappel is 15 ft. into a pool of water; however it can be down climbed on LDC.

The fourth rappel is a 130 ft. double drop rappel from a pretty bomber knot choke. The first drop is into a waist-deep pool of water. The rappel picks up around the corner and to your right. The second drop is straight down a slick wall into another waist-deep pool of water.

The final rappel is 270 ft. from a solid tree in the middle of the water course about 12 ft back from the edge of the drop. At this point, the canyon is pretty wide open and the drop is slightly angled with a number of shelfs to stop on, if needed.

The Exit
After completing the fifth and final rappel, gear down and start hiking down canyon. As the canyon opens up, head due south and you will encounter a cairn'd route for about 0.75 miles to the Lost Goldmine trail, which runs east-west. Go west on the this well-maintained trail for approximately 1.75 miles until you reach the Hieroglyphics trailhead and your vehicle.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2013-12-16 azmike
    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
    Ermahgerd Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Apparently I am behind on the times as I had to look up the internet meme for which this canyon was named:Ermahgerd!

    This was a fun day adventuring out in the Superstitions, seeing a seldom-traveled canyon with several fun rappels. The approach was pretty standard for this area--rocky, crumbly, steep, sharp and scratchy. We took the East Fork entrance which starts off with a 215' mostly free-hanging rappel. I was a little nervous starting out with such a biggie on a fast rope but I guess it's like riding a bike, it comes back quickly. This dropped us into a really cool alcove-ish spot, looking up at mossy walls that you don't normally see in this area.

    After several more fun drops and down-climbs we arrived at the finale, a very windy 270' drop down a sloping wall. This is my favorite way down as you can easily stop and chill out if you want to take in the view or rest your hands. The exit was a ways through the brush until meeting up with the Lost Goldmine trail for an easy hike the rest of the way back.

    The entire canyon was completely dry except for 1 small pool full of wasps that we all bypassed on the left. It was a little sketchy, but better than the wasps option. :)

    It was a great adventure with an awesome group as always. You know it's been a fun day when you go to lay down in bed that night and you discover you have a huge cactus needle sticking out of your back! Only after the Supes... :lol:
    Ermahgerd Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Now that I figured out the quickest hiking route in I was able to use the extra time to push all the way to the giant cave in the back of the canyon. There is really only one short scramble with some exposure, but the climb in/out of Chuparosa is steep and loose.

    This is an incredible canyon with some very strange formations! The cave area is amazing and drops steeply into the drainage on the east side. Besides what is visible from below there are other small isolated pockets on both sides of the central cave. If you enjoy some off-trail exploration, this is the hike for you!!
    Ermahgerd Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    This area (aka Ermahgerd Canyon) has fascinated me since the first time I saw it on the way up to 5057 via Balancing Rock. After being in the neighborhood twice last week I decided it was time to get up close! But I would go up on foot, not down with ropes. Things worked out well! Climbed up the left side outside of the mouth of the canyon. Got to a saddle and contoured west around the inner steepness. Once around to the cliff walls I found a nice route over to below the huge cave. That was the end of the line though because it looked like free climbing was needed to reach the cave. But since I could see the last rappel, I decided to go down and check it out. Vertigo city!! Not sure how anyone can go over that edge! Saw the ladder down near the bottom on the side wall.

    Went back up and retraced my route until I was above Rockadoodle Canyon. Made the steep hike down to check out the formations there. Came down the west side of the drainage and out on the route Mike showed me last week. Really cool in here too! A most adventurous day!!
    Ermahgerd Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Wow! This canyon was amazing! Don't lead this with more than 5 people though, or you'll hate yourself (Why can't I say no?). The approach is somewhat taxing, but can be accomplished easily if you pace yourself. I suggest starting as early as possible, with a group of 7 we didn't reach our vehicles until 8:30. All the webbing as of this post were nice and new, although the rapide on east fork entrance is going to need to be replaced soon. Man that first drop is insane. I would highly recommend the east entrance, as it is 215 of almost entirely free-hanging. You drop through a chimney-like feature and then travel down quite a ways away from the wall. Wetsuits are really not needed at all. We did this in the beginning of January, and even the most clumsy person should only get wet up to mid-thigh or waist (and only twice at that). The final rap is a lot more vertical than the picture led me to believe, but by the time I descended it was already dark :( I will be coming back again, as this really is the best canyon in the Supes that can be easily reached. It can be done quite efficiently with a 300, a 200, and a 150 foot section of rope. If you haven't been here, you need to do it at least once!
    Ermahgerd Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    We left the Hieroglyphics trailhead around 8:30 AM and reach the canyon entrance 2 hours and 20 minutes later with only one break. We entered the canyon from the west fork with the 250 ft. rappel. There was no evidence that anyone had rappelled in from this location. We did see webbing in the east fork where we knew the canyoneers that did the first descent entered the canyon.

    There was a trickle of water down the first rappel, which made it slick in some areas. The rappels in the canyon were all pretty easy with no difficult starts. There were a few pools of water we waded through but no swimmers and nothing above our chest. Even though the water was a little bit chilly, we weren't in the water long enough to need wetsuits. Some of the pools were in full sun.

    After the last rappel, we hike about 3/4-mile to the Lost Goldmine trail, which was easy to find. We finished at the TH around 4:30 PM. It was a good day to be in the canyon.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Hieroglyphics Trailhead
    From the East Valley follow US 60 East to South Kings Ranch Road. Kings Ranch Road is 14.1 miles east of Power Road for reference. Turn North on Kings Ranch Rd and follow to 2.8 miles to Baseline. Turn East on Baseline and follow 0.2 miles to Mohican. Turn North onto Mohican and follow 0.4 miles to Valleyview Road. Turn West onto Valleyview and follow (naturally turns North, and turns into Whitetail Road) for 1.4 miles. At the intersection of Whitetail Rd. and Cloudview Road turn East and follow 0.4 miles to the end. The trailhead parking is here and the trail is easy to spot to the East.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 42.9 mi - about 54 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 95.3 mi - about 2 hours 3 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 187 mi - about 2 hours 58 mins
    page created by azmike on Dec 16 2013 12:00 am
    help comment issue

    end of page marker