Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
In the Alamo area there are canyons... and then there are side canyons... Spur routes that are often better than the main cuts they branch off from. Jim's Cut is not better than Ortega Canyon South (then again, few canyons in this area are...)but it is good... very good.
Narrow and open near the base... nice bedrock walks... nicer bedrock dry falls. Not overgrown.
Narrow and somewhat more overgrown higher up... scrambly... looser talus slopes and rock jumbles working up through the Narrows below the Pinnacle. Once you've hiked this Cut one time your eye will instantly spot the very distinctive volcano looking Pinnacle formation that marks the entry to the middle section of the canyon.
This overly steep area will turn some hikers back...
... but they should continue on...
Through the Narrows and out into the upper portion you have the various options of moving north around and down into Ortega Canyon South... the great middle section...
...or spot the meadows saddle above the Bluff on "A" trail... and enjoy the fast and easy exit down "A" Trail...
...or stick to the canyon and side ridges to continue on up with varying overviews of the surrounding areas.
The upper portion of the canyon does become somewhat overgrown, losing the appeal of the lower sections... better to enjoy an earlier exit.
Jim's Cut is a hidden canyon worth seeking out!
This hike effectively includes the lower portion of Ortega Canyon South... you park at the lower city water tank on Thunder Road. Check out that canyon description for notes on how to access... once into Ortega Canyon South, there will be two cuts moving off to your right. The first one moves up and behind some Palisade Cliffs, terminating soon thereafter. Jim's Cut comes in higher up... you will have experienced some minor bouldering before you reach the right side drainage. The mouth of the cut is a very distinctive steep waterfall (12-16' tall) coming in from the right. It is slightly hidden but easy to find.
Note: you might as well go ahead and enjoy Ortega Canyon South up to the big lower falls... then hit Jim's Cut to loop up and over into the middle section of Ortega Canyon South to enjoy the full mile of bedrock walkway there... hiking down to the top of the Falls... Very Nice
Your true mileage and AEG will be determined by your choice of routes!
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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.
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