|Guide||♦||2 Triplogs||0 Topics|
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
A fun technical canyon with 5 mandatory rappels and copious down-climbing through wonderfully colored sandstone. This is a good canyon to practice your down-climbing skills while enjoying superb views across Red Rock.
Be smart! Although this is a relatively frequently-visited canyon, always be prepared with enough gear to replace webbing and rapides in case they are worn or missing. At minimum, you will need: helmet, harness, rappelling device and biner, and 2x120 ft ropes. Bolts are present at the last few raps here while others use natural anchors. There are multiple natural options at most "raps" but many of these can be down-climbed and anchors could be cleaned, so know how to use, inspect, and build natural anchors. As always, carry extra rope.
Start out by hiking up Rocky Gap Road. Yes, you could drive up and set a shuttle, but it will only save 2.6 mi of road walking (albeit 1200 ft of elevation gain) and is difficult to find a place to park.
After the pavement ends, continue up Rocky Gap Road for 2.4 mi to a usually-cairned use trail heading off to the left. The trail becomes very obvious once you are on it, and leads up a ridge line toward the west. Continue to follow this use trail until reaching some steep slickrock sections near the top. At this point, you play a little follow-the-cairn up steeply sloped, but stable, sandstone to the top. Top out in a small wash and follow this wash generally left (NNE) and down to where the canyon begins as you reach the white sandstone.
Once in the canyon, you rapidly encounter 2 rappels - one short (~25') and one longer (~120'). Be sure to enjoy the incredible view over all of Red Rock.
Now the down climbing fest begins, with approx 0.5 mi of easier down climbing, followed by 0.5 mi of more difficult down climbing. The last 3 mandatory rappels are in the more difficult section, so you can stow your ropes during the first 0.5 mi of fun. The divider between these sections is a 35-40' drop off that is not a down climb. Some people rappel here, but if you go up and over RDC there is a not at all obvious way around via a rabbit hole.
Past this landmark, continue down climbing and rappelling down the canyon as your party's skill and comfort levels allow. The entire canyon is through beautiful slick rock with wide-ranging views. Depending on your timing, there will also be trickles of water and pools to add to the beauty. The last 3 mandatory raps are in the last ~300' of technical canyon, a section of longer drops into pools. The raps avoid the pools by being placed just out of sight LDC for the first 2 - just traverse along sandstone ledges to reach the anchors. This is also where bolts have been added and removed repeatedly, so be prepared to assess and/or build your own natural anchors if necessary.
The last rappel drops directly down beside the water fall (more like a pleasant cooling trickle) at the end of the Children's Discovery Trail. Before throwing your rope, look carefully for kiddos. If there are a lot of people, it may be better to avoid throwing by doing a "rap-and-lower" for the first person or by gently lowering the end of your rope until it reaches the ground. If you do throw, there are several trees to ensnare the rope, so look carefully as the first person rappels.
Hike back, quick and easy, to your vehicle at the trailhead.
The water in this canyon is generally scummy - bring your own water.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.