Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
The entire trip from the top of West Fork (Forest Road 231) to Highway 89A is 14 miles long, requires swimming up to seven cold and deep pools and should only be attempted by individuals who are in GOOD physical condition, GOOD swimmers, have proper survival equipment and are prepared for the unexpected. There is NO trail beyond the three-mile point from Highway 89A in Oak Creek Canyon.
Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove fire is prohibited in the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon. Backpacking stoves or propane stoves are allowed.
THIS TRIP IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR A DAY TRIP.
DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS TRIP BY YOURSELF!
• Swimming in at least 3 cold pools is required; a person must be a strong swimmer and well prepared. A floatation device such as a small inflatable raft, a river dry bag or two air mattresses works well. Waterproof backpacks can also be used.
• Only occasional sunlight reaches the canyon floor, a hot day may still seem cool. Make sure you have...
• Dry clothes and avoid hypothermia. This trip should only be attempted in warm weather (June through Sept). Do not attempt the trip if flood conditions are predicted.
• There are miles of difficult boulder hopping which causing trauma to the knees and numerous deep pools need to be wadded causing a person to be wet and cold much of the time.
• Plan to do an overnight trip-- pack extra clothing, a warm jacket, a garbage bag, a sleeping bag, shelter, plenty of food, a water filter for filtering creek water, gym shoes for wading a hat and sunscreen and matches.
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.