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Soap Creek Canyon, AZ

Guide 18 Triplogs  2 Topics
  4.2 of 5 
118 18 2
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,197 feet
Elevation Gain 1,140 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4-7 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13.7
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
24  2019-05-25
Soap Creek - North Fork
7  2016-07-02 paco14
3  2012-09-24 toddak
6  2012-03-28 AZLOT69
15  2011-07-30 JuanJaimeiii
10  2009-09-15 joebartels
19  2009-07-26 DarthStiller
14  2007-02-24 Hoffmaster
Page 1,  2
Author J&SHike
author avatar Guides 5
Routes 0
Photos 71
Trips 4 map ( 69 miles )
Age 47 Male Gender
Location Prescott, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  5:35am - 7:31pm
Official Route
1 Alternative

A route to the mighty Colorado
by J&SHike

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Soap Creek provides a relatively quick access to the Colorado and Soap Creek Rapids.

After parking at the trail head just .6 miles off of Hwy. 89A head down the sandy wash. After about fifteen minutes of walking you'll come to a dryfall which you can bypass on either side. Downclimb the next dryfall which is only about a six to eight foot drop at an angle. Some more walking and a side canyon enters on creek right, go left or down canyon and continue on, this is where the fun begins. You'll notice as you hike the canyon walls start to rise higher as you drop further down toward your decent to the mighty Colorado.

You'll approach two distinct rockfalls, both you can either climb down as we did or find the steep trail around them. You'll then come to an area of slick rock which when approaching it looks as if your heading for a seventy-five foot drop, do not fear fellow canyoneers, you'll breathe a sigh of relief as you get closer. It drops about 6-7 feet which you can easily downclimb. But wait, what's this? Another dryfall? Ah yes, this one is a vertical drop of 20-25' but don't get bent out of shape just yet.
Option 1: Backtrack off the slick rock and find a trail leading up, over, and around on creek right.
Option 2: If you're a rock climber you can shimmy across on creek left then down.
Option 3: Climb down the falls via a rope and rope ladder that someone has graciously put there. We were hesitant about using it, the water has scoured out a hole above the falls where part of the slick rock sticks up, this is what the rope is anchored to. This rope is attached to another rope which has wooden rungs to step on. This thing is weathered and it scrapes the edge of the falls like a knife blade but both are beefy ropes which should last a little longer than most. I'm 275 lbs and it didn't break on me. Take your pick.

After all this, and a few more minutes of hiking brings you to another rock fall. The only way down this one is to find the cairn on creek right (boulder right) and you'll notice a black rope around a large boulder, use this as a hand hold and slide/climb down to a boulder that's not below you but to your right. After this it's pretty much smooth sailing to the Colorado. A major side canyon enters on creek left, this is the North fork of Soap Creek Canyon. Continue down the creek to a metal sign stating your in "Grand Canyon N.P." with all of its regulations. You then arrive at Soap Creek rapids and the mighty Colorado. Sandy beaches, good views upriver and down river await you and an awesome spot to eat lunch, fish and just relax. When your done head back up Soap creek.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2004-01-01 J&SHike
  • book
    area related
  • 100 Classic Hikes - 2007
    area related
    100 Classic Hikes - 2007
  • Grand Canyon Use Area Boundaries - Dynamic Map

BLM Division Details
This primitive trail goes down Soap Creek to the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam. It is a difficult but popular hike among day hikers and fishers because of its natural scenery and access to the Colorado River.
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.

Permit $$
Special Use

No NPS entrance fee. NPS backpacking permit required to camp below the rim.

Grand Canyon National Park
Details for each are occasionaly below numerous alerts
Entrance Fee
Overnight/Backpacking Permits
Grand Canyon Use Areas Map
Rim-to-Rim and Extended Day Hike/Run

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To canyon trip
The trailhead is located off Highway 89A, about 8 miles west of Marble Canyon.

Take Hwy. 89 North out of Flagstaff. When you reach the junction of Hwy. 89 and 89A take 89A over the Navajo Bridge and through Marble Canyon. Just past mile marker 548 turn east or left onto a graded dirt road. Go through the gate and go 0.6 miles to the trailhead.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
prehydrate & stay hydrated
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