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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Jacks Canyon (Moenkopi), AZ

no permit
159 24 0
Guide 24 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well W
4 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,233 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Backpack Yes
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
6  2019-08-30 MountainMatt
6  2019-08-08 MountainMatt
8  2019-07-24 MountainMatt
6  2010-07-17 RickVincent
34  2010-05-22 juliachaos
9  2010-05-22 Hikergirl81
13  2010-03-28 Hikergirl81
7  2009-10-13 Hikergirl81
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Author Fritzski
author avatar Guides 43
Routes 0
Photos 597
Trips 59 map ( 132 miles )
Age 66 Male Gender
Location Gilbert, AZ
Historical Weather
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:06am - 6:34pm
0 Alternative
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by Fritzski

Likely In-Season!
I'm not sure how many "Jacks Canyons" there are in Arizona, but this one sits on the high desert plateau country (6200'elev) as you emerge from the rim country pines south of Winslow. It is also known by the Hopi Indian name of Moenkopi, meaning "place of running water".

The spectacular scenery contained within the confines of this remote canyon seem out of place when compared to the spartan windswept landscape above. This canyon is a nationally renowned rock climbing area that draws many to climb its pristine limestone cliffs. Not to worry though, just a ten minute walk in either direction will have you in almost certain solitude.

The river of time has flowed through Jacks Canyon for unimaginable eons. Evidently a warm ocean once covered this arid land where tiny life forms once lived with their remains gradually settling to the ocean bottom. This sediment gradually deepened and, compressed under its own weight, became very hard limestone which has been chiseled away by flowing water over the millennia leaving an almost continuous wall of striking vertical and overhanging sedimentary cliffs.

This narrow canyon was also known to be a travel route for the ancient Anasazi Indians with relics and ruins from thousands of years ago having been found there.

The campground at the top of the canyon is a very pleasant surprise being very neat, clean, and well kept with a porta-jon being funded by a N.Arizona climbing group. The camping spots are plentiful, well defined by neat little stone borders, and really quite serene being tucked in amongst a grove of gnarly looking old junipers and other chaparral.

The access trail down into the canyon is equally well kept and easy to follow on its steep and scenic ten minute descent onto the canyon floor. It is easily located at the west end of the campground as you approach the canyon rim. This is obviously one of the few access points to the bottom without using ropes.

Once at the bottom it is obvious folks have spent some time arranging and maintaining the trail as it splits in various directions, but mainly to the left or right. The wall directly in front of you is the most popular climbing wall and is called "Casino Cliffs". Left is upstream (it actually seems like it should be the other way around!), and right is down with spring runoff flowing down from the Rim onto the high plateau.

Although I did not have time to explore downstream, the topo would have you believe that upstream is where the canyon would come into its most spectacular. We were only able to go about two miles upstream on a very nice trail before nightfall forced us to turn back. It did indeed seem as things were just getting better all the way. According to the lines on the topo map, it looked as though at about four miles upstream that the walls would grow to be about twice as high. It is definitely on my list to get in a good hike as far as I feel like going, along with some fantastic climbing the next time I go. Our trip this time was cut a day short due to a badly needed winter storm hitting us on the morning of the third day.

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2003-03-09 Fritzski
    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
    Jacks Canyon (Moenkopi)
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    A return back to an area I had some good luck with and found rather pleasant.
    Without shade the sun is brutal out here but fortunately a half hour into our hike the nearby monsoon storm clouds blocked out the sun entirely for the majority of the afternoon.
    Never figured I’d to run into anything spectacular in terms or ruins or lithics in this specific spot as I feel and know the bulk of it is located north towards the Chavez Pass region and so forth but I did finally find small amounts of pottery sherds and other bits of worked stone.
    Very quiet area out here and even though there is truly endless amounts of cedar flats to walk I’m always eagerly wondering what’s around the next opening or patch of trees.
    Great walk and leg stretcher in the woods.
    Jacks Canyon (Moenkopi)
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    A hot shadeless day of exploring the massive amounts of pristine wildlife land in and around Jacks Canyon.
    Started a few miles north of the dry Dogie Tank and hiked around as much as I could but had to keep taking breaks for my dog to cool off as it was just airidly warm with not a lick of water to cool off in.
    Lots of natural roofs and alcoves line the crest of the canyons edge making for all sorts of eye catching little areas to explore.
    Still a few spots I want to check out in this area but after that I would love to head further downstream near the Chavez Pass region as I feel like there is a lot of interesting things to be discovered around there.
    Jacks Canyon (Moenkopi)
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Got there Friday evening before sundown and found the group and a nice campfire, unfortunately the winds were howling at 20mph with 40-45mph gusts, they didn't calm down all night and the volcanic sand of Jack's is small enough to pass through your tent mesh. Thus everything (including myself) was covered in this nasty black sand in the morning...blech!

    The next day, we went to a southern area of Jacks to climb, but we were just getting chewed up by the weather. Went to Casino cliffs, where it was a little calmer, but the sand finally grated my last nerve after watching a few people climb a 5.11c I had to get out there.

    Without the wind and sand, I probably would have been in a far better mood.
    Jacks Canyon (Moenkopi)
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    From the gate off 87 the road is paved a short distance. Take the left fork and you cant miss it. You can tell you are there because someone littered the forest service sign with lots of misc decals (stickers).

    It is a pretty easy hike. The climb down can be a little tricky but just take it easy and there will be no problem. It seems to be a popular place for people to bring thier dogs so watch where you step :). It is very pretty on the bottom. Lots of trees. It was warm but the shade was nice.

    I walked down the bottom quite a ways and it was pretty muddy in some spots. I didn't actually see any but there were Elk Tracks all over the place.

    I didn't see anyone climbing ut there are some nice cliffs that experienced rock climbers would enjoy.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Phoenix either go north on I-17 to Camp Verde, then Hwy260 east to Hwy87N, or from the East Valley take Hwy87 from Mesa thru Payson, Pine, and Strawberry up over the Rim toward Winslow. Look for a gate on the left just past mile post 313 (@35mi So. of Winslow). You will pass a Forest Service sign board with climbing stickers all over it. Follow the most worn path at any forks in the dirt road WNW for about 1.2mi to the campground.
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