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Jacks Canyon (Moenkopi), AZ

Guide 24 Triplogs  0 Topics
  4 of 5 
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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 68 Male Gender
Location Gilbert, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:35am - 7:25pm
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by Fritzski

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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 seems 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 delightful surprise being very neat, clean, and well kept, with a porta-john 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 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.

    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 milepost 313 (@35mi So. of Winslow). You will pass a Forest Service signboard 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.
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool
    help comment issue

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