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Salt Trail Canyon to LCR Gorge, AZ
details
drive
permit
forecast
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930
43
9
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Overview: This old Hopi route goes 3 miles down Salt Trail Canyon to the Little Colorado River referred to as LCR. The route is slightly rough in the beginning and end. Route finding is necessary to the point where you simply need to pay attention to cairns.


Approach: The drive in over Navajo land is subtly grand. If you're lucky you might spot a sheep herder in the vast land sparsely dotted with hogans. You've reached the trailhead when your GPS indicates it. Little else distinguishes you have arrived.

Hike: From the trailhead it's a 180ft soft drop down a hillside to the edge of the canyon. A large cairn marks the spot. It's an immediate drop off the edge down-climbing boulders. Fear not as this isn't technical nor scary. I believe this is the most physically demanding part of the hike and it's goes by quick. The rocks are firm. Only one or two rocks had enough play to get my attention the entire trip. When I heard Harvey Butchart hiked the route in 1964 with an arm in a cast I knew it couldn't be as difficult as the rumors.

Once you get down to the totem pole it's time to get serious about spotting cairns. If you hike over a few minutes without seeing a cairn stop. Think it over and figure out where the next cairn is located. You may have to backtrack a tad but your life is worth it. From this point on a single trekking pole is the way to. Two becomes cumbersome as you occasionally need to use a hand.

The cairns will lead you down through the layers of the supai group to ledges in the redwall. This is about 1,400ft down from the start. You actually follow the ledges for a short distance. At one point in the middle you'll likely need to crawl a couple feet if you have more than a daypack. After the ledges comes the crossover. Crossing over you pass a staircase waterfall after heavy rains. The remainder of the hike down will now be on the right side of the canyon. If it took you three hours to get to the crossover it'll be about two more hours to the river. It's about a 1,900ft drop to the crossover and another 800ft to the river.

For the next mile you skirt ledges with some sheer drop-offs. It's easy travel until you get near the end. Approaching which you'll have nice views of the soft blue river unless it's rained in recent weeks. The cairns will lead you down at the end. You cross the creek and come up to a bare spot which is the helipad. Take the main trail left off the helipad and through the vegetation to Calcium Carbonate Beach. A little further gets you to Teva Joe Beach just before spring rock.

Water: The beautiful blue water is loaded with calcium carbonate. It's drinkable but you'd likely rather not. I used it in some freeze dried chili and it tasted fine. One of the USFWS biologist mentioned it's loaded with parasites and will likely give you the runs if you drink it in quantity. Take a Platypus collapsible water container and let it sit overnight. It still has the taste but the bite isn't as repulsive. All the springs I tested heading up the canyon including Big Canyon were loaded too.


Permit: A permit to enter the area is available at the visitor center in Cameron. It's located at the junction of Highway 89 and Highway 64. Believe they open at 8am. Call ahead for the current procedure. The system has been known to change. One time we couldn't find anyone to help us...

Timing: If you're interested in seeing blue water then timing is everything. Prime season is late September through October. May is also a popular choice. When this stream gauge at Cameron reads zero for ten days nor any surrounding storms for ten days it is a pretty safe bet the water will be blue. Seven may suffice, fourteen is pretty much guaranteed.
Description 43 Triplogs  9 Topics
RatedFavorite  
Wish List 28
 Region
 
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 Hotevilla
Statistics
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,655 feet
Elevation Gain -2,715 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,187 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 9-12 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 21.94
Author joebartels
Descriptions 209
Routes 742
Photos 9,432
Trips 3,478 map ( 18,036 miles )
Age 47
Location Phoenix, AZ
Photos
Viewed All Mine Following
40  2017-05-28
Salt Trail - LCR & CO Packraft - Tanner Trail
Peter_Medal
29  2017-05-12
Salt Trail-LCR Gorge-Confluence
BiFrost
5  2016-11-12 gilbertnathaniel
20  2016-05-14 friendofThunderg
22  2016-05-14 chumley
30  2016-05-14 John9L
15  2016-04-30 arizona_water
48  2015-10-24
Salt Canyon - LCR Gorge - Beamer - Tanner
Peter_Medal
14  2015-05-02 JuanJaimeiii
8  2015-05-02 BobP
43  2015-04-25
Confluence via Salt Trail
chumley
48  2015-04-24
Tanner - Beamer - Salt Trails
mandolyn
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
Reservation Navajo Nation
Backpack   Yes
Preferred   May, Sep, Oct → Early
Seasons   Early Summer to Late Autumn
Sun  5:10am - 7:48pm
Route Scout
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Official Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Big Canyon to LCR Gorge
3.2 mi away
12.0 mi
3,200 ft
Walter Powell Route - LCR Gorge
4.9 mi away
2.4 mi
3,200 ft
LCR Gorge - Beamer to Salt Trail
5.8 mi away
6.5 mi
431 ft
Blue Springs - LCR Gorge
6.3 mi away
2.8 mi
2,311 ft
Crash Canyon via Colorado River
7.0 mi away
1.5 mi
525 ft
Chuar Butte
7.3 mi away
[ View More! ]
Fauna
Black Widow Spider
Chuckwalla
Eastern Collared Lizard
Goose
Great Basin Collared Lizard
Sheep
Wild horse
Flora
Beavertail Prickly Pear
Many-Headed Barrel Cactus
Mohave Prickly Pear
Sacred Datura
Geology
Beach
Supai Group
Travertine
Meteorology
Double Rainbow
Flash Flood
Hail
Rain
Named place
Big Canyon
Blue Spring
Little Colorado River
Little Colorado River Gorge
Salt Trail Canyon
Culture
Balloon
Cadastral Survey Marker
Campsite
HAZ - Selfie
HAZ Food
HAZ PicMimic
Inscriptions
Intrepid Back Shot
Mascot
Navajo Hogan (Female)
Into the Blue
by joebartels

Overview: This old Hopi route goes 3 miles down Salt Trail Canyon to the Little Colorado River referred to as LCR. The route is slightly rough in the beginning and end. Route finding is necessary to the point where you simply need to pay attention to cairns.


Approach: The drive in over Navajo land is subtly grand. If you're lucky you might spot a sheep herder in the vast land sparsely dotted with hogans. You've reached the trailhead when your GPS indicates it. Little else distinguishes you have arrived.

Hike: From the trailhead it's a 180ft soft drop down a hillside to the edge of the canyon. A large cairn marks the spot. It's an immediate drop off the edge down-climbing boulders. Fear not as this isn't technical nor scary. I believe this is the most physically demanding part of the hike and it's goes by quick. The rocks are firm. Only one or two rocks had enough play to get my attention the entire trip. When I heard Harvey Butchart hiked the route in 1964 with an arm in a cast I knew it couldn't be as difficult as the rumors.

Once you get down to the totem pole it's time to get serious about spotting cairns. If you hike over a few minutes without seeing a cairn stop. Think it over and figure out where the next cairn is located. You may have to backtrack a tad but your life is worth it. From this point on a single trekking pole is the way to. Two becomes cumbersome as you occasionally need to use a hand.

The cairns will lead you down through the layers of the supai group to ledges in the redwall. This is about 1,400ft down from the start. You actually follow the ledges for a short distance. At one point in the middle you'll likely need to crawl a couple feet if you have more than a daypack. After the ledges comes the crossover. Crossing over you pass a staircase waterfall after heavy rains. The remainder of the hike down will now be on the right side of the canyon. If it took you three hours to get to the crossover it'll be about two more hours to the river. It's about a 1,900ft drop to the crossover and another 800ft to the river.

For the next mile you skirt ledges with some sheer drop-offs. It's easy travel until you get near the end. Approaching which you'll have nice views of the soft blue river unless it's rained in recent weeks. The cairns will lead you down at the end. You cross the creek and come up to a bare spot which is the helipad. Take the main trail left off the helipad and through the vegetation to Calcium Carbonate Beach. A little further gets you to Teva Joe Beach just before spring rock.

Water: The beautiful blue water is loaded with calcium carbonate. It's drinkable but you'd likely rather not. I used it in some freeze dried chili and it tasted fine. One of the USFWS biologist mentioned it's loaded with parasites and will likely give you the runs if you drink it in quantity. Take a Platypus collapsible water container and let it sit overnight. It still has the taste but the bite isn't as repulsive. All the springs I tested heading up the canyon including Big Canyon were loaded too.


Permit: A permit to enter the area is available at the visitor center in Cameron. It's located at the junction of Highway 89 and Highway 64. Believe they open at 8am. Call ahead for the current procedure. The system has been known to change. One time we couldn't find anyone to help us...

Timing: If you're interested in seeing blue water then timing is everything. Prime season is late September through October. May is also a popular choice. When this stream gauge at Cameron reads zero for ten days nor any surrounding storms for ten days it is a pretty safe bet the water will be blue. Seven may suffice, fourteen is pretty much guaranteed.
© 2007 - 2017 hikearizona.com

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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 $$
information is in description

Navajo Nation Reservation
HAZ recommends reviewing Permits & Services to determine access. Better yet call them to verify if a permit is currently necessary for destination.


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

To hike
Type 36.21537 -111.69722 into your GPS and follow.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
stay out of the scorching sun
prehydrate & stay hydrated
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