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Crystal Canyon, AZ

Guide 5 Triplogs  1 Topic
  3.5 of 5 
4 5 1
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 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,308 feet
Accumulated Gain 700 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 6-8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes
Dogs not allowed
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4  2007-07-29 enfuegoaz
Author jkern15674
author avatar Guides 2
Routes 0
Photos 0
Trips 18 map ( 114 miles )
Age 48 Male Gender
Location Chandler, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred May, Sep → 7 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:29am - 7:25pm
0 Alternative

Warm Springs
by jkern15674

A beauty with 4 waterfalls within 2 miles and the clearest water in the state. Did I mention that no one knows where this hike is and the area is pristine? After finding out the general locale, I and some technical canyoneer type headed out to see what we could find. The drive is on paved road until that last 2 miles which were fair to good for dirt roads considering the dirt type. After leaving the pavement follow the dirt road around a cow tank (which had 2 dead cows in it) at the water tank on the right hang an immediate left. Follow this road another 1/4 mile until it dead-ends? You will find yourself in the middle of a cholla cactus field thinking there are no canyons here (you can't see any riparian areas, not even a single tree or anything that would give you a clue other than it's on the map)

From the car park start heading due northeast, this is a boring slog through fields of cacti and cows. After approx 2 miles you should be standing at the edge of the canyon. Now at this point, you have two options: 1. continue hiking north until the canyon curves and there is a butte, at that point, there is an old cable. You can use this as an anchor to rappel off. Now you are probably thinking oh that's an easy way down the 1000ft cliff, but the hard part will be your ascending the rope and trying to keep your hands from becoming a bloody mess. 2. at a rock cairn and several petroglyphs there is a non-tech route down into the canyon. (HINT: the rock cairn is right in front of the waterfall, so if standing at the cliff edge, look straight down at the waterfall and you should be there. I wonder if the Indians planned their petroglyphs that way???) The route down is pretty straight forward and some hand-over-hand work requires class 3-4 scrambling. Once at the creek enjoy the first fall and swimmin' hole. Then start heading downstream to the real fun.

After 2 miles the next waterfall is encountered a nice slide heads you into a pool and the waterfall is negotiated by jumpin' off. It is approx 15 feet and there is a route around it on canyon right. After admiring this beauty continue downstream to the next two falls. The first is 30 ft and there is a bolt, on canyon right looking upstream from the ledge. A contingency anchor was placed with 8mm rope and the first rap was on. This is a tough rap, first, it's slimy, second about halfway down, you are pelted by a cross channel of the creek which attempts to knock your feet out from under you. (I fell both times and only 1 member of the group was able to make it down without falling) Once down there is a nice pool to swim in. If concerned about your group's ability to rap themselves there is a belay anchor at the bottom on the big boulder. This anchor is also good for setting a guideline for the next rap. The reason being the bolt for this waterfall is right at the fall and one mistake would send you helplessly to your death. So have your first member set up a guideline and then each member can clip in with their personal anchor system and swim over the rap. Again we set up contingency anchors on the bolt, on canyon right. This rap is 40 feet but the start is what is tricky, I posted my feet up against the right side and swung myself out and around once on the rap, it is straightforward. The tech portion of this hike can be bypassed on canyon right but why??

Need: 50ft rope, 50ft pull cord, PAS, harness, beaner', wet or dry suit unless hot, hot, hot, permit from San Carlos Indian reservation

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2006-05-22 jkern15674
    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 $$
    San Carlos Indian Reservation Recreation Permit required.
    Price, info & locations at San Carlos - Permits

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To canyon trip
    From Central Phoenix:
    1. Head southeast on I-10 E 7.5 mi
    2. Continue on US-60 E (signs for US-60) 80.4 mi
    3. Continue on E Ash St/US-70 Continue to follow US-70 24.2 mi
    4. Turn left at Indian Rte-8 11.8 mi
    5. Turn left toward Warm Springs Rd 1.0 mi
    6. Turn right at Warm Springs Rd 2.0 mi
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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