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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.

Cathedral Wash, AZ

Guide 31 Triplogs  0 Topics
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,424 feet
Elevation Gain -335 feet
Accumulated Gain 335 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 hrs
Kokopelli Seeds 4.58
Interest Off-Trail Hiking
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Dogs not allowed
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8  2021-06-11 ddgrunning
12  2021-06-10 ddgrunning
6  2021-05-29 BiFrost
13  2021-04-04 jillyonanadventu
20  2019-06-14 ddgrunning
15  2018-06-05 Tortoise_Hiker
23  2016-07-03
Paria Riffle Float and Cathedral Wash
18  2012-05-26 Dennyforreal
Page 1,  2,  3
Author nonot
author avatar Guides 98
Routes 249
Photos 2,067
Trips 495 map ( 4,671 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Apr, Oct, Dec → 3 PM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:40am - 5:41pm
Official Route
1 Alternative

Wash and Dry
by nonot

Likely In-Season!
Overview: A hike down a nontechnical wash with a slight bit of scrambling, to the Colorado river and back.

Warning: The narrow portion of this wash would be dangerous during or shortly after any rains - beware of flash floods and check the weather before departing.
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If it has rained recently, portions of the wash may turn into nasty, goopy mud. It would be in your best interests to wait for it to dry out before attempting the hike.

History: Cathedral Wash is one of the very few places people can reach the Colorado River down a canyon without requiring rope or other technical means.

Hike: From your parking spot, find the well-worn trail leading into the bottom of the canyon. Begin descending downhill. It is fairly level at first and you can observe how the wash has cut through a few different geologic layers.

As the wash narrows you will have to perform some easy downclimbs. No moves required to complete the canyon are that difficult, so if you find yourself attempting something you think is dangerous - try to find a better way.

After another fairly flat stretch, the wash narrows up again and will descend a few drops. Look for cairns on ledges on either side of the main wash. You will generally be 5 feet above the wash on one side or another.

You will reach a major drop in the wash of about 30 ft, the only obstacle of real significance on this hike. Find the trail that contours around it to the right (looking downstream) and go under the overhanging section - watch your head!

From here continue on the ledges alternating on sides of the wash when it seems appropriate. A few manoeuvres are required to get down - nothing was exposed or more than 3 feet high. When the wash widens you will begin to hear the river. Follow the gravel streambed the rest of the way to the river.

Spend a little time and enjoy the view. Return the way you came.

Note: If you get muddy on the way down you can wash much of it out in the river - beware that you can get it off skin but it won't completely come out of clothes, gear, or shoes - it's nasty stuff!

Water Sources: Colorado River, although the hike is so short you will probably bring 1-2 liters of water.

Camping: Nearby at Lee's Ferry with a permit.

If one obtains a permit camping may be possible at the beach at the end of the wash. I didn't observe any quality sites and doubt this is a popular option.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2010-09-26 nonot
    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 $$

    Glen Canyon NRA National Park
    Glen Canyon Entrance Fee - 1-7 Day Vehicle Pass - $25

    Boat fees additional, follow provided NPS link above.

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Flagstaff, take US89 north until it splits into 89 and 89A. Take a left onto 89A. Drive until you cross the Navajo Bridge. Shortly after the bridge turn right at the sign for Lee's Ferry. A mile in, purchase your Glen Canyon permit and continue another mile. As you round a curve there will be a hiker sign low on the right where the road crosses the wash and a pull off on the left. There are no other signs I saw to indicate the start of this trail.
    page created by nonot on Sep 25 2010 9:26 pm
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