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Illusions Canyon
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mini location map2019-07-13
24 by photographer avatarddgrunning
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Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jul 13 2019
ddgrunning
Canyoneering5.20 Miles 1,384 AEG
Canyoneering5.20 Miles   7 Hrs   54 Mns   1.15 mph
1,384 ft AEG   3 Hrs   23 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
My sister and her husband invited my son and me to go with them on a canyoneering adventure. We were joined by a couple of my sister's friends who had done Illusions a few years back. This one was quite an adventure.

Thanks to recent triplogs, we understood the pots to be relatively full, so nothing in keeper mode. Since conditions can change rapidly, we still brought escape gear, but didn't end up needing it.

We dropped in from the eastern branch of the canyon. I note that the HAZ official route drops in from the western leg. Not sure what that looks like, but the eastern entry involves a steep and somewhat loose drop to the floor of the drainage and then a pretty hairy bushwhack until you reach the first long rappel, a tenth or two of a mile shy of the junction with Illusions Canyon proper and the sign in log.

Although the temps outside the canyon were hot, the pools remain very cold, and we were glad to have our wetsuits.

Lots of fun, short rappels; narrow, winding slides into pools, and several swimmers. In all, there are about three long rappels, (including the drop in from the eastern branch). The last two, long rappels are near the end, with the penultimate drop followed almost immediately with very impressive and sheer exit from the slot where the canyon opens up briefly. Looking back into the slot, you see a sheer and narrow crack, several hundred feet straight up.

The opening is short-lived and the canyon slots back up before the final, long rappel preceding the exit. The final long rappel is preceded by a shorter, corner-turning rappel into a small pool on the lip of the final drop. There was a dead squirrel and mouse in the final pool, but no bears or other large animals :-).

We debated about heading out through the West Fork Trail, but our shuttle car was small for 6 of us, and we didn't want to add all of the extra driving time, so opted for the "sneak route" back up top. It was a steep bushwhack!

The ice cold Vitamin Waters awaiting at the cars were welcome, as were the flip-flops, aka, "victory shoes."

On the drive out, we stopped and checked out the spectacular dispersed camping spots on the edge of the rim, and later, enjoyed a colorful sunset and views of the Peaks across a couple of broad meadows in the waning light of day.

A great trip! Next time, I'd like to do the shuttle, or schedule enough time to do the loop up A.B. Young, as others here have done.

***One technical note: The nut on one of the anchors on the final rappel was a little loose. We hand-tightened it, but didn't have a wrench. So, for anyone headed down Illusions in the near future, throw in a wrench and give that final anchor a turn.
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ddgrunning's
282 Photosets

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