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Illusions Canyon - 8 members in 24 triplogs have rated this an average 4.8 ( 1 to 5 best )
1, 2  Next
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Jul 13 2019
ddgrunning
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,513
 Triplogs 378

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
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 Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
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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1 archive
Jun 22 2019
chumley
avatar

 Guides 83
 Routes 692
 Photos 16,091
 Triplogs 1,616

48 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jun 22 2019
chumley
Canyoneering2.94 Miles 1,200 AEG
Canyoneering2.94 Miles   5 Hrs   52 Mns   0.50 mph
1,200 ft AEG
Advanced Canyoneering - Mix of exposed/aid/complex rope/poor anchor/problem-solving
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
III - Normally requires most of a day
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
AHOTE
Jaxbe22
Nice day in Illusions. Very overgrown on the upper approach and the exit route. Pools were cold, and wetsuits and booties were appreciated! We lost the sun and it rained for a bit. There was a dead baby owl in one of the keepers, and it's brother/sister was sitting on the ledge above keeping an eye. No mom and nowhere to go, not sure how they got there, but not able to fly, the second faced the same fate as the first. :cry:

I wish there was more time to just stop and appreciate the remoteness and amazing geology of this tiny corner of the planet that we had to ourselves for a few short minutes.

Thanks to ahote for being an outstanding guide and to jaxbe for motivating me to accept the challenge. :)
Fauna
Fauna
Fungus Beetle
_____________________
33s over 45s
Jun 01 2019
RedwallNHops
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 10
 Photos 548
 Triplogs 1,290

46 male
 Joined Dec 22 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jun 01 2019
RedwallNHops
Canyoneering5.50 Miles 1,900 AEG
Canyoneering5.50 Miles
1,900 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Really fun day. All the potholes were full. Cold but not too bad.
_____________________
Jun 01 2019
GrottoGirl
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 314
 Photos 11,581
 Triplogs 1,359

46 female
 Joined Sep 18 2009
 Tucson, AZ
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jun 01 2019
GrottoGirl
Canyoneering5.50 Miles 1,900 AEG
Canyoneering5.50 Miles
1,900 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
RedwallNHops
Joined a Vegas group on a fun filled canyoneering weekend! It was my first trip down Illusions and I was blown away by the slot canyon’s beautifully craved walls and fun holes, slides, numerous rappels, and pools. I was very thankful for my freezer gloves, 5mm wetsuit, and 5 mm booties.
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Aug 27 2017
ECEGatorTuro
avatar

 Triplogs 27

39 male
 Joined Mar 04 2006
 Gilbert, AZ
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Aug 27 2017
ECEGatorTuro
Canyoneering5.50 Miles 1,900 AEG
Canyoneering5.50 Miles
1,900 ft AEG
Advanced Canyoneering - Mix of exposed/aid/complex rope/poor anchor/problem-solving
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
III - Normally requires most of a day
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Bianca's last weekend in AZ so we decided to hit up Illusions with Kent. What an adventure... love this canyon!
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Jul 03 2016
RedwallNHops
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 10
 Photos 548
 Triplogs 1,290

46 male
 Joined Dec 22 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jul 03 2016
RedwallNHops
Canyoneering3.30 Miles 1,900 AEG
Canyoneering3.30 Miles   6 Hrs      0.55 mph
1,900 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Finally got into this one...super fun.
_____________________
2 archives
Jun 25 2016
ECEGatorTuro
avatar

 Triplogs 27

39 male
 Joined Mar 04 2006
 Gilbert, AZ
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jun 25 2016
ECEGatorTuro
Canyoneering5.50 Miles 1,900 AEG
Canyoneering5.50 Miles
1,900 ft AEG
Advanced Canyoneering - Mix of exposed/aid/complex rope/poor anchor/problem-solving
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
Risky - Extraordinary risk factors exist; solid skills/judgement reqd; no beginners
III - Normally requires most of a day
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
Jun 04 2016
rocker1
avatar

 Triplogs 1

34 male
 Joined Jun 06 2016
 Boulder, CO
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jun 04 2016
rocker1
Canyoneering2.00 Miles 1,000 AEG
Canyoneering2.00 Miles   4 Hrs      0.50 mph
1,000 ft AEG
Intermediate Canyoneering - Difficult or dangerous; Tech Climb; rope reqd; descent anchor; exit technical;
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
II - Normally requires a half day
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Me and 2 bros Mark and Andy were down from Boulder on our way to Cali and it was too hot to boulder on Saturday (high of 104 in Sedona), so we opted to try canyoneering for our first time. We heard about this canyon being cool, got the beta, and drove out. We didn't have wetsuits so we had to move fast, just 5 GU packets and a liter of water each, a 100' rope and a 200 footer were the ticket. Thankfully during midday there are plenty of little beaches that get sun to warm up on between the pinche frio swims. If you do 15 rappels in this thing you are mega-soft. A little bit of downclimbing and jumping and we did it in 6 or 7. My bro Jason in Flag told me it hadn't rained in 3+ weeks so we were a little worried about the potholes and the water seemed very low in the beginning of the canyon but thankfully we didn't have to break out the emergency skyhook, bathooks, and etriers we brought because the potholes were no problemo. Using the steep but pretty chill exit route to the east after that last big rap we were back at the car in under 4 hours. Anyone know anything about the ring-lock crack with the anchor on it 3/4 of the way up the exit gully? looks like it's been awhile since anyone has been on that rig...
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1 archive
Jul 25 2015
oceanwithin
avatar

 Photos 353
 Triplogs 567

female
 Joined Jun 19 2009
 AZ
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jul 25 2015
oceanwithin
Canyoneering3.30 Miles 1,900 AEG
Canyoneering3.30 Miles   6 Hrs      0.55 mph
1,900 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Illusions sneak route!!! Ahhhh wow, it was so good to be back in one of my absolute favorite places. Illusions has changed a lot and gets a lot more traffic now but is still as beautiful as ever! Many of the deep pools are partially filled in so there was a lot less swimming than I remember. I'm sad to report the rappel off the floating log is gone too, as that pool is pretty much filled in. The big keeper was full of water and also seemed to be filled with debris, and thankfully no dead bears in it! But as with every canyon, one good rain could change everything.

Moving at a pretty mellow pace, with efficient rope work it took our group 6 hours car-to-car. The sneak route does not mess around and quickly ascends everything you just descended and brings puts you back on the road approximately .25 mile away from the car. It was a fantastic day with great people in a beautiful place! :y:
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1 archive
May 30 2015
unotin
avatar

 Photos 1
 Triplogs 1

52 male
 Joined May 11 2013
 Cave Creek, AZ
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar May 30 2015
unotin
Canyoneering5.50 Miles 1,900 AEG
Canyoneering5.50 Miles
1,900 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After a little over a year of planning and waiting, we were finally able to go do Illusions Canyon. It was just amazing - everything that I was hoping for. Water levels were nice and high and we were able to walk out of all the potholes. Weather was perfect as well. I will definitely be doing this one again!!
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May 30 2015
knmurphy
avatar

 Photos 281
 Triplogs 222

41 male
 Joined Aug 03 2008
 Chandler, AZ
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar May 30 2015
knmurphy
Canyoneering5.50 Miles 1,900 AEG
Canyoneering5.50 Miles
1,900 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Fun canyon.
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2 archives
Jul 14 2013
azflyguy
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 3
 Photos 337
 Triplogs 311

37 male
 Joined May 31 2009
 Scottsdale,AZ
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jul 14 2013
azflyguy
Canyoneering5.50 Miles 1,900 AEG
Canyoneering5.50 Miles   9 Hrs   30 Mns   0.58 mph
1,900 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Lowest water levels I've seen compared to 5 previous descents. Big keeper at the 2nd to last rappel required hooks and has 3 dead bears. Fun to catch it in keeper mode.
_____________________
Canyoneering gear beta tester and supplier. Visit http://www.shadowcatadventures.com for canyoneering, climbing, hiking and backpacking gear.
Jun 09 2012
oceanwithin
avatar

 Photos 353
 Triplogs 567

female
 Joined Jun 19 2009
 AZ
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jun 09 2012
oceanwithin
Canyoneering5.50 Miles 1,900 AEG
Canyoneering5.50 Miles
1,900 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Words cannot describe.
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Jun 09 2012
azflyguy
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 3
 Photos 337
 Triplogs 311

37 male
 Joined May 31 2009
 Scottsdale,AZ
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jun 09 2012
azflyguy
Canyoneering5.50 Miles 1,900 AEG
Canyoneering5.50 Miles
1,900 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
Canyoneering gear beta tester and supplier. Visit http://www.shadowcatadventures.com for canyoneering, climbing, hiking and backpacking gear.
Jun 07 2012
markguycan
avatar

 Photos 5
 Triplogs 25

male
 Joined May 25 2009
 flagstaff,az
Gnarly Canyon, AZ 
Gnarly Canyon, AZ
 
Canyoneering avatar Jun 07 2012
markguycan
Canyoneering12.00 Miles 1,900 AEG
Canyoneering12.00 Miles   10 Hrs      1.20 mph
1,900 ft AEG40 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Did this canyon several years ago when little beta was available- was told I'd need 2ropes and a wetsuit and that it was "gnarly".
We are a party of 4 (recommended party size for this canyon) This time we did it via the AB Young trail approach which adds about an hour of uphill hiking (pay to play) but thus avoids a cumulative 3hrs of car shuttle time. We entered the east fork and found it lush and pleasant. An 85ft rap past a couple small potholes down a mossy slot starts the fun. I think this way is preferable to the western fork entrance. We waited on putting on our wetsuits for a while as it seemed the water was lower than I remembered it. Downclimbed a few of the minor raps and other obstacles.
Just before getting into the real gut of the canyon is where our epic event occured. Above an 8ft down climb I tossed the rope bag toward the far end of a black pool. Before I could swim over to it, it had sank to the bottom invisible in the canyon soup. 3 of us took turns diving down sweeping blindly in the frigid 12+ foot deep water. As we became hypothermic (one of us had 2 full wetsuits on while me and another had only farmerjohns (I highly recommend wearing a full wetsuit)we made a new plan: we found a long branch and began scraping the bottom hoping to snag the bag. Now after wasting about 45min, and watching the sun migrate away from our view we were afraid we would be diving back in the water. I loaded up on some needed calories (I was still shivering from my last submersion) and we decided to try one more plan: We rigged about 20ft of accessory cord with a couple of quicklinks for weight and my aid hook and began casting into the bottomless pool. one of the initial casts was promising as resistance was found but then a lage tree was dredged up. 2 more smaller trees were also found; meanwhile thoughts of escape up to the rim and a dry hot hike back were going thru our minds. At long last (now an hour wasted), Jason snaged and recovered our needed rope. So hear's the lesson I learned: either keep a non-floating rope bag clipped to yourself or at least clip an empty water bottle to it to act as a float.
The rest of the canyon went smoothly but very chilly. Awesome spiraling slides and organic curvy stone shapes, an arch and a swim thru window are some of the best terrain I've explored. At one point I found a nearly frozen lizard clinging to moss at the waterline in a dimly lit dark pool. Upsetting the balance of natural selection I rescued him by allowing him to hitchike on my head til we found a sunny spot. He had some beautiful markings: bright yellow under the chin and turquoise on the belly.
The "big rap" is probably why they call this Illusion Cyn as it is down a mossy green funnel; the bottom of which is a round pool which reflects the blue sky. I seems as if you are rapping into a portal, or up into the sky.
Once in the main canyon we ate (another snack) and shared a beer I'd packed. The walk out Westfork is always beautiful, and always longer than I expect it. Finally, at the parking area we still had a 1.5mile shuttle back to the car. Three us us relaxed and waited as one went by previously stashed skateboard down the road to the vehicle. All in all a very entertaining day!
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Jun 02 2012
markyarch
avatar

 Routes 5
 Photos 34
 Triplogs 210

51 male
 Joined Jul 19 2009
 Phoenix, AZ
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jun 02 2012
markyarch
Canyoneering9.00 Miles 1,900 AEG
Canyoneering9.00 Miles
1,900 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
azrocketchick
Vaporman
Up AB young. Awesome wet canyon with a great exit.
_____________________
1 archive
Sep 18 2011
Vaporman
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 4
 Photos 8,687
 Triplogs 931

42 male
 Joined Mar 28 2005
 SLC, Utah
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Sep 18 2011
Vaporman
Canyoneering12.00 Miles 2,400 AEG
Canyoneering12.00 Miles   12 Hrs      1.00 mph
2,400 ft AEG
Advanced Canyoneering - Mix of exposed/aid/complex rope/poor anchor/problem-solving
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
Risky - Extraordinary risk factors exist; solid skills/judgement reqd; no beginners
III - Normally requires most of a day
 no routes
Partners partners
azrocketchick
Was really itching to hit this amAZing canyon one more time before summer was winding down. We mixed it up by parking at the AB Young TH in the morning and hiking up the trail first. :sweat: It worked much better this way while out legs were fresh and our gear was dry. :D I'd done the middle & bushy western fork of Illusion but this time we mixed it up by dropping on the eastern fork and we rewared with an easy approach and yet another cool mossy rappel. The main canyon was as flipping sweet as always! :y: The swimmers & keepers were cold & full so no keepers issues this time. Just loads of rappels, down climbing, rock hopping, and swimming like usual... :sweat: Hiked the scenic West Fork back to the highway of course and finished the day by hiking the highway a couple miles back to out car in the dark. ;)
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Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p
Jun 26 2011
azflyguy
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 3
 Photos 337
 Triplogs 311

37 male
 Joined May 31 2009
 Scottsdale,AZ
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jun 26 2011
azflyguy
Canyoneering5.50 Miles 1,900 AEG
Canyoneering5.50 Miles   7 Hrs   30 Mns   0.73 mph
1,900 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
Canyoneering gear beta tester and supplier. Visit http://www.shadowcatadventures.com for canyoneering, climbing, hiking and backpacking gear.
Jun 25 2011
AHOTE
avatar

 Photos 32
 Triplogs 470

male
 Joined Nov 05 2006
 Chandler, AZ
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jun 25 2011
AHOTE
Canyoneering5.50 Miles 1,900 AEG
Canyoneering5.50 Miles
1,900 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
Jun 18 2011
Vaporman
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 4
 Photos 8,687
 Triplogs 931

42 male
 Joined Mar 28 2005
 SLC, Utah
Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jun 18 2011
Vaporman
Canyoneering12.00 Miles 2,400 AEG
Canyoneering12.00 Miles   12 Hrs      1.00 mph
2,400 ft AEG
Advanced Canyoneering - Mix of exposed/aid/complex rope/poor anchor/problem-solving
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
Risky - Extraordinary risk factors exist; solid skills/judgement reqd; no beginners
III - Normally requires most of a day
 no routes
Partners partners
azrocketchick
After doing this canyon's sister canyon, Insomnia Canyon, it was only a matter of time before I had to make another run down this amAZingly beautiful canyon and still my fav technical canyon in the state. :y: I was again sucessful in talking the group into avoiding the ridiculous 3 hour shuttle and instead looping back up the AB Young trail but it's def not for the faint of heart. :sweat: This time we dropped in the western upper fork avoiding a couple rappels but getting a solid dose of bushwhacking... The canyon hasn't changed one bit from last summer with about 14 rappels : rambo : that are just way too many to keep track of, loads of down climb, chilly swimmers, rock hopping, and a few potential keepers. The pools in the upper narrows were mostly full, the middle cave-like section wasn't quite so dark with the sun being directly overheard, but the keepers in the lower canyon were anywhere from 3-12inches below the lip. Another month without much rain and those keepers could prove rather challenging. :o The two longer rappels near the end are about 90-100ft and are easily the most scenic and easiest to photograph but try your best not to destroy the moss while on rappel... Once at West Fork, we dropped gear and made out way thru the sweet Subway section and then booked it down the trail to the highway. Some nice folks gave us a ride down the highway to Bootlegger CG where we crossed the creek and started huffing it back up the AB Young trail. :sweat: Sarah & I were making good time, so we ran ahead and brought the vehicle back to the gate so the others had a shorter hike. Such an amazing canyon and section of the rim that I wouldn't mind descending twice a summer, but it's a toss up on whether it's better to car shuttle or hike back up. :lol:
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
_____________________
Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p
average hiking speed 0.78 mph
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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.

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