username
X
password
register
for free!
help
GuidesRoutes
 
Photosets
 
 Comments
triplogs   photosets   labels comments more
Tapeats Spring - 5 members in 5 triplogs have rated this an average 4.8 ( 1 to 5 best )
5 triplogs
login for filter options
Oct 08 2021
avatar

 Routes 7
 Photos 1,735
 Triplogs 202

34 male
 Joined Mar 07 2009
 Phoenix, AZ
Thunder River loop, AZ 
Thunder River loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 08 2021
ultrazonaTriplogs 202
Hiking13.00 Miles 4,260 AEG
Hiking13.00 Miles4 Days         
4,260 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Fall colors popping on the rim. Did loop clockwise. Lots of pools on Espande. Attempted hike up Tapeats to cave, but ran out of time (overgrown/slow going), probably need the better part of a day. Thunder River Trail, Deer Creek Trail and parts of Tapeats Creek have washouts and need some repair. Took full lower route from lower Tapeats to Deer Creek. One section of lower route (past Western junction with Upper Route) has a narrow ledge and exposure (see photos). All toilets at mass capacity! Lots of road closures in area, consult FS before planning route. Route from Fredonia in great shape.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
Light below the rim. Peaking up took in areas.
_____________________
2 archives
Oct 12 2016
avatar

 Guides 29
 Routes 329
 Photos 9,686
 Triplogs 920

40 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Bill Hall TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Oct 12 2016
FOTGTriplogs 920
Backpack36.42 Miles 9,015 AEG
Backpack36.42 Miles3 Days         
9,015 ft AEG
 
This was the main reason for my week long trip to the north rim and it did not disappoint. This backpack had been on my mind for a few years now. My permit was for four days, however, I was ok with returning a day earlier, as I had already had a very eventful fall break.

Day one was a pretty standard hike down Bill Hall and the Deer Creek Trail. I really enjoyed the esplanade portion of the hike and think that this section of trail may get overlooked a little because of the attractions at the CO and along Thunder and Tapeats. However, I think its right up with them, in terms of scenery and beauty. Only two people at the Deer Creek site so that was nice. I was a little surprised at how rugged and steep the drop was into Deer Creek was, but I kind of enjoyed it and put it on par with other more rugged descents, such as Boucher. The narrows of Deer Creek were absolutely amazing and rival the attraction of the falls in my opinion. The only issue was the dozen or so rafters lounging around the narrows, makes for poor photos. It made me think, that the real threats to the canyon's treasures and solitude are not from the foot traffic on the rim, but the traffic coming up from the river. I kept chuckling to myself about how different the partying schlubs beached on the narrows and down by the falls were in comparison to the characters I was reading about in The Emerald Mile. I ended up being pretty beat, despite the modest day and was in bed not to long after the sunset.

On day two I took the traditional route back to Tapeats Creek and had my camp set up in the AV9 use area pretty early in the morning. I spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Tapeats Creek and it was simply amazing on so many levels. I got back to camp reeling with some adrenaline from the awesome day, but it quickly wore off and I was in bed again very shortly after sunset. The moon kept it pretty well lit in my area for most of the night and the temps were nearly perfect, as I never even crawled into my bag. I made the wet hike back to the Thunder River Trail the next morning, stopped for some pictures of the waterfalls and took some long breaks on the way up to soak it all in. I had to walk a little over a mile to get back to my campsite, but there waiting for me safe and sound was Jackie and the pups, so all was well.

A tremendous area, a tremendous hike and maybe my most memorable trip in the canyon to date!
Geology
Geology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Cave popcorn
_____________________
6 archives
Oct 18 2014
avatar

 Guides 84
 Routes 694
 Photos 17,480
 Triplogs 1,703

49 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Tapeats SpringNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 18 2014
chumleyTriplogs 1,703
Hiking6.21 Miles 1,690 AEG
Hiking6.21 Miles   5 Hrs   38 Mns   1.10 mph
1,690 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
BiFrost
John9L
After chickening out on the sketchy climbing section trying to get into the Thunder River cave, Tapeats was the goal. It was easily the highlight of our Deer Creek/Thunder River trip! :D

We took our "off day" and headed up to Tapeats Cave. Wow. Just wow. :y:

The first 1.5 miles on the east/west portion of the creek is a dream. The creek flow was strong, but crossings were not more than thigh deep and negotiating them was ok with slow and careful footing. The water was quite cold, but not terrible. The scenery is indescribably awesome.

Once the creek turned to the north and we headed toward the redwall and Tapeats Spring 1000-feet higher, the real chore began. It's steep, bouldery, scrambly, and basically all the things that defeated the purpose of our rest day. It took an hour to cover the first 1.5 miles, and two hours to cover the next 1.5 miles. This trip is an absolute killer for anybody who has already been backpacking for a few days. :stretch:

But the rewards are astonishing. I'll let the photos tell the story.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Tapeats Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Probably a few hundred gallons per minute :)

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Thunder River Medium flow Medium flow
I'd say heavy flow compared to any other creeks in the Grand Canyon, but since it was crossable I'll stick to medium. It's all relative.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Thunder Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Lol.
_____________________
two scoops!
1 archive
Oct 18 2014
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 174
 Photos 5,442
 Triplogs 1,640

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Tapeats SpringNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 18 2014
John9LTriplogs 1,640
Hiking6.21 Miles 1,690 AEG
Hiking6.21 Miles   5 Hrs   38 Mns   1.10 mph
1,690 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
BiFrost
chumley
We had a rest day on the third day of a four day backpacking trip to Thunder River / Deer Creek. I was undecided on what I wanted to do. Part of me wanted to head back down to the Colorado River with Tough Boots for a relatively relaxing day. The other part of me wanted the adventure of heading up canyon to see Tapeats Spring with Chumley and Bifrost. After some internal debate I decided to go for the adventure part and I’m glad I did!

We left Upper Tapeats Camp around 9:30am and crossed Tapeats Creek at the confluence with Thunder River. This is the highest crossing we had to do and the water came up to my thighs. We had to be careful not to get pushed over in the strong current. It was fine and we started making our way to the east. This section is a mixture of trail, creek crossings and brush. We made decent speed as we looked for the easiest route possible. We passed two campsites that would be good for future reference. We continued on heading east.

After roughly an hour we neared the junction for Tapeats Spring. We turned to the north and started heading up. The route immediately becomes more difficult as you have to traverse on the east side of the creek. There is an established route the whole way but it can be a challenge to follow. You need to navigate across the creek several times and there is a large rock fall you literally climb over early on. There were a couple of sections that were confusing and sucked up time as we looked for the best route possible. We stacked some cairns on the return to help future groups.

After a half mile the route climbs up the east side away from the river. This section is a challenge as the terrain is sloped and the footing is very loose. I will admit I was borderline uncomfortable with some of this. There is plenty of exposure. It’s not the type to kill you. It’s more likely to send you home in a helicopter. We persevered on and headed toward the spring. Another thing with this route is I didn’t know what to expect. I figured there would be a spring similar to Thunder River but not as grand. I had no idea where this route ended and that was daunting at times.

Karl led the final push that led us to the cave opening. Right as we walked up we saw a group of cavers who were just finishing up. They told us about the cave and recommended we take a look around. We took our packs off and signed the cave register and then headed in. Tapeats Cave heads straight back. There are a few branches off the main chamber but they don’t go far. There is an easy eight foot climb we did and headed farther back. We then wrapped around a small pool and entered a large chamber with water flowing. Our headlamps could only illuminate so much. We wish we had more lumens. Chumley took a few pics and we did our best to “paint” the walls with our headlamps. Afterward we took a moment to shut our lights off and be surrounded in total darkness. It was a bit unnerving! Soon after we made our return to the entrance. This cave was such a thrill and treat to explore. We could have gone farther in had we been wearing helmets and wet suits. I highly recommend Tapeats Cave!

Our return flew by. The going was much easier as we headed back down canyon. All the tricky spots were much easier on the descent and we had no route finding issues. We got back to camp sometime around 3pm and told the others of our adventure. Thanks Chumley for coming up with this plan on our rest day. I’m really glad I joined you and Karl for this one!
Geology
Geology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Redwall Limestone
Named place
Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Tapeats Spring
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
_____________________
1 archive
Oct 18 2014
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 396
 Photos 9,095
 Triplogs 1,070

52 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Tapeats SpringNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 18 2014
BiFrostTriplogs 1,070
Hiking6.21 Miles 1,690 AEG
Hiking6.21 Miles   5 Hrs   38 Mns   1.10 mph
1,690 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
chumley
John9L
Tapeats Cave was a real treat from start to finish. Very cool sections between Thunder River confluence and where the route turns to the north towards the cave. The flow through this section is awesome...so much water and nice narrows where we had to navigate river crossings multiple times. However after the turn to the north the route gets much more difficult with steep scree slopes, loose rocks and some route finding but still great views of the redwall and Tapeats Canyon below. Near the top of the canyon we finally reached the cave and were rewarded for the effort.

When we arrived at the cave opening a small group was exiting the cave and gave us some good information about some of the passages, rooms, and water inside cave. We proceeded into the cave and awed by the flowing river and large pools inside the cave. Really awesome to see this area and the cave experience was something I've never seen before :y:
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
_____________________
2 archives
average hiking speed 1.1 mph

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.

helpcommentissue

end of page marker