The Seven Cataracts Adventure Hike: A Mountain Sliding, Canyoneering Exploration Into Willow Canyon

The Seven Cataracts Adventure Hike: A Mountain Sliding, Canyoneering Exploration Into Willow Canyon

Arizona is an extremely stunning, wildly various state with topography ranging from minimal level desert landscapes, to significant mountain peaks and alpine forest ranges. Additional than any other geologic function though, Arizona is commonly renowned for its several stunning and remote rock canyons, deep slot gorges, drinking water falls and pools which are scattered all through the condition. Even so, what I find even a lot more awesome, is that several of these backcountry wilderness canyons can be accessed by means of “non-specialized” canyon climbing routes which will not require ropes and are pretty much within just a solitary day’s trip from both Phoenix or Tucson. For an excellent late summer season to early fall day vacation and hike, if you might be up for more of an enjoyable challenge and an incredible and scenic working day vacation, then just take a mountain sliding, canyoneering hiking adventure to 7 Cataracts, and examine Willow Canyon, Tucson, Arizona.

It was the Labor Working day holiday break and early on Sunday morning that I still left Phoenix, about 6am, heading out of city on I-10 East and arrived in Tucson by 7:30am. At the Ina Street exit, I swung off the freeway and took a left, heading east 8 miles, and met up with the TLC Hiking Team, led and organized by Eric Kinneman, at the Westin La Paloma Vacation resort and arrived by 8am. Simply because the parking was said to be constrained at the trailhead for this hike, we carpooled it with each other and set out for the day’s hike and journey heading east on Sunrise Blvd. by 8:25am.

The gorgeous travel on Dawn Blvd throughout the northern stretches of Tucson and by way of the rolling foothills of the stunning Santa Catalina mountains has always been a most loved of mine. The Santa Catalina Mountains are Tucson’s greatest mountain variety reaching all the way up to 9157 ft in elevation at its incredibly top rated, Mount Lemmon. To get there and to attain the trailhead for our hike, we zig zagged it throughout Tucson, driving east on Dawn Blvd to Swan Highway, turned proper (south), to River Road, turned still left (east), then a proper on to Sabino Canyon Highway, remaining on to Tanque Verde Street and headed east on Tanque Verde Street until we attained the Catalina Highway, aka the “Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway”, and then turned still left once more.

It was about 4 miles or so immediately after producing the still left convert onto the Catalina Freeway that you enter the Coronado Countrywide Forest and get started the winding ascent up into the rugged Santa Catalina mountains. Despite the fact that it is been a extended time since I was last there, I was still shocked at just how stunning and beautiful this travel definitely is. Promptly as you head on up in elevation beginning at 3000 ft, the sights are certainly spectacular with each and every switchback and hairpin curve presenting a new and remarkable rock formation or magnificent canyon vista off to the distance. If you like to stop and just take a whole lot of images, as I usually like to do, you have a good deal of opportunity to do so because this generate offers a variety of vista points to love along the way. However, at about mile marker 5, just past the Molino Canyon Forget, there is a pay station where by you should invest in a $5 Coronado Countrywide Forest working day use recreation pass if you are scheduling on stopping anyplace even further along the travel. We procured the working day use passes, just one just about every for each automobile and journeyed on for three far more miles right until we arrived at the Seven Cataracts Vista Position, just earlier Thimble Peak Vista and approximately at about mile marker 8 and about 1/3 of the way up to Mount Lemmon.

We pulled into the 7 Cataracts Vista issue, and our trailhead, parked and started off out on our day’s mountaineering and canyoneering journey by 9am. The perspective wanting down into Willow Canyon under was totally beautiful, but also very steep far too! Immediately, proper from the starting, the fall off into Willow Canyon on this “day use” trail was rigorous, to say the incredibly minimum. Believed to be roughly about a 1000-1300 toes descent straight down with a 60{6146c35448480150dd9eae763dbc2b693fee29074db8ae2568ac3ba41be86da4} grade on all unfastened dust, gravel and rocks, every single 1 of us had to practically drop down to the ground on our “butts” and from portion to segment, slide it on down for about a complete of a ¼ of a mile right until we had manufactured down to the base. What a internet site it was to see much too, actually interesting and a lot of pleasurable! Even so, this “non-official” trail, predominantly utilized by skilled canyoneers, is rated pretty difficult, some even say treacherous or risky, so I would not propose carrying out this hike on your have until you are an knowledgeable canyon hiker or have an knowledgeable canyon climbing manual with you.

At the time we had all safely slid our way down and reached the base and just after a quick group image, Eric began major our team on our canyoneering exploration additional down into Willow Canyon, scrambling, boulder hopping and class 3 climbing by means of partly jogging drinking water falls. Seriously gorgeous and impressive landscapes all the way down much too! We ongoing on for about a ¼ mile wherever we had arrived at a really nice managing falls and enjoyed the chance to neat off, relaxation and take pleasure in the peaceful tranquility and splendor of this distant and lesser recognised wilderness canyon. In the meantime, Eric, along with numerous other adventurous associates, journeyed on for one more 1/3 to ¼ mile, and after extra scrambling, boulder hopping and class 3-4 climbing, achieved a lovely 100 foot h2o slide and a larger swimming gap deep ample he said that even with a leap off a 10 foot cliff, they could not strike base! Astounding!

Just after about an hour or so break, we made the decision it was time to start off making our way again. Now it was time for the most hard portion of our canyoneering journey, creating it again! So we started our trek back again by way of Willow Canyon the identical way we came, scrambling, boulder hopping, wading as a result of the swimming pools, then climbing it back up via the drinking water fall. It only took a brief time while and within minutes we had all made it properly back up and to the foundation of the facet of the hill we had at first “slid” down on earlier. It was here that we achieved back again up with Eric then broke up into two groups. You could come to a decision to possibly make the ascent in the identical spot you came down with the 60{6146c35448480150dd9eae763dbc2b693fee29074db8ae2568ac3ba41be86da4} quality on all unfastened dust and gravel, the place Eric stated it was for each individual 3 ways up, a slide of just one or two back again. Or my close friend Dan resolved it looked like if you took it up a minimal further more down to the remaining, you could far more easily climb it straight up the rocks and cliff and up to the prime. So myself, along with a number of other customers adopted Dan’s lead and hand over foot, we slowly and thoroughly climbed it, area by segment until finally we safely achieved it back up to the major. Wow, for me and somebody who’s fearful of heights, and not skilled at rock climbing, it was demanding but a good deal of enjoyment and incredible exercise routine as well!

Once again at the top and at the Seven Cataracts Vista parking lot, we waited for the closing users to properly return, then by 12:15pm we bought again into our vehicles to generate the rest of the way up to Mount Lemmon for lunch at the Iron Door Restaurant. The sights together the way ended up once again, stunning as you make your way from elevation 5000 ft on up to the Mount Lemmon Sky Valley, elevation around about 8200 ft. Although the indications of the devastating 2003 Aspen fireplace ended up apparent, it was nevertheless incredibly wonderful and the temperatures by this time of working day, very low to mid 80’s and incredibly amazing and refreshing.

Nonetheless, with the 2.5 hour hold out at the cafe, owing to it being a weekend and also a getaway, we decided it was very best to convert all over and head again rather.

We arrived again in Tucson at about 2pm and following an superb lunch at a very little cafe called Renee’s Natural and organic Oven on Tanque Verde Highway, we arrived back at the Westin La Paloma Resort by 4pm, in which these of us who had just arrived down for the working day, headed back to Phoenix from there to return residence once more by about 6pm.

In all, it was seriously an extraordinary canyoneering exploration and waterfall climbing journey with the TLC Mountaineering Team, meticulously investigated, well planned and assumed by to the final detail by Eric Kinneman himself. Truly experienced it all, incredibly gorgeous, fascinating, but also extremely hard. I believe that this hike is best summed up though in Eric Kinneman’s very own text in which he quotes, “The 7 Cataracts Waterfall Journey Hike is an remarkable hike that I really advocate persons taking. It will test your fears, give you an incredible work out and get you through some magnificent canyons, and a 100 foot waterfall and swimming gap, rarely seen by everyone. What extra could anyone check with for!”