“A steep and loose trail with route some finding and miles of ankle-twisting drainage-bottom travel.
— Nicholas Shannon
Birding · Cave · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Archeological sites are protected by law and lose their significance when disturbed. Please do not disturb or take artifacts from any sites.
Not a great run, unclear trail with a plethora of opportunities to wreck your ankles.
Head southwest from the parking area towards the rim and follow the trail along the rim to a chute marked by a cairn. After the chute, make your way down a series of tight switchbacks and short down climbs covered with loose rocks leads to a prominent outcropping of limestone. The route crosses the top of this outcrop and traverses up canyon across the top of a red and white slick rock gully.
Descend this gully and contour down the canyon below the limestone outcropping. Another set of tight switchbacks and down climbs lead to the canyon floor. Bedrock Canyon enters South Canyon from the north (left side). From this junction, continue approximately 125 yards to a 40-foot dry fall. This dry fall can be skirted by following a cairned route along a shelf on the right side (south side) of the drainage to a junction with an unnamed canyon.
Here the route descends back into the creek bed. Continue down canyon until reaching the top on the gray Redwall Limestone. A cairned path leads up and around the Redwall narrows on the left side (north side) of the canyon. This traverse is loose and crosses several small ravines. Continue following the cairns across the Supai layer back down onto the limestone. Here views of the river and Vaseys Paradise open up to you. Head left and around a corner and begin a steep descent. A 12-foot climb down leads to a large ledge. Head downriver along the shelf to an obvious break in the limestone and scramble down it to the beach area.
South Canyon is usually dry. Some water may be present after rain or snowfalls. The Colorado River is the main water source for runners in this canyon so plan to carry enough water to reach the river. When the river runs red (or brown) it is recommended that you settle the silt out prior to treatment and that you have a backup means of water purification.