Features: Birding — River/Creek — Swimming — Views — Waterfall — Wildflowers — Wildlife
This route cannot be run.
We did this run on 4/16 when the water was still cold because it's completely snow melt. We were told to rent some dry pants so we did. Some of my friends also rented canyoneering shoes and neoprene socks; they loved it. I only have neoprene socks with my Keen sandals; I also loved it. Trekking sticks were very helpful for me, however, not needed.
The trail begins at the parking lot for Left Fork trailhead, starting out pretty flat on a well-maintained trail for about 10 min then it starts to lead you down to the bottom of the canyon. There's a lot of loose rocks coming down this quite steep part. You'll see a sign "Left Fork Trailhead" once closer to the bottom of the canyons and the water.
Once at the bottom, start running upstream! There are "obvious" trails on both side of the creek, one might be easier than the other. There are a lot of water crossings, rock hopping, and some boulder climbing, if you prefer. After running for a while from the trailhead sign, the views of the canyons start to open up; it is majestic. There are many small waterfalls along the way created by some boulders in the stream before we hit those "signature" cascade waterfalls at almost the end of the run.
There are beautiful wildflowers in yellow, red, orange, and purple, along with some prickly pears that are budding. We even saw some fish! It is very green during this time of the year. Also, there is supposed to be a dinosaur footprint 2.2 miles in from the parking lot, but unfortunately, we missed it both times (in and out).
At about 15 minutes out from The Subway
, this is where my trekking poles were especially helpful. We had to go across the water (not over ankle high) on very slippery rocks a few times. Some groups did not make it to The Subway
because they said that the current was too strong (still not over ankle high). But going slowly and firmly helped me! Soon after that, we saw The Subway
! (The canyons on both sides came close together to form a tubular "tunnel", there was a lot of water in The Subway
when we were there).
There are a couple of swimming pools in The Subway
area. Not sure how deep but my trekking pole could not reach the bottom of them. It is a little bit more chilly in there. We headed back the same way after taking a ton of pictures. Make sure not to miss the turn to ascend back to the parking lot. It is easily passed over.