Saturday, April 2, 2011

Waterfall Canyon - 4/2/11

Although the weather started out windy and a little chilly, today's hike ended with blue sky, warm and still windy. Fifteen hikers stayed secured to the ground with a little effort as they began their hike out of Willow Springs up Rocky Gap Road. The hike would be only around 4 miles but it would last around 3.5 hours as we found that scrambling takes time!

About a mile and a quarter up the road, Waterfall Canyon empties out its precious water cargo that flows across the road and on down to Red Rock Wash below. Here we turned right and started climbing the narrow canyon along the stream. Soon we began seeing the waterfalls for which the canyon is named. They flow among the gray limestone with an orange / red / yellow stream bed underneath the water.

After passing several smaller falls, we reached the big kahuna thirty footer as seen in the top photo. We climbed up and over this one, too, and went as far as we could before the canyon closed in. There were springs above us to the left which trickled down over the side of the canyon. Long grass filled this area around the limestone. See photo below.

On the return of the hike, we retraced our steps down Waterfall Canyon and part of the road then turned off to our right and made our way down to Red Rock Wash. This wash doesn't get a lot of attention from hikers but it is a beautifully colorful wash with large smooth boulders. We leapt from rock to rock enjoying the easy scramble downhill. At the bottom, we took a side trip over to the petroglyphs near the Willow Springs Picnic Area. We found that the area was essentially closed off and we never got close enough to see the ancient drawings.

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