Thursday, November 26, 2015

Cave Canyon / Fossil Ridge - 11/26/15

Cave Canyon at Top of Last Dry Fall

Fossil Ridge above Echo Canyon

Fossil Ridge Garden

Tackling First Dry Fall
 Cave Canyon and Fossil Ridge are accessed from the Cowboy Trails parking lot off of Highway 159 in Red Rock Canyon NCA. Twelve hikers converged at the trailhead. Three hikers were heading up Echo Canyon and the remaining nine hikers would do Cave Canyon. Both groups would meet at the top and descend on Fossil Ridge together. So, we headed up to the upper horse corral where the wranglers were preparing for a busy day of fried turkey and horse rides. We dropped down behind the dining area and climbed up to our respective canyons; Cave on the left and Echo on the right.

Cave Canyon
 In Cave Canyon, the steepest part of the hike is the very beginning when it is necessary to climb up past the big boulder field to reach the wash. Soon, we were taking our turn at the first large dry fall. Care must be taken here due to the hand holds becoming worn and slippery.

View Back from Cave Canyon

 Next, we paid a short visit to the cave up to the left of the wash. From there, we scrambled and climbed up through the wash, seabed fossils and brush. The canyon, itself, is around a mile and a half long. We took advantage of as much scrambling as we could and took the side trails only when necessary. This is a very fun canyon to hike. At the fork, we turned to the left and scrambled some more. Finally, we came to the last big dry fall. The nine hikers took advantage of the three different ways to get up the falls.

Wilson Peak from Crossover Trail at High Point
 A little further up the now shallow wash, we ran into the trail that crosses over between the canyon tops. We took a right and climbed up to our high point for the day.

Crossover Trail

Starting Down Fossil Ridge from Top of Echo Canyon
 We followed the trail past the Second Finger  and, then, the First Finger. The old mining road took us down to junction with the top of Echo Canyon where we joined up with the other small group of hikers. They were ready to roll so we all started down the Echo Canyon trail. The trail crosses the wash and starts down Fossil Ridge, the ridge located to the southwest of the canyon. This trail travels along just under the ridgeline and is decorated with dark conglomerate rock and a variety of desert plants.

Moving Along Fine
 We followed the trail staying just above Echo Canyon and tried out our echo off of the walls opposite from us.

Fossil Ridge

Still Moving
 As we started down off of the ridge, we saw that there was a trail ride coming our way. It was a very long line of horses and riders. The lead cowgirl said there were 35! They had just finished their fried turkey down below. We stepped aside and watched our "Thanksgiving Day Parade" go by then continued on our way. The descent down to the cars was long and we were careful on the slippery slope. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

6 miles; 1140 feet elevation gain; 3.25 hours

Fossil Ridge at Echo Range

Long Horse Ride Train

Just above Last Descent

No comments: