|"Merry Christmas" from Cholla Forest|
|Teddy Bear Cholla|
|Descent Scramble in Bacon Canyon|
|Landmark Tire at Entrance|
In the past, I have described the Cholla Forest v Seven Falls hike as one of Lake Mead NRA's best excursions. We try to do this hike around the holidays every year and it never disappoints. This year, four of the Six with Sticks parked at the water tank found at the end of a maintained dirt road near the NRA's Boulder City fee booth, the main entrance to the Lake Mead NRA. From the parking lot, they crossed over to the north to start up a wide wash heading west. A large tire lies against the berm where, one year, Cheryl dropped her phone at the beginning of the hike. The phone was retrieved at the end of the hike exactly where she dropped it! The hike proceeds up the wash until it narrows and a fork is presented. Seven Falls Canyon turns to the right here. Immediately, the first of the dry falls must be negotiated. Afterwards, a second dry falls appears containing a rabbit hole. As they hiked up the canyon wash, they passed through a bacon-colored vein of rock and began climbing a series of smaller scrambles.
|Alternative Climb up First Dry Falls into Seven Falls Canyon|
|From top of First Dry Falls - Entrance to Seven Falls Canyon|
|Up into Seven Falls Canyon|
|Tricky Dry Falls in Seven Falls Canyon|
Many hikers have tried over and over to count the dry fall scrambles in Seven Falls Canyon to no avail. Do you count this or that ... who knows! But, "7" is a good guess of the number of the more challenging 2-3 class scrambles leading up the canyon to a 3-way junction. It's important to not miss this junction and make the left turn. There are a couple of cairns to get your attention. A couple more scrambles follow the junction then the route continues upward to a swale of a saddle with a view of the Mt. Wilson range at your 6 o'clock.
|More 3rd Class Scrambles in Seven Falls Canyon|
|Mike reassures with a Reached Out Hand|
|View to Mt. Wilson from Saddle|
|Heading into the Top-Side Canyon|
There is a game trail following along the ridge here. For a shorter hike, take a left turn and take the trail on to the top of Bacon Canyon. For a visit to Cholla Forest, however, you must take the trail that descends from the ridge down to the leftish. This takes you to a crossing of a very wide power line right-of-way. But, instead of crossing all the way, we have started hiking up the wash until we reach a small canyon on the top side of the "valley." This small canyon is marked by monolith type rocks and leads to a scramble that is fun to ascend. (More fun to ascend than descend. Therefore, the reason for the reverse direction of this portion of the hike.) After climbing the scramble, the group followed the wash until a left turn up a steep hill on a rocky road.
|View back from Tough Scramble in Top-Side Canyon|
|Ralyn surrounded by Chollas|
|Cholla Forest from Top Down|
|Lake Mead view from top of Bacon Canyon|
The dirt road climbs up and over the hill then leads down to Cholla Forest. The gathering of teddy bear chollas are on the hillside to the left. As you descend into the area, look for watching eyes of bighorns standing on the ridge above! After a break at Cholla Forest, the hike continues down and across the power line right-of-way to a cairned arroyo on the left. After climbing the arroyo, a series of trails follow down up and over to the right. Then following a trail around a few more small hills, they found themselves at the top of Bacon Canyon. There is a gradual ridge that leads down into the canyon then the canyon begins its descent smoothly. Remember to continue searching for those wild eyes!
|Heavy Balanced Cairn|
|Cheryl starts down into Bacon Canyon|
|A Drop Scramble in Bacon Canyon|
|Jerry & Cheryl having fun with a scary Scramble|
When the scrambles begin, they don't stop for quite a while! Most of the scrambles are not "scary" but there are a couple that will give you pause. After having done these scrambles several times, we know the choreography quite well. Yet, I do wonder how long it takes a novice Bacon Canyon hiker to figure out a couple of them! Finally down through the last of the bacon colored rocks, the four hikers junctioned with the beginning of Seven Falls Canyon and hiked on out past the big old tire and on to the cars. Another great hike! Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!
Stats: 6 miles; 1350' gain; ~ 3.5 hours
|Scary Scramble from the Top|
|Mike holds onto the Bacon|
|Ralyn leads out of the Canyon Junction|