Sunday, February 4, 2024

South Bowl of Fire - 2/3/24

Group of thirteen in front of the Elephant Arch of the South Bowl of Fire

Tafoni rock (aka lace rock) in the South Bowl

Approach to South Bowl of Fire

Trail to South Bowl of Fire
The weather gave us a break and thirteen hikers came out for a relaxing hike in the South Bowl of Fire. This version of the hike has some scrambling that is optional. We parked at Northshore Road MM 18 and found the trail that leads out to the right end of a nearby rocky ridge. The trail leads around the ridge and across the wide wash that includes Callville Wash Road. The marked trail continues and drops into the major wash that flows out of the South Bowl. From there, we crossed the wash and climbed the trail up to the other embankment. The trail continues toward the redstone and, in some way, you drop into the first beautiful wash that you come to!

First Wash

Scramble in first Wash

Photo-taking at Heart Rock

Climbing out of first Wash
We took a left turn in the "first" wash and followed it up dealing with two or three major/minor scrambles. The last one holds an arch at its base and at least three different ways to climb up. Soon, after the last scramble, the route turns up to the right to climb a hill passing Heart Rock. Last year, Heart Rock had tumbled down. Someone put it back together so that we could again take heart photos through the hole. I would suggest not to count on the rock not falling on your head! At the top of the hill, we turned to the left and circled around the end of the redstone ridge to get to the south corner Overlook of Lake Mead. Down to the left and switchback to the right and we began dropping through a slotty canyon that comes out at the bottom where a tributary of the main South Bowl wash lies crossways.

Overlook at top of first Wash

Lake Mead from south corner Overlook

Mouth of descent Canyon

Dog Face Rock
We turned right to follow the wash a short distance. The first left turn into another wash that flows into this one is the next part of the route. A class 1-2 scramble up the wash takes you to a trail that comes out of the wash and over to Dog Face Rock on the left side. Photo opportunity! Continuing around the rock and across the same wash, we climbed up and over and down to the next accessible wash. If you do it right, Elephant Arch will be staring you in the face here! A break and photos ensued. There are two ways to proceed from here. A more difficult way follows down the immediate wash to a vertical drop on the left side. Fun! But, we chose an easier route that crossed over to the major wash where we scrambled down until there was a good place to climb out on the other side. A trail continued down next to the large wash until it dipped us down and up and around a corner full of redstone boulders. 

Elephant Arch from other Side

Hiking along major Wash

Climbing through Redstone

Swirly-do Slot #1
Through the rocky ridge, we found another trail at the other side. This trail took us down to an interesting swirly-do slot in the wash. Here, there is a trail that climbs up out of the wash slot area and begins crossing the desert terrain to the next wash. Not too far down from the point you drop into is another interesting swirly-do wash slot. We took more photos then found the trail that takes you down to the bottom of the swirly-do. From there, well, we simply connected with the major South Bowl Wash and dropped down the "boulder gateway." Not far down this major wash, we turned left onto the trail up the hill that we came in on leaving us with a mile of hiking back to the cars. There is a lot to find and see in the South Bowl of Fire but this 5 mile route seems to cover the major attractions. The colors in this area are beautiful and this is always worth a visit in the winter time. Great group of hikers!

Stats: 5 miles; 650' gain; 3.5 hours

Crossing to last Wash

Swirly-do Slot #2

Scramble out of the South Bowl of Fire

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