Arizona is surely an unbelievably gorgeous, wildly assorted condition with topography ranging from reduced level desert landscapes, to substantial mountain peaks and alpine forest ranges. Greater than some other geologic aspect even though, Arizona is broadly renowned for its quite a few gorgeous and distant rock canyons, deep slot gorges, h2o falls and pools that are scattered throughout the point out. Even so, what I locate even more awesome, is that a lot of of those backcountry wilderness canyons is often accessed as a result of “non technical” canyon hiking routes which don’t call for ropes and therefore are virtually inside of a solitary working day’s excursion from both Phoenix or Tucson. For a superb late summer months to early tumble day vacation and hike, in case you are up For additional of the fascinating challenge and an extraordinary and scenic working day journey, then have a mountain sliding, canyoneering climbing journey to 7 Cataracts, and take a look at Willow Canyon, Tucson, Arizona.
It was the Labor Working day holiday and early on Sunday morning that I still left Phoenix, about 6am, heading away from town on I 10 East and arrived in Tucson by seven:30am. With the Ina Highway exit, I swung from the freeway and took a still left, heading east 8 miles, and achieved up Along with the TLC Climbing Group, led and arranged by Eric Kinneman, within the Westin La Paloma Resort and arrived by 8am. Because the parking was explained to get minimal in the trailhead for this hike, we carpooled it with each other and set out for the day’s hike and journey heading east on Sunrise Blvd. by eight:25am.
The beautiful travel on Sunrise Blvd over the northern stretches of Tucson and thru the rolling foothills on the stunning Santa Catalina mountains has always been a favourite of mine. The Santa Catalina Mountains are Tucson’s optimum mountain selection achieving many of the way as much as 9157 ft in elevation at its pretty top, Mount Lemmon. To acquire there and also to get to the trailhead for our hike, we zig zagged it throughout Tucson, driving east on Dawn Blvd to Swan Street, turned right (south), to River Street, turned still left (east), then a appropriate on to Sabino Canyon Road, still left onto Tanque Verde Highway and headed east on Tanque Verde Street until we attained the Catalina Highway, aka the “Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway”, and then turned left all over again.
It had been about 4 miles or so after earning the still left flip on to the Catalina Highway you enter the Coronado Nationwide Forest and start the winding ascent up to the rugged Santa Catalina mountains. Although it’s been a long time considering the fact that I used to be final there, I used to be still impressed at just how stunning and beautiful this drive seriously is. Instantly as you head on up in elevation beginning at 3000 feet, the sights are Definitely amazing with Each and every switchback and hairpin curve providing a completely new and astounding rock development or magnificent canyon vista off to the gap. If you like to prevent and have a lot of pictures, as I generally love to do, you have lots of chance to achieve this for the reason that this drive presents several vista details to get pleasure from along how. Nonetheless, at about mile marker five, just past the Molino Canyon Ignore, You will find there’s shell out station in which you will have to buy a $five Coronado Countrywide Forest day use recreation move when you are preparing on halting anywhere additional alongside the drive. We procured the day use passes, a single Every per car or truck and journeyed on for 3 far more miles right until we arrived at the 7 Cataracts Vista Point, just earlier Thimble Peak Vista and about at about mile marker 8 and about one/3 of the best way as much as Mount Lemmon.
We pulled into the Seven Cataracts Vista position, and our trailhead, parked and commenced out on our working day’s mountaineering and canyoneering adventure by 9am. The look at on the lookout down into Willow Canyon below was absolutely attractive, but also extremely steep as well! Promptly, appropriate from the beginning, the drop off into Willow Canyon on this “working day use” trail was intense, to state the incredibly minimum. Estimated for being roughly about a a thousand 1300 feet descent straight down that has a 60% grade on all free Grime, gravel and rocks, each of us had to virtually fall right down to the ground on our “butts” and from area to segment, slide it on down for about a total of a ¼ of the mile until finally we experienced designed all the way down to The underside. What a web site it had been to view also, definitely remarkable and many enjoyment! Nevertheless, this “non official” path, mainly used by expert canyoneers, is rated very hard, some even say treacherous or perilous, so I would not advocate undertaking this hike all on your own unless you are a skilled canyon hiker or have a skilled canyon climbing guideline along with you.
After we had all safely slid our way down and attained the bottom and soon after A fast team photo, Eric began foremost our team on our canyoneering exploration even more down into Willow Canyon, scrambling, boulder hopping and class 3 climbing via partly jogging drinking water falls. Definitely attractive and magnificent scenery every one of the way down way too! We ongoing on for around a ¼ mile exactly where we experienced reached a very nice managing falls and liked the opportunity to awesome off, relaxation and benefit from the tranquil tranquility and sweetness of this remote and lesser recognized wilderness canyon. Meanwhile, Eric, in conjunction with several other adventurous associates, journeyed on for another one/3 to ¼ mile, and after much more scrambling, boulder hopping and class three 4 climbing, reached a gorgeous 100 foot h2o drop and a bigger swimming gap deep enough he reported that Despite a leap off a ten foot cliff, they might not strike bottom! Wonderful!
After about an hour or so crack, we made a decision it absolutely was time to get started on producing our way again. Now it absolutely was time for quite possibly the most complicated A part of our canyoneering journey, rendering it again! So we started our trek again by way of Willow Canyon precisely the same way we came, scrambling, boulder hopping, wading with the pools, then climbing it back up throughout the drinking water tumble. It only took a short time although and in minutes we had all manufactured it securely back up and to the base of the aspect with the hill we had initially “slid” down on earlier. It absolutely was listed here that we satisfied again up with Eric then broke up into two teams. You may plan to either make the ascent in the same spot you arrived down With all the sixty% grade on all loose Grime and gravel, wherever Eric claimed it was For each three steps up, a slide of 1 or 2 again. Or my Mate Dan determined it appeared like in the event you took it up a little even further right down to the still left, you may more simply climb it straight up the rocks and cliff and approximately the very best. So myself, in conjunction with various other customers followed Dan’s lead and hand more than foot, we gradually and punctiliously climbed it, segment by part until we properly arrived at it back around the best. Wow, for me and a person who’s scared of heights, rather than experienced at rock climbing, it had been complicated but loads of pleasurable and unbelievable training too!
When back again at the very best and at the 7 Cataracts Vista parking zone, we waited for the ultimate customers to securely return, then by twelve:15pm we received back into our autos to generate the remainder of the way around Mount Lemmon for lunch on the Iron Door Cafe. The sights along just how were once again, stunning as you make your way from elevation 5000 feet on up towards the Mount Lemmon Sky Valley, elevation approximately about 8200 toes. Even though the signs of the devastating 2020 Aspen fireplace have been recognizable, it absolutely was even now very beautiful and the temperatures by this time of working day, reduced to mid eighty’s and very neat and refreshing.
Even so, Along with the two.five hour wait around with the cafe, as a consequence of it remaining a weekend and likewise a vacation, we decided it had been most effective to show close to and head back instead.
We arrived again in Tucson at about 2pm and after a great lunch at slightly cafe referred to as Renee’s Natural Oven on Tanque Verde Highway, we arrived back again for the Westin La Paloma Vacation resort by 4pm, exactly where These of us who experienced just came down for the day, headed back again to Phoenix from there to return household all over again by about 6pm.
In all, it was seriously an extraordinary canyoneering exploration and waterfall climbing adventure with the TLC Mountaineering Group, thoroughly researched, nicely prepared and imagined by way of to the final depth by Eric Kinneman himself. Definitely experienced it all, incredibly lovely, exciting, however also really tough. I are convinced this hike is most effective summed up however in Eric Kinneman’s possess text by which he offers, “The 7 Cataracts Waterfall Journey Hike is an awesome hike which i hugely suggest individuals getting. It’ll check your fears, Supply you with an unbelievable exercise routine and just take you through some magnificent canyons, along with a one hundred foot waterfall and swimming gap, seldom seen by anyone. What additional could any one ask for!”