June 20, 2024

The Seven Cataracts Experience Hike: A Mountain Sliding, Canyoneering Exploration Into Willow Canyon

Arizona is an amazingly attractive, wildly numerous state with topography ranging from reduced amount desert landscapes, to higher mountain peaks and alpine forest ranges. Extra than any other geologic aspect nevertheless, Arizona is greatly renowned for its numerous gorgeous and remote rock canyons, deep slot gorges, drinking water falls and pools which are scattered all over the state. Nonetheless, what I discover even additional astounding, is that lots of of these backcountry wilderness canyons can be accessed via “non-specialized” canyon climbing routes which you should not have to have ropes and are virtually inside a solitary day’s journey from either Phoenix or Tucson. For an superb late summertime to early drop day trip and hike, if you’re up for more of an interesting challenge and an incredible and scenic working day excursion, then consider a mountain sliding, canyoneering climbing adventure to 7 Cataracts, and investigate Willow Canyon, Tucson, Arizona.

It was the Labor Working day vacation and early on Sunday early morning that I left Phoenix, about 6am, heading out of town on I-10 East and arrived in Tucson by 7:30am. At the Ina Road exit, I swung off the freeway and took a remaining, heading east 8 miles, and satisfied up with the TLC Climbing Group, led and arranged by Eric Kinneman, at the Westin La Paloma Resort and arrived by 8am. Mainly because the parking was mentioned to be minimal at the trailhead for this hike, we carpooled it collectively and established out for the day’s hike and journey heading east on Dawn Blvd. by 8:25am.

The lovely push on Dawn Blvd across the northern stretches of Tucson and by the rolling foothills of the gorgeous Santa Catalina mountains has generally been a preferred of mine. The Santa Catalina Mountains are Tucson’s maximum mountain assortment reaching all the way up to 9157 feet in elevation at its extremely prime, Mount Lemmon. To get there and to achieve the trailhead for our hike, we zig zagged it throughout Tucson, driving east on Sunrise Blvd to Swan Road, turned correct (south), to River Highway, turned left (east), then a ideal on to Sabino Canyon Street, remaining onto Tanque Verde Road and headed east on Tanque Verde Street until we reached the Catalina Freeway, aka the “Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway”, and then turned still left yet again.

It was about 4 miles or so just after earning the left transform on to the Catalina Freeway that you enter the Coronado Countrywide Forest and get started the winding ascent up into the rugged Santa Catalina mountains. Even though it is been a very long time given that I was previous there, I was even now stunned at just how wonderful and lovely this travel actually is. Straight away as you head on up in elevation beginning at 3000 ft, the views are certainly breathtaking with just about every switchback and hairpin curve offering a new and awesome rock formation or stunning canyon vista off to the length. If you like to quit and get a great deal of images, as I generally like to do, you have plenty of opportunity to do so for the reason that this generate gives a number of vista points to get pleasure from together the way. On the other hand, at about mile marker 5, just past the Molino Canyon Forget, there is a spend station where you need to buy a $5 Coronado National Forest day use recreation go if you’re scheduling on stopping any where additional alongside the generate. We obtained the working day use passes, one each and every for each car and journeyed on for 3 a lot more miles right until we reached the 7 Cataracts Vista Place, just earlier Thimble Peak Vista and roughly at about mile marker 8 and about 1/3 of the way up to Mount Lemmon.

We pulled into the Seven Cataracts Vista level, and our trailhead, parked and started out on our day’s hiking and canyoneering adventure by 9am. The check out wanting down into Willow Canyon underneath was absolutely lovely, but also unbelievably steep too! Promptly, suitable from the beginning, the drop off into Willow Canyon on this “day use” trail was extreme, to say the extremely minimum. Approximated to be approximately about a 1000-1300 toes descent straight down with a 60% quality on all loose filth, gravel and rocks, each individual just one of us experienced to practically drop down to the floor on our “butts” and from portion to portion, slide it on down for about a whole of a ¼ of a mile until we experienced designed down to the base. What a internet site it was to see way too, seriously exciting and a whole lot of enjoyable! Having said that, this “non-official” path, generally applied by seasoned canyoneers, is rated extremely tricky, some even say treacherous or dangerous, so I would not endorse performing this hike on your very own until you are an experienced canyon hiker or have an seasoned canyon mountaineering tutorial with you.

Once we experienced all safely and securely slid our way down and achieved the base and following a swift group photograph, Eric started foremost our group on our canyoneering exploration additional down into Willow Canyon, scrambling, boulder hopping and class 3 climbing as a result of partially managing water falls. Truly lovely and breathtaking landscapes all the way down too! We ongoing on for about a ¼ mile the place we experienced reached a genuinely good functioning falls and appreciated the prospect to amazing off, relaxation and love the tranquil tranquility and splendor of this remote and lesser identified wilderness canyon. In the meantime, Eric, along with numerous other adventurous members, journeyed on for an additional 1/3 to ¼ mile, and right after much more scrambling, boulder hopping and class 3-4 climbing, achieved a gorgeous 100 foot drinking water drop and a more substantial swimming hole deep ample he said that even with a leap off a 10 foot cliff, they could not strike base! Awesome!

Immediately after about an hour or so split, we made the decision it was time to start out generating our way back. Now it was time for the most demanding element of our canyoneering experience, building it back again! So we started our trek again by means of Willow Canyon the very same way we came, scrambling, boulder hopping, wading through the swimming pools, then climbing it again up via the drinking water drop. It only took a brief time while and within just minutes we had all produced it properly again up and to the base of the facet of the hill we had initially “slid” down on earlier. It was right here that we satisfied back up with Eric then broke up into two groups. You could decide to either make the ascent in the similar put you arrived down with the 60% grade on all loose dirt and gravel, where Eric claimed it was for each and every 3 techniques up, a slide of a person or two back. Or my pal Dan decided it looked like if you took it up a small even further down to the remaining, you could extra effortlessly climb it straight up the rocks and cliff and up to the best. So myself, along with several other associates followed Dan’s lead and hand about foot, we little by little and meticulously climbed it, area by area right up until we securely arrived at it back again up to the prime. Wow, for me and someone who’s afraid of heights, and not professional at rock climbing, it was difficult but a whole lot of enjoyment and remarkable exercise routine as well!

At the time again at the prime and at the Seven Cataracts Vista parking whole lot, we waited for the ultimate customers to safely and securely return, then by 12:15pm we received back into our automobiles to generate the relaxation of the way up to Mount Lemmon for lunch at the Iron Door Cafe. The sights along the way were again, impressive as you make your way from elevation 5000 feet on up to the Mount Lemmon Sky Valley, elevation approximately about 8200 feet. Though the signals of the devastating 2003 Aspen hearth ended up recognizable, it was nevertheless pretty stunning and the temperatures by this time of day, minimal to mid 80’s and extremely interesting and refreshing.

Nonetheless, with the 2.5 hour wait at the restaurant, owing to it being a weekend and also a getaway, we made a decision it was best to change all over and head again alternatively.

We arrived again in Tucson at about 2pm and soon after an great lunch at a minor cafe referred to as Renee’s Organic Oven on Tanque Verde Street, we arrived back again at the Westin La Paloma Resort by 4pm, where by all those of us who had just arrived down for the day, headed back to Phoenix from there to return residence once again by about 6pm.

In all, it was genuinely an extraordinary canyoneering exploration and waterfall mountaineering journey with the TLC Hiking Group, cautiously investigated, perfectly prepared and thought by means of to the previous detail by Eric Kinneman himself. Actually experienced it all, amazingly wonderful, exciting, still also very demanding. I feel that this hike is finest summed up while in Eric Kinneman’s own words and phrases in which he rates, “The Seven Cataracts Waterfall Experience Hike is an remarkable hike that I highly advise people taking. It will exam your fears, give you an unbelievable training and consider you by means of some spectacular canyons, and a 100 foot waterfall and swimming gap, seldom seen by any individual. What extra could any one check with for!”