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

Arizona is an extremely lovely, wildly varied point out with topography ranging from reduced amount desert landscapes, to significant mountain peaks and alpine forest ranges. A lot more than any other geologic aspect nevertheless, Arizona is greatly renowned for its many attractive and remote rock canyons, deep slot gorges, water falls and pools which are scattered all through the point out. Nevertheless, what I discover even additional amazing, is that numerous of these backcountry wilderness canyons can be accessed by means of “non-complex” canyon climbing routes which do not have to have ropes and are literally within just a one day’s journey from both Phoenix or Tucson. For an excellent late summer season to early fall day journey and hike, if you are up for much more of an remarkable obstacle and an extraordinary and scenic working day trip, then just take a mountain sliding, canyoneering mountaineering journey to Seven Cataracts, and check out Willow Canyon, Tucson, Arizona.

It was the Labor Working day holiday getaway and early on Sunday morning that I still left Phoenix, about 6am, heading out of town on I-10 East and arrived in Tucson by 7:30am. At the Ina Highway exit, I swung off the freeway and took a remaining, heading east 8 miles, and achieved up with the TLC Climbing Group, led and arranged by Eric Kinneman, at the Westin La Paloma Resort and arrived by 8am. Due to the fact the parking was explained to be confined at the trailhead for this hike, we carpooled it jointly and established out for the day’s hike and journey heading east on Sunrise Blvd. by 8:25am.

The wonderful push on Sunrise Blvd throughout the northern stretches of Tucson and as a result of the rolling foothills of the gorgeous Santa Catalina mountains has usually been a preferred of mine. The Santa Catalina Mountains are Tucson’s greatest mountain vary reaching all the way up to 9157 toes in elevation at its extremely leading, Mount Lemmon. To get there and to access the trailhead for our hike, we zig zagged it throughout Tucson, driving east on Dawn Blvd to Swan Highway, turned suitable (south), to River Highway, turned still left (east), then a ideal on to Sabino Canyon Highway, still left onto Tanque Verde Street and headed east on Tanque Verde Highway till we achieved the Catalina Freeway, aka the “Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway”, and then turned remaining again.

It was about 4 miles or so after earning the left turn onto the Catalina Freeway that you enter the Coronado National Forest and begin the winding ascent up into the rugged Santa Catalina mountains. While it’s been a very long time considering that I was last there, I was nonetheless stunned at just how attractive and gorgeous this travel actually is. Quickly as you head on up in elevation beginning at 3000 feet, the sights are totally spectacular with every single switchback and hairpin curve featuring a new and incredible rock development or attractive canyon vista off to the length. If you like to halt and just take a large amount of pictures, as I usually like to do, you have a good deal of prospect to do so because this generate delivers a variety of vista factors to love alongside the way. Nonetheless, at about mile marker 5, just past the Molino Canyon Forget, there is a pay station exactly where you have to buy a $5 Coronado Nationwide Forest working day use recreation move if you might be preparing on stopping any place even further alongside the generate. We purchased the working day use passes, one particular every single per car or truck and journeyed on for three more miles right until we arrived at the Seven Cataracts Vista Issue, just past Thimble Peak Vista and about at about mile marker 8 and about 1/3 of the way up to Mount Lemmon.

We pulled into the 7 Cataracts Vista position, and our trailhead, parked and begun out on our day’s mountaineering and canyoneering experience by 9am. The watch wanting down into Willow Canyon under was definitely gorgeous, but also incredibly steep way too! Immediately, correct from the commencing, the drop off into Willow Canyon on this “day use” path was extreme, to say the very the very least. Estimated to be about about a 1000-1300 toes descent straight down with a 60% grade on all free dust, gravel and rocks, every single 1 of us had to actually drop down to the floor on our “butts” and from portion to portion, slide it on down for about a complete of a ¼ of a mile right until we experienced produced down to the bottom. What a web page it was to see way too, seriously exciting and a good deal of fun! On the other hand, this “non-official” path, largely utilized by skilled canyoneers, is rated incredibly tricky, some even say treacherous or hazardous, so I would not advocate executing this hike on your very own unless you are an expert canyon hiker or have an skilled canyon mountaineering guide with you.

After we had all properly slid our way down and reached the base and right after a quick group photo, Eric began foremost our group on our canyoneering exploration more down into Willow Canyon, scrambling, boulder hopping and course 3 climbing via partly functioning drinking water falls. Truly stunning and spectacular scenery all the way down much too! We ongoing on for about a ¼ mile the place we had arrived at a seriously pleasant running falls and liked the possibility to great off, rest and love the tranquil tranquility and natural beauty of this distant and lesser known wilderness canyon. In the meantime, Eric, alongside with several other adventurous customers, journeyed on for another 1/3 to ¼ mile, and after a lot more scrambling, boulder hopping and course 3-4 climbing, arrived at a stunning 100 foot h2o drop and a larger sized swimming hole deep adequate he stated that even with a leap off a 10 foot cliff, they could not hit base! Amazing!

Just after about an hour or so split, we determined it was time to begin earning our way again. Now it was time for the most complicated portion of our canyoneering experience, creating it back again! So we began our trek back again by Willow Canyon the same way we arrived, scrambling, boulder hopping, wading as a result of the swimming pools, then climbing it again up by way of the drinking water drop. It only took a quick time although and in minutes we had all created it safely again up and to the foundation of the aspect of the hill we had initially “slid” down on before. It was below that we met back up with Eric then broke up into two teams. You could make a decision to either make the ascent in the identical put you came down with the 60% grade on all unfastened grime and gravel, exactly where Eric reported it was for every 3 methods up, a slide of just one or two back. Or my buddy Dan resolved it looked like if you took it up a little additional down to the left, you could a lot more conveniently climb it straight up the rocks and cliff and up to the best. So myself, along with many other users adopted Dan’s direct and hand more than foot, we slowly but surely and thoroughly climbed it, part by part right up until we properly reached it again up to the best. Wow, for me and someone who’s terrified of heights, and not knowledgeable at rock climbing, it was tough but a ton of enjoyment and amazing workout also!

Once back again at the top and at the Seven Cataracts Vista parking large amount, we waited for the last members to safely and securely return, then by 12:15pm we got back into our vehicles to push the relaxation of the way up to Mount Lemmon for lunch at the Iron Door Restaurant. The sights together the way have been once again, impressive as you make your way from elevation 5000 feet on up to the Mount Lemmon Sky Valley, elevation around about 8200 toes. While the indicators of the devastating 2003 Aspen fireplace ended up recognizable, it was nonetheless extremely stunning and the temperatures by this time of day, small to mid 80’s and quite interesting and refreshing.

Even so, with the 2.5 hour hold out at the restaurant, because of to it staying a weekend and also a holiday break, we determined it was best to change all-around and head again as a substitute.

We arrived again in Tucson at about 2pm and soon after an fantastic lunch at a little restaurant identified as Renee’s Organic Oven on Tanque Verde Road, we arrived back again at the Westin La Paloma Vacation resort by 4pm, in which all those of us who had just arrived down for the working day, headed again to Phoenix from there to return house once more by about 6pm.

In all, it was genuinely an amazing canyoneering exploration and waterfall mountaineering experience with the TLC Hiking Team, meticulously researched, well planned and considered via to the last element by Eric Kinneman himself. Definitely experienced it all, amazingly stunning, enjoyable, however also extremely challenging. I believe that this hike is greatest summed up nevertheless in Eric Kinneman’s possess words in which he prices, “The 7 Cataracts Waterfall Journey Hike is an incredible hike that I extremely suggest persons having. It will check your fears, give you an incredible workout and get you as a result of some impressive canyons, and a 100 foot waterfall and swimming gap, rarely found by any person. What extra could any one inquire for!”