Adventuring in the Grand Canyon

Many of you know I’m writing a new book (Fifty Classic Outdoor Adventures: Epic Experiences for your Family Bucket List) and if you haven’t signed as “interested”, it would really help me get a publisher. You can do it here: I’m Interested Sign up Form

I have all fifty adventures pretty much identified and another fifty will be published as “runner up” adventures. The book has both easy and hard adventures and I need to make sure the hard adventures are doable by kids. So Betsy and I set out to re-do some adventures keeping in mind that kids and “normal” families would need to accomplish it (vs. our admittedly abnormal family).

Cathedral Wash is the canyon in the white area, flowing to the Colorado River

The Grand Canyon was the first stop, and more specifically Marble Canyon so we flew into Page AZ. Man that place has grown in the last few decades. I got into an small argument with the rental car guy because he said all slot canyons were closed because of the pandemic and really it was only slot canyons on Navajo lands that were closed, like the famous Antelope Canyon. He also warned me not to take the car on dirt roads. What? So as I went out the door I asked if he had directions to the Antelope Canyon Road (which is dirt and almost 4×4). His eyes literally bulged so I told him I was kidding before he took the car keys back.

Turned around at a dead end…
I hesitate to show this one as it looks scarier than it is. Definitely want to spot kids here.

First up was Cathedral Wash and Bets and I remember it as a gentle walk down a dry wash to the Colorado River. Good thing we did it again. We are now not sure we ever did the real Cathedral Wash because this one has fourth class exposed scrambling. I’m keeping it in the book, but with some warnings. It is actually really fun because there are lots of dead end ledges and downclimbs so you have to puzzle it out to get down.

Next up was something I had seen in Alltrails.com: Cathedral Rock and it turns out to be a perfect example of the Internet gone bad. Someone has indeed climbed up Cathedral Rock and left GPS tracks. It is listed in Alltrails and others have rated it highly with comments like, “beautiful from on top”. No way those people made it! It is an extremely dangerous, wildly loose climb with serious injury or death likely if people continue to try to climb it. (Then again it appears people are not trying to climb it, they just say they did). Betsy and I do occasionally free-solo without ropes on easy rock climbs so we do have knowledge on the subject. I left a comment on Alltrails trying to shut down the thing.

Cathedral Rock. “Route” is sun-lit gulley on the right

Next to it however is Sunset Rock and it is very doable and fun. We watched the sunset from on top.

Sunset Rock

2 thoughts on “Adventuring in the Grand Canyon

  1. Clemens Kretzschmar November, 2020 — 5:34 am

    I do’t see the connection to FLYINGadventures, knowing that flying in, over, and around the Grand Canon is prohibited by law

    1. For over 20 years I’ve written about going places in my plane and doing things. For example, there are no airports in the national parks, yet I fly nearby, do adventures there and write about them. So this may not be the blog for you if you are more interested in the details of flying to Page Arizona. You are not quite correct about the Grand Canyon. Twice (look up “Soap Creek” or “Cliff Dwellers” on this blog) I’ve flown through the restricted airspace to land on the rim of the canyon on a dirt airstrip. Legally. Both times I wrote mainly about the adventures you can do from that airstrip, not so much the flying part.

      This time it had rained the week prior, so I didn’t land at that airstrip for fear of mud. However when approaching Page I stayed above 8,000 feet to remain above the restricted area in that part of the canyon so I could get photos of Cathedral Wash.

      That airstrip by the way is under the restricted Grand Canyon airspace but is not within the park boundaries, being about 1/2 mile from it, on BLM land.

      Unless you just want to visit the over-crowded South Rim, Page is an excellent airport to land at, and is located between the more iconic South Rim and the more adventurous North Rim of the park.

      If you are looking for details on flying the corridors of the Grand Canyon airspace – yeah, wrong blog.

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