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Calf Pen Canyon - Coconino National Forest

Summary: A down and back technical canyon, fixing ropes, located north of Strawberry with a single 90' rappel. To complete this canyon as a down and back trip, you'll need a 100' rope, harness and ascending gear.
Directions: From Strawberry, drive north on Highway 87 to between mileposts 276-277. Turn left onto an unmarked dirt road on the left side of the road. Soon the road splits (FR 6190 heads left) - stay straight and straight again at the junction with FR 9385C. After a mile the road crosses the upper drainage of Calf Pen Canyon. Park near the wash.
Road Conditions: High Clearance Vehicle
Navigation: Easy
Length: Hike as far as you want
Date Hiked: April 2007
Weather Conditions: Partly cloudy
Required Skills:
Hike Description:

From the parking spot, simply hike down the wash. It is easier at first to stay on the right side of the drainage, but eventually it will become too steep and you'll want to enter the drainage. It's an uninteresting bushwhack for a while, with plenty of dead and rotting trees to climb over and around. Eventually you will come to a sheer drop off that can not be descended without a rope. Fix the rope in place either from a big tree on the right (facing down canyon) or from a pinch point on the left (right side will be easier for the ascent on the way out). After the rappel, take off your harness and rock hop and bushwhack down stream. Soon you'll reach a junction with a tributary entering from the right. Continuing down canyon, there are many small down climbs (particularly if you are trying to keep your feet dry) and small grottos that are mildly scenic, but the canyon never really gets interesting. After a while, the rock changes from Coconino Sandstone to Supai and eventually becomes wide and uninteresting. When ready, return the way you came, jugging your rope on the way out.

Rating (1-5 stars):
The author and two friends spent 4.5 hours exploring the canyon.
Maps: None used
Books: None used
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.

The 90' rappel.  
Small falls and pool. Another small falls and pool.