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Pumphouse Wash - Coconino National Forest

Summary: A short out and back rock hop up a stream bed to some nice sandstone narrows and lenses.
Directions: Take Highway 89A to the bridge in the upper part of Oak Creek Canyon near mile post 388. Park at the small pull off just to the north of the bridge on the east side of the road. Pumphouse wash is the drainage beneath the bridge.
Road Conditions: Passenger car - paved all the way.
Navigation: Easy
Length: 2-5 miles depending on where you turn around
Date Hiked: July, 2001
Weather Conditions: Cloudy & pleasant
Required Skills: None
Hike Description: From the bridge, look for a trail down to the stream bed. From there it's a simple matter of rock hopping your way upstream. Pumphouse Wash must get flooded periodically since there is little plant growth in the lower part of the canyon. There are a few short stretches where the canyon narrows and you may find pools of water. These pools can usually be easily bypassed on one side of the canyon or the other. About an hours walking from the bridge will bring you to a longer stretch of twisty narrows with water and pools. You can avoid getting wet by walking up onto the sandstone bench on the right side (facing upstream) of the canyon. If you continue on, you will find a section of interesting sandstone lenses a little further upstream (it would be cool to see them when water was actually flowing), before eventually reaching the grassy confluence (which has some nice camp sites) with the right branching James Canyon (2.6 miles). If you made it to this point, this is a good place to turn around, otherwise you can take a look at my 'James/Kelly Canyon' write up to see what is up canyon from here.
Rating (1-5 stars):
The author has been to Pumphouse Wash on two occasions. Once as a day hike up from the bottom and once as part of a through trip down James Canyon. You can probably see the best parts of this canyon in 2-3 hours.
Maps: Coconino National Forest Map
Books: 'Canyoneering Arizona', Tyler Williams, 'The Favorite Hikes, Flagstaff & Sedona', Cosmic Ray
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
Lower Pumphouse Wash.