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Soap Canyon - Marble Canyon

Summary: A fairly easy route to the Colorado River down the south fork of Soap Creek in the Marble Canyon area of the Grand Canyon.
Directions: From Flagstaff drive north on Highway 89.  Turn left on Highway 89A towards Jacob Lake and follow it over the Navajo Bridge. Just past mile post 548 turn left on a well graded dirt road at the sign for Soap Creek. Go through the gate and follow the brown hiker signs 0.6 miles to the trail head and register.
Road Conditions: Passenger Car
Navigation: Easy 
Length: ~4.5 miles
Date Hiked: February, 2002
Weather Conditions: Cool and windy
Required Skills:
Hike Description: From the trail register, head down the most prominent sandy wash in front of you. The canyon begins as a wide and sandy wash and is not terribly interesting. After about 15 minutes you'll hit a series of drop offs (all of which are easily down climbed) and the canyon deepens significantly. Shortly afterwards you'll reach a spot where another canyon enters from the right, stay left and continue down canyon. The going becomes slower as you have to negotiate some large boulders that have fallen into the canyon from above until you reach a dry fall and 25' drop off. It is possible to down climb this falls with some exposure by inching around on a small ledge on the left until you reach a point where you can climb down, however, most people will prefer to bypass this section altogether. To avoid this section, reverse your steps above the slick rock drops until you see a large tilted boulder on canyon right (the right side of the canyon facing down stream). There is a cairn and fairly well established trail that leads up and around on the right allowing you to avoid the falls. Below the falls are a few more large boulders to negotiate, then it's easy walking all the way to the Colorado River. Along the way, you will pass a prominent canyon which enters from the left (this is the north fork of Soap Creek), then, just before you reach the river, you'll pass a small steel sign which welcomes you to Grand Canyon National Park (permit required for overnight travel, firearms ground fires and pets are prohibited). The river makes a nice spot for a snack. When ready, return the way you came.
Rating (1-5 stars):
There is nothing terribly remarkable about this canyon, but it's nice enough. There are no narrow sections (contrary to one trip report of this canyon that I have read). The author climbed down the dry fall on the way in and followed the path around when coming out. The hike was completed in just under 4 hours.
Maps: Trails Illustrated - Grand Canyon National Park
Books:  Canyoneering Arizona - Tyler Williams
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
Looking upstream at the Colorado.