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Badger Canyon - Marble Canyon

Summary: A technical down and back canyon with some nice narrows. To successfully complete this hike you will need three ropes (I suggest 2x50' and 1x70'), about 30ft of webbing, a harness, several carabiners, plus descending and ascending gear. 
Directions: From Flagstaff drive north on Highway 89.  Turn left on Highway 89A towards Jacob Lake. Between mile posts 542 and 543 you'll cross a concrete bridge above a narrow drainage - this is Badger Canyon. Park where you can nearby. 
Road Conditions: Passenger Car - paved all the way
Navigation: Easy
Length: ~5 miles
Date Hiked: November, 2001, March 2002, updated March 2005
Weather Conditions: Nice
Required Skills:
Hike Description: From 89A walk up canyon to the north a short distance until the drainage becomes shallow enough to walk into. Get into the drainage and head down canyon under the bridge. A short distance later you will pass a small flow gauge on the left. The canyon is fairly shallow until 15 minutes later you arrive at a confluence with a drainage coming in on the right and a dry fall. You can get down the dry fall by heading right along a ledge into the other drainage and climbing down a steep, but not terribly difficult, rock wall. Fifty feet after this first dry fall is another drop off and your first rappel (note: each time I've done this canyon I've fixed ropes in place and used a jumar to climb out the same way, there are other possible exit routes to the canyon, but as I have not done them they will not be described here). There are several holes dissolved in the rock on the right side of the canyon that you can tie webbing through for use as an anchor or use a rock jammed under a ledge on the left side (note: the pitons I mentioned at this drop in an earlier description have since been removed). The rappel is about 35ft high into a possible calf deep pool (this is the only time wading was required when I was here and I took off my shoes to keep them dry). About 75 feet below the first rappel point is your second drop. It consists of a chute with a ledge on the left. You could either use the choke stones at the top of the chute on canyon right as an anchor point (maybe a 60ft rappel and a good photo op), but it's easier to walk the ledge on the left a short distance to a bolt and hanger (when the author was here a rope was fixed to this anchor - I left it in place, but used my own). A 45ft rope was plenty long to accomplish the descent from the bolt. Below this point is a nice, if short, stretch of narrows. Further along you'll come to a 25 foot dry fall which can be bypassed by walking along the break down on canyon right and route finding your way down. Below this the canyon passes through another stretch of decent narrows and passes a side canyon which comes in from the right (see below *) before coming to another dry fall and rappel. The drop is only about 25 feet, the anchor point used to be a small natural arch about 8 feet up on the right, but it has since disappeared. You'll now need to use one of the large boulders on the slope on the right side of the canyon. Below the third rappel you will begin to hear the faint roar of the Colorado. It's an easy flat walk the rest of the way to the river and a view of Jackass Canyon across from you. The lower section of this canyon lies within Grand Canyon National Park. When ready, return the way you came, putting your ascending gear to use and retrieving all the rope and webbing you left on the way in.

(*) If you decide to explore this side canyon - a couple hundred feet from it's confluence with Badger Canyon you will come to a large dry fall. Adventurous individuals can climb up the break down on the right (looking up canyon) and perform a sketchy climb to a ledge which you can follow into the canyon above the fall. A short distance later is another dry fall that the author climbed using a couple rocks stacked on top of each other. Above this climb is a very nice, if short, section of charming narrows before you reach a pool and another dry fall. This one looked somewhat more difficult to climb so the author turned around at this point (also looked like the canyon opened up above).

Rating (1-5 stars):
The author and his wife completed this hike (including exploration of the side canyon) at a leisurely pace in 5 1/2 hours. 
Maps: None used
Books:  A few details may be found in: Canyon Hiking Guide to the Colorado Plateau - Michael Kelsey
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
The first rappel. The second rappel. Badger Canyon Narrows.
Down climb. The Colorado River.