Adventure? Blisters, thirst, heat, cold, and a 180-foot high waterfall. That pretty much sums up Deer Creek Canyon. And no adventure would be complete without some pain and discomfort and I got my fill on this trip.
Deer Creek Canyon sits at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and dumps water over a giant waterfall into the Colorado River. It’s truly a majestic site and a long hike in and out with limited water. We left a gallon of water near the Bill Hall sign on the valley floor and then headed off down the canyon with heavy packs in tow. We camped at Surprise Valley where the running joke was “Surprise, there’s nothing here!” The valley is barren with no water source, one tree, and blazing heat (my Camelback tube melted closed). From there, it was a long and heavy hike to and from the Deer Creek Canyon trailhead, but the fun was worth the hike.
Considered sacred to Native Americans in the area, the canyon is now closed to canyoneers. Upon hearing this news, I felt fortunate to have been able to experience the thrill of the final rappel before it was listed off limits. The canyon is wet and cold (wetsuit required) and ends with a 180-foot rappel over a waterfall into a small pool that rests at the edge of the Colorado River.
We left for our car and the North Rim early in the morning to try and beat the heat. When you include the weight of wet ropes and wetsuits along with a camera and 1,400 additional feet of canyon wall any “adventure” quickly becomes a rugged test of endurance. In the end, the images made were worth the 16 blisters incurred.
My entire group of images from this trip can be seen here.