Downclimb Fest in Hidden Falls Canyon

The first rappel

Out on a recent trip to Red Rock Canyon I was unable to climb due to an injury and was looking for non-4×4 required canyons in the park. I found Hidden Falls Canyon (3A III, 4-11r, 120ft) on ropewiki and thought it looked beautiful and was worth the effort with its rocky watercourses, bouldery washes and endless down climbing.

We hiked the gravel road from Willow Springs Trailhead. A couple of jeeps came up behind us early on and then turned around. With some good conversation, we were soon to the road turn off marked by a medium sized cairn. From here we went straight up the ridgeline on a mostly dirt trail. It was pretty steep and burned the calves. 

Dirt trail going UP

At about 6500 ft the dirt gave way to more rock and cairns started appearing.

Rocks start to appear on trail

We didn’t pay super close attention to the GPX line and got a little too high following the main trail before heading left towards the canyon. Once we were near it, the rocky walls were obvious this was the start. 

Canyon Mouth

I thought we were hiking fast, but soon after we reached the first rappel the party of six that let us pass them initially showed up and gave us some space while they had a snack. The first two rappels come quickly and you enter more of a watercourse. The top 1/4th of the canyon had a lot of ice flows down the middle that luckily didn’t cause too much trouble. 

Downclimbing alongside an ice flow

Soon after the second rappel, it becomes a boulder downclimbing fest through a wash for about half the canyon before rappels start up again.

Some boulder downclimbing

There was a fun shorter section of wide rock watercourse that was pretty cool about halfway down.

Wonderful rock watercourse

In the lower 1/3, the cairns were marking where the rappel stations were rather than leading us around to a down climb. We probably down climbed 3-4 of the rappels and did a total of six rappels. It was often fairly quick to do the short rappels so we lost very little time when we decided the downclimbs were too spicy.

Short rappel bypassing an algae down climb

Towards the end there were two rappels that if done normally would drop you into a pool of water. We got around that by down climbing one rappel and doing a tension traverse rappel maneuver on the second one. 

Avoiding the pool of water through tension traverse rappel

The canyon ends in a rappel down to a hiking trail and then you walk a short distance back to the car. In summary it was a great adventure with LOTS of down climbing and some fun rock watercourse features. The rappels had some fun to them but were all relatively short. We did it in 5.5 hrs car-car with a two hour approach and 2.5 hours in canyon with a short lunch.