Fay Canyon is a pretty short and easy hike. Or it can be. If you decide to hike out to Fay Canyon Arch and hike out beyond the end of the trail it can be much more demanding.
Lorraine and I do not do easy hikes. At least not if we can avoid it. We decided to ascend to the Fay Canyon Arch and to hike out beyond the end of the trail.
On this hike we trekked just over three miles and climbed over five hundred feet but only because we diverted off the main trail.
We were approached as we left our car at the trailhead by a man who wanted to help guide us through this simple out and back trail. I’m always a bit suspicious of unsolicited offers to help particularly in a place frequented by tourists. I was pretty firm despite multiple offers from this person. Another Canadian couple from Alberta were not so fortunate mind you. We met up with them later on and the man walked beside them all the way out on the trail. I suspect he was wanted to be provided with some form of recognition for being a guide. Although no one would need a guide on such a simple hike.
The main trail is literally a walk in a forest. Mostly flat and relatively smooth. During the heat of the summer this would be an excellent choice given the shade from the trees.
I knew that there were several branches to explore the canyon more fully. One of them is identified on some of the trail maps and that is the Fay Canyon Arch. You can see it pictured below.
It is roughly a 500 foot ascent to the arch. And the climb can be challenging in spots. It is also very easy to lose the footpath up to the top.
This angle provides a bit more perspective. It was a steep climb.
The arch is not all that deep. Perhaps 10-15 feet. And 20 feet or so in height.
The loose rock made the climb down as challenging as the climb up.
We started the hike at 3:30pm and, being in a canyon, we had sharp relief between the areas lit by sunlight and the areas covered by shade.
Almost to the bottom of the climb. We both had to resort to scrambling low to the ground.
Lorraine did not fall here. She did have to reposition to navigate the last part of the steep descent.
Back on the main trail we resumed the walk through the forest.
Just off the main trail were rocky creek beds.
Our path remained very smooth by comparison.
And, before we knew it, we hit the end of the trail. Or did we?
Just beyond the end of the trail is a large rock formation that juts out on the one side of Fay Canyon. Looks like something we should climb.
I wasn’t too sure about going up but Lorraine put her foot down. Up to the top it is then.
Awesome view from the interior wall of the canyon. You can make out Cathedral Rock on the horizon. It would be about a 12-mile drive to Cathedral Rock from Fay Canyon and perhaps 8 miles in a straight line from where we were.
I took a quick video of the place.
We weren’t able to go any further into the canyon without risking a fall. I mean, we were already risking a fall but continuing further would have dramatically increased that risk. Time to turn back.
At this point the sun began descending behind the mountains and the canyon floor was now covered in shade. That meant the end of the mild temperatures. I could feel the rapid change in temperature so much so that I had to put gloves on my hands. We carry a range of items in our back packs including clothing items for dealing with temperature changes and rain. Good thing as we needed to add some layers as the weather cooled down.
We did another diversion off the main trail on our way back so that I could capture this shot of the area.
Towards the end of the trail someone was thoughtful enough to let us know where we were in Arizona.
The Fay Canyon trail begins on the opposite side of the road from the trailhead parking lot. Fortunately there is not much in the way of traffic.
Another beautiful day for hiking. This was our sixth hike in six days. As long as the weather cooperates, we will be hiking although we do have a couple of day trips planned over the next two weeks.