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Monday, May 20, 2013

To the pit

Rim above Sandy's Canyon and the pit

Let's call this one Sandy's Canyon with a twist.  I happened to be in the area of Mormon Lake last week and decided to make a quick run into the canyon on my way back just to take a peek at the recent  damage from the Fisher Fire. At the trailhead, I got distracted by that pesky sign where Sandy's Canyon/AZ  Trail goes left and Canyon Vista  heads right. As I wasn't really on a schedule, it seemed like to perfect time to make the detour to satisfy my curiosity about the Canyon Vista trail.  As it turns out-- what is an appetizer for hikers is the main course for rock  climbers. Canyon Vista trail dips downhill to Le Petit Verdon---a popular climbing area better known as "the pit".  Here, soaring limestone walls with bolted routes provide dozens of ways to explore the crags in vertical format.  Although it's an enjoyable side trip for hikers, this is the domain of sport climbers, so be respectful when passing near them, or better yet, observe their spiderman-like athletics from a distance.  Once done marveling at the climbers, head back up (and down again) for a trek into Sandy's Canyon.  The fire damage isn't too bad. 

LENGTH: 1 mile roundtrip or 3.8 miles with Sandy's Canyon
RATING: easy (uneven, rocky surfaces)
ELEVATION: 6800' - 6600'
From Phoenix, go north on I17 to just south of I40 in Flagstaff and turn right  onto  exit 339 for Lake Mary Road (FR3).  From the bottom of the off ramp, turn right continue 5.5 miles south to Canyon Vista Campground on the left near milepost 300.  There's a small no-fee parking area  
Climbers in the pit
for hikers.
INFO: Flagstaff Ranger District, Coconino National Forest 928-526-0866

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