Upper Eardley Canyon |

Central Swell

Hiking Upper Eardley Canyon - Central Swell Hiking Upper Eardley Canyon
Central Swell

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TICKS & TODOS: 12 Todo Lists / 1 Ticks
RATING: Long Dayhike / Moderate Backpack
WATER: Some in middle Eardley, the exit has none.
SEASON: Fall, Winter, Spring
Tue Hi:68 Lo:44 Wed Hi:72 Lo:46 Thu Hi:74 Lo:48 Fri Hi:74 Lo:50 Sat Hi:73 Lo:50
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Eardley Canyon is one of the gems of the Eastern Reef area in the San Rafael Swell. The lower section, that dumps into Straight Wash, is frequented by canyoneers, yet the upper reaches seem infrequently traveled and quite pristine. This upper section, in Coconino (Cedar Mesa) sandstone is deep walled, lush in spots, and has very vibrant colors. The middle section between the upper and lower can be a bit of a slog, with much boulder hoping.

The first way to visit, and most recommended, is to start at the trailhead, go down as far as comfortable and return the same way. This makes a great day hike and sees the best sections of Eardley. This is do-able anytime of year and has easy navigation. Those wishing to see more may still want to consider going down a few miles, setting up camp, and exploring down canyon as a day hike without heavy packs.

For those wishing the full meal deal, Eardley can be done as a loop either as a very long day hike, or more moderate overnight. The loop, after the upper day hiking section, continues down as Eardley Canyon opens and becomes more difficult going with much boulder hoping. It escapes up a loose and steep gully before going cross country back to the trailhead. This is only recommended for advanced hikers and requires advanced navigation and good fitness levels. The boulder hoping and loose gully are tiring. Due to the exposure and lack of water during the last half of the hike, attempt this only in early spring and fall when temperatures are more moderate.

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