Trip Stats | Lower Eardley Canyon - San Rafael Swell

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Quality Ratings


NEED 4WD to get out there. The shortcut approach is a bit of a workout and open to the sun. The shortcut approach is also dicey being close to the cliff edges and lots of loose boulders and some scrambling down on the decent into the canyon area. Canyon itself is pretty easy going. Not awkward and fun. Canyon was full.

Still pretty full. Super fun canyon.

New descent starting at the juniper tree noted in the description with an 18m rappel to good ledge to stash people if lowering. Short rope to next juniper tree with great pick and nice fencing to stash people. This is another 18m rapell. Then walk ledge slightly down an up canyon to great fencing and a 3rd class downclimb. Work your way up canyon along ledges till you find a sloping class 2 ledge system leading to the canyon floor. This may be more complicated than the normal descent but a worthy option. The entire approach took 2 hours with some slow moving people due to the complicated nature of the downclimb. Poor bolt in description has been replaced with a single glue in. The whole canyon could use an update with webbing. A superior canyon worth the effort.


Full potholes with running water

Got lost with Stephen and Bridger. Boiling hot weather made the water a welcome respite from the heat.

Did with Ellie’s crew. Left trail for shortcut too early.

Did this with Kaden and Rich. Hot day, the hiking approach takes a lot of energy. We found the shortcut, but since none of us had done it, we elected to take the standard route. This added more hiking, as very long, steep and loose gully to get to the canyon bottom (kind of stressful). The canyon bottom is rocky and muddy, so moving down canyon was slow. The pothole section was fun with mostly full potholes. The water was a bit stinky, but not terrible. We did not have wetsuits on 100 degree day and became slightly chilled near the end.

Long hike uphill and hot. Very dry but would require wetsuit if not.


Completed the short approach. 4th class downclimb was manageable with 2 novice teenage boys. Good rappel anchors but lots of transitions.

Much lower water level than previous trip (07/07/19). Sneaker route was easy to locate and traverse down. Water was pleasant, albeit a bit chilly. No wetsuit needed. Team: Dylan, Dave, Blake, Kyle.

Nice pools. Did without wetsuit and was only chilly for 20 minutes. 2 jumpers, 1 quite exciting, even though water levels were low. Shortcut descent was tricky to navigate; we did it in 2 rappels.


Dana Brooke

w/ pa, T, zaz

Sneaker route is easy to locate but has some exposed moves at the top (traversing left to right) to get to the rappel stations. Fun canyon, lots of jumping into clean water. No wetsuit needed. Time: 6 hours. Team: Dylan, Jamin, Jonnah, Kyle.


Tough approach. Steep climb to get into Canyon. Full of water. Could jump off all Rappels.

Awesome Canyon, cool super tall keeper. Did with Lydia, Tauna, Tyber, Adam

With Haley

With Ryan


Did the route in 8 hours with 4 people, air temp was 50s but the water was frigid. Worried about hypothermia by the end of the route. Left dry cloths at the end of the canyon was a great idea so we were able to dry and warm up before returning to the car.

2 attempts to find shortcut descent. Excellent!



Lower Eardley is a real treat on a hot summer day. We camped just shy of the trail head at a previously used site and started the slog at 7 am. We opted for the both shortcut routes, the first avoiding the horseshoe and the second cutting the reef hike in half. As mentioned by other the crux of the shortcut is the very start just below the tree. We expected to downclimb sections but instead found 2 webbing anchors along the way down and this made the descent much easier and faster. The canyon was very full of water which made the potholes just a joy to play in. Somewhere after the second rap in the canyon we encountered a very black and VERY stinky pool that we did not read about on other trip reports. This pool requires a 20ft swim and is just rough on the olfactory systems. Other than that this canyon is a real treasure and SO GREAT on a hot summer day!!!


Did shortcut approach. Easy to find. We rappelled as it looked intimidating to down climb.Does not look that bad once below it. Pools were full and we were glad to have wetsuits as it clouded over.

The approach was long and rigorous with a nasty scree field downclimb into the canyon. This canyon has a ton of great pools though. The water was warm enough to not need a wetsuit. The webbing on the rappels will likely need to be replaced very soon. The last rappel (~50ft) had a single bolt and a piton that had popped out. There were some rocks in the water that could have been slung but we just went off the single bolt. I would inspect this bolt and be prepared to back it up before doing this rappel after the next wash out. If you can handle the long approach in full sun I would recommend doing this one.




First Canyon. Very bad hypothermia.

lots of pools

fun water