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5 miles

Elevation Gain

400 ft

Route Type



Added by Kyle C

Dragonfly Canyon is a fun canyoneering adventure with a mandatory swim in a pothole that can be completed in just a few hours.

This canyon is a bit more advanced as it requires a mandatory swim and most likely a section of wet pot holes to surmount which, if dry, can also pose their own challenge. You will need standard canyoneering gear as well as two 60m ropes for the last rappel.

Start by parking on a small pullout on the right if you are driving into the park about a mile up the road after crossing courthouse wash. From here, you can head east at first following obvious national park signs which quickly turn to cairns. Take care to step only on durable surfaces as you travel through this delicate landscape. Eventually you will intersect with the canyon and you can start your descent from here.  If you enter the canyon too far to the north, you will be faced with a tricky down-climb. If you find that your party is unable to safely complete this, head out of the canyon and reenter from an easier point further south.

You will soon come to an area of multiple potholes that can be completely full of water to empty. The first few might be able to be avoided to the left.  If full, they are one big swim, but if empty it may require some escape methods and teamwork. At the end of the segment of potholes, the canyon narrows, forcing you into a five to ten foot slide into a pool that will require swimming. Once you make the plunge, swim to your right to get to dry ground and eventually two bolts on the right side.  This is your first 70 foot rappel.

Rap down next to a pool and continue your hike down canyon. The canyon soon starts to narrow again where you will be required to make a second rap over 120 feet and utilize two ropes. This will take you down into a very lush drainage with poison ivy so be careful to avoid the green when possible!

The hike out then follows the canyon down to a T where you take a right into Courthouse Wash which you then follow for about one mile. There are game trails and social trails that will eventually lead you back to the main road. Follow the road north back to your vehicle.

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Rock Climbing
Easy Parking
Swimming Hole

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