Rock Garden

Lava Canyon — The south end of the Butte Fault crosses the lower end of the canyon. The upper drainage divides into Lava and Chuar Canyons and so this place takes either or both names, but the dominant structure is Lava Creek and extends west very far to meet Walhalla Plateau. The broad bed is easy travel and water flows year-round from springs at the upper end. The area is popular with the rafting groups. Excursions go up Carbon, across to Lava and down to the river. Destination points include Still Spring at the drainage that leads to Juno Temple from middle Chaur Valley. Views of Siegfried Pyre dominate hiking along the creek. The major water source is marked by huge sandstone monument standing on end in the upper valley below Chiavria Butte. Above this the bed seems dry, but there are other water sources farther up from Natchi (Naji) Canyon. Two worthwhile places to find are a major Anazasi site under a cliff overhang, and the corn grinder still site (Still Spring) in Chuar Valley. The Chuar Creek fork is dry and there is not much to see.

The beach area is a river camp and there is an old mine shaft in the basalt rock hill upriver. Beach landing sites are located both upriver above and below the rapid. Possible ferry crossing from upriver to here or downriver to land below Palisades Creek.

Routes — There are quite a few, and I have been able to explore some. This is the south end of the Horsethief Route along the Butte Fault; the traditional route is believed to go to the river here, cross near the island just downriver, and join the Beamer Trail. Harvey B. rediscovered a route associated with McDonald, another miner; this route goes over Chiavria Butte and goes to the rim north of Atoka Point. Several routes connect with Basalt Canyon. At the upper end a route goes over the Redwall saddle into Unkar Creek. Except for the popular track connecting with Carbon Creek, there is very little use here. Some say that the famous (infamous) Horsethief Trail begins here (Horsethief Butte Fault).

Still another historic trail is connected to the C.D. Walcott expedition of 1883. The exact location of travel is not recorded and difficult to identify, but switchbacks are present in a break on the northern side near the narrowest section of the divide between Lava and Basalt. An ancient Anazasi track goes through another more obvious break on the north slope at the head of Basalt Creek.

1998 May - Lunch 2 coming along the eastern slopes from Basalt and going on to Carbon and passing east of Temple Butte going to Crash Canyon. Impressive and complex geology on the southern slopes of Lava. See notes on the North Rim Passage trip.

2007 April - River crossing from below the Beamer Trail and hiking days 2/3/4, start and end from Lipan Point.

2007 September - Camp 5 and 6 at Still Spring; continuing to Basalt Delta.


Catalog of Places - Trips - Routes - Notes