Rock Garden

Tuckup Canyon — The western Canyon areas are dominated by expansive Esplanade surfaces and many ins-and-outs, with long distance on obscure disused trails, and few reliable water sources. In the period after a rain or a good winter season there are important large pothole sources, but locating them can be very difficult.

Tuckup, or the historic place-name Schmutz Spring Trail, departs from the end of the road access southeast of Hancock Knoll. The first section is a continuation of the old road. This was a cattle run from the early days. The trail is easily followed from the rim to the area of a landmark limestone block where the trail becomes somewhat indistinct with the option to head out west above the basalt formation to reach Cottonwood Spring and The Dome. The trail to the east is more evident from travel, crossing the bed of the upper forks and continuing near Shamans Gallery. The old track continues contouring the Esplanade to the east but is easily lost.

The main bed is mostly non-technical and is passable (difficult travel) with several obstacles, including two high bypasses, and two chockstone climbs, a tunnel and a bridge, and many difficult boulder jumbles. Differences in seasonal water flowing in the lower sections could make travel very different from year-to-year. The travertine conglomerate arch (bridge) is well-known as a popular visit from the river.

Despite the challenge just getting to the trailhead, and the considerable difficulty getting past the obstacles to access the river on foot, this area is exceptionally gorgeous with a colorful Redwall narrows, great scenic variety, and many unique features to discover and explore. This brief description of the Tuckup Region is very-simply completely inadequate.

Routes — Downriver to Willow Canyon; upriver to OneFifty-Mile Canyon. Note that travel on the Esplanade in either direction is a route-finding challenge with uncertain water sources.

The two principle side-canyons are not passible for hikers without advanced skills, and the Hades arm is a classic canyoneering descent with several short rappels and an exceptional Redwall narrows. Also Hades Route.

2015 March - Extensive dayhiking from the river (2nd visit) to the west arm arch and back.

2016 March - Hades canyoneering with 5 rappels, much water, bypassing the chockstone obstacle near the river with the hazardous break on canyon-right. The chockstone obstacle in the upper main arm is not something I could climb unassisted. But there is a steep escape (maybe 2 options) on canyon-left downstream from the Redwall narrows.

2018 March - Tuckup to Toroweap, part-one of intro-to-Espanade.

2023 April - Hades Route to make the short connection, Tuckup to OneFifty-Mile. with important water sources in Hades-east potholes and below SB Point,


Catalog of Places - Trips - Routes - Notes