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Home Lake Powell Recreation Area Hikes Chaol Falls (Navajo Canyon)

Chaol Falls (Navajo Canyon)

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Hiker: Wayne Gustaveson - Chaol Falls (Navajo Canyon) - Water Level 3636

Moderate hike:  8 miles R/T

September 2009


Navajo Canyon is the longest side canyon on Lake Powell that is not a river arm. It is a narrow riverine canyon upstream from Antelope Point marina. The mouth is near Buoy 10 in AZ. In the spring, the narrow canyon with perennial inflow is choked with drift wood making navigation to the end very difficult. As the lake recedes in summer, driftwood is stranded allowing boat traffic access to the inflow.

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Navajo Canyon is the longest side canyon on Lake Powell that is not a river arm. It is a narrow riverine canyon upstream from Antelope Point marina. The mouth is near Buoy 10 in AZ.

In the spring, the narrow canyon with perennial inflow is choked with drift wood making navigation to the end very difficult. As the lake recedes in summer, driftwood is stranded allowing boat traffic access to the inflow.

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Bottom slope of the lake at the canyon end is flat making navigation to the hike point marginal at best.  Jet drive boats or wave runners are an option but sand may get in motors . We tackled the problem with an inflatable dingy launched from the big boat which took us the last half mile.


The very best option would be kayaks to cover the shallow water at canyon end

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Once the lake draws down there is a bit of beach that allows one to avoid wading for the last 500 yards. Getting to the canyon end may be the most difficult part of the hike.

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Now that the hike has begun there is the problem of soft sediment that pulls off flip flops and fills up tennis shoes with silt.  I don't do bare feet so I have to deal with emptying my shoes as necessary.  It is impossible to make this hike with dry feet.  The stream bed is crossed about 50 times. On hot days the cool stream is refreshing. High walls provide shade about half the time.

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Hike distance is 4 miles one way at this lake level. You may see horses as we did along the flat stream bed.  If the horses are not there note the sand bank in the background.  At this point two small streams come together. It takes one hour to hike to this point.

You must take the RIGHT FORK

The left fork is Navajo Canyon and it goes on farther that a person can walk in a day. If looking for the Falls, then Chaol Canyon is a better bet.

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The walk is flat and the ground hard making for easy walking in Chaol Canyon. The walls are steep and picturesque.  It takes one hour to hike to the falls once in Chaol Canyon.

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You will be able to hear the falls in the narrow canyon about a quarter mile before they come into view. When it looks like its time to swim, step back and look for a sandy trail on the left hand side leading up to the next terrace.

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Go up the trail for the overview. Elevation gain is about 40 feet.

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The falls come across a wide hard rock layer and then tumble into a wild assortment of slots, bridges and arches.

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Before getting to the falls, look in the hard white rock layer for dinosaur tracks.

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This is a special place with stunning scenery, calm cool water. You may want to spend the full day here just taking in the sights and sounds.  It is hard enough to get to that you may have it to yourselves as we did on a Saturday in September.

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This is the slot looking back downstream from the top of the falls.

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Here are the falls looking upstream. Its difficult to judge how magnificent the falls are from the pictures.

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There are numerous convoluted slots and arches in the sandstone.

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For perspective the falls are bigger than people as they descend perhaps 40 feet.  It would not be wise to fall here and looking over the edge makes one cautious.

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Just upstream on the left side a short climb to the next level provides an unexpected view of ancient petroglyphs.

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Pictures of deer and desert bighorn sheep are indicative of the wildlife frequenting the area when the Anasazi were living here.
 
This is a great hike to one of Natures Special places. Please enjoy it but leave it cleaner than it was and respect it for what it its.  Please protect it.

 

 


Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 13:52