S'mores Canyon, AZ
Longest Rappel: ≈ 100'
S'mores Canyon is a quick run near Thatcher, Arizona with a huge payoff for the little effort required to drop in. Carrying two 100' ropes will get the group through without any issues although a third could be brought as an insurance plan or to speed things up. Checking the USGS Gauge prior to going will let your group know what conditions to expect. Somewhere around 1cfs will provide a good, fun day. As the flow increases to 1.5cfs and beyond, the canyon can get pushy in spots and should only be approached by those familiar and comfortable running heavier Class-C environments. Getting there is fairly straight forward, searching for driving directions to "Frye Mesa Reservoir" should pull up simple turn by turn info from your location, the reservoir is your parking location. Once you arrive, there are a few popular options for setting up the approach. Parking down the hill at the reservoir and hiking in works great with one vehicle and allows you to get the hike up the parking area hill out of the way. On lazy days, you could park at the reservoir and shuttle up the road a bit where parking can be found on the left of the road where you will find yourself looking directly at one of the waterfalls you will be dropping down later in the day. From this point on you will head down the unmaintained road where a well defined trail weaves up and off to the left. Once up and over the hill, you will drop down the other side into the creek to a spot where you can get geared up for the day. From here on out it is a great ride through the creek with a few series of waterfall rappels and slides here and there. As soon as you are geared up, the canyon begins with a series of drops one after another until you soon find yourself at a shallow pool directly beneath the area marked as the optional shuttle vehicle. If things are not going well, this is a great spot to bail out by heading up the hill to the road above. After this pool a section of flat, bushy ground will need to be covered before the canyon tightens back up. Depending on flow at least one section of these narrows will be in a position to blast you in the face as you are dropping down the chute into the pool below. At this chute good sequencing should be used to move the group through the pool below and down the immediate rappel to follow. Rounding the corner your group will find the last drop and typically a group of locals below enjoying the shallow pool at the bottom. This last drop has been slid down on several occasions, but always, someone was sent down first to check the pools depth and clear any debris. If sliding is your style, just know it is a fast ride and the pool is extremely shallow on a good day. Hold on tight and bend your knees on impact. After your grand entrance for the locals, its time to gear down. Heading out toward the reservoir you will find a good trail that leads around to the left that will take you back to your vehicle.