Spooky Canyon

MOJAVE TRAILS NATIONAL MONUMENT

AFTON CANYON

Activity: Off-Road, Overlanding, Hiking, Spelunking, Rock Climbing, Scrambling, Camping

Date: 12-22-22

Wow, what an exciting and daring feat! This outing encompassed so many aspects of an thrilling adventure. My son Alec and I were on a Overlanding expedition of Afton Canyon and this was one of the exhilarating excursions as part of that jaunt. Can you tell that I am more than a little enthusiastic about this trek?

So as far as Spooky Canyon… The map that I have attached begins at the Campground that we camped at. The Afton Campground area is about 3.5 miles off the freeway., It’s a good campground with great views, park pit toilets, picnic benches, grills, fire pits and shade coverings. The campground is first come first serve and is $6.

The recommendation is that the dirt road off of the I15 Afton Road Exit is doable for most cars, but if you go beyond that point you should have a high clearance 4×4, as there is sand, dirt, rocks, and water crossings ahead. The map shows the Spooky Canyon Hike as 8 miles, but if you 4 Wheel to Spooky Canyon it is obviously much shorter.

It is a must to have GPS directions as it would be difficult to find the trailhead otherwise. We parked at the railroad tracks, where there is a small bridge, (not to be confused with the train trestle that you pass earlier). We walked under the tiny bridge to get to the Spooky Canyon entrance.

The Canyon is a very cool slot canyon with plenty of twists and turns, rock out cropping and unique rocks formation and walls, with places to squeeze by and scramble over. I don’t know that it ever completely encloses overhead, but it certainly leaves only the most dim skylights in places so that headlamps are a necessity. The hike is most interesting, but where it kicks it up a notch or two is when you arrive at the ropes.

There are a half dozen or so climbing sections that range in 10-35′ in height with one having just a step in between before you begin again, so that one is basically a 60′ drop or so.

My teenage son thought this roped area was the greatest thing ever. It was vertical. You could find footholds and climb up the rope that had spaced out knots and some loops, (and not always in spots that you might need them.) I used a combination of the rope in one hand and a rock handhold in the other and hoped that if the rock handhold came off in my hand that I would be fine with my body weight dangling by one hand on the rope. The first sections going up, (of course up is always easier than going down, which was something that was weighing heavy on my mind, but certainly not the gun ho teen’s), were not too bad. It was the last section that was the most intense as it was higher and was the section that basically had two rather dramatic climbs pieced together.

My son climbed up no problem as I waited to see how that went and wondered was there something up there that worth the effort and dangerous undertaking. All I heard from up above was the crunch of gravel as Alec plodded off down the next corridor. “Alec? Alec?” No response… So I waited about 5 mins and though, Oh the heck with it and started climbing. It would have been nice to have someone there to know if I made it or not… teenagers, lol.

At the top of the climb were more twists and turns of a slot canyon. The roof finally opened up into bright blue sky and I continued along the path of sand, dirt and rocks with steep walls all along. After 10 minutes or so along the route Alec returned to me and accompanied me the rest of the way. The track ended with a scamper up a desert hillside of loose rock to an incredible view of the entire area.

After a snack we headed back enjoying the beauty of this awesome spectacle known as Spooky Canyon. Back to the ropes, only this time it was down, which as I said previously is always harder. Mr. Showboat grasped the rope and leaned back using grip strength on the rope as if he was in a climbing harness, which he was not. I objected to this method saying what if your hand slipped… but to no avail. Then I told him the other problem with your technique is that in the pictures it makes it look like you are just on an incline with a rope instead of vertical, but whatever, lol. We both made it and I will say it was a most energizing and stimulating experience.

Once we exited the canyon there was a long freight train going by which was an excellent sight to observe right in front of us.

For all the action of this cave climb in Spooky Canyon CLICK THE PIC!
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel

Back down the ropes… always harder then going up.
You can’t fall if you don’t climb. But there’s no joy in living your whole life on the ground.

Thanks for checking out this invigorating, interesting and eerily beautiful ‘Spooky Canyon’ hike, with my son Alec and I. We highly recommend this hike although to complete it you should be athletic and fearless. You have to put a lot of trust into the ropes as you are forced to question, how good are the ropes? How long have they been there? Who set them up, tied the knots and how were they placed? So if I was to rename this canyon it would be “Sketchy Canyon”, lol! It did appear that the lines were in descent shape and that whoever put them there knew what they were doing, but still… So that you do not miss out on the rest of the adventure in Afton Canyon please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you go to the menu you will discover that PBTA adventures to many fabulous locations all over this great West of ours. Each location or activity is a separate Website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Hopefully this expose has encouraged you to plan your own exciting adventure in Nature. It is so important for all of us to take a mental and physical break from the rigors of everyday life with its stresses, routines, and even boredom. Adventures in Nature is what ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ is all about. Nature heals, it is big medicine. If you need adventure wear I literally have you covered please checkout SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

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