Adventure #1: Wet & Wild Waterslides Canyon

This is Adventure #1 of my Top 10 Adventures Count Down

When Mike and I go canyoneering, we almost always seek out new canyons. There are a few we’ve done 2 or 3 times, and we’ve done the Jug about 8 times, but usually it seems more adventurous to go into the unknown than to repeat the same canyon over and over.


Waterslides Canyon started off even more unknown than most of our canyons, though it will likely be one of those rare gems we go back to again and again.


I say that it started off more unknown than other canyons because we did not find its description in a canyoneering guide book. Many of the canyons we complete are listed in books that detail where they are, how large the biggest rappel is, what time of year to go, etc. Waterslides does not currently appear in any guide book; it’s a secret of the canyoneering community. Mike saw a few photos online and got one of his contacts to share the canyon’s exit GPS coordinates with him. He then studied topo maps to plan our course.


The first time we went was in early April 2012. Two friends, Stephanie and Jacob, joined us, and the four of us brought two cars so we could set up a shuttle between the entrance and the exit.


The canyon itself is so incredibly fun. It has a little bit of everything: dry sections with great views and medium-length rappels, and wet sections with huge slides and chilly pools. The rappels are nothing new in this canyon, but it’s not too often one finds giant water slides in the desert. The Jug has one decent-sized, 15-foot slide and several mini slides, but Waterslides has at least half a dozen slides of 15 feet or more. On some of the slides we had to sit at the top and psych ourselves up because they were 30 feet or more. A nicely controlled rappel with a rope is one thing; a madly careening slide into an icy pool is another. Despite frequent initial hesitations, we all thoroughly enjoyed the slides and the canyon.


Although we thought we were done with our adventure for the day, we still had some crazy times ahead of us. Much of our exit took place in the dark, but we found our exit vehicle, piled in, and drove back up to the canyon’s entrance. We split into the two cars and began descending the very rough dirt road. Only a short way from the top, my little Pontiac Vibe got a flat tire. We took out the spare, put it on, and started up again. Within about a minute, the spare also went flat. We were screwed. Mike and I decided to abandon my baby, and we climbed into Stephanie’s more suitable large SUV. Unfortunately, one of her tires seemed to have developed a slow leak as well. After putting on her spare, we finally made it the 6 miles or so back to a smoother dirt road and then back to Phoenix.


A week later, Mike bought a new tire, and we rented a car to drive the 3 hours back to rescue our abandoned Vibe. In order to avoid damages to the rental car, we drove it only a few miles up the rough road until things got too hairy. Then we got out, tied the new tire onto Mike’s back (I carried our water, snacks, a new jack and air compressor, and some other tools), and hiked the rest of the way up the mountain to the Vibe. Luckily we were able to change the tire and make it down the mountain (with the Vibe and the rental) and return to Phoenix. None of this craziness dampened our Waterslides experience.



This year, in April 2013, we decided to go back. We had a slightly larger group (Pradeep, Adam, Richard, Alana, and Chris joined us) and no major incidents with the cars. Again, it was a blast and again, the slides were somewhat terrifying. I think I’ll be up for another trip next April (the best time of year to go) if you want to plan to join us.


Waterslides might not be the most extreme or most exotic of our adventures, but it epitomizes the reasons I continue to seek out such experiences. It mixes pure fun with physical challenges, beautiful landscapes with potentially dangerous conditions, and careful planning with twists of the unexpected. I’ll continue to adventure and travel; I’ll continue to post stories and pictures; and I’ll continue to invite you to join us.

2013 Waterslides Canyon video

2012 Waterslides Canyon video

There’s an awful lot of adventure out there!

One Response to “Adventure #1: Wet & Wild Waterslides Canyon”
  1. Hey how long does it take to get past the last rap before the slides

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: