Last Updated on
Diamond Down in the daytime
For those choosing to go downstream of Diamond Creek and curious about camping and possible itineraries here’s a shot at some options I like. Definitely not the gospel
The Grotto(Travertine Falls 129m) is a great short hike into a big travertine slot with a neat waterfall. This is a great place to take pictures because of the the way the light shines through this slot canyon. Between the times of 10 am and 10:30 the Hualapais do a drive by. Although legal, I highly suggest not pulling in at this time because of the number of people in one area, difficulty of pull-in, and danger from snout rigs at the beach left on full cob If one approaches the Grotto and sees snout rigs I suggest pulling in at the beach, river left , just above the grotto pull in(small right bending rapid of no significance) and doing a short careful hike up the steep drainage “before” the grotto. It has a small seep, beautiful geology and wildlife. If one continued up the whole drainage one might see where the source of the Grotto is?? One can easily see the snout rigs depart from the little grotto oasis known as Travertine Canyon(The Grotto).
230.5 Travertine Falls Popular small sloping kitchen nook with a giant sleeping area a short walk away at the base of a giant Travertine Fall. I recommend “creeping” down the left shore to pull in as the pull in only accommodates 5 boats on the beach just inside of the current.
231 Rapid **Great Long Rapid at low water, scouting difficult because of length** < 10KCFS
232 THE FANGS Another Great Rapid at low water, flushes out at high water >14K IF YOU FIND YOURSELF ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE CURRENT? One can slip an 18 foot boat between the Fangs and shore. It won’t be pretty, you will have to take a shot out of the TL’s shoe, but you will make it. This can be preferable to panicking and trying to force through and flipping or rapping on the Fangs.
234 Great Fun Long Rapid with fun lateral hole on the right “read and run”
236 Bridge Canyon Rapid Early Shade in the summer at Bridge Canyon Camp**Do not nightfloat from here it’s not the last rapid:0
237 Gneiss Canyon Fun, interesting small rapid. Great little hike in the granite. Small beach camp.
239 Bridge Canyon City Great ½ to full day Loop Hike Possible from Bridge Canyon City over to Southside of Seperation. Also 2 hour hike to great views of Seperation and upstream on top of the Tapeats. Go up obvious steep drainage with seep. There is a well worn trail to the mother of all cairns overlooking camp and beyond. To go over to Seperation cross down to the creek from the saddle and follow the tapeats edge around to the top of Seperation. The trail will go back into the Southside Seperation canyon until top of the tapeats hits the riverbed. One can see the Seperation parties hike out People taking the boats down can park at the small beach just upstream river left of the southside Canyon and find their way through over a scree field.
240 Left side of Seperation—Great Hike up Dry Creek bed. Through the hike and at the tapeats level one can see the Powell parties hikeout. Glorious. You can hike back to Bridge Canyon City on the trail where the tapeats hits the drainage.
240 Right side of Seperation-Popular Camp, and dinner spot for nightfloaters. 10.5 hours to Takeout by nightfloat. No rowing. If one leaves at 7 pm you may be at Pearce at 7 am.
242 Great camping river right. Finger puppet show wall across from camp Slot canyon to agave pits.
243 Great camping river right. NPS improvements have really made a huge difference in this camp.. One can hike up and over saddle to the slot canyon that empties at 242 and reach agave roasting pits and a great canyon hike.
244 River left. Great steep climb/hike up into an often times dry cathedral. Be Very Careful! Fear of heights will not do well here. Nor will a fall!
245 Ocotillo Point Neat scramble up ledges and dryfalls to a menagerie of granite boulders. There is one perfect Ocotillo 50 yards off the water to mark this neat scramble.
High Water Approximations
246 Spencer Canyon (Lava Cliff) Hualapai Lunch Spot 11pm-12:00. Composting toilet, Great Hike up a creek. Rumored waterfall up canyon. So hiking up it will be on your right 8- 1/2 hour(High Water) nightfloat to Pearce Takeout. YOU CAN ACCIDENTALLY FLOAT THROUGH PEARCE FERRY IF YOU LEAVE TO EARLY!
249 Surprise Canyon. Great hike up slot canyon. It goes forever! Great camp! Possibly two in the future 8 hours to Pearce Ferry. YOU CAN ACCIDENTALLY FLOAT THROUGH PEARCE FERRY IF YOU LEAVE TO EARLY!
249.5 Tomahawk Beach. Neat short hike to granite dry fall. ** Last official camp until just after Quartermaster(264.5RR). 8 hours to Pearce Ferry by nightfloat. YOU CAN ACCIDENTALLY FLOAT THROUGH PEARCE FERRY IF YOU LEAVE TO EARLY! If one rows during the day and does an on river lunch you can reach Pearce in 6-8 hours from Tomahawk barring no wind. IF you don’t want to nightfloat but want to pull in at 2 pm at Pearce Ferry, This is a great place to prepare b-fast the night before and Rig all of the boats together as a big raft. In the early morning(4-5am?) the first person up wakes up camp and relocates folks from ground to boat still in their sleeping bags. Kick off! Watch the sunrise on a morning float in your sleeping bag Glorious!
253 Guerilla Camp RR. This camp has recently come into the fold with the increased traffic. It is as its name suggest right now, It’s smaller and not developed but perfectly useful for the person that didn’t make Tomahawk or Surprise. With use this could become a camp right before the “PATH OF THE SACRED HELICOPTER” and might even have a hike as it is right next to a major scree slope that has been washed into the Colorado. So there’s access to the upper desert!
260 Quartermaster Camp on left has overgrown almost to the point of no use. You could make it happen in a pinch down the tammie covered beach at the end on the left but it’s not going to be the greatest. To add insult to injury you will be buzzed by helicopters from Sunrise to Sunset. This camp sucks!!
264.5 RR The NPS is now improving what once was a gorilla camp on river right. If it wasn’t for the sacred helicopters this would become a Grand Camp as it has access to both Tincanibetts and Dry Canyon. There is a lot of current running by so be ready to jump off and hold the boat. There is a big boulder in the river just downstream of the camp.
265 Island Camp across from the Sacred Toilet Seat. It’s on the Island High water will make this camp small to non existant.
269 RR NPS improvements will make this camp useful in the future. Currently it is a small hole in the willows with grass matted down across from Evans Heaven. Though it is very thick, behind it are mounds of travertine that give access to a mysterious world above.
273.5 River left. Echo Canyon Camp. This camp is on the left turn 2 miles before the Grand Wash Cliffs. Just before this camp one can hide out in the shade of a great wall in the afternoon I suggest running down the left side out of the current and sneaking into an obvious hole in the tammies. From the upstream hole you can scout the whole camp that actually pops out another trail on the downstream side. It doesn’t look like much but it has been improved over the years and is actually a neat little grotto with tons of room.
275 Columbine Falls ¼ mile hike through a jungle of willows, cat tails, and other bird loving flora to a waterfall surrounded by hanging gardens. I have seen mountain lion scat here everytime I have stopped. They love to put it right on the waters edge and/or trail. I would kill for a picture of the bugger. Nightfloating past this spot sleeping might be troublesome because of the willows that line the banks/water so plan on being awake/sunrise in the morning. Easy to navigate while awake. 45 minutes to Pearce Ferry! You are now passing out of the GRAND WASH CLIFFS And the end of the GRAND CANYON.
For folks Nightfloating from 240 Seperation to Pierce Ferry takeout it
takes approximately 12 hours push off to touchdown on an 12-15K Flow. (13
hrs for 8K-12K) Don’t push off before the time you want to awake in the
morning. If you are passing Seperation at 7pm pm you can be at Pierce Ferry
7:00am. If it is in January and you push off at 5 pm you may be in the
dark:0 at 5:00am and baring down on Class VI Pierce Ferry Rapid:0 Leave
yourself a buffer. Push off at 8pm.
If you want to spend most of your time above Diamond Creek I suggest passing diamond from noon to 2pm depending on the water flows, weather conditions. That will put you at the last rapid in the afternoon with time to do dinner and setup for the nightfloat in the light.
Gneiss Canyon(237m) is the last rapid obstacle to nightfloating. After you pass Gneiss Canyon pick a good place to pull over. If you are pulling over at Bridge Canyon City? or Seperation Canyon, let anyone passing by know you are only temporary as they may need/want the camp.
So when you pull in, pull off your kitchen, groover and dinner items needed along with everyones personal bags and paco pads. This will allow the nightfloat technicians to setup the cleanest rig without all the participants schnedel in the way. While dinner crew is cooking dinner, tie the boats frame to frame, 5 boats wide, leaving the oars on the outside handy for evasive maneauvers. Take off your outside spares so they don’t get munched at night . I suggest two people on watch at all times. 2-3 hour shifts work well. Make some coffee for the late night oarsmen. Red Bulls or other energy drinks are super easy as well. D-ring to D-ring is a big no no! as when a 6,000lbs raft rolls off a sand bankment it can generate quite a force on a small d-ring. Frame to Frame is the way to go. I put one strap each on the corner of each frame or use your oar straps. Easy to seperate strong enough to bump. Duckies make great beds for people with smaller shoulder span. It also can make a great guitar chair.
COunt up your sleeping spots, and danger zones. One example of a danger zone is a place one can put their foot while walking across the boats in the dark. Point them out to everyone and discourage cross boat travel. For peeing safely at night we deflate one or two self bailing floors so when you step into the floor you will be in the river. This is one safe and easy way to pee. Also the pee bucket is just as easy if you would like to keep your floors blown up. Sleep with your PFD as your pillow. If someone falls in at night be very vocal yelling out to the crew so they know where you are. Sounds at night are a good determinant to impediments in the river. We used to bring a spotlight, lazers are pretty cool too. The spotlight doesn’t last very long so limit your use, and save it for true discovery. The Park Service requires a white light(headlamp) to be on at all times, we used the breakable glowsticks bought at any party store. We turn like a giant disco ball
After dinner place all items back on the boat and instruct the peeps to grab their paco pad and dry bag and take them to their sleeping spot. For the outside boats sleep your heads to the inside and feet outside. This used to be more of an issue when our nightfloats would scrape through the tammies as the lake went down but it is a good technique nonetheless. There should always be someone on watch. Some trips just have those folks that stay up, others have shifts. Good to be safe.
Possible problems: Hualapai docks are along side the river at mile 260. I’ve only hit them one time in 20 floats since the lake has gone down and that was at 25K with a 13 boat nightfloat, but it’s still a possible obstruction. This is a good marker for location in the middle of the night. When you see the ghostly abiriations on the shore you may be at Quartermaster.
From time to time a waterborn tammie will pop up in the current usually beside a sandbar. Sandbar alley is 250m-260m. Since the lake has gone down I haven’t parked on a sandbar yet as the boats tend to meander along in the current and find their way. If you get snagged on a tree undo the two straps on the frames and let the boats pass the tree and then re-connect. At mile 275m near the end, there are willows in the river. If you did your math right you should be watching the sunrise as you are 1 hour from Pierce Ferry:) If you didn’t and it is dark you may hear the most gentle and soothing dripping sound of dripping springs right before you drift by or in a pod of Willows:) Plan to be awake here or you will awaken, Pierce Ferry is 1 hour away.
Oar locks are danger zones . If you reach out to use one to hold you up? it may not! sending your face into it. Also if you are walking around as you were instructed not to do, one could fall on one. Never run oarlocks with no oars in them. Its a fork without an oar:)
I can’t imagine a jetboat running at night but if you hear one, :0 all hands on deck with flashlights!
If you are going to bump something don’t reach out and try to stop it. There’s alot of force behind your floating barge. Let the boats handle the bump.
Pearce Ferry Rapid below the takeout. When you pass through the Gates of the Grand Wash Cliffs(276m) and out into the faulted open planes you will be baring down on Pearce Ferry. Unattach the boats so you will be ready to pull over. Don’t try to pull your raft in tied together as there is a good current rolling by Pierce Ferry takeout. It’s difficult and unneccesary to line boats back up to the takeout. IF you push off to early (4pm? In the winter) at Seperation and sleep through Pearce you will Die…
Alcohol impairs ones judgement. Be careful with intoxication. It is the #1 killer on river trips.
I hope this helps,
928 856 0012
Derig like items so the truck can pull up right next to it. In order 20mm, silverboxes, schnedel for the trailer right behind Frames, boats, coolers. Deflate boats and roll them up. DO NOT take the frames apart. Leave all straps, bags and floors on the frames.