DV Feb 2017 Hike 2: Grapevines WSA Canyon

For our second hike, we did an epic hike into the northern Grapevines to explore a major canyon that had never before been documented.  This was by far the most isolated area of the entire range that I had ever hiked.  Reaching the starting point for the hike either requires backpacking in from Scotty’s Castle Road or driving up a 4WD road which starts from Hwy 267 outside of the park boundary.  We almost didn’t even get to do the hike because the first dirt road we checked was signed as closed.  But then we found a second dirt road which was open and went through.  Just before reaching the starting point for the hike, the road follows along what I call the “Rim of the World” portion of the drive, where you are 500 feet above a canyon wash looking over in awe the whole time (this is the east fork of the main canyon).  After we hiked down to the canyon floor, we were able to explore an incredible tafoni slot canyon and then move over to the main fork of the canyon.  The hike up the canyon had spectacular colors and scenery as we hiked toward the huge trees at the end of it.  A highlight was being followed up canyon by a huge flock of playful Gray-crowned Rosy Finch birds.  We then crossed over and looped back down via another canyon, which ended a mere 1 mile from where Grey Wall Canyon is generally considered to end.  You can see a sample of the colorful panoramic area in this canyon by checking out the secondary header currently being tested on the site’s main page.  I am informally calling the main canyon we explored Grapevines WSA Canyon for identification purposes because the east fork crosses from Death Valley into the Grapevine Mountains Wilderness Study Area.  Here are a few teaser images in advance of the main report to come later.

This picture shows the east fork of the canyon we hiked into along with the “Rim of the World” drive (top left side)
Grapevines WSA Slot #1 had spectacular narrows
A Gray-crowned Rosy Finch keeping watch on us
Tiffany and I with the northern Grapevines (7932T and P8460 ft area) behind us
Heading into the colorful area of the canyon we looped back in