James Canyon

Location: Coconino National Forest
Rating: Basic Canyoneering 3B III
Length: 6-10 hours
Longest Rappel: 40ft (12m)
Start: Kelly Canyon Rd
End:  Kelly Canyon Rd
Permits: None
Wet Suit: Not needed
Shuttle: No (optional)

Overview: James Canyon offers falls, swimming, rappels, climbing, hiking, high canyon walls, lush scenery and just plain adventure. Since Pumphouse Wash, Kelly canyon, Fry Canyon and James Canyon are so close to each other the route options are many. I think it best to head down James Canon, up the Pumphouse Wash, and exit Kelly Canyon. Since Kelly canyon is a nice walk (comparatively speaking), you should have no trouble exiting Kelly. Both Kelly canyon and James Canyon start near I-17 so a longer hike to avoid a shuttle is a much nicer choice - plus you get to see two canyons.


From Flagstaff head south on I-17 to Kelly Canyon Rd, about 9 miles south of Flagstaff. Head west on Kelly Canyon Rd. The easiest way I found to describe this location is: as you pass under some telephone wires / power lines, park in this area. Follow the telephone lines south to enter James Canyon. There is a dry pool that may contain water that servers as a marker where you begin to head west down the canyon. Heading back up Kelly Canyon – keep your eye out for those telephone poles you followed to get to James Canyon. Once you find them head south till you reach your car.


View James Canyon.kmz in a larger map