Photographs13 views of Devils Canyon
MapTopoQuest topographic map of Devils Canyon
Above the streambed tower high, yellowish sandstone cliffs and curvy domes, formed of many thin strata. The canyon at this point has a wide, flat sandy floor with patches of pebbles, and allows easy walking throughout its whole length. From the entry point, the gorge turns through a series of wide bends, and in places has a few nice fluted water-carved terraces and rocky channels, though the first proper narrows section is not reached until after one hour's walking. Then the floor drops about 5 meters into a twisting slot, upper end of which has a large muddy pool. This slot section only lasts a few hundred meters but is quite deep and impressive - it can be entered by climbing down a wall on the right side, or bypassed by walking along the rim on either side, rejoining the main canyon downstream. The narrows have a couple of chokestones but pose no great problems.
This slot section ends suddenly at a 90° turn north, and for the next few miles Devils Canyon stays several meters wide, sometimes forming a sheer walled passage but mostly with sloping walls. The cliffs are always colorful, rising to heights of 800 feet in a series of vertical walls, strata and benches. Just out of sight to the north, but within earshot, interstate 70 passes by, close enough in a few places to allow views right down into the gorge.
The canyon has one big pothole and a few other smaller pools, nothing that hinders progress. The yellowish Coconino cliffs are crossed occasional deep red bands, and red becomes the dominant colour when the streambed enters the underlying Kayenta layer after a few miles. Although the main canyon seems to have no more significant narrows it does have many side canyons up to one mile long which do have long slot-like passages - all rather shallow, they nevertheless are quite intriguing and present a variety of pretty textures, colours and rock structures. A few are exceedingly narrow, some have watery potholes, others are long and flat with occasional pour-offs, and all cut through narrow, often angled strata, quite like the rocks in nearby Crawford Draw
. Three of the best are as follows:
- The first significant tributary downstream of the entrance point on the south side of the canyon, not far beyond a summit at 7,154 feet (on the north side). It takes a little while to become narrow but then has some nice passages.
- A side ravine that joins the middle of the main narrows of Devils Canyon from the south; a curvy passage with an unusual, knobbly texture at first, this soon becomes quite a lengthy slot canyon.
- The longest tributary - a branched slot that joins Devils Canyon due southeast of a point marked WC 6,722 feet on the topographic map. This is quite narrow with graceful curved rock walls and although easy exploration ends below a pour off, there will probably be more slot canyons above.