Photographs5 views of Red Breaks
MapTopoQuest topographic map of Red Breaks
After a short distance the streambed becomes enclosed by reddish cliffs a few meters high but remains fairly wide and open, containing a lot of boulders, reeds, trees and bushes and occasional small dryfalls. The first major obstacle is encountered after 30 minutes walking - a vertical step of 20 feet, by-passed by climbing the walls on the east side. Several minor side canyons join the main ravine which cuts through various colorful layers of the Carmel formation, and has flat sections alternating with short eroded channels and pools as it erodes into the different strata.
The main narrows start after about one hour of hiking, where the wash enters the Navajo sandstone layer. The passageways are never very deep but are enclosed and quite interesting. The canyon here has frequent pools - usually just 1-2 feet deep - and several chokestones beyond which the canyon continues up to 10 feet higher up and so need careful climbing; in several places the chimneying technique is necessary. After the last such blockage, Red Breaks opens out and next are several shorter, less deep narrow channels separated by wider, sandy stretches. Travel through the narrows section can be avoided by scrambling up to a bench on the east side and walking along above the canyon.
Almost three miles from Harris Wash and after about 2 hours walking, the canyon divides - to the right, above a dryfall, is a narrowish passage that doesn't extend too far and is replaced by a shallow streambed that heads towards a butte on the horizon, across a wonderland of eroded rock domes and hoodoos. The main (left) fork soon ends in a pool and a 10 foot drop below a narrow passage; it is not possible to climb up here but beyond the canyon becomes deep and narrow once more, as can be seen by scrambling up the ridge between the two branches and traversing the slopes above.