Papago Canyon Located just upriver from Red Canyon, this southside canyon appears from the mouth as a narrow slot in solid stone blocked by a 20 foot waterfall. To reach the canyon from the west, a 150 foot high rock-filled chute must be climbed and the return to the canyon floor involves climbing down some 50 feet over rock ledges; caution required. Upriver, there are low and high routes connecting to Seventyfive Mile.
The canyon looks difficult to penetrate, but there is easy access into the upper portions along the ledge above the fall on the west side, and the east side is also possible; if the river were high this would be the only way through.
Further up it gets more interesting. Soon a 50 foot fall blocks the way, but again the west ledge permits access at a point well down the bed from the fall. Past several small falls, the bed takes a major fork. The west fork ends at a huge fall, but the east fork continues, bypassing the fall at the fork. Several more small falls and then there is a big one, climbable with a little care. Finally the route seems to end at a rock basin at the bottom of a 300 foot pouroff. The only possible exit, the jagged white chute to the east, goes all the way to the top of the quartzite in an increasingly difficult and exposed climb (big holds and firm rock). At the top of the chute a deer trail traverses an exposed section of narrow slope to the top of the pouroff. This route is noted on pages 22-23 of GCT-III. The dropoffs in the upper east and west arms align with the continuation of 75 mile fault.
Routes East fork climbing route. Another possible route goes from the lower bed to the top of the Tapeats at the point west of Papago Canyon. A route joining upper Papago to Red Canyon along the Tonto level looks possible. There are difficult routes from the rim.
1985 May - Passed through on fourth day of Escalante Route.
1990 November - Exploration hike from the river to the top of the quartzite in the east arm.
1993 October - CABA Escalante group hike.