5.5 miles rt 3000 gain, starting elevation 2080 Day use/permit required
This is a notch in your belt hike. It’s a challenge for many reasons. Detrimental factors are fear of heights, moderate scrambling, the scorching sun, and wasps that are Jumanji sized (the Robin Williams version). I fully believe the writers did this hike and were inspired to make them as similar to the ones I saw up there as possible.
If you start early enough your entire uphill thigh burner will be in the shade. I arrived at the trailhead around 8 am and was happily surprised by this fact. The entire hike would be exposed otherwise. You follow the Siphon Draw trail out of the parking lot. You will see this sign as you continue up. Soon the dusty trail becomes scrambling rock. My rule of thumb is to always aim for follow the path most traveled. There is a faded section in the rock where all our feet have touched. So up the rocks you go.
For how many people do this hike, I was surprised at how much grip there still is to the rocks. I’m a big fan of La Sportiva trail running shoes. The raptors have excellent grip for this kind of terrain.
There aren’t any switchbacks once you start to scramble. It is just straight up with a slight zigzag. There is loose rocks, but they are all pebble size. I wasn’t concerned with any rockfall from other hikers. There is one actual rock climb before you make it to the top. That is also where the wasps hang out. I think they pick that spot because it bottlenecks and creates a crowd perfect for stinging. The wall is about 10-12 feet high with excellent hand holds. You want to go up on the right, and down on the right. The way down has a tree that provides more support for the trip down. Once you make it to the top veer right and behold the view of the valley. Be mindful of the edge, I noticed at least one memorial rock of a hiker that lost their footing.