Illiam Canyon

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Illiam Canyon Canyoneering Canyoning Caving
Also known as: Ill-I-AM Canyon.
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Difficulty:3A III (v3a1 III)
Raps:‌6-9, max ↨200ft
Overall:5-7h ⟷5mi
Approach:2-2.5h ↑1600ft
Red Tape:No permit required
Shuttle:Optional 10min
Condition Reports:
5 Nov 2023

"Encountered a black bear and two mountain lions (adult + cub) on approach as we were descending into the Illiam drainage. Fall color is abundant near

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Best season:


A rugged West Fork of Oak Creek canyon.

Known to be one of the easier and less commiting of the West Fork canyons, this one should not be underestimated. Leave the pothole escape gear and the wetsuits, and supplement them for bushwhacking layers and trekking poles. You will make your way up 31 switchbacks with scenic views of Oak Creek Canyon, then trudge your way through dense brush to the top of the canyon where things start to get good…

Notorious for being the Bermuda triangle of ropes in Oak Creek Canyon, this route requires careful rigging and a skilled last man down to avoid potential rope pull issues. The minimum requirement for this canyon is an arduous approach up AB Young, and a team with a strong leader and knowledgeable last man.

Read beta carefully, pay attention to detail, and bring extra rope to successfully unlock one of oak creek canyons best kept secrets.

Your reward will be rapping down to and out of a 45' hidden arch. Followed by a few more unique rappels through some wild West Fork back country.


Starting at Bootlegger Picnic area, cross Oak Creek and take the AB Young trail up 31 switchbacks to the top. Leave trail shortly after top down into a small valley. Go up and over hill to other side. Then down into main canyon drainage. After some brush, come to first small optional rappel.


R1: 30' off of tree back RDC or go high LDC to avoid.

R2: 10' off of boulder or go high RDC to avoid.

R3: 150' off of boulder LDC.

R4: 120' off of boulder LDC. The La Bella De Hew arch rappel.

R5: 60' off of boulder pinch.

R6: 180' off of boulder pinch. The Chute rappel. set pull side LDC.

    • Last man down stop halfway and toss pull over hump LDC.

R7: 200' off of tree LDC. The Patio rappel.

set pull LDC.

    • Last man down place rope away from crack and over hump 12 Inches LDC.

R8: 80' off of tree root.

tread lightly to not damage moss covered wall.

R9: 20' off tree or go high LDC and down steep slope.


Follow West Fork Oak Creek trail east to trailhead and exit vehicle.

Red tape

Red Rocks pass required for parking at exit trailhead and at start trailhead. $5 per day with pay station at exit or start. Annual National Park Pass will also work.

West Fork of Oak Creek trailhead for Exit vehicle is often crowded and parking limited. $11 per day. Call of the Canyon Picnic Site. Optionally, can find parking north up the road off of the highway.

Beta sites

On Rope Canyoneering

Trip reports and media



Information provided by automated processes. KML map by (unknown). Main photo by (unknown). Authors are listed in chronological order.

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