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GORGE SCRAMBLE TRIP DESCRIPTIONS

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Trip 9: Royal Gorge on the North Fork of the American Wild and Scenic River Canyon, Level 3 Overnighter. To see more Trip 9 photographs by Paul Plathe and Ron Farquhar click here.
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Royal Gorge is best known for its 30 and 40 foot waterfalls. It also has a great overnight camping spot, American Indian petroglyphs, spectacular overlooks, and a trail not for the faint of heart. This two mile section of the North Fork of the American River is at 4000 feet.

 

The Palisades Creek Trail which is our route into the canyon is off Soda Springs Road at 6600 feet. A great side trip off this trail is out to a petroglyph site that also has a great overlook into the very stretch of canyon we will be scrambling.

ROYAL GORGE

We hike down to the canyon floor and begin our gorge scramble down canyon. At first there are trails made by other hikers, but they dissipate soon after we reach a big waterfall. It is relatively easy going in the river bed down to the campsite. This campsite has sandy spots that will accommodate 4 persons, and more if you can sleep on soft granite. There are pools and waterfalls in the vicinity of camp which allows us room to roam.

ROYAL GORGE

We start day two at 8 AM. Down canyon from our camping spot is Wabena Falls which is just up canyon from Wabena Creek. Here we must find a route up high on the left side, then we go up and over a ridge line. At this point we are looking for the trail markers which go down the other side. It is possible that we might bust brush to the end of the last pool where we can take lunch and fill our water bottles for the hike up the Wabena Creek Trail.

ROYAL GORGE

This trail has about 2600 feet of elevation gain and was built by miners. It is not a maintained trail. It can be difficult to pick up from the bottom and offers significant exposure to fall between the North Fork of the American River and the crossing at Wabena Creek. There is a mine shaft dug by Mr. Fouts and you will begin to see cables and other evidence of mining activity.

ROYAL GORGE

The trail continues on up the canyon wall on a rather steep slope. It can be somewhat difficult to follow. We did this trip in late September and had really nice weather. We were able to do it without getting wet! Royal Gorge is a strenuous Level 3 gorge scramble and a wonderful adventure.