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Pinion Falls in Choal Canyon... anyone hike recently?

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Just wondering what it's like at the back of Navajo, hiking up to pinion falls... if it's still a muck mess, or if it's in good shape. Guessing it should be a little bit shorter hike at this lake level..?

Thanks.
 

Gem Morris

Well-Known Member
I went up there on a spur of the moment decision one year ago. The muck in the back of Navajo was incredible. In the past I have taken a 2 man blowup dinghy with me and that worked great but I didn't have it this time. We finally gave up trying to wade through the huge mess. This years big run off may have cleaned a lot of it out?

After we tried I read after that the Navajo nation no longer allows hiking up that canyon, it would be interesting to know if that's actually the case or not?
 
I would love to know that as well. And yes, I've done the muck thing... spent half a day fighting it and never got anywhere, but that was in May a few years back. Would love to know if anyone's been up there recently.
 

GIS Guy

Member
We are headed down next week from Montana for our annual 2 week trip. We would like to hike to Pinion falls, I'm like Gem and don't know if we can legally do it or not. I think I read somewhere you can hike to the bottom of the falls but no farther. Any information would be greatly appreciated
 

wayne gustaveson

Moderator
Staff member
My family made the hike to the falls in Chaol Canyon this week. Here is what they found. It is extremely challenging to transition from navigable water to solid hiking area. The end of Navajo Canyon is very shallow which I suspect is due to runoff coming down the canyon following heavy rainfall. The sand/mud then layered out as the flash flood hit the lake. The water was free of floating debris and logs. They parked the big boat in 7 feet of water and then dinghied through the shallows for over a mile as the muddy flat finally decreased to a depth of 6 inches. They got out of the boat and sank in the mud up to their knees. Being very determined they continued to fight the mud thinking they would hit solid ground soon. Unfortunately they had to slog half a mile or more in knee deep mud. It was actually easier to crawl on top of the mud than try to walk in it.

From the dinghy parking spot to the junction of Navajo and Chaol Canyons was 3 miles. Then from the junction it was about 2.5 miles to the falls. The falls were just as beautiful as ever. So know before you go. Lake level on their trip was 3628. As the lake goes down hopefully some of the mud will dry out making it easier to walk. However, the mud now under water is just as deep as the mud they encountered on this trip.
 

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