Canyoneering Route Description

Illusions Canyon - 4B III
Coconino National Forest, Arizona.

Quick Facts

09-06-15, 5 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 7.4 hours) Pictures Icon

Time Required - 6 to 9 hours
Distance - 2 miles Total, 0.6 miles Technical
Rappels - 12 Rappels, Longest Rappel 90 feet.
Elevation Range - 6970 - 5860 Feet
Shuttle Required - Optional 0.3 miles Vehicle - High Clearance recommended, 4WD if bad road conditions Permit Required - No

Gear Used for Canyon

Rappelling and anchor gear, Ropes and or pull cords for rappels up to 90 feet and 80 feet of 1 inch webbing for sling placement.  Wet suits should always be worn in Illusions Canyon.  4mm minimum recommended and will likely require a little more in cool weather.

Also have a happy hooker or a hooking kit with a drill to get out of the final pothole which is a keeper where potshots will likely prove ineffective.

General Comments

Illusions, what can I say......... fun and pretty!  Of course I did not get to see the dark side of the final pothole so I got to see this place in easy mode.  Due to recent rains we got to see Illusions with low flow all the way through the canyon.

Note / Warning:
On my visit here the keeper at the final rappel was full of water and was an easy swim and escape.  There have been times when that pothole has been measured at 19 feet deep and a difficult keeper to escape.  There have also been reports of dead animals (even bears) floating in the pothole when in keeper mode making this a very unpleasant experience to cross.  You can not see the condition of the pothole from the top of the final rappel and will need to rappel down a ways before you can see what needs to be done.  Tossing a potshot is difficult while on rappel and may not productive anyway since the down canyon side of the pothole is just sand sloping back toward the pothole.  A happy hooker (a large hook on the end of a tent pole) should be on hand to assist getting out of this pothole if the water is low.  This pothole and a few anchor challenges within the canyon are why I have rated this a 4.  If you find the canyon flowing with water and anchors are well placed during your visit you may wonder why this canyon was rated a 4.  Remember things change and the final pothole can be very difficult to get out of.

This route describes the Sneak Exit for Illusions Canyon.  In the past the traditional route for Illusions was to complete the technical section of the canyon then follow the remainder of the water course all the way to where it joins into the West Fork of Oak Creek then going down the West Fork of Oak Creek down to The Call of the Canyon parking area to exit.  Doing this long version is a very long day on foot, makes for a route that takes a long time and requires a very long car shuttle.

The route described here is a sneak route for an exit which completes the technical section of the canyon, travels a few hundred feet down to a side ravine on the RDC (east) side and goes up the exit ravine then over a ridge back to the car.  This sneak route greatly reduces the time for the route, makes a shuttle optional and greatly reduces the miles traveled on foot.

The exit ravine is about 0.4 miles long with a few dry falls to bypass and has an elevation gain of about 840 feet so it is steep but not overly difficult to travel.  The last 150 feet of the exit ravine are very steep and as you get closer to the top it is clay like mud.  If you are there when it is dry, this top portion of the exit ravine should still be pretty easy travel, just steep.  If you are there when it is raining the clay like mud is very slippery making this a little scary to get up the final part of the ravine.  If it is raining, be prepared to use your hands to claw the dirt and grab a bush here and there to keep yourself from slipping.  Ask me how I know this!.  :)

Watch out for poison ivy near the bottom of the exit ravine!!!

Driving Directions

To get to the Trailhead

From Flagstaff Arizona:
From I-40 on the west end of Flagstaff Arizona take exit 192 for Flagstaff Ranch Road then travel south on Flagstaff Ranch Road. About 0.3 miles south of I-40 turn left (east) onto W Kiltie Lane. Drive east for about 0.83 miles and turn right onto S Woody Mountain Road.

From the junction of S Woody Mountain Road and W Kiltie Lane (ext231-Woody) drive south on S Woody Mountain Road. Note that S Woody Mountain Road will turn into FsRd231 and the transition happens at varying places depending on what map you look at.  About 450 feet south of this intersection S Woody Mountain Road turns into a dirt road.

From the junction, drive south on S Woody Mountain Road / FsRd231 for about 26.7 miles to a signed turn off onto the road labeled 0918M (ext0918M). FsRd231 is well maintained, easy to follow and there are a LOT of side roads along the 26.7 mile drive.

Note: The turn off to the Insomnia route is on road 778 which is about 1.7 miles before reaching road 0918M.

At the turn off for the road signed as 0918M (ext0918M) turn left to travel northeast on 0918M.

About 0.8 miles down road 0918M will be a fork in the road (IlusionsDP01) where you will want to stay left to travel northwest staying on 0918M.

About 0.28 miles after passing the fork in the road pull over and park (pkIlusionBeg).  There are a few clearings here to park at so pick one.

From Sedona Arizona:
From Sedona Arizona drive north on Highway 89-Alt for about 16 miles to a turn of on the left (west) to a forest road FsRd535 (extFsRd535-89).

Turn left (west) onto FsRd535 and drive about 7.1 miles to a 3-way junction (ext535-236A) where roads 535, 536A and 236A come together.  Continue west on FsRd236A.  Of note 536A travels to the south.

Follow FsRd236A for about 2.8 miles to a junction where you get to FsRd231.

Turn left (south) on FsRd231 and drive about 13.2 miles to the turn off for the road signed as 0918M (ext0918M) turn left to travel northeast on 0918M.

About 0.8 miles down road 0918M will be a fork in the road (IlusionsDP01) where you will want to stay left to travel northwest staying on 0918M.

About 0.28 miles after passing the fork in the road pull over and park (pkIlusionBeg).  There are a few clearings here to park at so pick one.

To leave the Exit Vehicle / Escape Pod

Optionally you can set an exit car to avoid walking 0.3 miles of dirt road after your route.  Setting a shuttle for Illusions is optional and may not be worth the trouble of bringing two vehicles in, as it only saves 0.3 miles of walking on a dirt road.

From the parking spot to start the route (pkIlusionBeg), continue driving northish on 0918M for about 0.3 miles to where the road ends and park your picture there (pkIlusionEnd).

Maps - - - - GPS coordinate information listed at the bottom of this route description.

For information about my waypoint naming convention and map symbols, refer to the Glossary page.

Map Link Icon
Click the links for maps of the route.
Map of the drive into the route.
Map of the entire route.
Map of the technical section.

Details

The Approach:
From the parking spot (pkIlusionBeg) leave the road and walk southwest. As you leave the road the terrain will begin to start dropping down a slope toward a large side drainage that will eventually go down into Illusions.

When you are about 150 feet above the floor of the large drainage below (wIlusionRP01) look for some game trails going right (northwest) that traverse along the slopes roughly parallel to the large drainage below. The trails are not well traveled and may be easily missed.
From here you have 2 options.

Option 1: Follow the faint trails as they traverse northwest along the drainage slowly dropping down to the drainage about 600 feet down canyon.  If you follow these trails you may find your way down a slope and into the drainage where you will be right below a large dry fall in the drainage. This is what we did on my first visit here but the trails are faint and you may or may not easily find the correct spot.

Option 2: Ignore the trails and continue 150 feet down to the floor of the drainage then turn right to walk northwest down the drainage about 600 feet to to top of the dry fall. I have not personally done this but have been told you can easily bypass the dry fall by going up and over on the RDC side and down a slope to the canyon floor. On my first visit here there were obvious tracks indicating a path around the dry fall may be forming.

When you get to the dry fall (wIlusionRP02), if you found your way to the bottom using the faint trails on the side slopes of the drainage, continue down canyon. If you found yourself at the top of the dry fall you can bypass by going up and over on the RDC side then working your way down steep dirt to the canyon floor below.  Alternately you can rappel from a tree just above the dry fall and rappel down.

About 0.2 miles down canyon of the dry fall is a wide open area where you get to the main Illusions drainage. In this wide open area there are two side drainages, the one you just came down from the east and another coming in from the west. The main Illusion drainage runs down to north from here.  Just down canyon of these two wide side drainages is a drop in the canyon of about 40 or 50 feet (yIlusionsTp).

The Canyoneering / Technical Section:
When you get to the large drop in the canyon (yIlusionsTp), look for a use trail going up around the drop on the RDC side.  The use trails started just up canyon of the actual drop here. 

About 100 feet down canyon of the drop you are bypassing is the top (wIlusionRP03) of a chute / ravine you can walk / scramble down to get back to the canyon floor.  There are other chutes dropping down to the canyon floor near here but they will be sketchy looking and may require a rappel to get in.  This chute is an easy walk / scramble down a dirt slope of about 35 feet back down to the canyon floor.

Once back on the canyon floor continue north down canyon about 0.13 miles to the top of rap 1.  On the way down to rap 1 you may find water to walk / wade through in a couple spots.  If you get to water you can not avoid, it is a good time to get your wet suits on since you will rappel into water at rap 1 a short distance down canyon anyway.

Rap 1 (dIlusionR1-2) is anchored from a tree on the LDC side and drops about 20 feet down over a large boulder.  Rap 1 can be downclimbed but the slick moss covered walls make this a little sketchy making a rappel the safer option.

Rap 2 is about 50 feet down canyon of rap 1, is anchored from a single bolted hanger on the RDC side about head high and drops about 15 feet down to a pool which can be a swimmer when full with an easy walk out on the down canyon side.

Down canyon of rap 2 is easy walking and a short downclimb of about 3 or 4 feet into a pool of water before reaching rap 3.

Rap 3 (dIlusionR3 ) is about 250 feet down canyon of rap 2, is anchored from a tree up on a ledge about 10 feet up on the LDC side, drops about 25 feet down from the tree into a narrow section where you will swim a short distance with an easy walk out of the pool on the down canyon side.

Just after rap 3 is a deep sculpted section of canyon (wIllusionRP04) that is very pretty and about 500 feet long between raps 3 and 4.  This section has multiple short easy downclimbs and has a lot of water that can be chest deep and maybe a swim for a couple of feet here and there.  There are also a couple of downclimbs of about 15 feet each down corkscrew like flutes, one of these goes next to an arch.  In the last 100 feet of this section are a couple of very large room size potholes to cross before getting to rap 4.  On my first visit here these were sand filled and easy to walk through potholes in deep chamber like spots, if flooding washes debris out this may change a bit.  The point marked on the maps with the waypoint (wIlusionRP04) is approximately where there is a tree filled ravine on the LDC side about 150 feet before reaching rap 4.

Rap 4 (dIlusionR4) is about 500 feet down canyon of rap 3, is anchored LDC from a single bolted hanger and drops about 25 feet to a waist deep pool below that may become deeper since it was sand filled and looked like it could blow out with a flood.  Part way down rap 4 is an arch you can rappel through if you take your pack off or you can step over and rappel over the arch.  If you happen to be in here with low flow the water somehow grabs the rock and flows out the top of the arch which is very interesting from the bottom of the rappel. 

To avoid rope grooving at rap 4, please set the pull rope so it is over the arch then step down canyon a few feet to pull the rope keeping the rope away from the rock as much as possible.  Pulling the ropes through the arch will create rope grooves.

Just down canyon of rap 4 is an arch that you can sometimes swim under but was filled with gravel on my first visit so we walked around it.

About 100 feet down canyon of rap 4 is a cross joint (wIlusionRP05) where ravines drop down to the canyon on both sides.  Just before getting to this ravine is a corkscrew downclimb of about 35 feet tall that is easy to downclimb / slide down.  There was an anchor set to rappel this corkscrew on our visit here but the downclimb is much easier than it looks.

The section after the corkscrew downclimb has a few short easy downclimbs and one downclimb of about 15 feet to a pool that is a little difficult the last 6 feet.  There are also multiple pools in this section that can be chest deep or swimmers for a couple feet all with easy walk outs on the down canyon side.  As you get closer to rap 5 the canyon begins to get deeper and more sculpted.

Rap 5 (dIlusionR5-7) is about 450 feet down canyon of the 35 foot corkscrew downclimb, is anchored from 2 very odd glue in style anchors on the LDC side, drops about 25 feet down a chute next to a fin then down a wall to a waist deep pool.  The anchors for rap 5 used to be standard bolted hangers which disappeared and the anchor became the logs at the top of the drop.  On my first visit there we found two anchors on the LDC side that look like they had been put in very sloppily with JB Weld.

Rap 6 is on the other side of the pool below rap 5, is anchored from a log jam and drops down 20 feet to a pothole that can be a keeper when water levels are low but an easy out when full with a solid edge to grab to pull yourself out.  Just before getting down to the pothole is a sloped ledge you can stand on and make an easy pack toss of about 8 feet across the pot hole.  In years past rap 5 used to be anchored from bolted hangers as well.

Rap 7 is on the other side of the pool below rap 6, is anchored from logs at the top of the drop and drops about 15 feet to a pool that is a swimmer and easy to get out of. 

On the other side of the pool below rap 7 is a downclimb of about 15 feet where you can downclimb / slide down a slope on the LDC side but it is a little precarious getting over to the start of the slide.  At the bottom of the down climb is a pool that is a swimmer for about 8 feet.

Rap 8 (dIlusionR8) anchored on the LDC side from a hole feature on the wall that almost looks like a knot chalk and drops about 10 feet.  Rap 8 can be downclimbed and can easily be partner assisted.

Just past rap 8 is a pool to swim across then a corkscrew downclimb of about 15 feet down a chute then over a vertical drop with the last 4 feet being a little difficult where you will likely just drop the last few feet into the pool below and swim away.

Rap 9 (dIlusionR9-10) is anchored from 2 bolted hangers on the LDC side about head high and drops about 15 feet to a pool at the bottom.  Swim across the pool and around the corner to the right to climb out the other side.  When you climb out of the pool to the lip of the pool you will be greeted with the anchors for rap 10.

Rap 10 is anchored LDC from 2 bolted hangers about head high while sitting at the lip and drops about 80 feet down to a huge sand filled pothole / pool. 

Just on the other side of the pool below rap 10 is a downclimb of about 5 feet that is undercut and a bit awkward and is best done with a partner assist.  Just after this downclimb the canyon opens up to a short wide vegetated wash (wIlusionRP06).

On the down canyon side of the open vegetated area another slot starts where you can downclimb into and through a pothole (or taller people can stem over it) then downclimb over a drop of about 6 feet with a small tube in the rock on the downclimb that make for a solid hand hold to lower yourself over the drop.

Rap 11 (dIlusionR11-12) anchored from rocks at the top of the drop and drops about 40 feet to a pool.  Around the corner from the bottom of rap 11 is rap 12.

Rap 12 is anchored RDC from 2 bolted hangers and drops about 90 feet to a pothole about 20 feet across.  The pothole at the bottom of rap 12 can be a swim across if full or a 19 foot deep keeper with a sand slope on the down canyon side making a potshot ineffective.  A happy hooker or hooking kit and drill may be needed to get out of the pothole if it is low.

Note / Warning:
At the bottom of rap 12 is a large pothole with a history of being difficult to get out of.  If the canyon is full of water this is an easy swim across and a walk out.  But if the pothole is low it can be very difficult to get out of.  The pothole has been measured at 19 feet deep in the past.  The down canyon side of the pothole has a sand slope that ramps back down to the pothole making a potshot or backpack toss in effective.  A happy hooker (a large hook on a tent pole with an etrier attached) can be used to reach up and hook the sharp lip or you can use your hooking kit to hook out with drilled holes in the wall.  Rumor has it some of the holes have been blown out and may need to be re-drilled.  On my first visit here we swam right over the pothole and walked out.  Keep in mind it may not always be that way.  There have been trip reports where people have had to swim with dead and rotting animals in that pothole and climb out.

Just after the final rappel and the huge pothole the canyon opens up (wIlusionRP07) to a wide vegetated wash.

Walk about 300 feet down canyon to the bottom of a ravine (jIlusionSneak) on the RDC (east) side.  This ravine is the Illusions Sneak Exit.  By going up this ravine you can get back to your entry vehicle at the start of the route.  The traditional route used to be traveling all the way down to the West Fork of Oak Creek then down the West Fork of Oak Creek to the Call of the Canyon parking area.  This sneak exit saves a lot of time, travel on foot and removes the need for a long car shuttle.

The Exit:
From the bottom of the exit ravine (jIlusionSneak) route find your way southeast up the ravine.  Going up this ravine is steep and gets steeper near the top.  The ravine is about 0.4 miles in length and has an elevation gain of about 840 feet.  Travel up the ravine has a few dry fall like features where you will need to upclimb them or go up and around but it is all pretty easy.  You may find social trails along the way on the sides of the ravine / drainage which may lead you to steep side sloping terrain.   Travel is pretty straight forward and not difficult to just stay in the drainage all the way up only bypassing a dry fall if needed.

Watch out for poison ivy near the bottom of this ravine!

Near the bottom of this ravine it is two drainages traveling up parallel to one another but you may not notice this with all the trees and vegetation.  It doesn't matter which drainage you are going up since they join into one (wIlusionRP08) about 375 feet up the ravine near a dry fall that can be bypassed LUC or on use trails along the RUC side.

Continuing up the ravine will be a few dryfall / boulder piles to scramble up and or bypass. 

As you get closer to the top the ravine seems to widen out (wIlusionRP09) where you could go left or right.  Stay in the ravine to the right as it parallels the cliff band on the right.

About 150 feet before reaching the top of the ravine the the slope gets steeper and the dirt is clay like mud when wet.  If it is dry this should be pretty easy to stomp your way up to the saddle at the top of the ravine.  If it is raining while you go up this steep clay section it is a little scary since it is difficult to keep from sliding (ask me how I know this).  If it is wet from rain be prepared to kind of claw your way up in dirt and grabbing the vegetation to keep you going.

When you get to the top of the ravine (wIlusionRP10) you will be about 250 feet to the right (south) of a saddle.  Look for a use trail going southeast away from the saddle and traversing around the cliff band on your right (south). 

The use trail will travel southeast for about 150 feet then switch back up to the right to go west and work its way up to above the cliff band.

About 250 feet after the switchback the trail will fade away just as it gets to the side of a deep ravine (wIlusionRP11).  When the trail reaches the side of the deep ravine and fades away, turn left and walk south up the steep forested slope.

About 300 feet up from where the trail faded away by the side of the large ravine the slope will get more gentle as you reach the crest (wIlusionRP12) of the very wide ridge.  From the crest of the ridge walk west following up the crest of the ridge about 450 feet to the end of a road (pkIlusionEnd).

If you ran a shuttle your car should be parked here at the end of the road.  If you parked at the entry parking spot then walk the road south for about 0.3 miles to your car (pkIlusionBeg).

GPS Waypoint Information

GPX Files Available for DOWNLOAD.
Downloadable GPX files for many of the canyons listed here are now available at the BG-Gear Store.  In addition to the waypoints, the GPX files also offer routes and tracks for the canyon.  Over time more GPX files will be added.

If you want to avoid manually adding waypoints into your GPS or mapping software, want the additional routes and tracks or simply want to support the efforts put into BluuGnome, head over to the BG-Gear Store and grab the files that interest you.

Elevations are approximate.  Waypoints with no elevation data will display NaN in place of the elevation.

For information about my waypoint naming convention and map symbols, refer to the Glossary page.

Notes for GPS information:
BEFORE
entering coordinates from this website, please ensure your system (GPS or mapping software) is set to the same datum used here.  Waypoint coordinates are listed with WGS84 datum and in Lat/Lon hddd.ddddd° format.  Entering coordinate information with inconsistent datum's can result in the waypoints being off by hundreds of feet.  It is important to keep this in mind when entering waypoints from any source.

Illusions (1) - Drive in from Flagstaff
  1. ext231-Woody          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 35.17891   W -111.69761        Elev: NaN Feet
    This is the junction of W Kiltie Lane and S Woody Mountain Raod. Travel south on S Woody Mountian Road. S Woody Road will turn into FsRd231 and the transition happens at varying places depending on what map you look at. About 450 feet south of this intersection S Woody Mountain Road turns into a dirt road.
  2. Ext236A-231          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 35.07506   W -111.84248        Elev: 7,710 Feet
    Intersection. To the east and west here is FsRd231. To the south is FsRD236A. To the northwest is 538.
  3. extFR778          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.98493   W -111.80572        Elev: NaN Feet
    Exit off of Forest service raod 231 onto Forest Service road 778. FR231 continues east and FR778 travels northeast. To go to Illusions continue east on FR231. To go to Insomnia turn left (northeast) ontp FR778.
  4. ext0918M          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.97780   W -111.77889        Elev: NaN Feet
    Signed turn off of 231 onto 0918M. 0918M branches off to the left to travel northwest. To drive into Illusions turn left (northeast) on 0918M.
  5. IlusionsDP01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.98223   W -111.76712        Elev: NaN Feet
    Fork in the road on the drive into Illusions. Stay left at the fork to travel north.
  6. pkIlusionBeg          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.98557   W -111.76949        Elev: 6,950 Feet
    Park here in one of a few clearings on the side of the road to start the Illusions route. This is about 0.28 miles after passing a fork in the road where you stayed left on the drive in. If you are setting a shuttle for Illusions exit continue north down this road about 0.3 miles to where the road ends to set the exit vehicle. Walk southwest leaving the road to walk down the slopes.
Illusions (2) - Drive in from Sedona
  1. extFsRd535-89          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 35.04681   W -111.73326        Elev: 6,530 Feet
    Drive west on CoRd535 leaving highway 89 Alt.
  2. ext535-236A          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 35.05846   W -111.80498        Elev: NaN Feet
    3 way junction. To the east is 535, to the west is 236A and to the south is 536A.
  3. Ext236A-231          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 35.07506   W -111.84248        Elev: 7,710 Feet
    Intersection. To the east and west here is FsRd231. To the south is FsRD236A. To the northwest is 538.
  4. extFR778          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.98493   W -111.80572        Elev: NaN Feet
    Exit off of Forest service raod 231 onto Forest Service road 778. FR231 continues east and FR778 travels northeast. To go to Illusions continue east on FR231. To go to Insomnia turn left (northeast) ontp FR778.
  5. ext0918M          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.97780   W -111.77889        Elev: NaN Feet
    Signed turn off of 231 onto 0918M. 0918M branches off to the left to travel northwest. To drive into Illusions turn left (northeast) on 0918M.
  6. IlusionsDP01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.98223   W -111.76712        Elev: NaN Feet
    Fork in the road on the drive into Illusions. Stay left at the fork to travel north.
  7. pkIlusionBeg          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.98557   W -111.76949        Elev: 6,950 Feet
    Park here in one of a few clearings on the side of the road to start the Illusions route. This is about 0.28 miles after passing a fork in the road where you stayed left on the drive in. If you are setting a shuttle for Illusions exit continue north down this road about 0.3 miles to where the road ends to set the exit vehicle. Walk southwest leaving the road to walk down the slopes.
Illusions (3) - Approach and Canyon
  1. pkIlusionBeg          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.98557   W -111.76949        Elev: 6,950 Feet
    Park here in one of a few clearings on the side of the road to start the Illusions route. This is about 0.28 miles after passing a fork in the road where you stayed left on the drive in. If you are setting a shuttle for Illusions exit continue north down this road about 0.3 miles to where the road ends to set the exit vehicle. Walk southwest leaving the road to walk down the slopes.
  2. wIlusionRP01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.98463   W -111.77089        Elev: NaN Feet
    You are about 150 feet above the floor of the large drainage below look for some game trails going right (northwest) that traverse along the slopes roughly parallel to the large drainage below. The trails are not well traveled and may be easily missed. From here you have 2 options. Option 1: Follow the faint trails as they traverse northwest along the drainage slowly dropping down to the drainage about 600 feet down canyon.  If you follow these trails you may find your way down a slope and into the drainage where you will be right below a large dry fall in the drainage. This is what we did on my first visit here but the trails are faint and you may or may not easily find the correct spot. Option 2: Ignore the trails and continue 150 feet down to the floor of the drainage then turn right to walk northwest down the drainage about 600 feet to to top of the dry fall. I have not personally done this but have been told you can easily bypass the dryfall by going up and over on the RDC side and down a slope to the canyon floor. On my first visit here there were obvious tracks indicating a path around the dryfall may be forming.
  3. wIlusionRP02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.98563   W -111.77286        Elev: NaN Feet
    Dry fall. When you get to the dryfall, if you found your way to the bottom using the faint trails on the side slopes of the drainage, continue down canyon. If you found yourself at the top of the dryfall you can bypass by going up and over on the RDC side then working your way down steep dirt to the canyon floor below.  Alternately you can rappel from a tree just above the dry fall and rappel down.
  4. yIlusionsTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.98747   W -111.77545        Elev: 6,420 Feet
    Illusions Canyon top entry. There is a drop of about 40 or 50 feet in the canyon here that is bypassed RDC using use trails to get over to a chute about 100 feet down canyon where you can walk / scramble down a dirt slope to the canyon floor.
  5. wIlusionRP03          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.98767   W -111.77540        Elev: NaN Feet
    Top of a chute / ravine you can walk / scramble down to get back to the canyon floor. There are other chutes dropping down to the canyon floor near here but they will be sketchy looking and may require a rappel to get in. This chute is an easy walk / scramble down a dirt slope of about 35 feet back down to the canyon floor.
  6. dIlusionR1-2          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.98932   W -111.77423        Elev: NaN Feet
    Raps 1 and 2 - Illusions. Rap 1 is anchored from a tree on the LDC side and drops about 20 feet down over a large boulder. Rap 1 can be downclimbed but the slick moss covered walls make this a little sketchy making a rappel the safer option. Rap 2 is about 50 feet down canyon of rap 1, is anchored from a single bolted hanger on the RDC side about head high and drops about 15 feet down to a pool which can be a swimmer when full with an easy walk out on the down canyon side.
  7. dIlusionR3          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.99011   W -111.77386        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 3 - Illusions is about 250 feet down canyon of rap 2, is anchored from a tree up on a ledge about 10 feet up on the LDC side, drops about 25 feet down from the tree into a narrow section where you will swim a short distance with an easy walk out of the pool on the down canyon side.
  8. wIlusionRP04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.99107   W -111.77336        Elev: NaN Feet
    Deep sculpted section of canyon, very pretty and about 500 feet long between raps 3 and 4. This point is approximately where a tree filled ravine drops down from the LDC side and about 150 feet before reaching rap 4. This section has multiple short easy downclimbs and has a lot of water that can be chest deep and maybe a swim for a couple of feet here and there. There are also a couple of downclimbs of about 15 feet each down corkscrew like flutes, one of these goes next to an arch. In the last 100 feet of this section are a couple of very large room size potholes to cross before getting to rap 4. On my first visit here these were sand filled and easy to walk through potholes in deep chamber like spots, if flooding washes debris out this may change a bit.
  9. dIlusionR4          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.99137   W -111.77302        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 4 Illusions, is about 500 feet down canyon of rap 3, is anchored LDC from a single bolted hanger and drops about 25 feet to a waist deep pool below that may become deeper since it was sand filled and looked like it could blow out with a flood. Part way down rap 4 is an arch you can rappel through if you take your pack off or you can step over and rappel over the arch. To avoid rope grooving at rap 4, please set the pull rope so it is over the arch then step down canyon a few feet to pull the rope keeping the rope away from the rock as much as possible. Pulling the ropes through the arch will create rope grooves.
  10. wIlusionRP05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.99158   W -111.77280        Elev: NaN Feet
    Cross joint where ravines drop down to the canyon on both sides. Just before getting to this ravine is a corkscrew downclimb of about 35 feet tall that is easy to downclimb / slide down. There was an anchor set to rappel this corkscrew on our visit here but the downclimb is much easier than it looks.
  11. dIlusionR5-7          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.99240   W -111.77174        Elev: NaN Feet
    Raps 5, 6, 7 - Illusions Rap 5 is about 450 feet down canyon of the 35 foot corkscrew downclimb, is anchored from 2 very odd glue in style anchors on the LDC side, drops about 25 feet down a chute next to a fin then down a wall to a waist deep pool. The anchors for rap 5 used to be standard bolted hangers which disappeared and the anchor became the logs at the top of the drop. On my first visit there we found two anchors on the LDC side that look like they had been put in very sloppily with JB Weld. Rap 6 is on the other side of the pool below rap 5, is anchored from a log jam and drops down 20 feet to a pothole that can be a keeper when water levels are low but an easy out when full with a solid edge to grab to pull yourself out. Just before getting down to the pothole is a sloped ledge you can stand on and make an easy pack toss of about 8 feet across the pot hole. In years past rap 5 used to be anchored from bolted hangers as well. Rap 7 is on the other side of the pool below rap 6, is anchored from logs at the top of the drop and drops about 15 feet to a pool that is a swimmer and easy to get out of. On the other side of the pool below rap 7 is a downclimb of about 15 feet where you can downclimb / slide down a slope on the LDC side but it is a little precarious getting over to the start of the slide. At the bottom of the down climb is a pool that is a swimmer for about 8 feet.
  12. dIlusionR8          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.99275   W -111.77154        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 8 Illusions - Anchored on the LDC side from a hole feature on the wall that almost looks like a knot chalk and drops about 10 feet. Rap 8 can be downclimbed and can easily be partner assisted. Just past rap 8 is a pool to swim across then a corkscrew downclimb of about 15 feet down a chute then over a vertical drop with the last 4 feet being a little difficult where you will likely just drop the last few feet into the pool below and swim away.
  13. dIlusionR9-10          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.99293   W -111.77142        Elev: 6,100 Feet
    Raps 9, 1o - Illusions. Rap 9 anchored from 2 bolted hangers on the LDC side about head high and drops about 15 feet to a pool at the bottom. Swim across the pool and around the corner to the right to climb out the other side. When you climb out of the pool to the lip of the pool you will be greeted with the anchors for rap 10. Rap 10 is anchored LDC from 2 bolted hangers about head high while sitting at the lip and drops about 80 feet down to a huge sand filled pothole / pool.
  14. wIlusionRP06          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.99309   W -111.77133        Elev: NaN Feet
    Short wide vegetated wash just down canyon of rap 10. On the down canyon side of the open vegetated area another slot starts where you can downclimb into and through a pothole (or taller people can stem over it) then downclimb over a drop of about 6 feet with a small tube in the rock on the downclimb that make for a solid hand hold to lower yourself over the drop.
  15. dIlusionR11-12          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.99334   W -111.77122        Elev: NaN Feet
    Raps 11, 12 - Illusions Rap 11 anchored from rocks at the top of the drop and drops about 40 feet to a pool.  Around the corner from the bottom of rap 11 is rap 12. Rap 12 is anchored RDC from 2 bolted hangers and drops about 90 feet to a pothole about 20 feet across. The pothole at the bottom of rap 12 can be a swim across if full or a 19 foot deep keeper with a sand slope on the down canyon side making a potshot ineffective. A happy hooker or hooking kit and drill may be needed to get out of the pothole if it is low.
  16. wIlusionRP07          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.99355   W -111.77118        Elev: NaN Feet
    Wide vegetated wash below the last rappel and the huge pothole. Walk down canyon about 300 feet down canyon to the bottom of a ravine on the RDC (east) side. Going up that ravine is the sneak exit for Illusions.
  17. jIlusionSneak          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.99433   W -111.77086        Elev: 5,860 Feet
    Bottom of the Illusions Sneak Exit ravine. Watch out for poison ivy near the bottom of this ravine! Route find your way southeast up the ravine. Going up this ravine is steep and gets steeper near the top. The ravine is about 0.4 miles in length and has an elevation gain of about 840 feet. Travel up the ravine has a few dryfall like features where you will need to upclimb them or go up and around but it is all pretty easy. You may find social trails along the way on the sides of the ravine / drainage which may lead you to steep side sloping terrain. Travel is pretty straight forward and not difficult to just stay in the drainage all the way up only bypassing a dryfall if needed. Note that if traveling up Illusions to this point you will first go through a large boulder debris field then be presented with what appears to be 3 ravines. The one to the right (west) looking up canyon is a side ravine. The one in the middle is the main Illusions draiange. The one to the left (more eastish) is the Illusions shortcut exit.
Illusions (4) - Sneak Exit
  1. jIlusionSneak          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.99433   W -111.77086        Elev: 5,860 Feet
    Bottom of the Illusions Sneak Exit ravine. Watch out for poison ivy near the bottom of this ravine! Route find your way southeast up the ravine. Going up this ravine is steep and gets steeper near the top. The ravine is about 0.4 miles in length and has an elevation gain of about 840 feet. Travel up the ravine has a few dryfall like features where you will need to upclimb them or go up and around but it is all pretty easy. You may find social trails along the way on the sides of the ravine / drainage which may lead you to steep side sloping terrain. Travel is pretty straight forward and not difficult to just stay in the drainage all the way up only bypassing a dryfall if needed. Note that if traveling up Illusions to this point you will first go through a large boulder debris field then be presented with what appears to be 3 ravines. The one to the right (west) looking up canyon is a side ravine. The one in the middle is the main Illusions draiange. The one to the left (more eastish) is the Illusions shortcut exit.
  2. wIlusionRP08          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.99348   W -111.77019        Elev: NaN Feet
    Dry fall that can be bypassed LUC or on use trails along the RUC side. At this dry fall the two parallel drianages join into one. Continuing up the ravine will be a few dryfall / boulder piles to scramble up and or bypass.
  3. wIlusionRP09          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.99094   W -111.76890        Elev: NaN Feet
    As you get closer to the top the ravine seems to widen out where you could go left or right. Stay in the ravine to the right as it parallels the cliff band on the right.
  4. wIlusionRP10          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.98999   W -111.76767        Elev: 6,700 Feet
    Top out of the ravine. You will be about 250 feet to the right (south) of a saddle. Look for a use trail going southeast away from the saddle and traversing around the cliff band on your right (south). The use trail will travel southeast for about 150 feet then switch back up to the right to go west and work its way up to above the cliff band.
  5. wIlusionRP11          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.98986   W -111.76806        Elev: NaN Feet
    This point is about 250 feet after the switchback in the trail. The trail fades away just as it gets to the side of a deep ravine. When the trail reaches the side of the deep ravine and fades away, turn left and walk south up the steep forested slope. to the crest of the ridge about 300 feet away.
  6. wIlusionRP12          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.98931   W -111.76865        Elev: NaN Feet
    Crest of the ridge. Walk west following up the crest of the ridge about 450 feet to the end of a road (pkIlusionEnd).
  7. pkIlusionEnd          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 34.98922   W -111.77011        Elev: 6,970 Feet
    Park car here if you are running a shuttle for Illusions or Insomnia. If you are doing Illusions and did not run a shuttle this is where you get to the end of a road on the hike out. Walk the road south to get to the top parking spot for Illusions about 0.3 miles away.