Crescent Bridge Main Side Canyon is hidden deep in the Grapevine Mountains and contains towering white cliffs, a major dry fall, extensive narrows, and three false natural bridges. Difficulties encountered on the hike include figuring out the location of the canyon and dealing with a medium difficulty bypass of a major dry fall about halfway through the canyon. There will be additional challenges of steep slopes and another dry fall if a hiker attempts to loop the two canyons as I did. Route maps and GPS coordinates are not provided in order to avoid a large amount of increased visitation to this area and to protect fragile formations.
When I first hiked to Crescent Bridge back in March of 2012, it was definitely the highlight of that entire trip. During the course of that hike, we passed by Crescent Bridge's Main Side Canyon but we did not take the time to explore it. In January of 2013, a well-known hiker named Kauri ended up publishing a report on Crescent Bridge MSC and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and seeing the photographs. Since the hike looked very nice, I added it to my future To-Do List for the next time I wanted to take a guaranteed good hike in the Grapevines. Although the hike wasn't necessarily planned for my Fall 2014 trip, I brought the maps, GPS coordinates, and research papers from home with me in case I wanted to do it. I think what finally pushed this hike forward was the opportunity to do a potential loop hike and document an additional canyon in the area. Upon reading the few other reports which are in existence online covering the Crescent Bridge area, I realized that nobody had ever documented the 2nd side canyon. I couldn't figure out why that was the case since it looked to have some great narrows on satellite imagery. Thus, I decided to head out and attempt a loop hike of the Crescent Bridge MSC and 2SC (main side canyon and 2nd side canyon). This was going to be a solo hike deep into an isolated area of the Grapevine Mountains which sees very few visitors per year. To start out the (hopeful) loop, I began hiking up CB MSC and was immediately impressed with the high walls on display. The walls had a light whitish coloring and were mostly vertical cliffs in the early part of the canyon. Right away, I could see that it was going to be an extremely beautiful hike. I passed by a few junctions where hikers need to make sure that they stay in the correct main drainage, but it wasn't too difficult of a challenge. Soon I reached the one huge obstacle in the canyon -- a major dry fall. The dry fall cannot be climbed as the rock is loose and crumbly all around. But it can be carefully bypassed on the right side. The bypass proved to be a little bit more challenging than anticipated mostly due to the steepness of the slope going up and a brief unnerving section at the crossover spot. I would rate the bypass as easier than the bypass of the major obstacle in Crescent Bridge Canyon, but only by a small margin. After the major dry fall, the canyon began narrowing down considerably as it passed through three false natural bridges, or as a Kauri calls them, "almost-bridges". These false natural bridges are areas where giant boulders have fallen into the canyon from above and formed tunnel-like passages to walk through. The three false natural bridges were interesting since they were all a little bit different from one another. Past the last false bridge I entered the upper narrows, which were also outstanding. Once I finally reached the head of CB MSC, I looped up and over the ridge and dropped down into CB 2SC. The 2nd side canyon was a lot shorter, but it was also very interesting. It was an extremely tight slot in which I could touch both sides of the walls most of the entire way down. About 3/4 of the way down, I encountered a medium difficulty dry fall. That wasn't surprising because the wash descended very steeply the entire way and I had been worried about potential obstacles. I managed to climb down the dry fall by using counter-pressure on the walls. I would not have been able to climb directly down the dry fall as the conglomerate rock was loose and would have broken away. Upon reaching the bottom of the dry fall, I continued hiking down the rest of CB 2SC until I finally arrived in Crescent Bridge Canyon. It was a true feeling of relief to complete the loop and know that I would not have to backtrack and hike all the way back up to the ridge separating CB MSC & 2SC, which would have been time-consuming and tiring. Once I was in Crescent Bridge Canyon, I figured out why no previous hiking groups had documented the 2nd side canyon. The reason why is that the 2nd side canyon is not very distinct when looking toward its entrance from Crescent Bridge Canyon. It doesn't look like it is going to be a significant side canyon at all. Also, the entrance is barely visible as the Crescent Bridge Canyon becomes a deep trench at the spot where it passes the 2nd side canyon by. After paying a brief visit to Crescent Bridge for the first time in over 2 1/2 years, I hiked back down and out of the canyon. My hike took place on November 25, 2014.
Many more photographs taken during our visit are available for viewing for this destination. To see all of them, choose one of the two options presented below. The two options are Slideshow viewing and Trip Report viewing. The Slideshow option allows for viewing larger images with an autoplay option and a full screen option (available on most browsers). This option works very well for large computer screens and tablets. The Trip Report option allows for viewing smaller pictures in a standard scroll-down format and enlarging of any panoramic photos taken during our visit. Click on the option of your choice to view all of our photos from this destination. The Slideshow format opens in a new browser window and the Trip Report format uses the same browser window for viewing.
TRIP REPORT FORMAT