Upper Fall Canyon consists of the long portion of beautiful canyon beyond the heavily-visited narrows above the 1st major dry fall and contains two additional major dry falls. Difficulties encountered on the hike include a long hike to reach the upper canyon by way of two different routes and climbing or bypassing two major dry falls which will be too difficult for some hikers. A Google Earth map of the hiking route can be found by clicking on the button above. GPS coordinates for the parking area of the Titus Canyon crossover route are 36° 51.193'N, 117° 4.006'W. GPS coordinates for the Fall-Titus Divide are 36° 51.821'N, 117° 5.645'W. GPS coordinates for the 2nd major dry fall are 36° 52.377'N, 117° 6.908'W.
For many years now, I had been hoping to hike into Upper Fall Canyon. During the times I have hiked Lower Fall Canyon, the groups I was with weren't really interested in hiking beyond the narrows above the 1st dry fall. And that's understandable, because the hike through Lower Fall Canyon into the narrows is pretty much a family friendly hike, with the exception of the bypass of the 1st major dry fall. In thinking about finally reaching the upper canyon, I decided that I didn't want to hike 4 miles through Fall Canyon once again just to reach the starting point for my hike, which would be at the end of the narrows above the 1st dry fall. So I decided to look into alternatives for reaching the upper canyon. Finally, a route caught my attention on satellite imagery which would start on Titus Canyon Road, head by foot into Upper Titus Canyon, cross over at the Fall-Titus Divide (where we would have a good view of Mount Palmer), drop into a side canyon (which is Fall Canyon's 2nd Side Canyon), and finally end up in Upper Fall Canyon. Once we were in Fall Canyon, we would only have to hike 3/4 of a mile to reach the 2nd and 3rd major dry falls, which would be the targeted destination for the hike. We ended up stopping just beyond the 3rd major dry fall, when we had rounded a bend and could see an incredible view of Wahguyhe Peak off in the distance. For those who wish to backpack overnight into Upper Fall Canyon, flowing water can usually be found at a spring which is located up a side canyon to the right about 1 mile past where we stopped and 3/4 of a mile up the side canyon. The turnoff for the spring is located at about 4,430 feet in elevation, and if you check out satellite imagery, you can see thick greenery at the spring at 5,225 feet in elevation. However, I cannot comment for sure about the reliability of the spring since I have never been there. If you're interested in using it as a water source, it might be best to check with the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. As mentioned, our goal for the hike was to check out the 2nd and 3rd dry falls. Prior to the hike, I had heard that the 2nd dry fall needed to be bypassed on the right side by going up high on a bypass trail. However, we decided to just go ahead and climb the 2nd dry fall on the left side, which we didn't find to be too difficult. But the 3rd dry fall was a different story. I had read online that the 3rd dry fall was actually a formidable barrier which had stopped some hiking and backpacking groups from progressing farther up Fall Canyon. Upon inspecting it for myself, I can now understand why. The 3rd dry fall is actually a boulder blockade section that has three options -- the left, the middle, and the right. The left option is for expert climbers only, as there is pretty much no way that a regular hiker could boost themselves up or get around the boulders that are stacked there. The middle option is for climbers with medium abilities. There is a small passage you go through before finding yourself stuck below a chockstone in a tight section. Wedging yourself between rocks and working your way up from that point is a bit awkward and tricky, and there is some exposure. But it can be done by those with the right skills. Finally, the right option is the one that advanced hikers with minor climbing skills will probably carefully consider or attempt. It is kind of like a steep bypass with loose crumbly rock and steep sections. It is very intimidating and not at all easy. After personally checking it out, I can see why some groups have turned around rather than attempt it. It is because of this three-option 3rd dry fall that I am listing a Safety Alert along with this hike. Because if somebody were to slip while attempting any one of the three options, they could get badly injured. So caution is definitely in order here. Some hikers may also consider it to be very difficult to use the crossover route from Titus Canyon since a couple of dry falls must be bypassed. So you may wish to hike up from Lower Fall Canyon instead. But all things considered, we enjoyed this hike immensely. There were outstanding views of both Mount Palmer and Wahguyhe Peak. And the side canyon connecting the Fall-Titus Divide with Fall Canyon was very pretty with some narrow sections, lots of small dry falls, and two major dry falls which required bypasses. It was definitely a very creative way to reach Upper Fall Canyon. Our hike took place on December 7, 2011.
This hike contains sections of climbing, exposed bypasses and/or high dry falls and may require safety ropes and equipment in order to complete the entire hike. Those without the proper training, experience, and safety gear should only access Upper Fall Canyon from Lower Fall Canyon and should stop at the bottom of the three-option major dry fall.
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