Upper Mosaic Canyon is the seldom-visited and hard-to-reach upper portion of the popular tourist canyon which has more sections of beautiful narrows, major dry falls, and a flowing spring. Difficulties encountered on the hike include route finding to access the Mosaic Rim Trail, climbing down a medium difficulty dry fall if one wishes to access the 3rd Narrows, and following faint sheep trails up steep hillsides if one wishes to reach the bottom of Twin Springs. Topographical maps of the hiking route (turned to the northeast for better viewing) can be found by clicking on the buttons above. GPS coordinates for the 3rd Narrows are 36.558240, -117.127374. GPS coordinates for the 4th Narrows are 36.554172, -117.125814. GPS coordinates for the Twin Springs flowing water area are 36.544046, -117.117079.
Upper Mosaic continues where my report on Lower Mosaic leaves off, which was at the Mosaic Rim Trail junction. This is reached by taking a sometimes challenging bypass trail up from the canyon floor a short distance back from the 25 foot major dry fall where Lower Mosaic Canyon becomes impassable. Following the Mosaic Rim Trail farther up canyon, it soon dropped down to a low point where I was able to scramble and climb down into the mysterious 3rd Narrows. The dry fall which I had to climb down was a bit uncomfortable but had some good hand and foot holds to it. After dropping into the 3rd Narrows, I first backtracked to the 25 foot fall which I had bypassed (on a bypass which takes less than one hour to complete). It was very interesting to look down into Mosaic Canyon from that vantage point. Here was a dry fall which had put a stop to my hikes through Mosaic Canyon for much of the past decade, and now I had been able to overcome that obstacle. I soon turned around and explored the rest of the passable 3rd Narrows, which ended in a nice grotto and high dry fall. After getting back on the rim trail, there were great views looking down into the rest of the 3rd Narrows. But the views from up high would have to suffice, as there is no safe way to drop back into the 3rd Narrows at any point along the trail. The Mosaic Rim Trail ended and I found myself deposited back onto the canyon floor. This led shortly into the 4th Narrows, which were impressive but once again ended way too soon in another grotto and dry fall. A bypass would be necessary to see more, but my goal for the day was Twin Springs. As there is no simple way to get to Twin Springs, I backtracked a short distance and found a way to start hiking up the mountainside. It was extremely steep and tiring, and I soon began wondering where the faint sheep trail I was following would lead to. After quite a while, rock cairns began appearing somewhat regularly and that was a big relief. I was starting to feel out of my league for this hike and those cairns provided the reassurance that I needed. The faint trail did go up and down for a while, but eventually it dropped me into a side canyon which leads to the base of Twin Springs. In the opposite direction, this side canyon flows right into Upper Mosaic Canyon. When the side canyon split, I headed left and found flowing water. It was quite amazing to find so much surface water in a side canyon of Mosaic, to say the least. Thus, technically I had reached Twin Springs, but my goal was to find a scrambling route up the mountainside to find the main source of the springs as marked on topo maps, which is a "Y" shaped expanse of greenery. I tried at least 5 different routes, but each became too treacherous. Knowing safety limitations, I wisely called off the hike and headed out of Mosaic Canyon. I think if I ever came back here someday, I would try to find more routes back into Upper Mosaic Canyon to search out even more narrows and dry falls. Our hike took place on March 11, 2009.
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