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Seven Falls Canyon
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Seven Falls Canyon

Seven Falls Canyon
Hikers at parking area (view W)

Overview

This hike is an off-trail scramble in the River Mountains that runs through a deep and narrow canyon blocked by seven pour-overs, that is, blocked by "seven falls." The exact number of pour-overs depends on how, exactly, they are counted, but regardless, this canyon makes for a good scramble on volcanic rock. One of the pour-overs could be considered Class 2, but all of the others are Class 3 and Class 4. Some of the pour-overs can be bypassed, but this is a scrambling route.

At the end of the canyon (2.2 miles out), hikers have several choices: return by the same route, return by Many Falls Canyon, return by other canyons, visit the teddybear cholla forest, or return via dirt roads. Hiker can even continue higher into the mountains climbing even more pour-overs.

Link to map.

Seven Falls Canyon
Hikers departing the trailhead (view W)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this is a scrambling route with plenty of Class 3 pour-overs. Be extra careful when high enough to fall and get hurt as a rescue from this canyon would be difficult and uncomfortable. A rope probably would not be useful, but some hikers might want one anyways.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, this hike goes into difficult country, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials.

Seven Falls Canyon
Canyon narrows (view SW)

Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, not far from the Visitor Center and directly up the hill from Boulder Beach.

From town, drive out to the Boulder Beach area at Lake Mead. From Lakeshore Road at Mile Post 2, drive up to the Brown Tank Trailhead. Park here; this is the trailhead.

Seven Falls Canyon
Bighorn Sheep on canyon walls

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 1, Waypoint 01), the route goes north into the broad wash (avoiding the gated road and "closed area" signs), then turns west and runs up the gravel wash. In about 1/3 miles, the canyon narrows, and at about 1/2 miles, the canyon forks (Wpt. 02). Seven Falls Canyon lies to the right, and Many Falls Canyon, a possible return route, is to the left.

Staying right, the first of the seven pour-overs (Wpt. 03) is quickly encountered. This one is a bit high, but fairly secure. In about 80 yards, the 2nd pour-over (Wpt. 04) is steeper, but a hole through boulders on the right edge permits easy spelunking.

Seven Falls Canyon
Canyon forks (Wpt. 02; view W)

Continuing up the canyon, the 3rd pour-over (Wpt. 05) looks a bit imposing, but it can be climbed fairly easily on the right side.

The 4th, 5th, and 6th pour-overs could be counted as a single pour-over with several steps, but seven falls are need, so these are counted individually. The 4th pour-over (Wpt. 06) is fairly easy, the 5th pour-over is harder (but bypassed on the right), and the 6th pour-over is difficult (but bypassed on the right by joining hikers who bypassed the 5th). From the top of the series (Wpt. 07), it looks there might be even more pour-overs down there.

Seven Falls Canyon
1st pour-over (Wpt. 03; view NW)

Continuing, hikers soon encounter the 7th pour-over (Wpt. 08), and even another, but it is low, so why bother counting it. Shortly, the wash splits three ways (Wpt. 09) at what seems to be the end of Seven Falls Canyon.

Here, the route turns left into a side canyon and quickly passes two more substantial pour-overs (Wpt. 10; Wpt. 11) before opening into a gentle canyon. The route runs south following the wash to a corner (Wpt. 12) where the wash bends to the west. Following the wash westward to the head of the canyon, the route climbs onto a saddle (Wpt. 13) with nice views to the east where even Lake Mead can be seen.

Seven Falls Canyon
Approaching the 2nd pour-over (Wpt. 04)

At this point, hikers need to decide on a return route. The simplest would be to follow footprints back down the canyon, but some hikers would object to downclimbing the pour-overs.

Hikers could cross over the saddle, drop into a broad wash with a powerline road and follow dirt roads back to the trailhead, possibly visiting the Teddybear Cholla Forest first. Another option would be to downclimb Many Falls Canyon, which rejoins Seven Falls Canyon at the confluence (Wpt. 02) below the seven pour-overs. Many Falls Canyon is not for the faint of heart, but even those who objected to downclimbing Seven Falls Canyon made it down and out safely.

Seven Falls Canyon
Spelunking the 2nd pour-over (Wpt. 04)
Seven Falls Canyon
Hikers in the wash
Seven Falls Canyon
Natural art along the wash
Seven Falls Canyon
Approaching the 3nd pour-over (Wpt. 05)
Seven Falls Canyon
Hikers climbing the 3nd pour-over (Wpt. 05)
Seven Falls Canyon
Hikers in the wash
Seven Falls Canyon
Hikers climbing the 4th pour-over (Wpt. 06)
Seven Falls Canyon
One hiker climbing, and others bypassing, the 5th pour-over
Seven Falls Canyon
Hikers bypassing the 6th pour-over (Wpt. 07)
Seven Falls Canyon
Hikers climbing the 7th pour-over (Wpt. 08)
Seven Falls Canyon
8th pour-over? ... perhaps too low and not worth counting
Seven Falls Canyon
Hiker at 3-way confluence (Wpt. 09)
Seven Falls Canyon
Hikers in left fork at 3-way confluence (Wpt. 09)
Seven Falls Canyon
Hikers at another pour-over (Wpt. 10)
Seven Falls Canyon
Hikers at yet another pour-over (Wpt. 11)
Seven Falls Canyon
Hiker in gentle wash (view SW)
Seven Falls Canyon
Hikers in the wash (Wpt 12)
Seven Falls Canyon
Hikers in the wash (view W)
Seven Falls Canyon
Hikers in the wash, approaching the saddle (view W)
Seven Falls Canyon
Saddle (Wpt. 13; view E back down the route to Lake Mead)

Table 1. Hiking Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Hiking GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
01 Trailhead 697353 3989405 1,473 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Confluence 696654 3989234 1,580 0.55 0.55 Yes
03 1st Pour-Over 696633 3989258 1,595 0.02 0.57 GPS
04 2nd Pour-Over 696593 3989281 1,640 0.05 0.62 GPS
05 3rd Pour-Over 695947 3989529 1,860 0.56 1.18 GPS
06 4th Pour-Over 695601 3989434 2,003 0.37 1.55 GPS
07 Top of 5-6 Pour-Overs 695558 3989398 2,064 0.06 1.61 GPS
08 7th Pour-Over 695329 3989341 2,103 0.16 1.77 GPS
09 Confluence of 3 Washes 695304 3989325 2,119 0.03 1.80 GPS
10 8th Pour-Over 695301 3989307 2,129 0.02 1.82 GPS
11 9th Pour-Over 695301 3989284 2,155 0.02 1.84 GPS
12 Wash Forks 695176 3989038 2,245 0.20 2.04 GPS
13 Saddle 694908 3989052 2,383 0.20 2.24 GPS
01 Trailhead 697353 3989405 1,473 2.24 4.48 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 150917

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