Tapeats Creek Kayaking – Grand Canyon
Top of the Gorge to the Colorado River
Length: .6 miles/ 30 minutes, longer runs possible
Class: IV (potential portages)
Gradient: 380 ft/mile
Kayaking Tapeats Creek is a worthy side expedition when rafting or kayaking Grand Canyon that only takes a couple of hours to complete. The creek has runnable flows year round with flows being a little higher during spring runoff. Through the rest of the season it depends upon how much recent rain has dropped upstream. The typically pristine, clear water flows out of Tapeats Cave from an underground aquifer. The run is not advisable when it is muddy and/or it is raining upstream.
Hiking to Put-in
The crux of this run is the initial vertical climb while shouldering a boat. While there are trails on both sides of the canyon, the trail on the downstream side (creek right) is a much easier carry, the upstream side requires ropes to pull the boats over a couple of cliffy sections. Once above the initial climb on either side of Tapeats Canyon, the trail contours nicely for just over half a mile until it returns to the river. There is a nice put-in here or continue upstream to add some more fun drops.
While hiking keep an eye out for wood in the gorge. There is a better view of certain sections of the gorge from the creek left trail.
Tapeats Creek Highlights
Mile 0: Put-in
Put-in where the trail returns to the creek. Below the put-in are numerous slides and drops. Depending upon the flow there can be places to stop and scout. The amount of portaging varies depending upon comfort of the paddlers, flows and wood.
If for some reason you loose a boat know that people have hiked up and down the canyon at low water. That being said it is really difficult to access the creek and a challenge to get through without a boat.
Mile .6: Take out – The Colorado River