Cathedral Wash Trail is a 5.3 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Marble Canyon, Arizona that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 5.3 km Elevation Gain: 118 m Route Type: Out & Back

fishing

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

river

views

muddy

rocky

scramble

no shade

no dogs

This is not a difficult hike. However, if you’re unaccustomed to hiking in a slot canyon the few small down climbs can feel extreme. In reality, though, they are short, simple and quite manageable and most people will make it just fine. The down climbs encountered in this hike are all only a few feet tall so if you cannot manage them alone, you should be able to with assistance from hiking partners. What challenges people is that often there is more than one way to navigate a down climb rather than just one clear spot. This means at times it’s necessary to backtrack in search of a spot that is most comfortable for you to down climb. Some reviewers mention that cairns mark the easiest path down; however, because this drainage periodically experiences flash floods cairns are not always present. Regardless, it will not be too difficult for most people to find a way down. The first significant down climb in the canyon is reached when you encounter a 30 foot drop off. At this spot many people have trouble determining where to go but on your right hand if facing down canyon (aka RDC) there is a short, easy down climb of about 5 feet to a wide ledge. It may look scary to some but as you make your way down you’ll realize immediately that it is very secure. From here go right and walk on the ledge under an overhang (some may have to hunch over) for about 30 feet to where the ledge gets wider and starts stepping down, in short drops, towards the canyon floor. From here it is easy to pick a path down to the canyon floor. After this obstacle there are a few more short down climbs but none will be more challenging than the first down climb. Return the way you came. Most will find that up climbing is much easier than down climbing.

hiking
3 days ago

Do not underestimate this hike! It hard but a amazing hike. Great views!

hiking
scramble
4 days ago

The canyon is dry, but there were a few avoidable patches of mud. Hiked in the afternoon-evening. Great temps and lighting. If getting into the river stay close to shore as current is decent right now in this spot. The hike is not difficult, but if you have limited experience hiking in a slot canyon the short, easy down climbs can seem daunting and more difficult than they really are. However, all of the down climbs are within the ability of MOST people and have low exposure risk.

hiking
9 days ago

Awesome gulch wash trail. A couple of areas where it’s not obvious how to get down or keep going but follow the cairns and it will take you the best way. Swim in the Colorado river at the end! Shade depends on what time of day you do the hike.

hiking
9 days ago

the trail follows the dry gulch all the way down to the Colorado river. Some shade as the gulch turns into a proper canyon with steep cliffs on each side. Took me 1 and 1/2 hrs total. I'd label it moderate/hard only because of 1 or 2 areas where you have to figure how to descend steep walls onto the trail.

hiking
9 days ago

Couldn’t finish it, seemed to be no way to keep going. I doubled over and around a few times. Made it about 3/4 of the way in. Super gorgeous trail though.

rocky
scramble
11 days ago

It was such an adventure. It looks amazing walking through the winding rocks and then you get to a small canyon you climb into. It was fun climbing around trying to figure out where to go and how to get there. No major rock climbing and there is a marked path, we just wanted to explore more. Once you get down to the river, stop and eat some lunch and enjoy the cool river on your feet.

hiking
13 days ago

Really beautiful hike with a little bit of everything along the way. There will be a small amount of canyoning and bouldering, but nothing too difficult. The trail ends at the Colorado River, which is just icing on the cake. Excellent adventure!

13 days ago

Fun short trail. Not very well marked for finding the easiest path through so it can be a bit confusing if you want to go the safest route. It's obvious lot of people have been having similar issues due to well worn paths leading to dead ends and steep drop offs. No ropes are needed for this hike and with a bit of looking around pretty simple paths to get around the drop offs can be found.

hiking
24 days ago

Amazing geologic experience and then end up at the River! It was Beautiful!

hiking
25 days ago

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

Amazing hike! Wasn’t as hard as I expected from reading the reviews! I went with my Auntie, my two cousins, and my 14 year old sister. The trail is surrounded with beautiful red rocks, unbelievable formations, and leads into the Colorado river for the perfect end to the hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike to the river with 3 fun scrambles.

recorded Recording - Mar 15, 03:21 PM

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

Could not recommend more.

hiking
3 months ago

Can get tricky with some rock climbing but that’s what made this such a fun trail! You descend into the beautiful canyon and get a good look at different forms of rock as you go down. We were lucky with no ice/snow in February but I’d be especially cautious if conditions were slippery. I wouldn’t recommend this trail if you’re afraid of heights. Would do again in a heartbeat, super fun trail and rewarding with the river at the end.

hiking
3 months ago

Genial! Kurzweilig, sehr schön + moderat zum absolvieren

hiking
off trail
rocky
3 months ago

Stunning. Just stunning. Be careful many tricky times but you can get there! Love and recommend. Must be in descent shape though. Enjoy!

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

We did this trail 2/2/2020. Very nice especially at the end,. The beautiful Colorado River! Not very hard, but you do need to follow those carens, very helpful!

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

Did this hike on 1/31/2020 @100 and only took us about two hours including chilling in the beach for a few pix. Look for the Carens along the way as I followed all the reviews on here of when to stay to left and eight and it worked great. If you look around u can also see the foot prints. No poles needed and u could wear gloves if you wanted. Sturdy hiking shoes as I wore my danners and glad I did over my topo’s. Met a park ranger at the start she was friendly and she started the trail with us then turned back. We had the whole canyon to our selves and the views were amazing. Takes a little skill.

hiking
fee
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

Super Cool Awesome hike. Beautiful views and fabulous reward at the river. It wasn’t very strenuous, but it required some thinking. It almost felt like I was in an escape room. Coming back up was much easier. Poles helped. It looks like the trail goes to the left on the first huge drop, but stay to the right. Look for the cairns!!!!

recorded Cathedral Wash Trail

hiking
4 months ago

Incredible. One of our top 5 ever. Some parts are challenging but fun to work out as you go. We’re both relatively fit and found it medium challenging.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

Did south cathedral trail. Amazing hike through the rift of the canyon. The trail descends gradually through the canyon. There are multiple points where you have to climb down the rocks that may seem difficult at first but can be done if you find the best areas to climb. View at the end of the Colorado river is beautiful and very much worth the hike. Can be done in about 3 hours.

Showing results 1 - 22 of 251