Canyoneering Route Description

Grotto Canyon - Layer Fork - 4A III
Death Valley National Park, California.

Quick Facts

12-28-13, 7 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 7.25 hours) Pictures Icon

Time Required - 7 to 9 hours
Distance - 5.7 miles Total, 2.3 miles Technical
Rappels - 12 Rappels, Longest Rappel 115 feet.
Elevation Range - 680 - 3380 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - High Clearance, 4WD if bad road conditions Permit Required - No

Gear Used for Canyon

Rappelling and anchor gear, Ropes and or pull cords for rappels up to 115 feet and 80 feet of 1 inch webbing for sling placement.

General Comments

The Layer Fork of Grotto Canyon is very scenic in a few spots where you cut through upturned rock layers sitting vertically.  There is also a lot more going on with downclimbs and rappels in this Layer Fork as opposed to the not very interesting Not So Much Fork to the east.  If you are going to choose a fork of Grotto to descend, I recommend this one.

The Layer Fork of Grotto was rated a 4 in technical difficulty only because knot chalk anchors have been used in a couple spots.  These drops can be anchored suing rocks or cairn anchors but you will need to farm the rocks.  If no knot chalk anchors are used this would be a technical canyon rated at 3.

There are multiple forks of Grotto and I have only been along on two of them. One we called the Not So Much fork because it was not a fun route. The other we called the Layer Fork because the route was more fun and the canyon cut through some very beautiful layers of rock.  Thanks to Rick Kent for inviting us along on the trip to explore this fork.

There is one rappel in an entry ravine that is counted in the rap count. If you prefer to count only the raps in canyon proper subtract one from my count.

While going over rap 2 and the scrambling / downclimbs just down canyon of it, do not forget to turn around and look back up canyon occasionally. The layers you have been going over are extremely scenic. Farther down in the canyon around raps 5 and are more very cool looking upturned layers of rock to go over. Again do not forget to look back up canyon occasionally.

The approach route travels up a long ridge over Point Hideous (name given to the point by Mike Cressman) then down the ridge on the other side to cross a wide wash. From that wash the route goes south up more steep ridge then later leaves the ridge and goes over toward the canyon. The spot to leave the second ridge does not have any good landmarks to tell you when to stop. Pay careful attention to the description so you drop in at the right location or use a GPS to get you to the right spot.

Driving Directions

To get to the Trailhead

From the store / gas station in Stovepipe Wells (wStovpipeStore) drive east on Hwy 190 for 1.9 miles to the parking area for the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes (pkMesqSndDune).  The sand dune parking lot is a very large paved parking lot with bathrooms and makes a great place to consolidate people into fewer vehicles if desired.

From the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes parking lot continue east on Hwy 190 for 0.53 miles to a turn off onto a dirt road on the right (south) which is the turn of for Grotto Canyon (exGrottoDV).

Turn right and drive south up the dirt and gravel road toward Grotto Canyon which eventually gets more rough as it passes over alluvial fan and travels directly up the wash.

About 1.2 miles after leaving the highway will be the mouth of the canyon (GrottoDVMouth).  What I marked as the mouth of the canyon is you begin to have steep hills on BOTH sides of you (a few hundred feet after you started to have a steep hill on the right).

The place to park to start the route up the ridge is about 0.37 miles up the wash after getting into the mouth.  Park off to the side (pkGrottoDV) to begin the route.

Note:
There is no signage, markings or good landmarks to denote the parking and a GPS is helpful finding this spot.  As you drive up fro the mouth of Grotto this parking spot is near the end of a sweeping left bend and just before a right bend in the wash as you drive up.

Example Pic.

To help visually find the correct spot you should be able to see some almost vertical sand hills with deep water carved slots / grooves cut into them on the left side (looking up the wash) about 450 feet away.  The sand hills are visually slightly obscured by the canyon walls since they are slightly around the right hand bend in the wash you parked before getting to.  To the left (east) side of the wash almost directly across the wash from the parking spot the slope up to the ridge above should look like you can walk / scramble your way up the slopes.  Farther up the wash the canyon walls are too steep to go up. 

To leave the Exit Vehicle / Escape Pod

No exit vehicle is needed.  This is done as a loop route.

Maps - - - - GPS coordinate information listed at the bottom of this route description.

For information about my waypoint naming convention and map symbols, refer to the Glossary page.

Map Link Icon
Click the links for maps of the route.
Map of the drive into the route.
Map of the entire route.
Map of the technical section Zoomed to Upper.
Map of the technical section Zoomed to Lower.

Details

The Approach:
From the parking spot (pkGrottoDV) go up the slope on the left (east) side of the wash. About 500 feet up the slope you will get up to the crest of the ridge on a saddle.

Example Pic.

Once on the ridge (GrottoDV01) turn right and go southeast up the ridge.  About 0.27 miles up the ridge it begins to get steep (GrottoDV02).  Almost 500 feet farther is an outcropping to scramble up.  As you scramble up around the outcropping it seems to go a little easier to the right.  From the top of the outcropping (GrottoDV03) continue up the ridge for about 0.25 miles and cross a shallow saddle (GrottoDV04).  A little over 500 feet farther the route up the ridge tops out briefly (GrottoDV05).  About 250 feet farther is another small saddle (GrottoDV06) then continue up the ridge where you will have a short steep section with a lot of larger rocks to walk through and one small saddle before getting to the high point (pPointHideous) on the approach ridge about 1200 feet away.

The high point on the ridge (pPointHideous) was named by Mike Cressman as Point Hideous. Follow the more gently sloped ridge southeast down the other side of the peak.

About 0.27 miles down the ridge from the high point is another saddle (GrottoDV07).  About 0.21 miles farther down the ridge is another saddle (GrottoDV08).  About 500 feet farther is another saddle (GrottoDV09).  About 300 feet farther the route crosses over a large wash (GrottoDV10) near its top which is very shallow this high up. Continue south across the wide wash then start up the steep slope / ridge to the south.

Note:
As you go over to the slope you will see a gully going up just to the left of the more rocky terrain. Start up that gully for easier travel but you will soon need to move over onto the more rocky terrain.

About 450 feet up the slope is the top end of the gully (GrottoDV11) where you need to move over to the right a bit and continue up the ridge in more rocky terrain with a couple spots of light scrambling.  About 650 feet farther up is a small flat zone (GrottoDV12) for a tiny break in the steep grade.  About 1000 feet farther up the grade gets steeper (GrottoDV13) and more rocky. Going up the crest of the ridge here involves some light 3rd class scrambling and looks more difficult than it is. A few hundred feet farther and it becomes a walk again on more gentle slopes.

Note:
It is possible to contour around this on the right side but it is not fun travel and going up the ridge is preferred. Ask me how I know this.

When you get to the top of the 3rd class scrambling and the grade becomes more gentle (GrottoDV14), continue up the ridge about 0.24 miles to the start of a semi level section (GrottoDV15) where you can see see a wide mellow saddle a bit lower than you are to the right (west) about 1000 feet away. The drainage running down to the north from that saddle is the Not So Much Fork of Grotto. The Layer Fork of Grotto is one more drainage over to the west. Leave the ridge hear and contour over to that saddle.  Contour around and route find your way over to that saddle.

When you have dropped down and contoured over to the saddle (yGrottoNSMTp) you are on a wide saddle and at the start of both the route to the Not So Much Fork of Grotto and the Layer Fork of Grotto.

Note:
To drop into the Not So Much Fork follow down the drainage to the north.
To continue over to the Layer Fork of Grotto follow down the wide slope to the west which slowly starts to turn into a minor drainage.

The Canyoneering / Technical Section:
From the saddle (yGrottoNSMTp) to continue over to the Layer Fork, follow down the wide slope to the west which slowly starts to turn into a minor drainage.

About 400 feet from the saddle the wash begins to narrow a little (GrottoLayer01) and have some rocks to walk around.

About 180 feet farther the wash starts to drop very steeply (GrottoLayer02). With two drops of 15 each near the top. The first is an easy scramble or bypassed LDC and the second will be moderately difficult. A few more short scramble of about 5 feet each to a rappel. About 160 feet farther is a rap 1.

Rap 1 (dGrottoLyrR01) is anchored from a rock pile and drops about 20 feet. It may be possible to downclimb this rap but it would be difficult and exposed.

About 100 feet after rap 1 is a moderately difficult downclimb of about 15 feet (GrottoLayer03).

About 200 feet farther the side drainage used to get to here meets the wash (yGrottoLayerTp) and you are in the main canyon of the Layer Fork. Turn right and go north down canyon.  About 800 feet down canyon is Rap 2.

Rap 2 (dGrottoLyrR02) is anchored LDC about head high from a pinch between rocks and drops about 60 feet down a mostly vertical wall with small ledges formed by a series of upturned layers of rock.

Just after rap 2 is a moderately difficult downclimb of about 35 feet that also has little ledges formed by a series of upturned rock layers.  Shortly down canyon are more easy downclimbs over another section going over more upturned layers of rock (GrottoLayer04). Then wash walking down to rap 3.

Rap 3 (dGrottoLyrR03) is anchored RDC from a cairn anchor and uses about 115 feet of rope over 2 stages with a long horizontal section between stages.

About 375 feet down canyon is a series of 3 drops to downclimb (GrottoLayer05). 1st is about 12 feet and can be bypassed RDC, second is about 12 feet and is downclimbed through a rabbit hole down under a boulder, 3rd is almost about 17 feet with a ledge about 5 feet up from the bottom. A couple of the downclimbs are moderately difficult and may require a partner assist for some.  About 250 feet down canyon is rap 4.

Rap 4 (dGrottoLyrR04) is anchored from a large cairn anchor and drops about 25 feet down a water carved flute. The previous anchor was a knot chalk on the RDC side about head high in a crack.

About 80 feet down canyon is the start of a winding narrows (GrottoLayer06) that starts with a downclimb of about 10 feet that is a little difficult under a boulder and will likely require a partner assist. The winding slot after the downclimb is short and opens up to wash walking again.  About 0.22 miles down canyon is rap 5.

Rap 5 (dGrottoLyrR05) is anchored RDC from a redirected knot chalk and drops about 12 feet down kind of a flute formed cutting through an upturned layer of rock. Can bypass the rap by downclimbing around to the LDC side.

About 230 feet down canyon is a drop (GrottoLayer07) where going down the water course is a drop of about 6 feet followed by a pretty spicy downclimb of about 15 feet. However this drop can be made easier and WAY more fun / scenic by downclimbing the first 6 feet then climb out on the RDC side you get drop over onto one of the large upturned rock layers and walk / scramble down on its edge to the canyon floor. This is a fun downclimb as you see what you are walking on.

Wash walking and a few easy scrambles over rocks before reaching rap 6.

Rap 6 (dGrottoLyrR06) is anchored RDC from a pinch point between boulders and uses about 85 feet of rope as it drops over 2 subtle stages down slightly sloped wall.

Just down canyon of rap 6 is a drop of about 35 feet that can be bypassed by climbing around on the RDC side.  Rap 7 is a little over 300 feet down canyon.

Rap 7 (dGrottoLyrR07-9) is anchored LDC from large boulder embedded in the wash and drops about 85 feet with an awkward start and free hanging most of the way down. Be careful at the top of rap 7 since it is on a big false floor. Care should be taken to be prepared for the floor to crumble away.

Rap 8 down canyon of rap 7 about 40 feet, anchored from a cairn style anchor and drops about 85 feet and is not free hanging at all.

Rap 9 down canyon of rap 8 about 40 feet, anchored RDC from a pinch point about 15 feet back from the drop and drops about 20 feet. This rap can be downclimbed but is difficult and sketchy.

Just after rap 9 the canyon makes a very sharp left hand bend and feels like it almost makes a U-turn is a downclimb of about 8 feet that is easiest on the LDC side with wash walking down canyon after it.

About 300 feet down canyon is rap 10.

Rap 10 (dGrottoLyrR10) is anchored from a rock protruding from the floor about 20 feet back and drops about 40 feet.

About 0.2 miles farther a junction comes in from the left (jGrottoOther) Rick Kent has descended this other fork and I do not know what he named it.

For a side trip, you can walk up this other fork about 650 feet to the lower end of a narrows then go up that narrows about 300 more feet to the bottom of the final rap in that fork.

About 850 feet down canyon is the start of a narrows (GrottoLayer08) about 450 feet long. Shortly into the narrows is an easy downclimb of about 8 feet then shortly after is the next rap.  About 100 feet down canyon is rap 11.

Rap 11 (dGrottoLyrR11) you can silmul-rap by stringing the rope over a large boulder at the top of the drop and drops about 15 feet. This rap can be downclimbed but will likely need a partner assist so sending someone down on eat anchor may be the best option. Continue wash walking in the narrows with 5 or 6 more short and easy scramble / downclimbs.

Almost 300 feet farther is a 450 feet long narrows where you continue wash walking down canyon.  When the narrows opens up (GrottoLayer09) it is about 0.25 miles down to rap 12 with one easy downclimb of about 6 to 8 feet along the way.

Rap 12 (dGrottoLyrR12) is anchored using either a rock in the wash or a knot chalk about 10 feet back on the RDC side and drops about 60 feet. At the bottom of this rap is what is known as The Grotto and people commonly hike up to the base of this rappel.

Note:
From the top of this rap you can bypass on the RDC side following a ledge then walking the RDC rim following the occasional use trail then drop back to the canyon floor a few hundred feet down canyon. The bypass goes around the final rappel and the Grotto. section.

About 0.27 miles down canyon is the confluence where the Not So Much Fork of Grotto joins in from the RDC side (jLayer-NSM).

About 500 feet farther down canyon is the top of a narrows (GrottoLayer10) about 200 foot long with 3 moderately difficult drops of 6, 10 and 15 feet. A partner assist will likely be needed on the 10 foot drop. Optionally you can route find your way up and around a long ways RDC to bypass this narrows.

The Exit:
When the final small narrows widens out (yGrottoDV-Bt) walk down the wash about 0.4 miles back to the cars.

GPS Waypoint Information

GPX Files Available for DOWNLOAD.
Downloadable GPX files for many of the canyons listed here are now available at the BG-Gear Store.  In addition to the waypoints, the GPX files also offer routes and tracks for the canyon.  Over time more GPX files will be added.

If you want to avoid manually adding waypoints into your GPS or mapping software, want the additional routes and tracks or simply want to support the efforts put into BluuGnome, head over to the BG-Gear Store and grab the files that interest you.

Elevations are approximate.  Waypoints with no elevation data will display NaN in place of the elevation.

For information about my waypoint naming convention and map symbols, refer to the Glossary page.

Notes for GPS information:
BEFORE
entering coordinates from this website, please ensure your system (GPS or mapping software) is set to the same datum used here.  Waypoint coordinates are listed with WGS84 datum and in Lat/Lon hddd.ddddd° format.  Entering coordinate information with inconsistent datum's can result in the waypoints being off by hundreds of feet.  It is important to keep this in mind when entering waypoints from any source.

Grotto DV - Layer Fork 1 - Drive to Trailhead
  1. wStovpipeStore          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.60663   W -117.14688        Elev: 0 Feet
    Convenience store / gas station at Stovepipe Wells.
  2. pkMesqSndDune          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.60625   W -117.11505        Elev: -14 Feet
    Parking area for the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Large parking lot with bathrooms.
  3. exGrottoDV          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.60439   W -117.10572        Elev: NaN Feet
    Turn off to dirt road going to Grotto Canyon. High clearance recomended, passenger cars will have trouble.
  4. GrottoDVMouth          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.58836   W -117.11026        Elev: NaN Feet
    This is the mouth of Grotto Canyon where it opens up to alluvial fan. On the drive up to here from the road this is where you begin to have steep hills on BOTH sides of you (a few hundred feet after you started to have a steep hill on the right).
  5. pkGrottoDV          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.58460   W -117.10608        Elev: 680 Feet
    Parking spot to start the Grotto route. This is about 0.37 miles up into Grotto from the mouth and is near the end of a sweeping left bend and just before a right bend in the wash as you drive up. Park off to the side. There is no signage, markings or good landmarks and a GPS is helpful finding this spot. To begin the route up, go up the slope on the left (east) side of the wash. About 500 feet up the slope you will get up to the crest of the ridge on a saddle.
Grotto DV - Layer Fork 2 - Approach
  1. pkGrottoDV          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.58460   W -117.10608        Elev: 680 Feet
    Parking spot to start the Grotto route. This is about 0.37 miles up into Grotto from the mouth and is near the end of a sweeping left bend and just before a right bend in the wash as you drive up. Park off to the side. There is no signage, markings or good landmarks and a GPS is helpful finding this spot. To begin the route up, go up the slope on the left (east) side of the wash. About 500 feet up the slope you will get up to the crest of the ridge on a saddle.
  2. GrottoDV01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.58564   W -117.10451        Elev: NaN Feet
    Saddle. Turn right and go southeast up the ridge.
  3. GrottoDV02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.58294   W -117.10179        Elev: NaN Feet
    Ridge begins to get steep.
  4. GrottoDV03          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.58248   W -117.10006        Elev: NaN Feet
    Top of a large outcropping to scramble up. As you scramble up around the outcropping it seems to go a little easier to the right.
  5. GrottoDV04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57997   W -117.09718        Elev: NaN Feet
    Crossing a shallow saddle.
  6. GrottoDV05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57885   W -117.09593        Elev: NaN Feet
    Route up the ridge tops out briefly.
  7. GrottoDV06          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57845   W -117.09535        Elev: NaN Feet
    Saddle after the brief top out. Continue up the ridge where you will have a short steep section with a lot of larger rocks to walk through and one small saddle before getting to the high point on the approach ridge about 1200 feet away.
  8. pPointHideous          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57758   W -117.09163        Elev: 2,110 Feet
    Top out of the approach ridge up to Grotto. Cressman named this peak Point Hideous. Follow the more gently sloped ridge southeast down the other side of the peak.
  9. GrottoDV07          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57527   W -117.08784        Elev: NaN Feet
    Saddle along the ridge.
  10. GrottoDV08          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57281   W -117.08586        Elev: NaN Feet
    Saddle along the ridge.
  11. GrottoDV09          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57150   W -117.08587        Elev: NaN Feet
    Saddle along the ridge.
  12. GrottoDV10          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57073   W -117.08558        Elev: 1,970 Feet
    Crossing over a large wash near its top which is very shallow this high up. Continue south across the wide wash then start up the steep slope / ridge to the south. As you go over to the slope you will see a gully going up just to the left of the more rocky terrain. Start up that gully for easier travel but you will soon need to move over onto the more rocky terrain.
  13. GrottoDV11          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56961   W -117.08578        Elev: NaN Feet
    Top end of the gully where you need to move over to the right a bit and continue up the ridge in more rocky terrain with a couple spots of light scrambling.
  14. GrottoDV12          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56824   W -117.08717        Elev: NaN Feet
    Small flat zone for a tiny break in the steep grade.
  15. GrottoDV13          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56567   W -117.08849        Elev: NaN Feet
    Grade gets steeper and more rocky. Going up the crest of the ridge here involves some light 3rd class scrambling and looks more difficult than it is. A few hundred feet fartehr and it becomes a walk again on more gentle slopes. Note: It is possible to contour around this on the right side but it is not fun travel and going up the ridge is preferred. Ask me how I know this.
  16. GrottoDV14          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56433   W -117.08820        Elev: 2,980 Feet
    Top of the 3rd class scrambling and the grade becomes more gentle.
  17. GrottoDV15          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56094   W -117.08910        Elev: 3,339 Feet
    Start of a semi level section. From here you can see a wide mellow saddle a bit lower than you are to the right (west) about 1000 feet away. The drainage running down to the north from that saddle is the Not So Much Fork of Grotto. The Layer Fork of Grotto is one more drainage over to the west. Leave the ridge hear and contour over to that saddle. Contour around and route find your way over to that saddle.
  18. yGrottoNSMTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56069   W -117.09240        Elev: 3,167 Feet
    Top of Grotto - Not So Much Fork. This is a wide saddle at the top of the canyon. To drop into the Not So Much Fork follow down the drainage to the north. Down the drainage from here is easy travel down moderately steep and wide ravine. To continue over to the Layer Fork of Grotto follow down the wide slope to the west which slowly starts to turn into a minor drainage.
Grotto DV - Layer Fork 3 - The Canyon
  1. yGrottoNSMTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56069   W -117.09240        Elev: 3,167 Feet
    Top of Grotto - Not So Much Fork. This is a wide saddle at the top of the canyon. To drop into the Not So Much Fork follow down the drainage to the north. Down the drainage from here is easy travel down moderately steep and wide ravine. To continue over to the Layer Fork of Grotto follow down the wide slope to the west which slowly starts to turn into a minor drainage.
  2. GrottoLayer01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56015   W -117.09342        Elev: NaN Feet
    Wash begins to narrow a little and have some rocks to walk around.
  3. GrottoLayer02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56041   W -117.09395        Elev: NaN Feet
    Wash starts to drop very steeply. Here near the top are two drops of 15 each. The first is an easy scramble or bypassed LDC and the second will be moderately difficult. A few more short scramble of about 5 feet each to a rappel.
  4. dGrottoLyrR01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56041   W -117.09441        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 1 - Grotto - Layer Fork. Anchored from a rock pile and drops about 20 feet. It may be possible to downclimb this rap but it would be difficult and exposed.
  5. GrottoLayer03          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56039   W -117.09481        Elev: NaN Feet
    Moderately difficult downclimb of about 15 feet.
  6. yGrottoLayerTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56069   W -117.09544        Elev: 2,830 Feet
    Top of the Layer Fork of Grotto Canyon where a side drainage used to get to here meets the wash. Turn right and go north down canyon.
  7. dGrottoLyrR02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56174   W -117.09599        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 2 - Grotto - Layer Fork. Anchored LDC about head high from a pinch between rocks and drops about 60 feet down a mostly vertical wall with small ledges formed by a series of upturned layers of rock. Just after rap 2 is a moderately difficult downclimb of about 35 feet that also has little ledges formed by a series of upturned rock layers.
  8. GrottoLayer04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56199   W -117.09625        Elev: NaN Feet
    Easy downclimbs over another section going over more upturned layers of rock. Then wash walking down to rap 3.
  9. dGrottoLyrR03          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56338   W -117.09651        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 3 - Grotto - Layer Fork. Anchored RDC from a cairn anchor and uses about 115 feet of rope over 2 stages with a long horizontal section between stages.
  10. GrottoLayer05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56376   W -117.09737        Elev: NaN Feet
    Series of 3 drops to downclimb. 1st is about 12 feet and can be bypassed RDC, second is about 12 feet and is downclimbed through a rabbit hole down under a boulder, 3rd is almost about 17 feet with a ledge about 5 feet up from the bottom. A couple of the downclimbs are moderately difficult and may require a partner assist for some.
  11. dGrottoLyrR04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56413   W -117.09808        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 4 - Grotto - Layer Fork. Anchored from a large cairn anchor and drops about 25 feet down a water carved flute. The previous anchor was a knot chalk on the RDC side about head high in a crack.
  12. GrottoLayer06          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56430   W -117.09833        Elev: NaN Feet
    Winding narrows starts with a downclimb of about 10 feet that is a little difficult under a boulder and will likely require a partner assist. The winding slot after the downclimb is short and opens up to wash walking again.
  13. dGrottoLyrR05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56600   W -117.09917        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 5 - Grotto - Layer Fork. Anchored RDC from a redirected knot chalk and drops about 12 feet down kind of a flute formed cutting through an upturned layer of rock. Can bypass the rap by downclimbing around to the LDC side.
  14. GrottoLayer07          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56667   W -117.09925        Elev: NaN Feet
    A drop where going down the water course is a drop of about 6 feet followed by a pretty spicy downclimb of about 15 feet. However this drop can be made easier and WAY more fun / scenic by downclimbing the first 6 feet then climb out on the RDC side you get drop over onto one of the large upturned rock layers and walk / scramble down on its edge to the canyon floor. This is a fun downclimb as you see what you are walking on. Wash walking and a few easy scrambles over rocks before reaching rap 6.
  15. dGrottoLyrR06          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56698   W -117.09974        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 6 - Grotto - Layer Fork. Anchored RDC from a pinch point between boulders and uses about 85 feet of rope as it drops over 2 subtle stages down slightly sloped wall. Just down canyon of rap 6 is a drop of about 35 feet that can be bypassed by climbing around on the RDC side.
  16. dGrottoLyrR07-9          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56763   W -117.10061        Elev: NaN Feet
    Raps 7 thru 9 - Grotto - Layer Fork. Rap 7 anchored LDC from large boulder embedded in the wash and drops about 85 feet with an awkward start and free hanging most of the way down. Be careful at the top of rap 7 since it is on a big false floor. Care should be taken to be prepared for the floor to crumble away. Rap 8 down canyon of rap 7 about 40 feet, anchored from a cairn style anchor and drops about 85 feet and is not free hanging at all. Rap 9 down canyon of rap 8 about 40 feet, anchored RDC from a pinch point about 15 feet back from the drop and drops about 20 feet. This rap can be downclimbed but is difficult and sketchy. Just after rap 9 the canyon makes a very sharp left hand bend and feels like it almost makes a U-turn is a downclimb of about 8 feet that is easiest on the LDC side with wash walking down canyon after it.
  17. dGrottoLyrR10          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.56792   W -117.10164        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 10 - Grotto - Layer Fork. Anchored from a rock protruding from the floor about 20 feet back and drops about 40 feet.
  18. jGrottoOther          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57046   W -117.10307        Elev: 1,619 Feet
    When walking down Grotto Layer Fork another one of the Grotto Canyon Forks joins in here from the LDC side. Rick Kent has descended this other fork and I do not know what he named it. You can walk up this other fork about 650 feet to the lower end of a narrows then go up that narrows about 300 more feet to the bottom of the final rap in that fork.
  19. GrottoLayer08          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57196   W -117.10177        Elev: NaN Feet
    Start of a narrows about 450 feet long. Shortly into the narrows is an easy downclimb of about 8 feet then shortly after is the next rap.
  20. dGrottoLyrR11          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57216   W -117.10148        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 11 - Grotto - Layer Fork. You can silmul-rap by stringing the rope over a large boulder at the top of the drop and drops about 15 feet. This rap can be downclimbed but will likely need a partner assist so sending someone down on eat anchor may be the best option. Continue wash walking in the narrows with 5 or 6 more short and easy scramble / downclimbs.
  21. GrottoLayer09          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57302   W -117.10130        Elev: NaN Feet
    Lower end of a narrows about 450 feet long where you continue wash walking down canyon to the final rap with one easy downclimb of about 6 to 8 feet along the way.
  22. dGrottoLyrR12          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57596   W -117.10064        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 12 - Grotto - Layer Fork. Anchored using either a rock in the wash or a knot chalk about 10 feet back on the RDC side and drops about 60 feet. At the bottom of this rap is what is known as The Grotto and people commonly hike up to the base of this rappel. Note: From the top of this rap you can bypass on the RDC side following a ledge then walking the RDC rim following the occasional use trail then drop back to the canyon floor a few hundred feet down canyon. The bypass goes around the final rappel and the Grotto. section.
  23. jLayer-NSM          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57833   W -117.10232        Elev: 930 Feet
    Confluence of the Layer and Not So Much forks of Grotto where they join. Continue wash walking down canyon.
  24. GrottoLayer10          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57972   W -117.10259        Elev: NaN Feet
    Narrows about 200 foot long with 3 moderately difficult drops of 6, 10 and 15 feet. A partner assist will likely be needed on the 10 foot drop. Optionally you can route find your way up and around a long ways RDC to bypass this narrows.
  25. yGrottoDV-Bt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57995   W -117.10317        Elev: 860 Feet
    Bottom of Grotto Canyon just after the last short narrows with a few downclimbs. Walk down the wash back to the cars.
Grotto DV - Layer Fork 4 - Exit
  1. yGrottoDV-Bt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.57995   W -117.10317        Elev: 860 Feet
    Bottom of Grotto Canyon just after the last short narrows with a few downclimbs. Walk down the wash back to the cars.
  2. tGrottoCyn          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.58228   W -117.10404        Elev: 770 Feet
    Trailhead for Grotto Canyon. sings in wash saying no driving up past this point.
  3. pkGrottoDV          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.58460   W -117.10608        Elev: 680 Feet
    Parking spot to start the Grotto route. This is about 0.37 miles up into Grotto from the mouth and is near the end of a sweeping left bend and just before a right bend in the wash as you drive up. Park off to the side. There is no signage, markings or good landmarks and a GPS is helpful finding this spot. To begin the route up, go up the slope on the left (east) side of the wash. About 500 feet up the slope you will get up to the crest of the ridge on a saddle.