Crack in the Mountain & Arch Rock

Page Type
Canyon
Location:
Arizona, United States, North America
Activities:
Hiking, Canyoneering
Season:
Winter
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Crack in the Mountain & Arch Rock
Created On: Jan 3, 2017
Last Edited On: Feb 4, 2017

Overview

Yellow Trail

Crack in the Mountain is a popular slot canyon to the south of Lake Havasu City, AZ. A trail designated as Yellow Trail starts in Sara Park and takes you to the bottom of a dry wash at the base of Lizard Peak. As you go further downhill, the wash begins to narrow until it forms a slot canyon. You then have to go down an 8 ft tall dry waterfall. When I was in the area, a rope had been bolted in the rock next to the dry fall. Without the rope, I would have had a hard time coming back up the smooth dry waterfall. After the dry fall, depending on recent rainfall, you may come across a water hole that may be many feet deep.

Beyond the water hole, the canyon opens up into a dry desert wash again until it reaches Lake Havasu. Near the shores of the lake, dense vegetation will block the way. You can go on a trail on the right side of the wash that will take you up a short distance to bypass the vegetation and end on the shore of the lake near Balance Rock, which is a huge boulder balanced on a pedestal.




Blue Trail

This trail branches off of Yellow Trail before the slot canyon is formed. It goes up the hills and parallels the canyon far above it to end at Balance Rock on the lake shore.




Arch Rock Trail

Beyond the waterhole, where the slot canyon opens up into a dry wash, a trail on the left side goes up the slopes to reach an arch. This arch is also visible from parts of the Blue Trail and the dry wash downstream of the slot canyon.




This hike can be combined with the Pilot Rock and Lizard Peak hikes.

Getting There

From the intersection of Route 95 and McCulloch Blvd S at the south end of Lake Havasu City, turn southwest on McCulloch Blvd S and drive 3/4of a mile to the parking area on the right.







Yellow Trail follows the bottom of the canyon. Blue Trail Parallels it above the canyon to the north. The path to Arch Rock shown. Beyond Arch Rock, I found my way into another wash and then onto the trail to Pilot Rock which will be described in a different summitpost page.

Yellow Trail (in the canyon)

Yellow Trail is roughly 2.5 miles long. Elevation at trailhead is 850 ft and lake level is 450 ft.



From Sara Park Trailhead follow the Yellow Trail down the usually dry wash. After about a mile, the wash begins to get narrow.

Canyon beginning to form and narrow
Canyon beginning to narrow


You will then reach the top of the 8 ft tall dry waterfall. When I was in the area, a rope had been bolted into the rock making it easier to go up and down. The rope is seen on the left side of the picture. Before going down, you should obviously make sure you are able to come back up.

Top of the dry waterfallTop of dry waterfall


Looking back at the dry waterfall. My hiking pole is roughly 42 inches tall.

bottom of the dry waterfallBottom of dry waterfall


You will then have to go over this choke stone.

Choke stoneChoke stone


Looking back at the choke stone.

Looking back at the choke stoneLooking back at choke stone


Near the end of the slot canyon, depending on recent rainfall, you may reach this water hole. When I was in the area in December, 4 days after heavy rain, I could completely submerge my 42 inch tall hiking pole in the edge of the water. I was afraid that the middle of the hole might be deeper than my head. I retraced my way back up the canyon and went on the Blue Trail following it to the lake. I then came back up the canyon to the start of the slot canyon at the other end of this waterhole.

WaterholeWaterhole


Beyond the waterhole, the canyon opens up to form a dry desert wash. Looking back at the slopes of Lizard Peak. In the picture below, Blue Trail can be seen up the slopes.

Slopes of Lizard MountainSlopes of Lizard Peak


Arch Rock can also be seen up the slopes to the left (south).

Arch RockArch Rock


Continuing down the wash.

Downstream from Crack in the MountainWash


For a short time a Canyon forms but it soon opens up again.

Tight canyon near Lake HavasuNarrow
Tight Canyon near Lake HavasuNarrow


Vegetation near the lake.

Dense vegetation on the shores of Lake HavasuVegetation


Find a trail on the right (north) side of the wash that goes up bypassing the vegetation and then reaching the edge of Lake Havasu. Ducks demanding food from me.

Ducks on Lake Havasu near Balance RockDucks at Lake Havasu
Ducks on Lake Havasu near Balance RockDucks at Lake Havasu
Ducks on Lake Havasu near Balance RockDucks at Lake Havasu
Ducks on Lake Havasu near Balance RockDucks at Lake Havasu



Balance Rock.

Balance RockBalance Rock

Blue Trail (above the canyon)

Blue Trail branches off of Yellow Trail 0.8 miles from Sara Park Trailhead before the slot canyon forms. Signage may not be good. Look at satellite photos and be familiar with the area. The trail goes up the slopes and then parallels the canyon far above it. Looking down at the beginning and end of the slot canyon.

Start of the canyon seenStart of Crack in the Mountain
End of Crack in the Mountain CanyonEnd of Crack in the Mountain


View of the wash and the distant lake.

Lake Havasu from Blue Trail


The trail then follows the hill tops until it reaches Lake Havasu at Balance Rock.

Chemehuevi Mountains and Lake HavasuChemehuevi Mountain
On Blue Trail

Arch Rock Trail

Arch Rock Trail was not signed. After exiting the slot canyon, I found a trail on the left (south) side that went up the slopes toward Arch Rock. Views of slot canyon, slopes of Lizard Peak and Blue Trail on the slopes on the other side.

Crack in the Mountain Slot CanyonCrack in the Mountain


The trail can be followed south/southwest to an area below Arch Rock.

Arch RockArch Rock

Red Tape

If you plan to stay at the camp area near Balance Rock, you must put money in the self pay box, read the instructions.

When to Hike

Late fall, winter and early spring is the best time to climb. Summer can be dangerously hot. I should, however, mention that in winter it is much more likely that the waterhole in the slot canyon might be filled.






Crack in the Mountain & Arch Rock

Canyon
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Geography

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Parents

Lake Havasu Area HikesCanyons