Had to come back and hike it again with a friend. So pleasant
Basically this was my first ever hike in a canyon that has some good narrows. I was pretty much blown away! Made the loop down Maidenwater and then up Trail. Very nice to have some water in the canyon to keep things cool and also to have a pretty simple route to start off with. Canyoneering is quite a bit different from mountaineering! A fantastic canyon! Next time I'll have to try another one of these beautiful canyons that are in the vicinity.
Since it is in the same area as Maidenwater, but has no page of its own, I have decided to report here that I was able to come back to the area and hike the Woodruff Canyon - Swett Creek Loop. These are really excellent hiking canyons! I parked at the Hole Spring, hiked down Woodruff Canyon to Trachyte Creek, then up Swett Creek followed by a road walk back to the car. It was about 17 miles but really didn't seem like too long of a hike - less than 8 hours. There is only one tricky spot - near the end of Woodruff about a half mile before Trachyte Creek. Bypass it on the west (right side) using the "south fork" of Woodruff. You'll figure it out. Woodruff has a bunch of water and Swett has some very nice narrows. I really recommend this hike!
February 17 2013
In the morning we (Matt Lemke, Kessler, Shaylee, my dad, and I) decided to do the Maidenwater/Trail Canyon Loop. We had also thought of doing the Jilted Fork/Blushing Bride, but when we got there, there was running water coming out of it (which isn't ideal for February)! Maidenwater was very pretty, but there was lots of knee to waist deep wading. I carried Shaylee across all the pools, but Kessler had to resort to wading. The falls and chockstone that is usually in the canyon was gone! Flash floods had filled it in with gravel.
After a beautiful, but cold (with the water) hike to Trachyte Creek, we followed the creek down canyon to Trail Canyon which we exited. Trail Canyon isn't quite as scenic as Maidenwater, but it is mostly dry and you don't have to wade, so it was a pleasant hike out.
After exiting Trail Canyon, we explored a little up into the lower end of the South Fork of Maidenwater Canyon, but a pothole and dryfall stopped us after not too long. The dryfall is climbable with dry shoes, but our feet were covered with greasy mud, so we couldn't climb the drop.
After exploring the canyons Matt and I climbed Turkey Knob for the fine views. My dad didn't climb the final ledges. After enjoying the fine views we descended the peak and headed back to camp.
I've also been to Maidenwater Canyon at other times. One time was May 23 2003 with Ryan Cornia, Steve Bresovec, and I believe John Gilmore.
South Fork brim full is one of my favorites. Got lucky after heavy rains and had more than 1/2 a dozen lengthy swims. Found only the entry rappel necessary, lots of fun DC's !
Did the Lower Maidenwater hike in February 2013 then did the Middle and South upper forks in October 2013. Great canyon system and close to the highway.