Press "Enter" to skip to content

Upper Eardley Canyon from Cliff Dweller Flat

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Since our planned trip to the Esplanade with Jerry this week had already been cancelled, Diane and I now had a free weekend to get out hiking together again. We decided to stay closer to home and check out some new canyons in the San Rafael Swell. Earlier in the year I had planned for us to hike into upper Eardley Canyon during our Leap Day weekend trip, but the roads were too wet and muddy in the area at the time, so we ended up skipping it and heading home early. I thought that would be a good place to start this weekend, so we left home Saturday morning and made our way through the San Rafael Reef to the end of Cliff Dweller Flat where we started our hike and planned to spend the night afterwards.

From the edge of Cliff Dweller Flat we descended down to the bench below and made our way to the rim of Eardley Canyon.

Edge of Cliff Dweller Flat

The wind was bitter cold this morning but the weather forecast said it was supposed to die down in a few hours. We sure hoped the forecast was right, because neither of us had any desire to camp in these conditions.

Down Below

Descending the steep and loose route into Eardley Canyon.

Upper Eardley Canyon

Once we were in the bottom of the canyon we headed downstream and enjoyed the amazing views along the way!

Into The Narrows

Upper Eardley Canyon Narrows

Upper Eardley Canyon Narrows

Boulders In the Slot

Eardley Canyon Walls

The canyon opened up a few times along the way, but most of the time it was narrow with tall walls.

Opening Up


Sandstone Corridor

Another Bend

Boulders in an alcove.

Alcove Boulders

Standing On a Boulder

This was the darkest part of the canyon we hiked through.

The Darkest Part

Dark Corridor

Darkness Within

I loved the look of these boulders and the nice reflected light here.

Boulder Jumble

As we hiked down the canyon further there were a number of seeps along the canyon walls.

Seep Wall

I couldn’t resist photographing a couple of sunstars along the way.

Canyon Sunstar

Canyon Walls

Diane for scale below these tall canyon walls.

Tall Walls

Canyon Alcove

Hiking through the narrows on our way back up the canyon.

Hiking Through Narrows

Canyon Narrows Sunstar

Eardley Canyon Sunstar

Light At the End

Almost back to the climb out of the canyon in the late afternoon.

Nearing The End

I had wanted to hike further down the canyon than we actually made it before turning around, but I guess we were moving too slowly because I kept stopping to take too many photos along the way! It was just an amazingly beautiful canyon! That just means we will have to return again in the future when the days are longer!

When we arrived back to my Jeep at the trailhead the wind was still blowing hard and it was still bitterly cold out. We had no desire to camp in these conditions and decided to call it a weekend and headed home early instead.

>> Upper Eardley Canyon Photo Gallery


  1. Dianne
    Dianne December 12, 2020

    Interesting hike. Rugged canyon. I am always glad you know where you are going. I like the sunstars!

  2. Bob Walters
    Bob Walters December 12, 2020

    Your photos and posts are a great escape from the COVID-19 travel blues I’m experiencing. Thanks

  3. Miles Pastuhov
    Miles Pastuhov February 27, 2021

    Love your photos! Could you give me directions on how to get to the cliff dweller flat area? And any beta on the camping situation there? I’m hoping to explore Upper Eardley in April

Leave a Reply