The Colorado River in the Grand Canyon – Elves Chasm, Mile 116.5


Elves Chasm, First Fall

Elves Chasm, first falls. Travertine chockstones are wedged into the Tapeats Sandstone

Elves Chasm is one of the very special places in the river corridor. Many river runners are content to do the short walk to the first falls, and then return to the boats. The first falls may, indeed,  be the single most beguiling spot in Elves Chasm, but there is much more! There is a second high falls and other smaller ones. There is a cave. There are displays of lush ferns and flowers. And there is the final amphitheater, which is cut into the colorful Bright Angel Shale. The great scenery starts within a few yards of the little bay at the mouth of the side canyon.

Tied up to the Elves Chasm Gneiss

Tied up to the Elves Chasm Gneiss

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Double waterfall into a pool , just a few yards from the boats

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The creek runs over pink granite slabs and past travertine boulders

Red monkey-flowers

Red monkey-flowers

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Maidenhair fern

Bulrushes along the creek

Bulrushes along the creek

A damsel fly emerges from its nymphal skin

A damsel fly emerges from its nymphal skin

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Redbud

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Redbud

At the mouth of the slot portion

At the mouth of the slot portion

The climb into Elves is via a series of steps. Early in the climb, there is an exposed traverse on a smallish ledge that cannot be readily protected with climbing gear. This, and other rock climbing challenges, are required to proceed, so this climb is not for everyone. And … don’t forget to take a first-aid kit. Give yourselves a few hours for the trip to the final amphitheater and return.

The second falls

The second falls

Algae in a pool

Algae in a pool

The cave

The cave

Looking down at the cave entrance

Looking down at the cave entrance

Chockstone and pool requires a climb around

Chockstone and pool requires a climb around

The climb around

Descending the climb around. One of the few sunny spots in Elves Chasm.

Columbine

Columbine

Shaded pool

Shaded pool

Cardinal flowers

Cardinal flowers

The amphitheater and final wall

The amphitheater and final wall

The final wall is the colorful Bright Angel Shale

The final wall is the colorful Bright Angel Shale

Travertine boulders

Travertine boulders

Cross-section of travertine boulder

Cross-section of travertine boulder

Downclimbing alongside the second falls

Downclimbing alongside the second falls

Note: This and prior posts on the subject are excerpted from my iBook: “The Grand, the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, a Photo Journey and Visual Guide, 2nd. edition”. The book costs $5.99 and is available from the iTunes Store, using this link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grand/id672492447?ls=1

About believesteve

I am a photographer and have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grand/id672492447?ls=1
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