This hike is one of a kind. There are 8 fixed ropes if you go all the way to the river. Some are difficult especially when coming back up. You will have wet boots and having them hold on the boulders you need to climb can be a slippery affair.
At the 1.5 mile point of the hike, you come to the first obstacle, a large boulder with what looks like a nasty drop off. If you look at the rock wall to your right, you'll see some steps in the rock wall. There is a strap here to help you down the steps. Coming back, you really don't need the strap although it will give those who want some security an aid to come back up.
A short distance after this, the wash opens into its widest of the hike, and several washes come in together. Keep walking down and you'll come to the next rope. This goes down the left side of the rock wall. This isn't difficult to do. You just need to use the rope as intended and walk down backwards while moving down the rope. There is one other slight work around in this area, too. There's a dry fall that some slide down. There is a blue arrow painted on the rocks to the left of the chute showing you how to walk around and down this dry fall.
After you have cleared these obstacles, you arrive at what once was the Upper Goldstrike Hot Springs pools. Sadly, most have dried up. There are a few pools farther down that still have water, but you'll see the remnants of the pools that no longer have any source for filling.
The rest has 5 fixed ropes, the last being a bit difficult, especially when you're coming back and you have those wet boots.
You will not have cell phone reception for the hike so the guide works in getting you to the trailhead and a little beyond. After that, the route is obvious—down the canyon, and you don't need a GPS track. The GPS track from my hike is really screwed up. The distances are about right, but the route isn't as crazy as it looks. I lost satellite reception in the canyon several times, and my GPS unit just added tracks to make up where there was no reception.
Photo placement is approximate. The GPS track is undependable enough so I couldn't accurately place them. There is cell phone service is isolated locations on the hike.
Make sure you have a good supply of water! Two men died here of heat stroke when they hiked and soaked in the upper pools in the summer. This is a cool weather hike even though I know many do it year round. Be safe and use good judgment.
This was a fantastic hike! A lot of people on the trail but everyone was friendly and supportive. Some difficult scrambles on the rocks but ropes were there to aid when it was steep. Be careful parking. Saw a few people stuck in the sand. Make sure to wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water! Highly recommend! Visited on Apr 12, 2014