California is an outstanding place for canyoneering. No other state offers comfortable year round canyoneering with such geological diversity. The Sierras have beautiful granite canyons with major water flow, ideal for summer. The southern deserts have pleasant winter weather and a wide variety of canyon types. Despite the arid climate, a few even have flowing water. The mountain ranges near LA, especially the San Gabriels, have wet canyons with generally low flow, and a season that can extend all year. There are as yet no books published on California canyons. All available beta is from websites or hiking guidebooks. The San Gabriel chapter of the ACA is very active. The canyoneers are incredibly nice people. Fortunately, the culture of canyon secrecy (that afflicts some other areas) has not taken hold in California.
  Prestin Holmes’s photos of Granite Gorge on the North Fork of the Kings River in the Sierras. There are some great “jumping” pictures.  
  Lower Jump Trip in the Sierras
  The girls jumping in Kaweah River Gorge
  Canyoneering photos of the Little Kern River in the Sierras
  Trip report on Cherry Creek Canyon in the Sierras near Yosemite.
  A long and very useful list of canyons in the northern Sierras from the now defunct Sierra Gorges section of the Sierra Club. This section disbanded in 1998. Gene Markley and John Sarna prepared this web-page so that the information would be available for the benefit of the canyoneering public into the future.  
  Adventure Hikes and Canyoneering in the San Gabriel Mountains in southern California. This website by, Christopher Brennen, has detailed route descriptions, maps and photos.  
  Trip reports and photos of Arroyo Seco River in the Ventana wilderness in California by a group of Stanford University nudists. Many of the photos contain nudity.
  Death Valley National Park and vicinity has hundreds of canyons. They are beautiful, incredibly diverse geologically, and range from simple hikes to lengthy technical descents. Most are bone dry, but there are some with flowing water and waterfalls, especially in the Inyo Mountains. The best source of information on Death Valley canyons is the book "Hiking Death Valley" by Michel Digonnet. The book is far from complete and leaves out many canyons and technical possibilities. None the less, it will provide you with a pretty good idea of what's there and how to find it. Steve Smith has posted trip reports on many canyons in the area, especially in the Inyos. Others can be found on Christopher Brennen's website;" Adventure Hikes and Canyoneering in the Southwest". These are referenced below  
  Adventure Hikes and Canyoneering in the Southwest by Christopher Brennen Route descriptions, maps and photos for canyons in Utah, southern California and the Red Rocks near Las Vegas.  
  Trip report by Randi and photos of a multi-day descent of Hall Canyon in the Panimint Range near Death Valley.  
  Nice photos of Death Valley canyons by Randi and Lewis.
  Photos of Dry Bone Canyon and Big Horn Gorge in Death Valley
  Trip report by Ron Hudson on Hall Canyon in the Panimint Range  
  Trip report by Steve Smith on Couger Canyon in the Inyo Mountains in southern California
  Trip report by Steve Smith on a multi-day descent of Craig Canyon in the Inyo Mountains in southern California.
  Beta from Steve Smith on Dolomite Canyon in Death Valley National Park.
  Trip report by Steve Smith on Daisy Canyon in the Inyo Mountains in southern California.
  Trip report by Steve Smith on Hunter Canyon in the Inyo Mountains of southern California.
  Trip report by Steve Smith on a multi-day descent of Pat Keyes Canyon in the Inyo Mountains.
  Click here for Death Valley Canyon photos and beta.  
  Trip report by Erik Seiring on Palm Canyon in the Santa Rosa Mountains in southern California  
  Photos of painted canyon in the Mecca Hills in southern California
  Photos, beta and a map for Painted Canyon in the Mecca Hills

Click here for beta for Little Painted Canyon and other canyons in Mecca Hills.
  For a pay site with beta on the canyon/caves and slots in Arroyo Tapiado in Anza- Borrego Desert State Park, visit This fascinating area has canyons which are partly caves, or caves that become canyons, the result of pseudokarst topography. Basic information about the area as well as other canyons in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park can be found in the book " Afoot and Afield in San Diego County" by Jerry Schad, published by Wilderness Press. Some canyons with short cave sections can be found in the Rainbow Basin Natural Landmark near Barstow. Owl Canyon is one such canyon described on page 157 of the book "50 Best Short Hikes in the California Deserts" by John Krist published by Wilderness Press.  
  Afton Canyon has been called the "Grand Canyon of the Mojave" It is very wide and has a railroad and a four wheel drive road. There are many tributary canyons some of which are very narrow slots. These can be explored from the bottom going up. Sometimes you will be stopped by difficult dryfalls. Others have dryfalls that are easier to climb, so you can follow the slots until they top out on the hills above the canyon. There are chockstones, arches, and short cave sections. Sometimes you need a flashlight in the narrowest sections. The rock is usually a loose conglomerate. Most of the slots are on the south side of Afton Canyon. Christopher Brennen describes a slot on the north side on his website at Afton Canyon is reached by taking I-15 east from Barstow for 33 miles to the Afton exit. Head south 4 miles on a gravel road to a BLM campground. The canyon is a short distance to the east.  
  Fossil Falls - Thousands of years ago the Owens River cut a small gorge through hard volcanic rock. The river is long since gone, but two dry falls and incredible erosional forms remain. The drops are about 40 and 60 feet. The rock is smooth and polished with amazing pot holes, arches, and enclosed chimneys. It is a geological phenomena not found elsewhere in California. Walk along the rim until you can scramble to the bottom. Then climb up the two dryfalls (low fifth class), and come out at the top of the gorge. The top part is very narrow and has most of the formations. It is all very short but well worth the visit. Top roped climbs are popular on the canyon walls. Fossil Falls is off of Highway 395, about three miles north of Little Lake. Take Cinder Road for a half mile, and bear right at an intersection. Go another half mile to the parking and picnic area. Pictures of Fossil Falls can be seen at and  
  Click here for photos of Fern Canyon at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park