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Tucson Rock Climbing and Canyoneering

Rockclimbing and Canyoneering in the Coronado National Forest and the Santa Catalina Mountains will be one of the top memories you'll have of your tri...

Seven Cataracts, Canyoneering/Rock Climbing Descent

Duration 12 hours
Departs from: shuttle service on Catalina highway in Tucson

The Santa Catalina Mountains are part of a unique group of high Southwestern mountains referred to as ''Sky Islands'' After the last ice age, the vegetation community dominated by deciduous and coniferous trees receded to these high mountains where cooler air and frequent moisture allowed for their persistence. These isolated ecosystems are also vital habitat for many species including some outstanding endemics. The Sky Islands climb dramatically above the surrounding desert. This extreme change in elevation creates steep drainages which descend down to the desertscrub below. These often rocky, water carved drainages create the ephemeral streams which appear for short periods in the Sonoran Desert.


The Seven Cataracts Descent, graded under the Canyoneering Rating System (CRS, 4 part) is Grade I/II, Class 3, Water B/C Technical Classification: 3 (Intermediate) - technical climbing and rappelling skills needed. Retreat requires fixed ropes. Water Rating: B = swimming to be expected, water has little to no current, or C = water with a strong current, wet canyon techniques required. Risk Rating: ( no rating ) - normal risk factors present Grade I/II = short outing/half day

The route begins at the Windy Point Vista, where we hike west along the descending ridge following climbers trails and beautiful rock formations. We will then drop north from the ridge down a faint trail system that delivers us down at the bottom of the canyon. From here it is a scenic scramble over and around boulders west to the start of the first rappel. The route is done in 5 to 7 rappels depending on preference. Most of these are mandatory in order to reach the pristine rock carved pools. There are many perches along the way down which are perfect for a lunch break. Once the rappels have been completed, we will either continue to the bottom of the falls, hike back upstream along the lower drainage for a 1/4 mile, or traverse along the face east of the final pool, in to the lower drainage and scramble up the south side up to the shuttle.

  • All technical equipment required will be provided.
  • For those choosing to use personal gear will need a helmet, harness, belay/rappel device, 2 locking carabiners, and a spectra daisy chain.
  • Every genre of climbing available from short technical sport climbs to long committing traditional routes.
Type of Trans

Rock Climbing/Canyoneering, Shuttle transportation

Physical Activity Level

Beginner to Advanced, level can be altered to skill of climber. Moderate amount physical fitness


Come prepared for a full day of rock climbing, canyoneering and fun.

What to Wear

Dress in clothing that allows good flexibility and swimming. Fitted for the outdoors and getting wet/dirty.


12 Hours


Daily - The post-monsoon season (July-August) is ideal for desired flow and warmer temperatures, when swimming is a treat. Late winter and early spring (January-April) are also excellent times to go. During this time, flow is more consistent due to snowmelt, which also means we will rappel along some icy waters. With proper equipment such as dry tops, commonly used for paddling, this season can be very enjoyable.

Departure Time & Location

Meet the shuttle vehicle at Seven Cataracts Vista along the Catalina Highway. Meeting time varies with each group. More tour details will be provided after booking.


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