Yesterday, Friday, the hike was planned as a combination long distance hike (10+ miles), or you could shorten it by turning around when you ran out of scenery. It turned out to be ideal for either hiking style.
The route starts at the “Battleaxe Road” ad hoc trailhead which we’ve also used for the Walnut Canyon hike a couple years ago. From the parking spot you walk about a third of a mile to where a streambed crosses the jeep road.
Take a left into the stream bed and go as far as you like. Eventually you’ll reach the Gila river (after about 5 miles).
The first 3 miles are “John Wayne” style cliff and canyon country!
Even before you follow the stream bed into the canyons the surroundings are photogenic cliffs right out of the movies!
Making the turn south into the stream bed, you are immediately in a series of twisting canyons which stretch for about 3 miles “downstream”. The route loses very little elevation promising a nice non-strenuous walk back “upstream”, but this is NOT a prepared trail, so the going is slow in some areas as you work your way over the usual debris left by canyon floods over the centuries.
Here are some of the scenes along the canyon segment of the hike.
I kinda like the shot below. In the canyon floors there were occasional pools of water. The grey objects seen are rocks surrounding a pool, and the center of the photo is the water surface reflecting the walls of the canyon.
After about three miles you’ve worked your way through the canyons, and are in a more open desert environment, not nearly as scenic, but easier walking. Most of the group continued all the way down to the Gila river, but a few of us went only about a mile further before working our way back up through the canyons to our vehicles.
In this area we saw a baby javelina tracking down his mom who was lurking in the brush nearby. They were reunited, and streaked off into the scrub.
Overall this is a great hike if you want a moderate length (6 mile) hike in gorgeous scenery, or if you want to stretch your legs over a longer distance with little elevation change on either. Thanks, George. Another winner.