Mar 4, 2010 at 3:55 pm #1256070
My girlfriend and I have traveled from Denver to southern Utah's relative warmth in late March over the past few years. However, in chatting with a ranger from Monticello, it seems the snow pack is quite deep this year and likely to leave some THs difficult to access, and trails wet or snowy. Suffice to say I will be in deep trouble if I drag her into three or four days of wet, cold feet.
I am looking for alternatives to the Cedar Mesa/Capitol Reef/Canyonlands scene, and thought I might ask if anyone has experience with Tonto NF in Arizona, particularly the Superstitions. Are there any 3 or 4 night back country trips worth considering? What weather and conditions might I be able to expect given this winter's snowfall?
Thanks for your input.
JamesMar 4, 2010 at 5:10 pm #1581906
I hiked the Superstitions in mid-December. Look at :
Brett runs that website, along with a chat forum there, and I think he's on BPL occasionally. He's a great guy, so feel free to contact him. There are plenty of 3-4 night trips, but much of it depends on your transportation options. I hiked from the Phoenix trailhead and was supposed to make it to Superior, but my girlfriend's knees started giving her major problems so we had to bail at Roger's Trough Trailhead.
Research the water conditions. Brett's website usually has some information on that. Also, if you look at wunderground.com, they might have rainfall totals for the area. The weather for us was 60-70 during the day, but at night it could get well below freezing, especially in a canyon. I don't have any experience with the area other than from Phoenix to Rogers Trough, but if you're looking at hiking that area, I'd be glad to offer any information and advice that I could. Good luck, its a beautiful area!Mar 4, 2010 at 6:32 pm #1581951
@dead_cowLocale: Southern Arizona
http://www.hikearizona.com's forum should be able to update you snow levels for different areas. We have had alot of snow in the mountains this year, heavy snow (or rain at lower altitudes) on the weekends and melting with temps in high 60's to 70's during week. Another storm is coming this Sunday. Tucson is 2+ inches over normal for year in precip (last year we were down by 6inches). I Usually backpack in Sky Islands of So. AZ, lots of snow up above 7000ft. I was in Galiuros last week, saw more water than I have seen in years, had over 25 water crossings to go 6 miles. You can certainly do 3 or 4 day trip in Galiruos, as well as Chirichuas, should see few if any people.Tonto may have alot of snow the closed you get to the rim. Will be around freezing at night with highs in 60's. Biggest problem this year is getting to trailheads, they are very muddy, can get stuck
PeterMar 5, 2010 at 6:26 am #1582201
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
One word: Escalante.
Two words: Robbers Roost.Mar 5, 2010 at 6:42 am #1582214
Thanks everyone for your comments.
Travis: that is a great site! Even if we don't end up on the GET this time around, I will be saving it.
Peter: your snow information mirrors what I am hearing from southern UT. TH access, wet and snowy conditions, crossings, etc. are all issues I am trying to be more thoughtful about with all the snow this winter. My girlfriend and I have done cold and windy in UT in March, but add too much wet and I will be in trouble.
David: yea, I am seriously looking at Escalante. From the summary on this site, http://www.canyoneeringusa.com/utah/roost/, Robber's Roost looks a bit technical for us, especially factoring in the snow we are likely to encounter down in the canyons. Looks amazing, though.
JamesMar 5, 2010 at 8:28 pm #1582646
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
James, the roost and escalante are a bit lower in altitude than the Cedar Mesa complex. I'd be surprised if you found much snow in March.
Tom's site focuses on technical stuff. There are plenty of non-tech loops to do in the roost, though getting into and out of canyons does sometimes require some scrambling and pack hauling.
If you don't own the Canyoneering series by Steve Allen, I'd recommend it. Best books on the Colorado Plateau. Mike Kelsey's work is exhaustive and his hiking and canyon books are very useful, but his info is not nearly as well-researched as Allen's.
For example, a loop into the north fork complex of Robber's Roost Canyon would be highly rewarding. Some of the exits Tom details could be suitable for a backpacking trip.Mar 6, 2010 at 10:17 am #1582800
Very good to know- I will check out those resources and investigate some of the more non-technical routes in that area. I am definitely looking lower in elevation than Grand Gulch/Cedar Mesa. Thanks for the help.
JamesMar 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm #1583612
There are a lot of great trails in the Supes, but as mentioned before, a lot of the trailheads require 4WD. You can put together a number of loops between car accessible trailheads though. We have had a TON of rain so expect a lot of wash crossings no matter where you go.
If you are just looking for some mileage, then you can put together whatever trails you like. Me, I like to hike to desitnations. If that is the case, you may want to check out places like Circlestone ruins, Rogers canyon cliff dwellings, Reavis Ranch, and Reavis falls. I'll second the recommendation of http://www.hikearizona.com for info.
Let me know if you want any recommendations on trails or trailheads.Mar 10, 2010 at 9:49 am #1584599
Thanks for the offer, Brian. If we do head that way, I will be in touch!
JamesMar 29, 2010 at 10:29 am #1591943
Many thanks for your advice! Steve Allen's book was a tremendous and invaluable resource. We ended up spending three nights in Coyote Gulch and Hurricane Wash (similar ground as the previous BPL trip), and did some exploring in Phipps Wash as well. I may cook up a trip report at some point, but in the meantime here are some photos if you are interested:
What a beautiful area. Miss it already.
JamesMar 29, 2010 at 10:43 am #1591949
Just one photo shows up.
Did you intend more?Mar 29, 2010 at 10:52 am #1591955
Thank you! The edited link should allow access to the entire album.
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