Nov 28, 2011 at 2:50 pm #1282504
I am flying to a conference in Scottsdale, AZ in mid to late March in 2012.
The GF is coming out to take in the resort/hotel while I work, and when we're done we can either:
– Catch an overnight hike in Scottsdale, AZ (Camelback Mtn. seems to be popular, but not sure if that is an overnight or day hike trip, or how long the trail is.)
– Drive to Santa Fe, NM to my Uncle's place, spend some time with the fam, and catch an overnight hike there.
Both locations have large National/State forests close by. I'm looking to hike 5-10 miles per day on easy to moderate terrain for the GF and I.
Suggestions? What has more vistas per miles? Better water sources?
Thanks!Nov 28, 2011 at 3:03 pm #1806401
Camelback Mtn is a day use area. Your AZ options are the Superstitions, probably the Reavis Ranch Tr., as AZ will be warming up already and you will need to hunt for watering holes (may be storm dependent in March). The Mazatzal might be a little too hot at that point, though the Verde River very wide (def needs treatment). Might be driving more than hiking though.
Santa Fe NM has overnight and multiday loops nearby with a lot of variety – but there may be some snow and cold nights involved depending on your elevation and the snow dump this winter. Last March, in the same week, I backpacked at the nearby Bandelier National Monument in short sleeves (about an hour northwest of Santa Fe – my March 2011 trip report should be on BPL) but also skied at nearby Ski Santa Fe (east of the town) – altitude matters . Water goes through the canyon and there are some decent water sources deep in the backcountry too, plus the Rio Grande (again def needs treatment).
I'd say Santa Fe NM, and likely Bandelier as it's good year round. Lots of interesting things in that area. I like AZ more for Dec-Jan-Feb backpacking.Nov 28, 2011 at 6:06 pm #1806476
Thanks very much HK. I'll have to look into that area. If you know of any recommended map sets let me know! Thx.Nov 28, 2011 at 10:08 pm #1806571
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
How about going north to Sedona area?Nov 28, 2011 at 10:51 pm #1806584
te – waParticipant
mazatzals too hot in march? NO.
ask me where you should backpack, answers you shall receive.Dec 4, 2011 at 11:03 am #1808554
@tuskaderoLocale: Washington State
I'm not from the Phoenix area but my best friend lives in Scottsdale so I am down there a couple times a year. in my opinion the area is kinda lame for overnight backpacking. There are options available but they are not that interesting to me. I will say the canyoneering up north is pretty awesome. Such as tonto creek to hells gate. But the trip might be a little hard core to take your girlfriend on. You get pretty beat up. Plus in march you are probably too early water temp wise.
I say hit NM but def worth an evening hike up camelback for views of the valley.Dec 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm #1810772
Gotta see my uncle, not often I am out West. So NM it is. Now I need to research a relatively easy overnight for the GF and I, and what temps I need to plan for as well as how prevalent water is (water everywhere in NE). Open to all suggestions and details!Dec 10, 2011 at 3:37 pm #1810776
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
I'll check out some overnight possibilities for you in Santa Fe.
My vote is NM, but I'm heavily biased here. Santa Fe has phenomenal food, a rich sense of culture, history, music, contemporary art, charm, and immediate access to amazing wilderness areas. Scottsdale has expensive boutique shopping, strip malls, traffic, A/C, golf courses, inflated everything, and ughhhhh……. other things of the sterile nature. I've never been to the Superstition Mtns. but I hear they can be worthwhile and within close proximity to the Phoenix Metro area.
March will be chilly up in the mountains of NM in the evening, it's a big transition month.Dec 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm #1810777
The GF is a Art Director / Graphic Designer, so we'll def be spending a day hitting artsy stuff. Any suggestions are welcome there as well.Dec 10, 2011 at 7:09 pm #1810820
Here is a short trip I went on a few years ago.
Go to Cowgirls, the service can be interesting but the food and beer is pretty good. Get a seat outside if you can.Dec 10, 2011 at 7:23 pm #1810823
If art is a consideration, Santa Fe is incredible. The area along Canyon Rd, up to Paseo de Peralta has literally dozens of contemporary art galleries all within a walkable distance.
http://www.santafegalleryassociation.orgDec 10, 2011 at 10:07 pm #1810840
The O'Keefe Museum, and dinner at Geronimo's. I think there will be way too much snow to do much hiking, unless it's around town. Which ain't bad. Like others have said, you might be able to find something at a lower altitude. And if you go to Cowgirls, I highly recommend the roasted garlic and a yak burger.Dec 11, 2011 at 6:40 am #1810885
Bryce, if you will be driving from Scottsdale to Santa Fe, you might want to consider passing through Sedona, AZ and spend a couple days there. Temperatures should be 60 high/40 low about then. Not much backpacking near town, but scads of wonderful short day hikes. You won't believe how beautiful that area is. Then there are the art galleries, jazz, and great food.Dec 11, 2011 at 10:00 am #1810923
Bryce: I've used the Natl Geo for Bandelier backpacking and it works with plenty of loops which are moderate to very challenging depending how far you want to hike, plus the whole cliff dwellings cultural thing in the same park. Bandelier is usually good year-round with an eye towards current weather conditions (same can be said of most hiking in AZ or NM, actually). In any case, the normal reaches of the Jemez, Pecos, and even Sandias will likely be full of snow since they are little higher. Hope this helps.
I'll actually be going back to Sedona in 2012, having backpacked the Dogie trail with my girlfriend several years ago (I'm looking at doing the more technical – almost canyoneering/swimming routes in summer/fall). That area is pretty neat but there's better places for bringing a GF backpacking IMHO.Dec 11, 2011 at 12:29 pm #1810956
Bandelier could be perfect for what you want to do. Just watch the weather, it always seems like northern NM gets more snow, the closer you get to the end of the ski season.Dec 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm #1810988
The Superstitions will be in their prime in late March. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. But you have to be ok with desert hiking and camping. If that's not an issue then go for it. You'll find water and camping at Charlebois Spring and La Barge Spring in the western Superstitions, closest to Phoenix and easily accessibly via First Water or Peralta trailheads. The Reavis Ranch area is nice, too, but you may need a 4WD vehicle, and at least high-clearance to reach the Rogers Trough Trailhead access point.
Meanwhile, you're very likely to find weather at Santa Fe that generally resembles what you're leaving behind in Connecticut – chilly temperatures, possibly snow, and the possibility of storms. Go higher than Santa Fe into the surrounding mountains and you're almost guaranteed of finding snow.
I, personally, would choose to be hiking in shirt sleeves and soaking up vitamin D by a desert watering hole while gazing at spring wildflowers and majestic rock formations. I'd shoot for the Superstitions. Save the Rocky Mountains for late spring or summer.Dec 11, 2011 at 3:31 pm #1811011
Not really my experience this past March. There was skiing at 10,000 – 11,000 ft but prime hiking and backpacking at 6,000-7,000 ft
As I was backpacking (and roasting) across this plain, you can see where I spent the previous day skiing in the background. There's a couple structures from neighboring LosAlamos labs visible too when you first state. Water was plentiful in Frijole canyon, where I eventually made camp in. It was a La Nina year so NM (and AZ) were a bit warmer than usual.
Either AZ or NM, you will get a big difference between daytime and nighttime temps, and either state, don't forget the water. My trip report is here:
VV That said, check out Eugene's suggestion below (oops, forgot about the La Nina – not a new winery) VVDec 11, 2011 at 4:04 pm #1811018
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Much of Bandelier was ravaged by the Las Conchas fire back in June, New Mexico's largest fire to date. 2/3 of the park was burned and the massive flash flooding due to soil degradation severely altered the park trails and canyons. They recently opened in late Nov., so check with them if you plan on going in March concerning conditions.Dec 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm #1811033
I moved away from Los Alamos, NM about two weeks before the fire that Eugene mentioned, but after looking at maps of the burned area and talking to friends who still live there I think I can recommend a good March option that stays mostly out of the burned area and should be snow free this year unless snow conditions are radically higher than last year (a low year, also La Nina).
Start at the visitor center and hike out to the Yapashi pueblo area. Directions can be had at the ranger station and maps are available. Ask about burned areas, I think that area was downwind of most of the fire. The only challenge in this hike would be the initial climb from the visitor center and the decent/ascent of Alamo Cyn. Water will probably be available at Alamo Cyn. These are steep climbs on rocky trails, separated by relatively easy flat walking on the mesa tops. I believe it is 7 miles to Yapashi from the visitor center. It would be possible to do a loop north from Yapashi and cross Alamo Cyn further upstream (with more likely water) and then follow the rim trail above Frijoles Cyn back to the visitor center. That would be about a 17-18 mile loop I believe. Otherwise an out and back would be nice. This hike would all be between 6500 and 7500 elevation, cold at night, mild during the day. I hope that helps; please talk to the rangers about burned area/water availability.
Another possible option would be an out an back from Skull Bridge on the Chama river up Ojitos Cyn. This is part of the CDT and is well signed and easy walking up a canyon for about 4.5 miles I believe before starting a major climb out of Ojitos. Water should be available in the canyon. This option is less for views and more just beautiful ponderosa pine forest. It is also a longer drive from SF (about 90 minutes north)Dec 11, 2011 at 8:07 pm #1811075
If you don't mind driving, you could go to Costilla, and hike down into the upper Rio Grande canyon. I think that's in the Wild Rivers Rec area. Abundant springs in the bottom.Dec 12, 2011 at 10:43 am #1811221
Unless the OP really wants to visit his uncle, it'd be infinitely easier to go backpacking in the nearby Superstitions. Northern New Mexico is equally beautiful in its own way (think Rocky Mountains and high volcanic plateau), but it's an extremely long drive to take on a hunch of finding something more idyllic than would be lurking mere minutes from Scottsdale. Particularly for a quick overnighter. Say what you will about the Phoenix metro, the Superstitions are a remarkable wilderness area, particularly in springtime. The wildflowers could be exceptional next spring, too.Dec 12, 2011 at 11:00 am #1811231
Now that I think about it, I kinda have to visit the uncle. So NM it is.Dec 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm #1811264
Looks like I missed your previous assertion to that effect. Still, you could do the overnight hike in the Supes, then drive (or fly) to New Mexico for the family visit. A third option would be to walk from Phoenix to Albuquerque on the Grand Enchantment Trail, then have your uncle pick you up. OK – couldn't resist. ;)Dec 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm #1811267
That's true, can hike beforehand… I don't care if I hike in NH or AZ, so long as it is relatively easy and whichever is best for good bang-for-buck sights wise. Maybe having a hike in each state laid out is best then I can pick based on weather? :)Dec 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm #1811273
Easy solution – do both.
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