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Noon Creek Loop, AZ

Guide 65 Triplogs  0 Topics
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 2.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,310 feet
Elevation Gain 462 feet
Accumulated Gain 532 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.06
Interest Perennial Waterfall & Perennial Creek
Backpack Possible & Connecting
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13  2018-08-17 SkyIslander18
13  2018-03-15 cactuscat
15  2017-10-06
Noon Creek Ridge Trail #318
15  2017-05-30
Noon Creek Canyon Loop
30  2017-05-19
Round the Mountain Trail #302
10  2016-04-28 SkyIslander18
4  2015-07-26 friendofThunderg
15  2014-01-05
Round the Mountain Trail #302
Page 1,  2
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 169
Routes 148
Photos 5,617
Trips 1,516 map ( 7,711 miles )
Age 43 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Apr → 2 PM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:34am - 7:17pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2017 Frye Fire48.4k
🔥 2004 Nuttall30k
🔥 View All over Official Route 🔥

liquid snow races for the desert
by PrestonSands

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This lovely little loop hike around Noon Creek in the Pinaleno Mountains makes use of the two lower segments of Round The Mountain Trail #302, with a connection using the Swift Trail highway. Noon Creek, with its numerous cascades and small waterfalls, is the main attraction on this hike. The creek flows almost year-round, but the best time to see it in action is during spring snowmelt.

The hike begins at Round The Mountain Trailhead. Round The Mountain Trail #302 departs next to a corral and heads downhill a short distance to where it crosses Noon Creek. There are a few small cascades here, where the creek flows over ancient metamorphic rock. Five minutes of boulder hopping upstream will bring you to a 20-foot waterfall.

Beyond the creek crossing, the Round The Mountain Trail heads upstream along the north bank and enters oak woodland before climbing atop a low ridge. It now follows the ridge due west up Noon Creek Canyon, gradually gaining elevation and heading towards 10,000-foot Heliograph Peak.

At about 0.9 miles, the Round The Mountain Trail reaches a signed junction with the old Round The Mountain Trail. The old trail comes in from the left, while the new trail turns right. Our hike goes left (south) along the old Round The Mountain Trail.

For the next 0.2 miles, you will need to look carefully for pink flagging in the trees, and cairns, as this section of trail was damaged by the Nuttall Fire. The trail is better defined as it descends to Noon Creek but disappears again in the debris along the creek bottom. Pink flagging leads you downstream a few hundred feet to where the trail reappears on the south bank, next to a low cliff. The creek tumbles over some mini-waterfalls in this area.

After the creek crossing, the old Round The Mountain Trail contours along the south side of the canyon, a little ways above Noon Creek. Distant views down the broad, u-shaped canyon include far-off mountain ranges scattered across the Chihuahuan desert.

At the 1.1 mile point, consider going off trail a short distance to Noon Creek. In this area, the creek flows over exposed bedrock, and there are a few small waterfalls to be found. There are also a couple of small pools, just big enough to soak in. This is a pleasant spot to enjoy what Noon Creek has to offer.

Continuing, the old Round The Mountain Trail curves to the south and passes the junction with the Noon Creek Ridge Trail at 1.6 miles.

The trail comes to an end at 1.75 miles, where it meets the highway at milepost 122.1. Follow the highway downhill now. An 0.6-mile walk will bring you back to your starting point at the Round The Mountain Trailhead.

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2008-02-13 PrestonSands
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Coronado Forest
    MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
    Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Safford
    Head south on U.S. Highway 191. Turn west onto state highway 366 (Swift Trail). Follow Highway 366 for approximately 7.7 miles to the Round The Mountain Trailhead on the right. There is a large trailhead sign on the left side of the highway, opposite the trailhead.
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool
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