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Wet Canyon, AZ

178 34 2
Guide 34 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Safford
3.5 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,035 feet
Elevation Gain 950 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.75
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Perennial Creek
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
15  2017-10-06
Noon Creek Ridge Trail #318
30  2017-05-10
Grant Hill Loop
12  2016-11-01 SkyIslander18
15  2014-11-11 SkyIslander18
28  2014-10-23
Pinaleno Fall Tour - the Encore
14  2014-05-19
Mount Graham 10,720
11  2013-11-01 SkyIslander18
15  2012-11-06 SkyIslander18
Page 1,  2,  3
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 149
Photos 5,534
Trips 1,317 map ( 6,690 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jun, Jul, Aug, Oct → Any
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:02am - 6:27pm
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Arcadia's back alley
by PrestonSands

Southeastern Arizona's Pinaleno Mountains contain many riparian treasures. One of the most easily accessible is Wet Canyon. Why hike up this trail-less canyon to nowhere? Because summer wildflowers next to a shady, perennial creek can't be beat!

The Wet Canyon picnic area is the most convenient place to enter the canyon. From the parking area, a use trail heads up the right side of the creek. This trail soon dies out near some picnic tables. From here it is a boulder hop and log hurdle adventure up the creek bed. Wet Canyon creek tumbles over variegated boulders, forming tiny pools here and there, while bigtooth maples and box elders keep the canyon well shaded.

Where the canyon turns southwest, it briefly flattens out, and opens up slightly. The floor of the canyon was once the location of a wagon road to the Jacobson Sawmill. Southern Arizona's torrential monsoon downpours, and the passing of more than a century, have erased most of the wagon road from the creek bottom.

At 0.4 miles, a small side canyon comes in from the left. Just above its confluence with Wet Canyon is where the wagon road left the creek bottom. From where the old wagon road meets the creek (32.65131 N, 109.82066 W), you can choose to follow the wagon road south for 0.25 miles up to Arcadia Campground, or continue further up Wet Canyon. Returning to the Wet Canyon picnic area via the wagon road and the highway makes a 2.5 mile loop.

Continuing on, Wet Canyon now becomes increasingly steep and narrow. As you near the Arcadia Trail, gigantic white firs begin to appear. Large columbines and other wildflowers begin to crowd the creek bed, which is hemmed in by nearly vertical, grass covered slopes.

Wet Canyon crosses the Arcadia Trail at about the 1 mile point. For those looking to exit the canyon and return via the highway, this is the last reasonable place to do so. Returning to the Wet Canyon picnic area via the Arcadia Trail and the highway makes a 3.6 mile loop.

Have fun, and tread lightly through this fragile riparian zone.

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2008-02-16 PrestonSands
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    guide related
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.

Most recent of 26 deeper Triplog Reviews
Wet Canyon
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Got on Noon Creek Loop before sunrise.
Watched the sun come up on Noon Creek Ridge.
Exited down on the cutoff trail.
Swift Trail up to Arcadia.
Wet Canyon down.
Swift Trail back to the start for the figure 8.
The Noon Creek trails were great! Very scenic and a lot of fun. The Ridge and Cutoff trails are a little overgrown, but nothing too difficult to follow.
Arcadia and the Swift Trail as beautiful as always.

Wet Canyon ..... WOW ..... it was like hiking down a brand new canyon! Major flooding has altered this canyon beyond belief. I will dearly miss the old canyon that was chocked full of thick foliage and wonderful plant life ..... but this new look of a wider, deeper, boulder blanketed with new waterfalls and now clear of obstructions up & down looked something special to me ..... I think many will like it too. I just hope FS rebuilds the old picnic grounds at the lower bridge.

Another good one on Graham!
Wet Canyon
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Swift Trail (366) has been re-opened up to Ladybug Saddle ..... again. Flooding continues to be a problem at Wet Canyon and has closed the road I believe 3 times now since the Frye Fire.

Headed up with the first stop at Wet Canyon crossing. And as pre-warned, ADOT has removed the old 1935 historic CCC bridge. Another historic Pinaleno structure lost forever :pk: ! The flooding at Wet Canyon has been violent and I along with a few others were shocked at the "new" look of the entrance to this most loved canyon/picnic area, but to remove the old bridge was IMO unnecessary & lazy. ADOT does own the road (and old bridge) and because of that can do as they please ..... whatever!

I then drove up to Arcadia CG and hiked down to Upper Wet Canyon. Again as the lower crossing, completely changed forever from the flooding, but in a good cleaned out/opened up way. Before/after pics won't be believed to those who know Wet Canyon. Then it was off to my main hike for the day up to Mount Baldy Peak.

Took Turkey Flat up, hung a right onto the Ladybug Trail, then off-trailed up to the peak. Took in the outstanding views on top, ate lunch & signed the ammo box register before leaving. Beautiful hike back down through the pines on this very scenic trail.

Last stop was on the drive back down to Noon Creek to check things out. This is the lowest burn area on this side of the mountain and all trails here are posted closed indefinitely, the picnic grounds are open.

Wildlife spotted - 6 white-tails, 4 Abert's, skunk, spiny lizards, butterflies and many vocal hawks & vultures up high.

:( & :x & :D

Mount Baldy Peak views -
[ youtube video ]
Wet Canyon
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With stormy weather over Mt Graham this am, today's trip became quite a memorable one .....

Headed up early for a full day on top. By the time I reached Ladybug Saddle at 7am I was driving through the low flying clouds with 30 degree temps and a light snow falling all the way to Grant Hill. Grant Hill was my main focus to get done today and I choose the outer loop clockwise. Man oh man ..... crazy cold May overcast snowy weather and I was not sure how this was gonna go. Overcast, sunny, overcast, etc ... the first half of the hike. Arrived at the second big overlook and hung my hammock, boiled up some coffee and watched as clouds came up the mountain side and engulfed this 9000 ft overlook and started to drop "styrofoam" snow. Packed up quick and headed down the other half as it just came down harder. I thought wow ... in May, it was beautifully cool! Made it back around and after a short hike down the Swift Trail to check out the big meadows, I drove a bit down the road to High Peak #507.

At High Peak I checked out an old Spur road I've wanted to hike for ever and today I finally did. It was one of those "why haven't I ever been down this" moments. What a cool scenic old forest road it was that hugs around the mountain side with brand new views worth seeing. I created a page for this one and can't wait to show it to partners (attn:Preston).
I also made a short stop at Wet Canyon on the drive down home to check on things. The canyon is now full of the most columbine flowers I have ever seen in one place and everything is green, green & green!

4 white-tails, 3 Abert's & 1 of them little controversial red squirrels were the animals spotted on this trip.

I am one of those people that loves to hike in stormy weather and I'm always excited to find a new trail on Graham so today was a GREAT DAY on the mountain!

Many columbine at Wet Canyon.
Wet Canyon
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First stop Wet Canyon - Always beautiful, but a little early for the good stuff. Lots of winter damage this year up the canyon, turned around at the climbing wall due to the new dead fall.
Second stop Twilight Canyon - Nice short side drainage along the Swift Trail. Another beautiful area with a gently flowing creek. Took it just a bit up before climbing was required.
Third stop Arcadia Nature Trail - On the drive back down stopped for this cool little trail that took me up to the great view down on Wet Canyon & Noon Creek Ridge.
Another few hours well spent in the backyard!

Columbines in Wet Canyon.
Wet Canyon
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My annual autumn color chase up into my favorite "honey hole".
Last year was fab, this year not so much :(
There was some good color in places, but most of the canyon lacked the Pop I'm use to.
Still a very enjoyable hike up with good water flowing down.
I completed the loop using the Swift Trail back down then drove up the Swift Trail and was able to find a few more good color patches along the switchbacks. 1 doe & 1 Abert's squirrel was spotted along the way.
Wet Canyon
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Farewell overnight camping trip for our friend Lauren who will be leaving us soon for a new opportunity.
We chose Arcadia Campground up in the pines, site #15
The trip included - 2 hammocks, 1 tent, a short-n-sweet hike down to Upper Wet Canyon, a brief rain storm forcing us into the car to ride out, adult beverages, snacks, campfire, white-tail doe, skunk, stars, and story's with laughs of our times together at work & play.
Thank You Lauren ..... :lone:
Wet Canyon
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Drove up the mountain with a plan A & B.
Plan A was up high at 8000 ft and still just too snowed in to hike.
Plan B was lower, but I arrived to find a half dozen cars parked and tons of people snow tubing.
Had to come up with a plan C on the fly.
Decided on 2 ole' standby shorties a little lower on the mountain.
1st I hiked down to the old Cluff Dairy, skipped the 2nd portion down to the sawmill as there also was just to much snow down in the canyon.
2nd I hiked up Wet Canyon. Good water flow on this day, lots of nice small waterfalls & many very cool ice formations along the creek.
Was planning on more miles today, but these 2 are always worth the drive up!
Wet Canyon
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Just a shorty up the canyon to photograph colors.
The mountain was socked in and it was cold, rainy & slippy, but .....
we were up in Wet :pk: Canyon in autumn and it was .....
:FG: :DANCE: :y:
Wet Canyon
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First stopped at Noon Creek PA for my weekly R&R next to the creek. Not much water flow on this day.
I then drove up to Wet Canyon which had a much better creek flow. Planned on just the short hike up the canyon to the climbing wall, but as I headed up the canyon, the lushness drew me further & further up until I had completed the entire route up to Arcadia campground. A very nice stroll down the Swift Trail brought me back to the start completing the unplanned loop.
Wet Canyon
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My annual trip up this short canyon to look for autumn foliage.
Mixed bag this year - Still lots of green to turn, many trees are bare & everything in-between.
Good creek flow on this day, wonderful colors throughout the canyon & lots of solitude.
I really took my time climbing up the canyon on this solo trip.
There were many creek side breaks and a very tranquil nap before heading up to Arcadia.
Wet Canyon will always be very special to me, truly a Pinaleno gem!

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 9.6 miles to the Wet Canyon Picnic Area on the right (just before the one-lane stone bridge).
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