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Temporal Gulch Trail #595, AZ

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Guide 14 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson S
4 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Distance One Way 6.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,800 feet
Elevation Gain 2,189 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,369 feet
Avg Time One Way 3.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13.99
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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13  2015-09-12
Wrightson via Temporal to Walker Basin
6  2015-09-12
Wrightson via Temporal to Walker Basin
2  2015-09-12
Wrightson via Temporal to Walker Basin
26  2015-09-12
Wrightson via Temporal to Walker Basin
15  2015-09-12
Wrightson via Temporal to Walker Basin
46  2015-07-25 cdyerinaz
14  2014-08-22
Temporal Gulch Eastern Half
13  2014-08-11
Old Baldy upper Temporal Gulch Loop
Page 1,  2
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Sep → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:08am - 6:27pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Likely In-Season!
Temporal Gulch Trail is one of the least traveled routes in the Santa Ritas. That's not because this remote backcountry isn't worth a visit, but because it's more than just a little hard to get in. The north end of the gulch is accessible from Madera Canyon by hiking up the Super Trail or Old Baldy Trail to Josephine Saddle and then contouring around Josephine Peak to the head of the drainage. You can drive to the downhill end of the trail, but that requires winding over dirty roads for a considerable distance and bouncing the last couple of miles up a jeep track that can require a high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle. Those who go to the trouble, however, generally find that the reward is well worth the effort.

Temporal Gulch Trail wanders up a broad canyon along a picturesque little stream punctuated with stepping stone crossings and a bubbly waterfall (when it has water in it). When it doesn't, the riparian area is still a pleasant place to be, shaded by spreading sycamores and other desert canyon species clustered along the streambed. Other desert dwellers congregate here, too, and if you proceed quietly and watchfully, you're virtually assured of having a close encounter with a number of them. Colorful songbirds flash through the trees, and soft-eyed deer browse in the grasses and brush, sometimes scarcely taking notice of you.

If you're a history buff, there are a number of old mining works in the area, small diggings that generally have left only a tailings pile and a few pieces of liter-become-artifact to tell their story. All this is framed within a panorama that includes the high peaks of the Santa Ritas and their grassy, oak-covered foothills.

Temporal Gulch Trail extends between the mouth of the gulch and Josephine Saddle where it intersects a number of other Santa Rita trails. One possibility for a loop trip is to take the trail to the saddle and then pick one of a number of routes up, around or over Mt. Wrightson to Gardner Trail which leads to the Walker Basin Trail and back to your vehicle.

5.4 miles of this trail are within the Mt. Wrightson Wilderness. No Mechanized vehicles allowed, including mountain bikes, are permitted in Wilderness areas.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2008-02-20 HAZ_Hikebot

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    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 Triplog Reviews
    Temporal Gulch Trail #595
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Wrightson via Temporal to Walker Basin
    Prison Stories, Goat Stories, Dead Cows, Poop, Wild Flowers, Surprise Guests, White Men in White Face.... this hike had it all.

    Belinda posted a Wrightson loop, climbing from the east. I'd never done it from the east. Chums and
    Joe Joe were a go, so we met up with the Chummobile at 4am for the drive to meet up w/ the Tucson crew at 6am.

    Into Patagonia and then the drive on AZT #4 to our TH. Other than the stinky dead cow we had to drive OVER, the drive was uneventful.

    Temporal Gulch Trail #595 Was a bit thin in spots and is a steady climb to Josephine Saddle. The views just kept getting better. We made a stop at McBeth Spring to sample the agua.

    At the Old Baldy Trail #372 we saw the first of the masses coming up and down from the Summit. Ran into and SkyIslandHiker on his way down from his 300th? summit.

    We enjoyed a break and lunch at the top with our surprise guest Randy. The first time I did Wrightson, it was in a group w/ Randy the speed demon. Great seeing him again.

    It's all downhill from here Gardner Canyon #143, to Walker Basin #136. The views are easier to enjoy going downhill not staring at you feet. We all took an extended break while Joel read the newspaper.

    The hill dropping into Upper Walker Tank was brutally rocky/steep.. we should have taken the AZT reroute instead of "The Road"

    Thanks for settin' this one up Belinda! Good to finally meet you, Joel, Mark and Mike...

    Hard to believe that the Cow smelled worse on the way out.. :o
    Temporal Gulch Trail #595
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Wrightson via Temporal to Walker Basin
    Our first obstacle was getting around a half decomposed cow on FR72 that would make a skunk blush. Most of the stank washed off the trucks passing through a few running ravines. Just enough lingered at the trailhead to get us hungry for the trail.

    We lost the trail a few times in the lower creek shared segment of #595. Nothing of concern, follow the creek when in doubt. The upper part is nice. Friendly brush is nearby most of the way. Weather was nice throughout the day. From Josephine Saddle to the summit we had a steady flow of company on trail.

    My favorite part of the hike was from Baldy Saddle heading down Gardner Canyon #143. Views, perfectly scattered pines and clouds cranked out a nice symphony.

    Walker Basin Trail #136 was the get us back leg. Two sacred pools above the dam were neat. FR72 to complete the loop.

    A pleasure to hike with this fine group. Mike was a little shy but opened up after five seconds. Met Bill Bens out playing in his backyard! Randy hit the big peak in the sky again and joined us for lunch too.

    carried 4 qts, consumed 2.8

    None really. A little precursor to Autumn near McBeth. Large swaths of ferns all browned up now. The ravine is a tucked in pocket.

    Several large blankets of yellow covering slopes. A few nice individual varieties.
    Temporal Gulch Trail #595
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Wrightson via Temporal to Walker Basin
    Great to meet some of the Tucson HAZ crew! And a fantastic hike too! Thanks for putting it together Belinda! :app:

    Temporal Gulch was great ... a very nice and consistent ascent though slightly overgrown which required steady attention to the route, especially closer to the beginning.

    The summit was nice as always, and it was a nice surprise to see rwstorm had made the hike to meet us!

    The cloudy skies on the way down made some of the exposed areas much less warm than they might have been had it been sunny, which ended up making the weather on this day about as perfect as it could be.

    Entertaining conversation and amusement followed us all day long. Thanks all! :lol:

    For some reason my garage smells like something died. Not sure why. :o
    Temporal Gulch Trail #595
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Our hike began at the trail-head for Temporal Gulch #595 in Patagonia's gorgeous Santa Rita Mountains to Josephine Saddle where we picked up the 2.2 mile Old Baldy Trail #372. Ending at the parking lot in Madera, we caught a ride to the incredibly awesome Kent Springs Cabin. (Highly recommend a visit to this beautiful cabin) where we stayed overnight and drove home 24 hours later.
    We began our hike at 11:00 am with four adults, one teen and two dogs. The trail path was clear and appeared well traveled. Sadly there was quite a bit of garbage at the beginning, lessening the further along the trail were; clothing, backpacks, food wrappers, water bottles etc. The warnings about the illegal traffic in the area are true. Regardless, the area was gorgeous! The stream bed was running and the waterfalls were flowing as well. there were several deep pools along the route. Deep enough for the dogs to swim! The path was clear and easy to follow for the first 2 miles then we had to start relying on our compasses and rock markers pyramided at corners and bends in the trail. Once you found the markers, the trail was easy enough to pick back up again. The sights and smells were amazing, the pines, the incredible oaks and all the other trees made such a wonderful shaded, cool canopy during the hike. We do believe we were sharing the path with a brown bear or two, we came across countless large piles of fresh bear scat and we even had the pleasure of finding freshly marked trees! It was truly exciting! Along with dozens of different wildflowers the trail was lined with many different types of mushrooms! Dozens to be exact; gold, white, copper red, speckled... They were plentiful and a joy to find! This trail has so much to offer! ** I really recommend head nets the gnats were terrible this time of year. There was no amount of bug spray that would keep them at bay they just attacked your face and eyes. (This was only uncomfortable encounter during the entire trip) The stream bed began to get scarce at about 4.5 to 5 miles into the hike, so if you have pets you may want to bring them an extra bottle of water or two. We hiked during the rainy season and the stream bed was still dry in places along the trail so just take precautionary measures and pack in a bit more water. My daughter and I hiked in with in 2, 50 liter water bottles and it lasted us the duration of the hike. The trail was really overgrown and appeared far less traveled about the 6 to 6.5 mile. The machete was extremely useful to have to cut away the brush, clearing the path. We had been warned about the chiggers being active this time year fortunately, we had no issues them at all. A few of our group did get a tick. But only 2. One at the start of the trail and the other wasn't discovered until we made it to the cabin. Not bad at all! I recommend that everyone do this hike! When you make it out of the tree lines you have the opportunity to see Whipple Observatory across the valley and the mountainous terrain is truly breathtaking! The trail was defined at this point but in several places it was beginning to wash away. It needs some maintenance, or just more hikers :) But it is all passable. It was a refreshing moment coming to the McBeth Spring, the ferns carpeted the mountainside and the massive pines surrounding the spring were breathtaking. The rock basin at the spring was crystal clear and full, the fill pipe was flowing nicely. Three people, including myself drank directly from the spring. The dogs drank too... (no issues at all later) :) The excitement of reaching Josephine Saddle was awesome! We viewed sights we had only seen online to include the Boy Scout memorial. The trail heads at this point are clearly marked. The hike down Old Baldy Trail was a bit rocky but it was nice and wide and more maintained it wasn't until this point during the hike that we came across other hikers on the path. This trail definitely has a lot of hiking traffic. All in all the hike from Patagonia to Madera was absolutely awesome following the routes we had taken all totaling a little over 11 miles. I highly recommend it to everyone! We will be doing this hike again this year. I'd love to see it in the cooler months. I will be bringing high visible markers so I can do my part to help clearly mark the trail as it is unknown if the rock markers will continue to be standing. Our group also mentioned the possibility of a trail clean up mission in the future. The road getting into Temporal Canyon is a bit rough, I would recommend a 4X4 high clearance vehicle or side by side. However, I truly believe a stock Jeep would make it without a problem. We were dropped off at the trail-head which is how I would suggest everyone take this trek. I wouldn't recommend leaving your vehicle here overnight.

    There were dozens of different wildflowers along the entire route.
    Temporal Gulch Trail #595
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    AZT Passages 4-5
    It was my hope from the very beginning that I’d be able to share a bit of the glory and adventure of Sirena’s through hike on the AZT. The fact that I am insanely envious barely plays into it at all (wink). So, when my schedule shifted about a bit and opened up an opportunity for me to not only join her for Passage 4 but to take her family camping afterwards in my travel trailer, King Gilbert, I was ecstatic! An overnight on the AZT…with my celebrity friend…just the two of us and the foothills of the Santa Rita mountains on one of the most beautiful weekends of the year? Oh yeah. I’m in!

    Passage 4 of the AZT follows the Temporal Canyon Road in Patagonia for the first 13 miles. For most through-hikers, road walks are similar to unwanted chores: often necessary, rarely enjoyed. Sirena had taken care of the first 7 miles of the road walk the day before to speed things up, so we had only about 6 miles to go before we truly got off into the wilds. Luckily, even road walking in this area can be scenic and rewarding. Winding through the oak forests and over the pools of Temporal Gulch wasn’t such a horrible chore at all – and the terrain offered enough distraction to keep us contented as we hoofed along.

    Throughout our walk on the road, we were amazed at the amount of water that we were finding. The spring boxes were full, and there was often a slow trickle in the bottom of the canyon. Although it has been an unusually dry (and warm) winter and early spring in southern Arizona, it seems that a few well-timed storms have really helped out these riparian areas. It’s unlikely that the pools will remain long without more moisture coming from the sky and soon – but it was a real treat to know that we would not have to worry about running dry on this particular piece of trail.

    Once we turned off onto the Walker Basin trail and got back to our preferred single-track hiking, the mountains rewarded us with even better vistas and diversity. Mt. Wrightson, the highest mountain in the Santa Rita range, is topped by Baldy Peak at 9,453 ft. This barren, granite summit presides over the entire range like a patriarch, and it’s steep wooded flanks have always called to those seeking solitude and adventure. Both Sirena and I have visited the summit on multiple occasions – but somehow it’s even more impressive to see the mountain this way – wandering about at it’s base staring up. Although the Arizona Trail does not climb to the top of this range as it does with the Rincons and the Santa Ritas further north, it does provide hikers with an intimate experience with Wrightson just the same.

    16 miles into Passage 4 (9 for us today), we arrived at Bear Spring. Our initial plans were to camp near the spring, as Sirena had often wanted to but schedule often didn’t permit. The spring is a beautiful spot – cold, clear water from the tank and a sycamore-studded stream babbling just down the hill in Big Casa Blanca Canyon. There were some ideal tent sites near the creek, and plenty of trees for my hammock. We took our hiking shoes off and dunked our feet in the icy creek, filtered and drank our fill of the delicious water and considered our options. It was still early in the day, with hours until sunset, and our feet now felt refreshed and ready to go again. We decided that while the spring was an ideal spot, we’d take our chances on the trail ahead and keep moving just a little while longer. Besides - we knew there was a group of high-school students hiking the opposite direction who were supposed to be staying at Bear Spring as well that night, and we really didn't want to be all settled in when they crashed (if they were coming).

    Luckily, we found them just a few hundred yards down the trail, camped in a large spot beside the creek. Now we knew where they were, we could camp in confidence that we'd not be disturbed by "eager young minds" that night.

    Beginning at Bear Spring, the trail follows a historic drainage feature called a “flume”. This ditch was dug into the mountainside in the early 1900′s as a part of an effort to provide water to a gold mining operation in nearby Kentucky Gulch. Water from Bear Spring was diverted into the flume and ran in the ditch for 2 1/2 nearly level miles to the next improvement at Tunnel Spring. Because of this historic engineering effort, the trail feels almost dead-flat, and contours high above the steep floor of Big Casa Blanca canyon. At one point, Sirena began telling me, it’s supposed to duck through a hole in the rock – but she missed the spot back in 2008 by accidentally taking the bypass built for equestrian use. She was just finishing the story when we came around a corner and found the “hole-in-the-wall” – a small tunnel through the conglomerate rock that makes up the canyon walls. Her excitement made passing up the Bear Spring camp 100% worthwhile!

    As the sun got lower in the sky, we began to look for a spot to camp. Since the trail is carved into the mountainside, we started to scan the ridges and slopes that ran perpendicular to the trail for a spot. I spotted a faint foot-path heading off onto one such ridge, and we followed it out to one of the finest campsites we could have hoped for. A small fire ring, cleared spots for ground sleepers, trees for hammocks and drop-dead amazing views to the south, west and east. We arrived just in time to settle in before the evening light show started, then made ourselves a modest fire and ate Thai green curry chicken and rice by its glow. For girls like Sirena and I, it simply does not get any better.

    The next morning we didn’t get an early start (which is SO typical of us!), but we were on the trail in plenty of time to cover the 10 miles remaining to our base at Kentucky Camp. We had more historic flume hiking ahead, followed by a series of small ups and downs along the historic water system, and ending with a short but wearing road walk from Kentucky Camp to my trailer just down the road. We were low on food (Sirena’s finally got a through hiker’s appetite), and eager to get back before her family arrived at camp. Never the less, we hardly hurried. The trail is just too much fun to rush!

    By the time we caught sight of Kentucky Camp, we were hungry and a little tired in the feet - ready to kick back and relax. It was good that from the same ridge where we first spotted the buildings, we could also see King Gilbert - full of food and promising sandals and chairs. We were on a mission!

    Seeing her family's reaction to my choice of campsite was hilarious. It was a busy weekend in the grasslands, and the larger, more established sites had already been taken when I arrived Thursday night. However, I picked out a spot on a ridge with 365degree views - but no existing fire ring or bare dirt. Where do we camp? Where do we make a fire? I lead them through the steps of building the fire ring and that process stamped down the tallest grasses immediately around the trailer. By sunset, they were as in love with the spot as Sirena and I had been. Just took a little "getting used to" the Arizona way of things ;)

    I took my hammock down the hill to the nearest copse of trees for my hang that night and slept with a contented smile. What a great weekend on the Arizona Trail!

    One spot of poppies, blue dicks scattered, cacti looking like they're starting to bud out.

    Permit $$

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

    Map Drive

    To hike
    From Patagonia, Drive north out of Patagonia on 1st Avenue and continue 2.5 miles to the National Forest boundary. The road becomes Forest Road 72. Follow Road 72 for 4 or 5 miles, depending on the condition of the road. Usually this route is passable by passenger cars to the Forest Road 72/Forest Road 72A. Walk 2.5 miles up Forest Road 72, now a rough jeep track, headed toward Walker Basin to the 595 trailhead. The Temporal Gulch Trail stays with the stream bed.
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