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Randolph Canyon, AZ

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Guide 22 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Queen V NE
3.4 of 5 by 11
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 3.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,523 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Ruins
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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20  2019-05-17
Fraser - Randolph Loop
20  2019-01-05
Fraser - Randolph Loop
19  2017-02-02
Fraser - Randolph Loop
8  2016-09-17 wallyfrack
14  2016-02-17
Reeds Water Backpack
14  2015-02-08 friendofThunderg
18  2014-04-05
Fraser - Randolph Loop
40  2014-04-05
Fraser - Randolph Loop
Page 1,  2
Author friendofThundergod
author avatar Guides 18
Routes 278
Photos 7,651
Trips 711 map ( 8,339 miles )
Age 37 Male Gender
Location AZ
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Preferred   Nov, Mar, Feb, Apr
Seasons   Early Winter
Sun  6:12am - 6:23pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Meandering through Randolph
by friendofThundergod

This hike will take you off-trail down a scenic canyon in the central Superstitions to the confluences of Fraser and Randolph Canyons and the intersections of Red Tanks #107 and Coffee Flats Trail #108. Randolph Canyon provides excellent opportunities for loops and backpacking, however, this hike only covers the one way off-trail route/section of Randolph Canyon from JF Trail #106 to Coffee Flats Trail.

This is certainly a benign canyon and off-trail route. However, a certain level of route finding, map reading skills and physical endurance is probably necessary to complete hike. Although, this should not deter anyone, as Randolph Canyon is relatively easy going for an off trail hike in the Superstitions and amounts to some pretty standard boulder hopping and dry creek bed walking.

The Hike
The most logical way to complete Randolph Canyon in my opinion is via Woodbury Trail Head. From Woodbury TH follow the JF Trail north, after a short walk you will pass the wilderness boundary sign. The large mountain to the northwest in the far distance is the distinct La Barge Mountain. You will cross two washes before reaching the intersection of JF Trail and the upper sections of Randolph Canyon. This is where you will leave the trail and head down the canyon. Some maps may show a few informal trail through Randolph Canyon, however, there is no established route, and walking down the creek bed seems to be the best option. One may find a few old cattle and ranching trails in some of the lower benches complete with cairns, however, these trails generally dead-end quickly, or become a cat-claw nightmare in a hurry. I found it best to stick to the creek bed. Your first major landmark is the fence that crosses the creek, it is actually still in great shape and not easy to go under or over, so your best bet is to take the marked side trail leading around it. The trail will lead to a relatively new cattle trough, although, I do not think it can be counted on as a reliable water source along this route. If one takes a closer look around, they might notice indicators of prehistoric settlement, remember rules and etiquette surrounding these sites. From here the hike is a pretty standard creek bed hike with minor obstacles to navigate, some boulder hopping and almost negligible bushwhacking. Your next major frame of reference will be the concrete dam built into the bedrock of Randolph Canyon, near the Randolph Spring area. The dam was holding a significant amount of water during my trip, however, I cant speak for the reliability of water during the dry months here. There are some larger willow trees in the area and the shady spot would make an ideal point for taking a quick break or having lunch. The spring area marks nearly the half-way point of this hike, and the hike continues in much the same fashion until you start to near the junction of the Red Tanks, and Coffee Flats trails, near Dripping Springs. I would suggest skipping your first opportunity to link up with the Red Tanks Trail and continue down the flat bedrock of Randolph Canyon south towards Dripping Springs, this area is very picturesque and is probably one of the nicer stretches of Randolph Canyon. After the flat bedrock area one will find their self nearing the confluence of Fraser and Randolph Canyon, this is where this hike ends. One has a couple options from here, turning around and retracing route for about an 8-9 mile day, or simply taking the natural loop back utilizing Coffee Flats Trail back to Woodbury TH, for about a 9.5 mile day.

Final Points to Consider
Although Randolph Canyon is an exclusively off trail hike, this should not deter anyone as its a pretty straight forward canyon to navigate, with most of the guesswork eliminated by choosing to hike down the canyon, rather than up. In fact, Randolph Canyon offers a great opportunity for a beginner hiker to get their off trail feet wet, without much blood shed, and a lack of real difficult areas to get turned around at.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2014-01-07 friendofThundergod

    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
    Randolph Canyon
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    Headed out for a nice day in the Supes. Our group of four plus two dogs started hiking from the Woodbury TH around 10am and headed for Randolph Canyon. There was a nice flow of clear and cool water. From there we worked our way down canyon as we rock hopped and pushed through sporadic brush. It's easy going for the most part and very scenic. We took a short break by Randolph Spring and then took our lunch by Dripping Springs. We then started our return up Fraser Canyon. It's easy going again as there is less water and good trail for most part. We passed the JF Ranch and then followed the road back to our TH. We were done by mid afternoon. This was a really nice hike with a great group. We had perfect weather and it was great getting out. Thanks Kyle for driving.
    Randolph Canyon
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    Wanted something we hadn't done before and we needed to get out to Eastern Supes. Decided on Fraser - Randolph doing it CCW. Invited Steve for his 1st hike with us, showed up in shorts, :scared: To late now, headed over and down Randolph. Boy was it cat claw heaven, with so much water running we had to cross so many times it made the trip seem a lot longer, and more cats claw to fight. :o Needless to say Steve got initiated to AZ Pin stripping :( Got down to the Dripping Springs area and it was so nice, sat by the waterfalls and had a relaxing lunch before heading up Fraser. This went well and easy compared to Randolph and it's cats claw. Can't wait to return to this area :D
    Randolph Canyon
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    Reeds Water Backpack
    Read AZ Wandering Bear's write-up on this trip. This is my second trip into Reed's Water. I did not get a chance the last time to visit Dripping Springs and Red Tanks, so I got to do more exploring this time The water is still good in the creeks and in the well. It was too hot (90+ degrees) on the hike into Reeds Water, but the hike out on Friday was wonderful under cloud cover. Saw lots of people backpacking in for the weekend. Stopped to talk to three different groups of them coming in. The windmill is still loud. Sounds like a bunch of peacocks singing. The second night I was so tired I could have slept through a hurricane. Wade hammocked; therefore, decided to base camp where we knew there would be trees. Wasn't sure about the woods in Dripping Springs. Saw about 6 white-tailed deer scampering up the mountains. It was very cool! Great backpacking. I'm ready for more!
    Randolph Canyon
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    Reeds Water Backpack
    Had a few days off, but was fighting a cold. Wednesday was going to be hot, but hey, if you wait for a prefect time you miss some things. So we loaded up and headed for the Peralta Trailhead. The usual semi-full parking lot for midweek this time of the year. Headed out Dutchman under a bright hot sun. 90ish in February?!? Turned up Coffee Flat having seen no one since departing the trailhead. Did eventually see a pair of horsemen in the distance, but no one else. The fairy dusters are realy blooming. Some poppies and a few other flowers. Hopefully this will be a great spring for the wild flowers. We'll see.

    Checked the well under the windmill immediately after arriving at Reeds having not seen any other water on the way in. About 10 to 12 feet down was all the good water a man could want. Cooled off a bit and set up camp. MJ was not going to be denied her tent and all the gear that comes with her camp. I chose to hang. Dinner was our dehydrated version of shepherd's pie. Made a fire, but even with the sun down it was a bit warm to truly enjoy the flames. We retreated to our respective nests pretty quick.

    The wind was rather sporadic during the night. Thus the windmill turned sporadically and LOUDLY. I never sleep well the first night out and the squeaking and clanging windmill did not help that. Add in the effects of the lingering cold and the night became quite long. Apparently the tent area was immune from my maladies given the level of snoring emanating from that quadrant of the camp. Good for her.

    After breakfast we rambled further along Coffee Flat up to Dripping Springs. Lots of good water along Randolph Canyon. Dripping Springs was doing better than just dripping. Turned up Frazier Canyon with some intent of going as far as the JF Ranch, but the lack of sleep and nagging sniffles altered the plan. We turned back after a while and wandered up Red Tanks and explored some of the upper reaches of Randolph. Red Tanks was in better condition than I'd anticipated, though I'd still call it a CSI trail (the catclaw collected numerous DNA specimens). Did see a half dozen or so white tails effortlessly scampering up a hillside. Always a delight. Trudged back into camp for some refreshments and an afternoon nap in the hammock.

    A few clouds formed and the sunset was really nice. After dinner we decided to forego the campfire and turn in early. The temperature was really nice and a light breeze blew up. That set the windmill to turning. The squeaking and grinding pretty much sounded like an orchestra made up of only horned instruments played by crazed kindergarten kids. I dubbed it the Random Time Orchestra for its total lack of melody. Eventually it sort of became entertaining and then funny and then I just slept through it. The windmill is a Fiasa made in Argentina. Maybe music is a little different there.

    Broke camp in no particular hurry. Began running into hikers and backpackers pretty quick once we were on the trail. One guy from Buffalo, NY, was hiking out. Several groups were hiking in -- Canadians planning to climb Miners Needle, some guys that used to guide for the Sierra Club heading out for 8 days, others that just looked happy to be out of the snow and enjoying the magnificent Supes. No Arizona folks encountered. Go figure.

    Not our best outing in the Supes, but any trip into the area is a great trip.

    Fairy dusters in abundance. A little of other things just beginning.
    Randolph Canyon
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    So I decided on the Supes for my Sunday hike. I don't remember much of the drive from the night before and Turkey Creek, but I woke up along Hewitt Station road and decided to give La Barge Mountain a shot. Oh course my last second planning meant I would have to wing it, but I had did some work already on route manager, I was pretty confident I could make the summit, my only worry was that I had Cup with me.

    First of all, I did expect to see a link for La Barge in HAZ, as I foolishly thought I might be the first to post something from top. However, it appears the summit has been visited by the usual suspects. Secondly, I did not make the top, I think I was .23 miles from summit when I got distracted by one of my nicer finds in the Supes. I only linked La Barge because it is where I found the dwelling and granary site, but that is about the most I will narrow the search area to ;)

    I had spotted a pretty solid route on my way in, however, I modified that route to check out an enticing south facing overhang on the way up. As it turns out my detour to over-hang took me off a pretty good route. After finding nothing at my over-hang I continued up with the dogs only to decide that I should retreat back to Randolph. It was pretty warm today and the terrain was not the easiest on the dogs. I am sure I could have pushed Cup to the top and I certainly had no problem going another quarter of a mile, however, that would have border line broke Cup off and we still had a mile plus steep scramble down the side of La Barge once we reached the top.

    Sometimes in life it seems when you make a good choice your are instantly rewarded. That happened today, I literally had just turned around and was dwelling a little on not making the top, when I noticed above my "dud" overhang area some stacked rock. In fact, a wall and small doorway. It was Situated completely out of sight from where I had climbed up, it was a small dwelling or granary. A modest find, but I was very happy with it. In fact, I appreciated it far more then the Turkey Creek site I had visited the previous day. Its like somewhere in the cosmos I got rewarded for not pushing Cup up that final steep approach to that mountain. Had we went to top, I never turn around. Its funny just when I start to think I am running out of places to explore and things to find in the Supes, I get re-motivated with a nice little discovery, like, today's.

    Pretty standard hike back to TH. I shot a pretty direct route down to Randolph, as the dogs were thirsty, we then hiked the canyon bottom back to trail. I saw Wally's jeep at the TH. I cant count the number of times in last year, both our vehicles have landed at the same TH on the same day, yet, not by design.
    Randolph Canyon
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    We wanted to get a hike in before the heat and before Jack left. We had a Plan B but it wasn't necessary as the weather cooperated very nicely thank you.
    Tonto Jr. would get another test of its ability taking the 172 to Woodbury TH. Seemed to do fine and my confidence in the vehicle is building. We arrived ahead of schedule as the drive in was about 10-15 minutes less than the various maps said. The road is in decent enough shape; especially once you turn off from 172 to Woodbury. We did see a roadrunner that had to fly to get out of the way.

    We started our hike heading to the JF Trail. I remembered the entry into Randolph from the Cat Claw Revenge event back in March 2009. The hike toward the canyon entry is beautiful too. Kelly spotted a couple javelina but all I saw was their rumps. As we got closer to the canyon we spotted quite a bit of water in the drainage :) . THIS was quite a surprise as we expected to see very little if any water.

    As we entered the canyon the fun began with the beautiful Randolph rocks :D . We traversed thru the fairly flat canyon enjoying every turn not knowing what was ahead. Jack spotted some "bling" rocks that were coming from a drainage. We went up the drainage a bit to see and found lots more "mica-laden" rocks.

    We eventually came to the fence Lee had mentioned in his hike description. I took the long way to the south rather than go under (actually it was just up the embankment and down). We came to some white smooth rock area and a larger pool where we stopped for a break which was about 1/2 way down the Canyon. On the other side of the pool some frogs were spotted so we enjoyed them for a bit. It was cool to hear them un-plop out of the mud.

    We continued down the canyon trying to take it all in.
    I did end up twisting my ankle. I have never done that in my limited years of hiking. I was able to walk it off; though it was a bit sore and was sore for a couple days :-({|= . It shakes your confidence a little. However, the scenery made me soon forget the incidental pain. This is one time when looking down is not such a bad thing because the rocks are so pretty and different. I have to say I was quite pleased with Randolph Canyon as it lived up to what I thot it would be and more.

    We were delighted to get to the red rock section and explored around here a bit. It really is something and there was lots of water :DANCE: including running water with several pools. And before you knew it we were just to this side of Dripping Springs where we finally got to have lunch. It took us a bit longer than I anticipated to reach this 6 1/2 mile point (about 4 1/2 hours with one snack break). It wasn't like we were in a hurry but I always try to guestimate timing.

    Now for Part II of our loop: Fraser Canyon. I was pleasantly surprised at what Fraser Canyon threw out at us. It was actually shaded in parts as we came in and out of the creek/drainage. There was lots of varying size flora including some huge prickly pear and some funky saguaros. There was quite a variance in the rock too and you had great views on both sides :y: .... AND, there was actually a trail from time to time. I would start getting tired but then the canyon would re-charge me with the scenery as I filmed my way up.

    We started this section at 2 and were done by 4:20ish. However, it was only 4 1/3 miles with the steepest part being that stupid road ](*,) we opted to hike instead of the trail after JF Ranch. As we got in the ranch area the cairn contents were like works of art; just beautiful as we admired almost everyone that we passed. We did do some rock collecting on this trip. Kelly found this beauty that was bigger than her hand that she lugged up the hill (didn't even slow her down :lol: ) as Jack and I would stop now and then to enjoy the view ;) .

    I took a lot of video and was disappointed in how the colorful creek/drainage bed looked more white than color. I guess when I do this type of hiking I need to point my camera more down than up and perhaps that will pick up the color bed. Truly, these canyons have colorful rocks to constantly admire.

    Thanks Kelly and Jack for indulging me with this loop. It met expectations plus some. And of course being with you two is always so comfortable for me and always a pleasurable experience despite my getting beat up by the various flora along the way :oplz: .

    On a side note: (I have to say I'm quite annoyed with Scout II constantly adding mileage. This trip it showed 11.44 miles but Mapsource/HAZ shows 10.83 after I load the route from Scout II: both Kelly and Jack's GPS's were showing closer to what Mapsource/HAZ did. How can I count on Scout II if I need to make a turn or find a location? I know a lot of you have a 450 and don't complain about the mileage difference so I must have a setting screwed up :oops: :x . Guess I'll keep trying.)

    Video of Randolph Canyon:

    Video 1 was hung up in youtube's stabilizer for 6 days (seems to be taking longer than normal unless this is the new normal as I was pretty shaky hiking down a creek bed). From Woodbury TH to and on JF Trail into Canyon
    Video 2 in the canyon to a little past the stock fence -
    Video 3 includes the frogs
    Video 4
    Video 5 deeper into the canyon
    Video 6 the red rock and water area

    FRASER CANYON videos, these turned out pretty nice I think as the sun was behind us and so the color was much better:
    Fraser 1 -
    Fraser 2 - including the Fraser canyon gate
    Fraser 3 - including JF Ranch

    did see some cluster of poppies and desert phlox with occasional hedgehogs blooming.
    Randolph Canyon
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    angela and i wanted to get in a good hike with jack before he heads back to minnesooooota
    pretty sure angela gets credit for having this one on her wish list
    i like canyons and loops, and hadn't hiked anything from woodbury so we thought it would be a good choice
    lucked out with cool temps
    met along 60, then angela drove tonto jr. out to woodbury
    did well on the road, and now i know my truck could make it (especially with new tires :lol: )
    so much to see out this way, too
    got going around 8:45, heading up jf trail, then heading down randolph canyon
    thought we would do the boulder hopping while fresh
    right off, jack and i saw two good-sized javelina, and a little later on, a coyote
    too quick for pics
    there is a wide range of opinions on randolph canyon in the triplogs
    we found very little overgrowth, easy route finding, solid footing on the boulders and good scenery throughout
    were able to crawl under the fence, and any clogs had a work-around
    much more water than any of us expected
    one pool had several cute little frogs
    near the confluence with fraser canyon, the red bedrock and canyon walls are beautiful
    had lunch in a shady spot
    i had not hiked this section of coffee flat, and like the part between reed's water and dripping springs, you have a trail at times, and stay in the creek bed the rest
    again, little overgrowth, and work-arounds when needed
    the trail was easy enough to follow even without some work-of-art cairns, and there was good scenery in this canyon, too
    potential for further exploration along the entire loop
    came to jf ranch, and took the road back to the trailhead instead of the trail, kind of by accident
    enjoyed the day, the weather, and especially the company
    jack, i don't know where the winter went
    angela, always good getting out with you
    looking forward to visiting this area again
    Randolph Canyon
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    I did an easy seven mile backpack into Dripping Springs to further explore some caves and overhangs in the area, and explore Randolph Canyon past the intersection with Red Tanks.

    I only saw one group of hikers all day on day one, they were camped near Reed's Water. The stretch of trail through Randolph Canyon along Coffee Flats is really a little paradise in the Supes right now with the still trickling water, great views and thriving vegetation. I was intentionally lazy on day one, I only revisited a modest cave-dwelling site that I had come across the week before and then spent the day reading, and enjoying the very warm January day with the dogs. Although, grabbing a fire wood was quite the chore, as there is not much firewood around the campsites near Dripping Springs and I did not want to start hacking off live limbs of trees, as others have resorted to :?

    I started Saturday morning off by exploring a cave in Whetrock Canyon that I had spotted with Wally over a month ago. It proved to be a dud, in fact, every overhang, cave and hill I climbed up to on Saturday proved to be a dud. They were also pretty rough on the dogs, lungs, and legs, yet great on views so it was a little quid pro quo I guess. I ran into Dave and his son Ryan while coming down Whetrock Canyon, they had day hiked in from Peralta that morning. The encounter was strange because that is the second time I had ran into those two in some pretty random off-trail spots in Supes. From Whetrock I explored some hills near the JF Ranch, I then made my way to Woodbury TH, where I photo-bombed a trail cam and then headed north on JF Ranch Trail until its intersection with the upper stretches of Randolph Canyon. From there the dogs and I left trail again and made our way down Randolph Canyon to its intersection with Fraser Canyon near our camp at Dripping Springs. Randolph Canyon was not to bad, typical dry creek bed walking, plenty of water, some great views, and a few minor attractions along the route. Dave brought out some great seasoned frozen pork Saturday night, and I think it may have been the dogs and myself's highlight of the weekend. I cooked over a pound of that pork on our fire and shared with Cup and Blanco, it was quite the pleasant surprise for the pups.

    Had a late night Saturday, slept in a little Sunday. Was not up for additional exploring though, mainly because Cup had a little bit of a limp. Our leisurely hike Saturday turned into a 13 mile loop with some significant off-trail mixed in and she was feeling it. That coupled with the fact that the dogs and I spent 8 of our last 12 days in the Supes and covered just a hair under 85 miles in that time frame may have had something to do with it. Dave went to Whetrock and I headed to the TH. Perlata was bumping as usual, with over flow lots packed, and people everywhere, further reinforcing my happiness that I only ran into two groups of hikers where I went.
    Randolph Canyon
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    Due to car trouble, had to change plans. The creek along Coffee Flat is flowing in sections. Speaking of which, I'm changing the trail sign to say Coffee Hills next time I'm out there, where's the flat part?

    Set up camp at Dripping Springs and did the Randolph-Fraser Loop. Short hike out Sunday.

    Saw a HAZ sticker on a tan pickup at the Peralta lot.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To Woodbury Trailhead
    Take US 60 east out of Apache Junction. A couple miles past Florence Junction at MP214.2 turn north onto Queen Valley Road and drive for 1.6 miles. Turn right onto FR357 (Hewlett Station Road) and drive for 3.0 miles to signed FR172. Turn left onto FR172 and drive for 9.1 miles to the intersection of FR172A/172B. IF going to Rogers Trough TH/Parking, then turn right onto FR172A and drive 3.8 rough miles to the Rogers Trough TH; IF going to Woodbury TH, then turn left onto FR172B and drive 1.1 miles to the Woodbury TH/Parking.

    Notice This trailhead may or may not be accessible by sedan. The road is generally grated once a year. Opinions differ on what is and is not doable.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 65.6 mi - about 1 hour 49 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 98.9 mi - about 2 hours 39 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 210 mi - about 3 hours 52 mins
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