register help

White Canyon, AZ

no permit
927 59 2
Guide 59 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Superior S
4 of 5 by 21
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,930 feet
Elevation Gain 624 feet
Accumulated Gain 824 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 - 8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 9.82
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Will recalculate on button tap!
8  2019-02-02 chumley
5  2018-11-22 AZLOT69
25  2018-11-10
White and Wood Canyon Wander
23  2018-11-10
White and Wood Canyon Wander
21  2018-11-10
White and Wood Canyon Wander
12  2018-07-15 te_wa
69  2017-01-07
White Canyon Promontory Y Loop
23  2017-01-02
White Canyon Upper - SW Approach FR319
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,834
Trips 4,262 map ( 21,474 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Feb, Mar, Oct, Nov → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:13am - 6:20pm
Official Route
12 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Excellent adventure
by joebartels

In 1990 5,800 acres were set aside seven to ten miles south of Superior. The White Canyon Wilderness was formed. Lucky you, lucky me as this is one awesome canyon. The canyon is mentioned as a possible route for the AZ Trail on their website ( year 2000... never materialized ). I can't imagine why anybody would bypass this canyon while in the area!

From the narrow ended road the trail is easy to find. Actually there is no official trail. This is light canyoneering with huge boulders. The going is medium effort. Obstacles are numerous, though easily negotiable. The route is to follow the canyon upstream. Which never really leaves the canyon bottom. Maybe a few feet up the side here and there.

The canyon starts out wide and low brush. Surrounding peaks jut up 1000 feet above White Canyons floor. Interesting boulder chokes, pools and the twisting canyon make up this adventure. Cairns line the canyon but really aren't necessary. They actually screwed up our line of travel on the return. Sections of smooth sculptured granite are eye pleasing. About a mile into the canyon it appears to fork. Go left. To the right travel is difficult then opens up soon after. So like I said go left.

A little over two miles in is a dry waterfall on the right. This would surely be an awesome view during thunderstorm run off. Just be forewarned, downed willows and swirled sand banks show the power of flooding in this canyon. Don't be a statistic, stay out if you're unsure.

It's about a mile and a half more to the Tonto Forest boundary. Pleasing canyon wall views continue, but the real excitement has been conquered. More brushy sections and less boulder hopping lies ahead.

I was pretty amazed when I first drove in to find a trail register out in the middle of nowhere. Then to see that several have passed through this area over the years. It had been a while since the last entry. On the other hand there was more entries than I would have expected for such a remote area. We got a good chuckle reading the entries. Several noted how beautiful the canyon was but the repeated gunfire was annoying. I guess we lucked out as we didn't experience the gunfire. Then again we came at the hottest and most humid time of the year so there wasn't much company. Other trip note entries included "looking for the BIG Javelina", "played with animals", "to cave, great trip", "clear water pools", "totally stoked", "consistent gunshots added to the wilderness feel", "press on past boulders, worth it!", "save the desert, club a golfer!", "saw javelinas".

Along the way we saw a blue jay only to be distracted by a cardinal zipping past him. We also saw a snake, a baby turtle dive into one of the pools, nearly every pool encountered involved a few frogs lunging in. Only one plane flew by in the far distance. Nobody else was in the canyon. No gunfire but, passed ma and pa homer on the way out in Walnut Canyon river bottom. They had shovels and where doing something on the side of the river. Hopefully nobody died. Have fun and be careful. 8/15/00

TRIP (2): White Canyon was in my mind as the best hike of the year. Naturally I returned. This time Rachelle tagged along. On the first trip Rasco came along in mid August. As always he keeps up with the pace which continues to amaze me. On this my first hike with Rachelle she too did a remarkable job. No complaining and kept up with the pace remarkably well. Who knows maybe I'm getting old. I'm sure the annual Four Peaks Christmas romp will separate the boys from the men.

In August it had rained the previous night. The humidity was unbelievable until the afternoon sun cleared it up. On this outing in late November the weather was perfect in the low seventies! We were greeted by a running creek from all the early November rains. I thought cool this is gonna be even better with running water. There were several pools and cascades along the way. Unfortunately the creek was the path last time out. This time we had to bush whack around the creek. So my question has been answered about the Arizona Trail. Yep they need to do some serious work here before calling this a trail. We went in two miles. I didn't want to kill Rachelle on her first outing.

I've never been one to snack on the trail. Basically I usually carry a few mountain biking (what I call) sugar packets. If you're tired and burnt they get you going in hurry. Well since Rachelle is so damn fragile I decided I better bring something more to munch on. Since I'm not into snacking I did the Joe thing. I brought everything I could think of eating on a trail. the final report... The little peanut butter Ritz crackers were awesome on the trail! Probably why I'm getting FAT!

The trail register entries didn't seem to mention so much gun fire this time. Once again we didn't hear any either. There was one long entry from a very upset man. He wrote...they should pave the trail and make it wheel chair accessible. He said it was so boring and bla bla bla. I'll tell ya what, if this is boring I wonder what excites this guy! On the way out we passed two couples that were hiking the two mile access road. Which has beautiful scenery but nothing like on the trail. One couple had just made it to the trail register on our way out. They signed the register and headed back. I thought it seemed funny to hike a road to a trail then turn around. I'm wondering if the upset guy even made it on the trail. Maybe he just hiked the road like these other two couples.

Once again driving out we were both in disbelief. We made it up the rutted section. How, we don't know. It's pretty rutted in this one section. Again I gunned it. Although we seemed to nearly turn over BOTH ways there was no damage. I used the Rasco technique and didn't tell Rachelle it was coming. On the previous trip Rasco asked me are snakes with yellow and black rings poisonous? I was like, I don't know, why? He said, oh cause there's one in-between your feet. Thanks!

Anyhow the real reason for the trip was to play with my new camera. It's official, I suck! I kept getting my aperture and other crap I know nothing about all wrong. At least I'm honest!!! I guess I'll actually have to read that damn manual! Time to start digging in the trash.

2.5MB MP3 Audio - Teva reading trail log

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2000-11-25 joebartels
    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 17 deeper Triplog Reviews
    White Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    White Canyon Promontory Y Loop
    Just over 4 years ago we ate lunch at the end of the promontory across from Battle Axe Butte so it was about time for a return trip... with a little more distance thrown in.

    Our 'loop' would actually be shaped like the outline around a small letter 'y'. We began from Battle Axe Road heading NNW on the GET #3 until reaching the saddle NW of Peak 3660. From there we rounded-the-corner to the east where we ascended a gorge before turning back west to pass the summit of Peak 3660.

    The summit log for Peak 3660 was nowhere to be found. In fact, the spot where the log was on my last visit was now a large divot. And next to the divot was a large piece of the rock that had been on the summit.
    How did it get that way? I thought it possible there may have been moisture underneath and it was struck by lightning, blowing the rock out and throwing it over. The only other explanation I could think of was someone pried it out, but there was no evidence of any tool to pry the rock out. Oh well, the mystery unsolved, time to move on.

    From Peak 3660 we headed southwest over hill-and-dale on the way to the southern end of the promontory. I was quite surprised the route I planned on Route Manager worked out so well. In one area where we would have to ascend through a ridge of large boulders, I marked waypoints at two 'possible' locations based on satellite and Topo views and we were fortunate the first one was the perfect spot.
    And that's pretty much how our hike went... 'on-the-top' anyway. We made it to the southern end in time for our Battle Axe-view lunch spot.
    Once we descended into White Canyon at the northeast end of our small 'y' we knew we had our work cut out for us. With plenty of water flow the pools that on previous occasions had been either dry or barely wet were now too deep to even wade through.
    Being already committed to following the canyon back to Battle Axe Road we just got-on-with-it. And by taking on some pretty serious bushwhacking we only had to step in ankle-deep water one time. I didn't take many photos in the canyon... we were too focused on simply getting through.

    But no matter the trials and tribulations in White Canyon, the rest of the hike more than made up for it with the awesome views and terrain we traversed. Not many folks pass through this area.
    White Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I was a bit tired from my New Year's weekend hikes but didn't want to let a day off go to waste, especially not with all the water that has been flowing around the desert mountains lately.

    White Canyon has been on my radar since Arizona Wilderness introduced it's Crystal-Pepsi-like uneducated tarzan swinger White Canyon Stout ... which is blonde colored but tastes like a stout. :o (Yes, I realized I wanted to visit somewhere because of the name of a beer!) :sweat:

    After visiting the spine and seeing 1-800-the-joey put together a big loop out here a few weeks back, it was fresh in my mind. I was hoping to see good water flowing through the falls in the canyon. I decided that the drive and miles of creek hiking from the south were a bit more than I wanted to tackle on Monday, so I chose the north route from FR319 (the hike description title should probably be renamed sometime so as to not confuse future hikers).

    I almost drove all the way to the spring on FR2260, but stopped where a jeep had parked at the top of the hill. 4wd would be required to descend the hill, but primarily because of the one main switchback which has some big boulders as you make the sharp turn. The rest of it is a standard rough 4wd road. Of course, it's not a long walk, so if you don't enjoy roads like this, just park and walk the extra mile or two when you don't feel comfortable driving anymore.

    The upper canyon had a light flow of water both above and below the spring, but much less than I was hoping for or expecting. I passed the jeep people as they were on their way out. They were hunting fox but came up empty on the day. To say they were shocked to see me would be an understatement. They had no idea people actually just go out here to hike and explore! : rambo :

    The upper canyon is easy to travel in and a couple of well-worn bypasses leave the creek bottom and are marked with cairns. When I reached the top of the box, I stayed on the north side and looked for a way down to the bottom. Along the way I found a very nice 40 foot waterfall from a side drainage. It was interesting that this drainage was flowing more than the much larger main drainage!

    Once I had worked my way to the bottom, I attempted to head back upstream toward the fifteen foot falls in the box. There was a short swimmer that I couldn't bypass, and I waded in hoping to find a reasonable way across. Nope. I stripped down and jumped in! With air temps in the low 50s, calling the water refreshing would be an understatement! :o

    Unfortunately, at the end of the pool is a small 2 foot cascade, but unable to touch bottom and the water flow hitting me from above, I couldn't manage to climb up. Defeated, I retreated to the beach and put on some warm, dry clothes.

    Next I climbed back upstream a bit looking for a descent down the western wall. About halfway down, I felt uncomfortable with the unsure footing on a short pitch I would have to downclimb, and I retreated back up. Next I tried to crab butt-scoot down the angled slope of sheer rock adjacent to a vertical wall. This worked remarkably well and I reached the bottom of the box just below the fifteen foot waterfall. Sadly, it wasn't that exciting. ](*,)

    I explored downstream in the box to the cascade and pool that had turned me away earlier. I enjoyed this section. On the way out, I learned quickly that getting up the sloped rock I had descended was not a good plan. But the pitch I didn't want to climb down earlier proved to be much more reassuring on the ascent and I was out of the box in no time.

    Not wanting to return the way I had already been, I headed downstream looking for an exit point on the east side of the canyon. I saw one spot that looked promising, but decided to continue downstream and explore a bit more with the time I had remaining. There's a horseshoe bend in a narrow slot with high vertical walls before the canyon opens up about a quarter mile below the box.

    Here I made my exit, encountering an obstacle consisting of about a 15 foot vertical layer that included a dryfall near the top of the drainage. There was a crack on the right that was nicely protected from exposure and allowed me to get above it with a short class 4 scramble.

    Once above the canyon, it was just a pleasant stroll along the edge of the canyon, taking in the views from a variety of outlook points. Once I had returned above the box, I descended this side into the canyon above the fifteen foot falls, discovering yet another fall, this one in a narrow slot of smooth rock that dropped into a nearly hidden circular pot.

    For the most part, I was able to stay in the canyon from here back to the top with the exception of one narrow section that would have required me to get wet again, which I chose not to do. With darkness approaching, I made swift time on the return, getting back to my truck in less than an hour.

    White Canyon, you've got me hooked. Can't wait to get back and check out the lower part and explore some more. The geology out here is awesome! So is the stout! :y:
    White Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    White Canyon Wilderness - Center Loop
    Bruce put this loop together by routes from Hank & Mark. When I saw it I knew it would be a great hike. While Brown's Peak got me hiking, White Canyon taught me how to sing.

    Bruce drove in 0.4 miles off SR177 on FR319 to the safe 2WD parking. The road was recently graded. Arnett Creek was already starting a narrow yet deep crevice across the road so some may prefer to walk it.

    43 degrees and windy, with a predicted high of 54. I started off wearing three long sleeve shirts and pants due to the temps. Pants are a good idea if you don't like any scratches. 10 degrees warmer and I'd be in shorts. It rained a bit last night and there was a very light flow in a couple area. All avoidable if careful. Some of the terrain was easy scrambling.

    4-5 miles is road or use trail. Over half of the road walk is within the wilderness and very scenic. The majority of the hike is off trail through the canyon. The high canyon walls of White Canyon are impressive. Especially the eastern wall which is white. The water sculptured rock and narrows in multiple areas are spectacular. Any one of them would be worthy of a hike alone. 2 miles is out of the canyon to ride a ridge back to make the loop. It is a hearty 600 ft climb to the highpoint 3635 atop the ridge. Excellent views down the entire ridge. This loop is just a smorgasbord of bells and whistles. The less exciting final 2.8 miles went by quick.

    Geology rocks a very short, semi boring, video starring Off_trail_Eagle.

    In isolated areas it was moderate and fading.
    White Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    White Canyon Loop - White Canyon Wilderness
    Six years ago while hiking the old route of AZT 16 in this area, Joe made a comment that stuck with me. "I don't know why they didn't route the AZT through White Canyon. That area is incredible." That always stuck with me, but it took me this long to draw something up that visited this area.

    An easy mile road walk gets you into the northern arm of White Canyon, close to White Water Spring. This canyon gets more impressive the farther you get in.

    At 3 miles in, you will have a decision point. Staying in the canyon (without equipment) is not an option, as we'd find out later. We went up to the left and enjoyed the views into the canyon from above. We ultimately dropped back in at mile 4.75. There is plenty to explore up top..


    We continued down the canyon until we hit the FR and then continued to the old routing of AZT 16. After some lunch, we made the decision to climb straight up to unnamed Peak 3635. It was steep and loose, but not too bad. Then it was a matter of following the ridge line back down to White Canyon. ... csms

    The plan was to follow the canyon back to where we'd originally gotten out of it. Plenty of water and small falls, pools, and a few areas we had to traverse around. Plenty of geology lessons and even a bat cave.

    Getting close, we came to a point we could not get through. We contemplated swimming it, but luckily decided against it. We went high right to get out, with no luck. Back down in the canyon, we went high left, and this worked. Looking at the bypass area from above, there were a few swimmers and no friendly exits.

    The rest was just pushing daylight getting back to the Truck. It was a chilly 41 when we finished.

    This is a sweet area to explore.....
    White Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    White Canyon Wilderness X2
    A White Canyon Wilderness Two'fer... we started off with a hike along the ridge east of White Canyon out to the Peak 3010, where we had an awesome picnic-lunch view of Battle Axe Butte across the canyon to the south.

    Next we hiked out north into White Canyon hoping to find an ascent route up toward the eastern ridge. I believe we found a way up but since it is the type of terrain Tracey would just as soon not deal with, we turned back.

    Looks like I'll have to return on my own for that adventure.

    Peak 3010 video panorama
    White Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Ever since I first saw this feature sticking out across from Battle Axe I wanted to climb up and hike out to the end. A year ago when we climbed Peak 3660 on the opposite end of the mesa we ran short of time but vowed to return. When I drove by it on my peak bagging trip last week I decided it was time to git'er done!

    Even with a late start with only a 90 minute drive to the trailhead we were on the trail well before 9 am. Although we were prepared for a full 8 mile round trip we were hoping to save a mile each way by ascending a ravine just over a mile along the wash. After bushwhacking barely .2 mile through very dense growth we gave up. By time we got back into the canyon we'd lost 30 minutes, but if we'd kept going we may have hit a dead-end anyway, losing even more time.

    Ok, although we were moving on in earnest it was still slow going with all the boulder-hopping and boulder-climbing as well as pushing through against the grain of the brush... at least we will be going with the flow on our return. Eventually we reached the wider ravine that allows relatively easy access to the upper mesa area. While it may look reasonably flat on a topo map as well as the route profile, we had a series of 6 major ridges to climb up and over before reaching our destination. But the more experience e gained the better our route choices.

    Just before we headed out to the end of the promontory we stopped at the high point on this end for some photos. From here is was an easy jaunt to the promontory edge and took in the awesome views all around. While it did provide a new viewpoint to check out climb routes up Battle Axe, I realized I should go back and look at the photos I took from the next headland to the east, which I climbed a year ago. But no matter, I seriously doubt I'll even attempt Battle Axe. I'm sure my fear of heights will do me in before reaching the summit so I don't see the point to beginning the climb.

    Anyway, we took a good 1/2 hour for a leisure picnic and nap before setting out on the return trip. I was getting a bit disappointed we had yet to see any wildlife other than a few birds when there right in front of me is a motion-less Sonoran Whipsnake, almost like it was waiting for it's portrait. So I took a few minutes to shoot some video and take a few close-up shots before it got tired of it all and shot off.

    On the way back I descended into the ravine we had hoped was a short-cut to check it out from this direction. For the first 1/4 mile it looked so good I could almost jog down the wash until... rats! barely 200' from the point we reached in our earlier attempt from below was a 50-foot sheer drop. At least now we know it's not a feasible shortcut. When the wash is running it would be a beautiful 50 foot waterfall, but for us it presented a barrier we simply could not bypass. Oh well, at least it only took me 13 minutes to so the half-mile out-and-back before we continued on our way.

    By time we were back in White Canyon wash again we were both showing the signs of how much effort we'd already expended. By now my knees were begging for a cold-pack and rest but of course that was not an option. The closer we got to the trailhead the more eager we were to get there so pain or no pain we kept up the pace.

    Having neglected to take a photo of our destination before the hike we made sure to take a few before we left. I'm sure it would have been a nice comparison. Tons of photos so I narrowed it down to 50 to post here. The full set of 77 photos is on my web site.
    White Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I've been planning and waiting for the right time to schedule this exploratory hike for the past twelve months 8-[ . This past week on 2/15/12 was the right day and Jack (our HAZ-mnlumberjack) was interested in joining me.

    Since SUN_HIKER (Gabriele's) trip log and GPS Route post on 2/12/11, I knew that I wanted to checkout this alternate "SW Approach FR319" off-trail route into the upper White Canyon Wilderness and upper White Canyon main drainage access area. On 2/12/11 Gabriele joined a hiking group that hiked in via this alternate route. They were successful in hiking in 3.7 miles from their beginning TH Start on FR319 to enter the main upper White Canyon drainage. Thank you Gabriele for your trip log and for posting this GPS Route.

    My plan for this 2/15/12 exploratory hike was to follow the 2/12/11 track for 2.7 miles in, then veer off track west then southwest along the uppermost White Canyon rim areas to try and locate a safe, hike-able route down to the main upper White Canyon creek drainage. If successful, this would put us approx 1.4 miles further up the main White Canyon creek drainage from where the above noted 2/12/11 track entered the main drainage. This would allow for a very nice hike down the most scenic sections of the upper White Canyon creek main drainage for ~1.4mls to connect with where Gabriele's 2/12/11 track entered the main canyon drainage. This waypoint location would be our exit point out of the canyon drainage and then a ~1 mile hike back to connect with our original hike track in for the additional 2.7 miles back to our TH Start off FR319. A good plan :) but..

    Unfortunately, we were not successful in locating this above hike-able route down as planned. The topo maps and Google Earth really don't adequately represent the true cliff drops in this section, thus without canyoneering/climbing experience and gear, hiking access down from this upper White Canyon rim section is not safely possible (as best as we can now determine).

    The really good news is that the numerous upper rim "overview points" for rugged near and distant White Canyon Wilderness views are just outstanding! :y: So, in hindsight, if we had located a safe, hike-able route down to enter the main canyon the 1.4mls further up the main canyon drainage, we would have missed all the eleven (11) scenic pic "overview points" (please see this hike description "official" GPS Route with noted waypoints, geocoded picset, and detailed pic captions for further reference).

    Summary: This "SW Approach FR319" hiking route into our upper White Canyon Wilderness and upper White Canyon is an excellent alternate hike choice for the posted HAZ "White Canyon" canyoneering description for those qualified for this type of off-trail adventure. Also, the first 2.7 hiking miles in (.8mls of 2.7mls on 4WD FR2260) is mostly along a primitive hiker/hunter/animal use route within the most upper White Canyon drainage and this route is rock cairned as of this writing with minor overgrowth and minimal bushwhacking required.

    For those interested in a possible hike visit via this new alternate route, here are three main GPS Routes with key waypoints that further document what I discuss above:
    Yellow track = my "official" one way route for this hike description;
    Black track = my actual(11/29/08) 1.4 mile hike within the upper White Canyon main drainage;
    Red track = Gabriele's actual (2/12/11) 1.0 mile track from exit/entry point within the upper White Canyon main drainage to intersect the Yellow track for the 2.7 mile hike back to TH Start;
    White Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Three days earlier we hiked up White Canyon with hopes of crossing west up a long ravine to connect with the Arizona Trail #16 and make a loop hike out of it. We didn't quite make it, but came away with a new plan to climb up to the highest peak on the plateau between the two canyons I'll hereafter refer to as the heart of the White Canyon Wilderness.

    Already having scouted out an easy escape route near the upper right side of the heart on the previous hike, all I hoped to find was another route up from the Arizona Trail side. In the few days in between trips I pored over numerous topo and satellite maps then spent time drawing out possible routes, and we were ready for another adventure in the WC Wilderness.

    This time we started from a parking spot along Battle Axe Road where the Arizona Trail #16 heads northwest just below the bottom tip of the heart. The hike north along the AZT provided a number of different types of terrain each with their own dangers. The loose baby-head threatened us with sprained ankles, the brushier area provided plenty of chances for thorny encounters, and of course both the prickly-pear and chain-fruit cholla forests kept us awake, lest we step too close and pay for the encounter.

    All along the route up the west side of the heart we were taking photos, not only to document our trip but to seek out another safe route up. Only one area held some promise near the end of the AZT #16 segment but we continued to the end in hopes of finding something easier just around the top-left ventricle of the heart. Steep cliffs greeted us there as well, so we climbed up the easiest slope up to the base of the cliffs with hopes to follow the base southward to the spot that help promise. Unfortunately we only went about a hundred yards along the cliff before the footing became too loose, threatening to give way and we'd be tumbling down. Nope, this was enough for Tracey, and for once I agreed it was more than I cared to deal with too. So we turned around and headed back up and around the upper left corner.

    Not yet willing to admit defeat (at least I wasn't) we decided to continue along the slope as long as we could hoping for another sot at the top. After checking out a few narrow gaps that provided no access, we were just about to head down to the ravine and loop eastward to link up to our path from the other side three days ago, when I noticed some light game trails heading up through some thick brush. I figured if they were that defined, there likely was a route up through there somewhere, so I said, it's now-or-never and pushed through the heavy brush. Thankfully it was just jojoba and holly so no lasting holes in the skin. After breaking through the thickest layer we were treated to some rock climbing, traversing across some loose ground again and finally up one rock that Tracey absolutely would not want to go back down, which meant we better find the rest of the way up. Thankfully moments later I reached the top and the efforts were all worth it. Awesome views all around as well as a new look at Battle Axe completely different than any I'd had before! Wow!

    Greeted by this vast upper plateau area complete with hills, cliffs and valleys for a moment all I could think of is where should we explore first? But being within 500 feet from Peak 3660, the one absolute goal I set for the day, the choice was easy. The peak is right at the edge of the steep cliffs so we stopped to take some photos over the Arizona Trail. I was there for only a few moments when I noticed a small Rx capsule in a small cairn of rocks. We opened it and pulled out a summit log. The one-and-only entry was well over 10 years old! Wow! Such an honor to be among the few! So of course we added our names to the log.

    With the major goal achieved we set off to traverse across the center of the heart. Surprisingly the track I drew the night before as the most likely route to take turned out to be almost an exact duplicate of the actual path of least resistance down the various levels as we progressed eastward. Every so often we'd approach what appeared to be a steep drop, only to look over and find it wasn't that bad after all. It got to the point we no longer worried if we'd be cliffed out and continued merrily along our way. As we approached the bowl area that I had explored three days earlier it was time to decide if we had enough time to try what could be the quickest way down, or head north through the bowl and use the escape route I had used before. If we could get down this way it would save about 90 minutes and 1.5 miles of hiking, so we took the gamble.

    Unfortunately, we took a clockwise path around a peak toward the hoped-for exit only to be cliff'ed out. We continued the loop a bit more hoping to be able to see the bottom but were unable to. So not knowing if we'd be treated to a quick and easy escape route by going all the way back around the peak counter-clock-wise, we went for the known-good escape route through the bowl. As we approached the bowl we passed through an area that was reminiscent of sandy beaches. Although it looked like sand it was simply crushed white rock... probably why this area is named White Canyon.

    Once down the escape route we were back in the White Canyon with the familiar route of boulder-hopping just waiting for us. Being our third trip through in three days some of the areas went quite smoothly, others we tried different routes over, around, between and in one case under the large boulders. It wasn't long and we were back at the car. What a great feeling of accomplishing the main goals we had set for the day and then some. And for me, wonder of wonders, almost the only hike in years that I did not spot an empty Bud Light can... ANYWHERE! Hopefully this area continues to be inaccessible enough to those who care nothing for the environment that it stays that way.

    Tons of photos but posting them all on HAZ would probably dilute the value of each so I'll put the rest on my own site when I get around to it.
    White Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    We started hiking up White Canyon fully planning to follow a long ravine to the west to connect with the Arizona Trail #16 and make a loop hike out of it. But by getting side-tracked catching a Javelina on video we (I... mea culpa) managed to miss the sharp turn to follow the correct ravine. Instead we went up the widest and most obvious one instead. Although we made it over halfway across, the ravine we were in rose to a ridge with too steep a slope down to the correct ravine that we turned back. Instead of following the same ravine back we attempted to stay as close to the correct one in the hopes we might find a way down soon enough to have time to complete the loop. Unfortunately the soonest we could safely do that was too late in the day, especially not knowing if we'd reach a road-block somewhere up the ravine.

    Ok, so we wouldn't complete the loop today, at least we could check out some places of interest on our hike back out. As we came by a reasonably wide drainage coming down from the plateau between White Canyon and the Arizona Trail I decided to see if it was a reasonable path up. Tracey already was feeling beat so I took off on a 25-minute side-trip to check it out. Once I got past the thick brush at the bottom it was pretty easy going. I continued up as far as a huge boulder in the middle of a large bowl. I climbed the boulder for a better look and was treated to just a hint of what this interior plateau had in store. And of course this meant another trip wasn't far behind to check it out further. I headed back down the same drainage and we hit the trail... boulder-hopping all the way back to the car, already making plans for a trip up into the "heart" of the White Canyon Wilderness.

    I edited and posted a couple videos taken on this hike:
    The first is of a grizzled old veteran Javelina that sauntered past us, totally oblivious to our presence. (Unfortunately the best part wasn't on video because the camera was on the wrong setting... so I used Tracey's video)
    Tarantula we met along the way.
    White Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I wasn't expecting too much going into this, but it turned out to be a diverse and very scenic canyon. It hasn't rained for quite a while, so I was surprised at how much water was flowing all along the way. Some of it was difficult to avoid and after my first misstep left me with one wet shoe, I quit trying and just waded whenever it was easier than going around. Since John was wearing long pants, he remained dedicated to the effort of staying dry. Still, every now and then, I'd hear a splash!

    Without a trail, it took some effort to get through this canyon... rock hopping, scrambling, wading thick grasses, squirming around cat claw that was over your head and snaking your way through tall stands of bamboo so dense you didn't know where you were going to come out. The scenery was fabulous, changing around every bend, and we went as far into the canyon as time permitted. I stopped at the same point as topohiker and grasshopper, but John, seeing an opportunity to inch his way along a vertical wall by his fingers and toes, couldn't resist and went ahead on his own to explore a bit further. Still smarting from a gashed knee after being snagged down by some thick grass wrapping around my foot, I was more than happy to wait there and amuse myself with pretty rocks until he returned.

    Although we exceeded our turn-around time by an hour, we kept a good pace on the return and made it all the way to 177 with daylight to spare. I arrived home after dark - cold, wet, bloody and exhausted. What an excellent day!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To canyon trip
    About 9.5 miles south of Superior on SR 177 take a right on Battle Axe. This is a dirt road about 1/2 mile south of milepost 159. Follow 1.9 miles and take a right turn. It's not hard to find. From here on it's river bottom to worse driving. It's another two miles to the White Canyon trailhead register. I recommend a four wheel drive through the sandy river bottom and absolutely for the last mile. In the last mile there's a high point we scrapped on center in a 4 Runner. There is a rutted slope section that's easy on the way in. Coming out you have to make it back up. We made it back up no problem but were all in disbelief. It probably wouldn't be much problem if it's dry.

    Where the road ends at the trail register there is no parking what so ever. It just dead ends on a narrow brush and twig lined road. It's necessary to back out quite some distance to a tight turnaround. If somebody parked behind you there's no way out. It would be wise to pick up 7.5-minute maps Teapot Mountain and Mineral Mountain.

    2005-04-03 Bryanmertz There is a small turn around now - this is about 100 yars before the register (still only room for a couple cars.)

    2008-11-30 Grasshopper Currently the entire road has been recently graded(is smooth and clear) all the way to the perennial Artisian Springs(N33 09.440 W111 04.830) at Walnut Canyon. A high clearance, two wheel drive truck or large SUV with upgrade tires is sufficient for accessing this White Canyon Wilderness TH, but if wet will require 4x4 for the last .75 mile.

    2011-10-10 hikeaz This road is not signed as Battle Axe, but there IS one of those "Primitive Road - Road not maintained" signs as you turn onto it.
    The narrow, 'shelf' section right after the metal cow gate is pretty narrow, my Tahoe was a squeeze but fit through. The rest of the road to the register was in good shape.
    help comment issue

    end of page marker