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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Oversite Canyon Trail # 112, AZ

21 5 0
Guide 5 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Sierra Vista
4 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 3.15 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,301 feet
Elevation Gain 1,955 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,048 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 9.97
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
17  2019-03-30
19  2018-11-01
Oversite Ida Canyon Loop
81  2016-12-14
Miller Carr and Calyx
6  2014-09-23
Oversite Canyon - Ida Canyon Loop
21  2012-06-22 MAVM
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
Sun  6:06am - 6:26pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Idyllic Canyon
by HAZ_Hikebot

Likely In-Season!
There are extensive mine diggings at the mouth of this canyon, which slices the western slopes of the Huachuca Mountains. The trail starts at the Wilderness boundary, just beyond those mines, and follows the canyon's lower slopes along what remains of an old mining road. This is a beautiful little canyon that isn't very heavily visited. Though the stream doesn't flow year-round, the drainage still supports a healthy riparian habitat that offers good birdwatching and provides a pleasant setting for a backcountry outing. About a half mile up the canyon stand the remains of an old prospector's cabin. This homestead, and the gardens and waterworks that surround it, were obviously constructed with care. Though all have fallen into disrepair, the area can still conjure up images of what it must have been like to live in such an idyllic place.

Farther up-canyon, the trail enters the streambed and stays with it for some distance. This can present a problem when water is running. If the path seems to disappear, you may have missed the point where it leaves the canyon floor. Once you do find the switchbacks that climb out of the canyon, you'll be in an area that was heavily mined in the early part of the century. Finding your way here can be a little difficult, too. The trail is overgrown and a couple of spur trails make it even more confusing. The good news is that the views are impressive from this point to Bear Saddle. Below, the grasslands of the San Rafael Valley extend across the border into Mexico, and above, the high ridges and peaks of the Huachucas wait as enticing points of call along the Crest Trail #103. From Bear Saddle you can continue your climb to visit some of those mountaintops, return the way you came, or complete a loop via the Ida Canyon Trail #110.

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2018-07-14 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
    Oversite Canyon Trail # 112
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Oversite Canyon - Ida Canyon Loop
    I feel particularly lucky to be able to experience the Huachucas during the monsoon. Water everywhere - in every drainage, spring, gully - t'was amazing. Due to these conditions I couldn't drive to the "Cave Canyon"/Ida-Oversite trailhead. The washes were too deep, even for the old pickup. I parked about a mile from the "official" trailhead and walked the road to the wilderness boundary - hence the 7.8 mile loop rather than the +/- 7 miles listed elsewhere. The riparian corridor in Oversite is beautiful, lined with sycamores and large oaks. Excellent bird habitat. The prospector's cabin (I've seen this listed as Happy Jack Cabin) is still standing, but probably not for too much longer. Behind the cabin are two trails, both leading to caves (one called Happy Jack Cave) that have evidence of mining activity.

    Part of the fun of the Oversite trail is route finding, but it's route finding in a fairly narrow canyon so it's never too difficult to get off track. Plus, every so often there are massive cairns that are impossible to miss. The switchbacks near the head of the canyon are - as the description states - difficult to navigate and hastily built. I chose to come UP Oversite and DOWN Ida for this reason. Easier to navigate on the ascent, and safer given the trail conditions.

    The trail levels out and the hike to the junction of the Crest Trail and then Bear Saddle is great. Nice views and tall pines along this traverse that takes you out of Oversite and above Ida. I paused for a spell at Bear Saddle and enjoyed the cool breezes and views down into Ramsey to the east, Bear and Ida to the west and southwest. The slope down to Bear Spring is an old burn area and oaks are growing back, but not many conifer seedings. There are a number of downed trees along this descent to the spring and the going is a little slow. At Bear Spring the trail junction of Ida Canyon and Bear Canyon looked completely washed out. The spring was roaring, creating cascades through the mixed conifer forest. It's a beautiful area, but like many west range springs and canyons the area was strewn with trash. I filled a small bag with empty water bottles, making a note to bring a larger trash bag next time.

    The trek down to Ida Canyon was pleasant, traversing up the east slope of Bear Canyon and along the divide between Bear and Ida. I love this mixed conifer forest with the occasional giant huachuca agave patch. The switchbacks are well built and easy to follow, at least compared to the set at the head of Oversite. A series of cascades highlighted the final stretch of trail down Ida Canyon to the trailhead.

    What do I love about the Huachucas? One reason (of many) is that I seldom see anyone else on the trail. And when I do, it's usually some stand-up, good citizen out enjoying the same world I love. The Oversite - Ida loop seems seldom visited and I wasn't surprised when I didn't see anyone all day. But this has happened to me numerous times in the past month or so. It's like I'm the only biped out there. I know I'm not, especially when I check other triplogs, but the landscape - and especially the Miller Peak Wilderness Area - provides that most wonderful characteristic that is solitude.
    Oversite Canyon Trail # 112
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Oversite Canyon completes the triumvirate of sister canyons (along with Ida & Bear Canyons) in this region of the Huachuca Mountains. I chose to hike them all in an out & back fashion, so as to potentially obtain a more in-depth feel for each of them individually, and not in the loop-type fashion that is readily available when Crest Trail is engaged. Oversite is a bit steeper (a 20-20 candidate for sure, as all three canyons are) than the others and more primitive than Ida for certain - as it tends to be overgrown, tight and easily lost in several places - this of course has its appeal to many trekkers - myself included.

    There is an excellent spring near the prospecting cabin in the lower portion of the route. It is listed in the topography maps of the region as merely 'spring' - and is unlisted here on Hike AZ - so I will be adding it to the data base. The spring is just above the terraced area around the cabin and was flowing audibly strong at well over a gallon per minute in later June, an excellent sign of reliability as a source. I actually wished I had needed to take on water, as it was so appealing!

    Overt evidence of Bear activity is lacking in Oversite Canyon - very similar to Ida in this regard - there is a greater feeling of openness, as the canyon is the widest of the three with a more permeable canopy overhead. This also allows for more accurate GPS tracking for those who are documenting such details. I have reanalyzed my previous canyon hikes in the region via the elevation correction feature offered by TrainingPeaks - as the Garmin (AEG) data never seemed accurate or even close. The data entered for the Oversite Canyon GPS route provided is accurate and cross-checked with Google Earth & TOPO. At any rate, the bird varieties were very pronounced and several sightings I am still trying to identify. The 'Wild Turkey Hens' I happened upon in Oversite Creek were not overly shy at all (see photos) - and are the oft mistaken Pea Foul of the Huachucas - a Sky Island extension of their more prominent AZ territory throughout the Mogollon Rim.

    Oversite Canyon Trail #112 works its way along the drainage of Oversite Creek and then upward through steep switchbacks and over a couple of ridge-line saddles to ultimately join Crest Trail #103 700 - 800' above the bowl of Bear Spring and then follows Bear Saddle toward Granite Peak if you are westward bound. The trail in its uppermost regions peers into the aforementioned adjoining canyons and is narrow and offers a double incline / decline of both the slope of the ridge traverses while continuing to gain / lose elevation. This is particularly interesting and more pronounced in the decline trajectory of the the return trip...where I managed to only fall flat on my rear twice all the way back down. AEG 3586'- FPM 516' - Grade 19.5% GPS Route Available

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

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    From Montezuma Pass within the Coronado National Memorial, take FR 61 west 3.5 miles to FR 771. Follow FR 771 through a gate about 0.9 mile to a place where the road forks in a grassy area with some large oak trees. If you don't have a high clearance vehicle, you'll want to park here. The Oversite Canyon trailhead is about a quarter of a mile farther up the road just past a group of mines.
    page created by joebartels on Jan 09 2011 10:10 am
    3 pack - loud whistle
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