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Ida Canyon Trail #110, AZ

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Guide 5 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Sierra Vista
3.7 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Distance One Way 3.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,129 feet
Elevation Gain 1,482 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,652 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.71
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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17  2019-03-30
19  2018-11-01
Oversite Ida Canyon Loop
6  2014-09-23
Oversite Canyon - Ida Canyon Loop
35  2012-05-11 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
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Mar
Sun  6:09am - 6:18pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby

Access to the Huachuca high country and striking views of the landscape west of the mountain range are a couple of the prime attractions of this trail. A pleasant stop-off along the way is provided by picturesque Bear Spring, one of the few permanent springs accessible from the Crest Trail #103.

The Ida Canyon Trail was reconstructed by the Forest Service in 1984. In the process, it was re-routed to offer easier going than was provided by the old mining trail that previously led into the area. The new trail is considerably less steep than the old one, but about twice as long.

The trail starts by following an old mining road a short distance up Ida Canyon. It then leaves the canyon to switchback its way up a steep slope through stands of scrub oak and juniper. At the old Ida Mine, among a number of mining leftovers, the front end of a car appears to have been used as part of a jury-rigged ore hoist. The new trail crosses its predecessor along this part of its route and then rejoins it just before entering Bear Canyon. In the canyon, the trail leads to a grove of big trees that surround Bear Spring and ends at a junction with the Bear Canyon Trail #125. If you wish to continue on a 6.7 mile loop, the Bear Canyon Trail climbs half a mile to Bear Saddle and another junction with the Crest Trail and Hamburg Trail #122. About three quarters of a mile south and east of this point, along the Crest Trail, you'll find the Oversite Canyon Trail #112, which leads down the mountain to your starting point.

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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.
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    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Ida Canyon Trail #110
    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.
    Ida Canyon Trail #110
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I decided to put-off my desire to bag 'Miller Peak' until the beginning of June to allow for full foliage of Aspen Groves & Blooming Yucca, etc. Ida Canyon would provide plenty of elevation - views and an interesting perspective on Miller Peak just the same.

    I conversed at length with the Border Patrol Supervisor on duty while turning off of West Montezuma Canyon Rd. (FR 61) onto FR 771 (Cave Canyon Rd.) - I inquired as to the recent fire in the region west of Parker Canyon Lake toward the San Rafael Valley earlier in the week, as well as the sustained rain that had fallen for a good potion of Wednesday afternoon, etc. She gave me a helpful overview of the happenings and I informed her that I was heading-up Ida Canyon Trail to Bear Spring and back down. She informed the other BP in the area and I was not questioned for the balance of the day while in the Canyon. Just friendly waves and such as it was just myself and the BP in the lower elevations. The fact that Ida Canyon with its topside permanent watering hole is a well-known spur route of the Pan-American highway make such a connection before heading-up into the Miller Peak Wilderness a valuable exchange so as to be left unassailed, etc.

    I intended to spend a portion of the hike doing detailed botanical photography (NOT part of the photo set). I found Ida Canyon Trail - to spite the occasional trash (mostly gallon H2O jugs) - to be in very well maintained condition, with no hindering overgrowth to the trail until the heavy conifers near Bear Spring, where a handful of downed trees have fallen across the trail at regular intervals for the last kilometer approaching the spring. The pool at Bear Spring spills-over, with a mat of lush green carpet cataracts, cascading downhill below. Several side tributaries are active as bears sighted.

    I decided to take the old mining trail cut-off on the route back down so as to mix-it up a bit. Steep!!! as the Topo would imply, but not as difficult as I had imagined from researching the map. Probably not as fun going up I thought... Returns you back to the mining area with slow-rusting truck remains & wench with cabling. A hand-crank engine with spark plugs intact is just what you'd expect at this elevation! The remainder of the hike was sustained bliss all the way down as the views are tremendous...

    Note: GPS Route begins about 1/3 of a mile before the roundabout at Ida Canyon & Oversite Canyon Trailheads - Elevation correction has been applied to the AEG calculation

    Permit $$

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

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    Drive south 13 miles out of Sierra Vista on Arizona Highway 92 to the Coronado Memorial Road (FR 61). Turn right (south) and continue through the Coronado National Memorial on FR 61. 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. Park here and follow the old road north into Ida Canyon. (There are no trail signs until you are well up Ida Canyon Road.)
    page created by joebartels on Jan 09 2011 10:19 am
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