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Wood Canyon - Tower Arch, AZ

no permit
90 4 0
Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Superior SW
5 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Distance One Way 2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,900 feet
Elevation Gain 545 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 3.82
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Creek & Peak
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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50  2012-11-27 CannondaleKid
15  2011-01-08 ssk44
10  2011-01-08
Wood Canyon - Peak 4,054
23  2011-01-08 Grasshopper
2  2011-01-01 ssk44
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   Feb, Mar, Nov, Jan
Sun  6:07am - 6:32pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Author Full Detail Guide
Off-trail route accessing a unique moderate sized natural arch situated on a tower of rock overlooking Wood Canyon. The hike as posted ends at the summit of an adjoining secondary butte with great views of the arch and its beautiful surroundings. Truly a special destination.

Hike End: Lat. 33 Degrees/12'/34.47"/N & Long. 111 Degrees/06'/44.12"/W (3,429 Feet)

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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
Wood Canyon - Tower Arch
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After seeing my photos of the area from a few days before Tracey wanted to see the area first-hand.

For our first hike we made a loop climbing around one formation then up to the saddle just below arch. With no way all the way up to the arch we settled for the closest spot we could to it. From there we finished our loop and returned to the car.

Then we drove back out a half-mile before embarking on our second hike. This time we will follow Wood Canyon well past Peak 4054, which I had climbed two days earlier. We went far enough to see into the White Canyon Wilderness, but did not continue due to the time used up on our first hike.

We will return soon to follow the full length of Wood Canyon and into White Canyon.
I posted 50 photos on HAZ, the full set of 72 are on my web-site.
Wood Canyon - Tower Arch
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In April'09 Eric invited me to join him for a 7.5ml "Wood Canyon-Upper Rim" off-trail loop hike. I really enjoyed this area and thought our hike rated a "5". From this 2009 hike I had this pic--> that had always lingered in the back of my mind as possibly being a great location for a remote Indian Ruins, but I had since forgotten about scheduling a return visit for an exploratory hike of this butte until Eric returned to this area in mid Dec'10 for a mountain bike ride and discovered a visible arch on my previously pictured ruins butte. This was all I needed to invite myself to join him for another visit to this area and off-trail exploratory hike to see if we could find a route to safely summit this butte to physically see, touch, and record in pics the arch as well as to confirm or deny an ancient Indian Ruins on top of this butte.

We were successful in finding a good off-trail route (see my posted default GPS hiking track with driving route to TH location) and confirming a very nice arch for viewing (please see our posted pic sets). We both thought it enjoyable enough to document it with this new HAZ hike description so others can also enjoy.

Unfortunately, after almost circling the entire butte, we were unable to find a safe hiking route up to the summit top of this large butte to confirm or deny my suspicions of there also being an ancient Indian Ruins. We both feel that the summit is safely doable by more qualified canyoneering hikers, but not by us.

Another excellent hiking day in the Woods Canyon- Upper Rim area, south of Superior off Hwy 177 and just a short distance north of our White Canyon Wilderness. :D
Wood Canyon - Tower Arch
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Part II

While standing atop the ending point for the arch hike, I looked to the southwest and showed Hank what I had in mind for our afternoon mission. A little less than a mile away was a fortress of rock that I've wanted to summit for about a year now. It looked so ominous from where we were standing. I figured he would tell me to go pound sand. He glanced over at the distant mountain and said, "Lets do it". Wow! Apparently he trusts me. That's scary... I had spoken to him earlier in the week about a potentially manageable backside route. That was good enough for him. Hank never ceases to amaze me of what he can accomplish when he puts his mind to something. He knows his limits and will cautiously push himself when needed. I've found that I can trust his experience and ability. He knows when to turn back if things end up beyond his comfort zone. That is so cool!

Well, we're off... At around noon we were standing at the base of the western edge and were ready to begin our hopeful accent. The route initially follows a loose brushy gully to an upper saddle (see photo #2). From the saddle is where things get a little sketchy... The route headed up a near vertical face of jagged granite (see photo #3). Everything looked very solid with numerous handholds and steps. The exposure was manageable and it looked like coming down wouldn't require any rope. I was comfortable with the line and was chomping at the bit to see the summit. The question of the day was... What is currently going through Hank's mind at this point? He's going to think I've lost my mind if I suggest heading up that. He looked apprehensive but was willing to give it a try. Sometimes you really just need to put your hands on it. Something that may look impossible from a distance can end up being surprisingly easy. He followed my lead and within no time we up and over the steep obstacle. After a short distance of rock hopping along a meandering ridge route, we were finally at the rugged summit.

EXCELENT!! This is why I do what I do! The views were absolutely amazing. This is the epitome of a remote backcountry summit. In one 360 turn, I could literally see the entire area that I have grown to love over the years. Everything was visible... The Rincon, The Spine, Battle Axe Butte, Wood Canyon, White Canyon, and Walnut Canyon were all in clear view. Peak 4,054 was the icing on the cake. Sooo cool! To my surprise there was an old summit registry dating back to 1979. The list of accents was short. Some of the gaps spanned as much as ten years. Now that's my kind of summit registry! I will be exploring this area for many years to come and I was so glad to be able to share this summit with Hank. A truly great ending to an incredible day.

Eric (ssk44)
Wood Canyon - Tower Arch
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Part I

Hank and I set out for a day of adventure on Saturday. We got our moneys worth... Our first mission was to reach a large mountaintop arch that I had discovered on a prior mountain biking trip. The front side of the butte was completely shadowed and the low sinking sun was shining directly through the opening. In ten years of coming to this area, I had never seen it before that day. The setting looked amazing!

I wasn't sure if we would be able to reach the location but Hank was ready and willing to try. We ended up circling the entire butte looking for a route. Everywhere we looked was nothing but vertical rock face with no visible safe routes. I was completely deflated by this point. When I was just about ready to give up, my arch finally came into view. There it is!! I must get up higher somehow for a better view. My excitement had put me out ahead of Hank at this point. I was climbing up those rocks like a mountain goat. It looked like an adjoining secondary butte had a manageable route. The initial lower ledge was almost too high. Three ledges later, I was standing on the flat summit of a tower of rock with epic views of the arch and surrounding area. What an amazing setting to experience in person. By this time, Hank had caught up with me at the saddle. With a little persuasion and support I talked him into climbing up onto the butte to see what I was seeing. He just had to see this!

Although we "technically" didn't reach the arch, I was easily satisfied with our accomplishment. I was close enough. I feel there's a climbable route to the arch (maybe) from the south saddle, however coming down safely will require rope and that's assuming there is a good anchor point on top. I didn't like the odds. Do you feel lucky??

Eric (ssk44)

Permit $$

Map Drive
High Clearance possible when dry

To hike
Mesa (East Valley) - US60 - Superior - State Route 177 - Arnett Road (FR230) - Arnett Creek (Unmarked "high-clearance" road) - Wood Canyon (Unmarked "high-clearance" road) - Destination (Also see posted GPS driving route)
page created by ssk44 on Jan 09 2011 2:35 pm
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