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Lower Morgan City Wash, AZ

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148 13 0
Guide 13 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NW
Rated
3.8
3.8 of 5 by 8
 
5
Statistics
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,579 feet
Elevation Gain 358 feet
Accumulated Gain 550 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.75
Interest Historic & Perennial Creek
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
13  2019-05-27 paulhubbard
15  2018-10-13
Rainy day at Lake Pleasent
topohiker
14  2018-04-21
Lake Pleasant Wander
topohiker
26  2018-04-16
Beardsley Trail - Lake Pleasant
RowdyandMe
2  2017-05-01 MountainMatt
24  2016-03-25 RowdyandMe
4  2015-11-14 burntlizard
4  2013-03-11 burntlizard
Page 1,  2
Author WilliamnWendi
author avatar Guides 2
Routes 58
Photos 1,253
Trips 213 map ( 1,257 miles )
Age 46 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, Az
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Mar
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:14am - 6:33pm
Official Route
 
1 Alternative
 
Water
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Awesome Splash Wet Hike!
by WilliamnWendi

Status of this area is not currently known. Do not enter if posted closed.


Notice! Please stay on trail and exercise good HAZ "Leave no trace" etiquette. Access to this area is under a magnifying glass and can be taken away very easily.

For years Phoenicians have been looking for a creekside, shady hike that didn't dry up as soon as the came along. I for one will never have the need for forced Mall hiking, or "Miking", not to be confused with "Swiking" as defined in Tibber's Cibeque hike. Either way a comfortable pair of hiking shoes with good drainage should be considered.

We first discovered this hike when we responded to an advertised hike, Ranger Terry's "Morgan City Wash Exploring Hike" see Maricopa's website. I would definitely recommend this hike for your first introduction to this hike, cause it's just plain fun to hear the history of this place. Some of which I have listed here, but there is plenty more.

This lasso has 1.8 miles (round trip) worth of classic (i.e. Full sun) desert hiking to a 2.3 mile loop that has plenty of access to the creek shade for a total of 4.1 miles. After the first .6 mile stretch you should come to a wash. You guessed it! This is the Morgan City wash. Stack some rocks and familiarize yourself with the area cause you'll need to remember where you came in so you get out. From here go left or east down the wash. Keep an eye out for where the loop intersects with the wash. It should be just over a 1/4 mile or so, and you'll have already entered the shady protection this wonderful oasis.

From here You'll chance seeing some of the wild burro that known to the area, javelina, mountain lions, wide variety of birds, frogs, lizards, and all manner of desert creatures. Yes, that means keep an eye out for rattlers especially on the perimeter of the tree line in the high grasses. We also saw Roadrunner actually fly on this, Wendi and I didn't even know they could truly fly but to assist in little more than jumps, so it was interesting to watch one fly fully out of sight.

The hike itself is largely shaded, but ventures out into the sun every once in a while for short jaunt, but, and I recommend you do this, there are plenty of places to get your feet and hats wet, or just plain roll around in before those short sunny excursions. If you've ever taken a spring time hike through "Jewel of the Desert" near Spur Cross, this hike has that same feel (Prior to the Jewel's fire and the flooding, anyway). Keep a look out for the soon-famous Rattlesnake Arch towards the end of the loop. Ranger Terry notes that every famous hike has a famous arch so he proudly wants us to point that out. If you reach the road, you've gone far enough and you should see the trail looping back on the other side of the stream. Bear in mind this is restricted access, no foot or car access.

Other points of interest is a 50+ year ol' hunting blind fashioned out 4 huge-n-rusty truck beds turned 90* and a 1/4 buried. There's no hunting here but the blind tells how popular this place is to the Javelina. There's also the nearly gone road that may very well be the last remnants of an old stagecoach road going to the very town from which this wash gets it's name.

The Ranger related one story that on one hike they watched a mountain lion leaving the one real cave, a shallow one, they have on the hike. We would later learn, when we passed the cave that this could be a very literate mountain lion because I found two paperbacks is his lair, "The Road To Omaha" and "The Horse Whisperer", no word if he has ever seen the movie.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2011-07-16 WilliamnWendi
    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
    Lower Morgan City Wash
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    A nice short little hike at Lake Pleasant I was really surprised how green it was down in the wash.
    It really is not a hike you want to do right now if you have allergies. So much pollen on the ground that it looked like snow. There were small puddles of water covered in pollen easy to miss and step in.
    There is running water and butterflies and even saw a few dragonflies out today. Its a different kind of hike because as you hike down the side of the hill you are surrounded by Chollas, Saguaros and Ocotillos. Once I started hiking in the wash I could see all the green thick life in front of me and once I entered it, it was like I was in another place. So beautiful and yet so eerie as I went further in it got darker and thicker with life. Just a totally awesome place that seems out of place.
    Lower Morgan City Wash
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Looking for someplace close where we could take the dogs AND there might be water. Once in the wash we missed the cutoff to the loop, coming and going. We went up the wash until the trees got to thick, then went back the way we came...past the trail cut off back to the car. We walked West until it got warm for the boys. Large 4 passenger sand buggy came roaring toward us going very fast but we heard it coming and moved to the side. They slowed down and we all waived to each other. The dogs did find water but boy was it nasty. They were dry before we got back to the car...thank God. :yuck:
    Lower Morgan City Wash
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I had limited time this morning, but managed some decent birding opportunities. The most obvious change is the Yellow Rumped Warblers have been replaced with Lesser Goldfinch and Yellow Warblers. I spotted a Lucy's Warbler, Hermit Thrush, 3 Cooper Hawk, Verdin, Ruby Crowned Kinglet, White Crowned Sparrow and some other locals, such as the Northern Cardinal.
    Lower Morgan City Wash
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I wanted Jessica to check this out as I think it's a cool area. Plans for last week fell through but lined up good this week. We set out at 4:45pm. While it was much cooler than my noon start a few weeks ago it was really still too hot for her. Luckily there was a decent amount of shade heading down as we took a ravine instead of the road. This proved a better route anyhow, much more scenic than the jeep road.

    A few mean people I hike with say I scream like a little girl around spiders. It will probably be impossible for them to imagine but Jessica likes 'em about ten times less. So yours truly had to pretend like breaking through web after web is no biggie. The high point was when she demanded I take my pack off without looking. In some unknown calm manner I eased the pack off. Saw the worlds largest albino praying mantis (Ultra man would looked like a pipsqueak next to this monster) and brushed it aside like it was no big deal. I could have cracked a Louisville Slugger over it's back, we're talking almost three inches of iggy creature crawling on my pack.

    After really no route finding "troubles" on my last outing I managed to lead us into a slightly creepy mess... I'm such a pro. She wanted to turn around. I didn't blame her either. We started back. As soon as we were out of the spider web hall of fame she wanted to continue on... sweet! Things eased up soon and we finally made it to the main route.

    Albeit out of the sun the humidity down creek-side would put Galveston to shame. While she hates spiders and the humidity was taking it's toll she enjoyed the hike overall. Late Oct or Mar should be prime.
    Lower Morgan City Wash
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    experience it to believe it

    It's like being dropped into the Goonies. A maze for sure.

    Jessica and I hiked the Road Runner Trail just prior. I thought it was pretty cool. She stayed at the beach to swim and read while I checked out this wash. Starting at high noon in late July it was a typical blistering hot afternoon. A mile down this old jeep trail I was starting to swear off WilliamnWendi and his stories of a "creek" you could dip your hat in.

    Moments later I was greeted by huge mesquites. Hallelujah shade! The river gravel to this point had a similar feeling of catching a hot bead of solder between the toes. Once into the thick of it I'd guestimate a third of the time you are hunched over dodging mesquite branches. Then a creek started to form. Well kind of... the ground was damp and it appeared to have been a creek weeks ago.

    Next thing I know I dropped through a black hole and into a weird boggy atmosphere only Disney could create. Spider web city. Snakes slithering under my feet and wild animals trampling near, yet unseen. Did I mention the hanging ivy... this place is unreal.

    Then the creek appeared with a slight flow. I worked my way to the turnaround at the road. Along the way I passed a waterfall. It's nothing exciting being hidden in cattails but there's a mighty inviting clear pool. It's slippery getting out so be careful.

    Turning around I just assumed I was going back through the same fairy tale. Not a chance. Bridges galore, tunnels, a shallow alcove and a doohickey. Yep and this doohickey was straight out of Milton Bradley's Chutes and Ladders. Technically no chute. Three stair steps up to a dead tree. You follow the tree across and down steps on the flip side.

    Hiking back through the mesquite tunnels a deer darted out twenty yards ahead. This boy was flying at warp speed. I capped off the hike in the open desert singing America A horse with no name.

    ...oh yeah it was hot and miserable, I just remembered twelve hours later
    Lower Morgan City Wash
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Lower Morgan City Wash
    Not wanting to make the long drive up to Flagstaff, today was going to be a chore day at home. Luckily Wendi just happened to find "Ranger Terry's Awesome Wet Splash Hike" which promised to beat the heat on an awesome hike. We read the hype and promptly dismissed and went about the laundry, vacuuming, and mopping. Neither of us however could shake the promise of getting wet and beating the heat. I've been looking for hikes like this at Lake Pleasant for years and the best they've offered is the "Pipeline trail" a decent hike but surely not a "Wet" hike. So what if it was true? 11:15 came, drop-dead time if we were gonna make the hike by 12:00. Wendi broke first and we dropped our Laundry baskets and our vacuous chores, packed our gear hauled butt.

    We probably made it to the Visitor's center about 3 minutes late. All we could do was hope that he was still there. I asked a couple of gentleman at the desk about the hike led by Ranger Terry. One them said "That's me!" I was relieved to know that they hadn't left without us, and surprised to learn that we were the only ones who showed. WhaAT?! Who wouldn't want to do a "Awesome wet splash hike"? We were now doubly dubious about this, but what the heck we're here.

    The hike itself is largely shaded, but ventures out into the sun every once in a while for short jaunt, but, and I recommend you do this, there are plenty of places to get your feet and hats wet before those short sunny excursions. If you've ever done the Jewel of the Desert hike near Spur Cross, this hike has that feel (Prior to the Jewel's fire and the flooding, anyway) Wild life abounds down in the Morgan wash, plenty Wild Burro scat, Javelina (we/he spotted one), Hawks, several different types of frogs and Ranger Terry was able to identify two of them, a Leopard frog, and a Spadefoot. Several varieties of fish, too. We also saw Roadrunner actually fly, Wendi and I didn't even know they could truly fly.

    Along the way he explains the area to you. Shows you a variety Javelina "caves". There's a 50+ year old hunting blind made out of 4 huge truck beds, once used to hunt Javelina but no more. He told us that on one hike that they watched a mountain lion leaving the one real cave they have on the hike. We would later learn when we passed the actual cave that this a very literate mountain lion because I found two paperbacks is his lair, "The Road To Omaha" and "The Horse Whisperer", no word if he has ever seen the movie.

    The name, "Morgan City Wash", comes the wash's historical capacity as a stagecoach route to the named city which was itself 8 or so miles away. Morgan City was part of Arizona's gold mining history. This was all before cars, before the New Waddell dam and the runoff that now feeds the oasis that now exists but didn't then, so there isn't much room for a stagecoach trail or much sign that it ever existed but he points out a spot that he believes is one of the last remnants of that road and your left to only imagine what was. He mentioned that in this very wash you can find gold but it's hard to find and not a lot of takers.

    He noted that every famous hike has a natural arch and so he made sure to point out "Rattlesnake Arch". The Arch itself is low and maybe 3 feet wide but it's resemblance to a snake is pretty impressive. You can tell he is pretty proud of his efforts both past and ongoing in developing this trail and he should be. Wendi and I have avoided coming to Lake Pleasant for the most part because of it's reputation excessive everything, but no more, we'll be back. We even made our way down lake side and went for a very enjoyable dip in the lake after we were done with the hike.

    Long story short we spent 4 hours, 12:00 to 4:00pm even, outdoors in the greater Phoenix area with no sunblock and didn't get a sunburn on a 108* day. This hike lived up to the hype. I only wish it could be longer. He has been expanding the trail, much of the existing trail is not even 6 months old.

    Ranger Led Hike: http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/lake_pleasant
    First and foremost, park access and to get to the visitor center if your doing the Ranger led hike, you must take Castle Hot Springs Rd. north from the Carefree Hwy. Take a right on Lake Pleasant Access Rd., pay your park fee (6 bucks as of this posting), take the first right and follow that all the way to the end, making one additional turn at a barrier

    Hike it yourself:
    DISCLAIMER: The first .9 miles is in full sun, so plan accordingly.
    After the toll gate the first right you make is on South Park Rd. Just over 1.5 miles you should see the Sunset Ridge parking area on the left but you want the gravel parking area on the right, directly across the street. He says there is a gate that is left unlocked. Through the gate hug the fence-line paralleling the South Park rd. continuing east until you come to a dirt road. Now follow this road south, heading away from the lake. Get off the road at the wash, make sure to stack some rocks to mark your exit, and head east to the west end of this looped hike (The above description is on the east end).

    No matter how you come to this hike please treat it with respect, access to this area is being scrutinized and can be taken away very easily.

    Permit $$
    Maricopa Regional Parks - Fees more info


    $7 per vehicle,$85 annual or trade your first born for the life pass

    $2 walk, bike or horse ride into park


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Ranger Led Hike: To access park and to get to the visitor center if your doing the Ranger led hike, you must take Castle Hot Springs Rd. north from the Carefree Hwy. Take a right on Lake Pleasant Access Rd., pay your park fee (6 bucks as of this posting), take the first right and follow that all the way to the end, making one additional turn at a barrier

    Trailhead: After the toll gate the first right you make is on South Park Rd. Just over 1.5 miles you should see from WaterLine Way. on the left but you want the gravel parking area on the right, directly across the street. He says there is a gate that is left unlocked. Through the gate hug the fence-line paralleling the South Park rd. continuing east until you come to a dirt road. Now follow this road south, heading away from the lake. Get off the road at the wash, make sure to stack some rocks to mark your exit, and head east to the west end of this looped hike The whole of this connector trail is apx. .9 miles one way.
    page created by WilliamnWendi on Jul 16 2011 6:18 am
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