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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.

Bunker Hill Spring Canyon, AZ

no permit
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Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona NW
3 of 5 by 3
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Loop 7.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,535 feet
Elevation Gain -1,100 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,200 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4-7 hrs
Kokopelli Seeds 13.4
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
23  2014-08-30 desert_boonie
6  2011-08-28 toddak
Author nonot
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 236
Photos 1,969
Trips 476 map ( 4,511 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Jun, Sep, Oct → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:15am - 6:26pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Sandstone Narrows, Mind Wanders
by nonot

Likely In-Season!
Overview: A technical canyoneering trip into Mooney Canyon.

Warning: Canyoneering involves slot canyons, always check the weather before you leave and do not go if there is any chance of rain. Since this trip is technical, you will need a: Helmet!, harness, rappelling device and locking biner, 100 ft rope, 2 rap rings, and 20 ft webbing. Wetsuits are probably unnecessary.

You will want sun protection (hat and sunscreen) for the hike up Mooney Trail #12. Bring extra water for this shadeless ascent!

Along the way you will encounter a keeper pothole - it appeared very serious and was in keeper conditions on our inspection - it is recommended to bypass this obstacle on canyon right.

History: Described in Todd Martin's book: "Arizona: Technical Canyoneering".

Hike: From the parking spot, take FR626B east until the road ends. Downclimb into the canyon here, being careful of your footing as the pine needles are slippery. At the bottom it is a bit of a thrash for awhile until the canyon gets a little deeper. You will downclimb a 20 ft drop right away and soon come to a 15 ft rappel/downclimb. Thinking this was the only rappel described in the book (from above, downclimbing seems unlikely) we rappeled this and were able to stay dry. Continuing downcanyon, hop over logs and test yourself at a series of three tests - can you stay dry? After these tests of agility you will come to the mandatory rappel of about 25 ft into chest deep water. After this you can pack up your technical gear. As you continue downcanyon you will enter a very attractive length of sandstone narrows. The scenery is eye candy as the narrows twist and turn. Along the way you will downclimb and stem over many more pools. At one point the slot is choked by enormous vegetation piles.

A word of warning: You will encounter a formidable keeper pothole along the way. Upon inspection the water was 2 ft below the rim and it is reported to be at least 7 ft deep. A bypass trail exists on canyon right around this obstacle. If you are not prepared to face this formidable challenge - it is recommended you take the bypass!

Eventually the canyon will widen as it joins with Mooney canyon. Good elk trails soon appear and it is imperative that you find them. In one place in particular a very good elk trail will be on the west side of the canyon and proceed for at least a half mile bypassing high above the boulder cluttered canyon floor - allowing one to see the beauty without working as hard for it. Eventually Mooney will junction with the Mooney Trail #12. This proceeds close to a barbed wire fence and is a rather shadeless 1000 ft climb up broken-down sandstone ledges until it reaches Taylor Cabin TH. I recommend you bring sun protection (hat and sunscreen) as well as extra water for each person. Due to the exit, the canyon is likely much more pleasant in spring or fall than in summer.

Even though the canyon isn't very technical it has very nice narrows and the hike down Mooney is quite wonderful. The Mooney Trail #12 is a necessary evil but allows for an easy return to the rim.

Water Sources: Nothing that was appetizing.

Camping: Mooney Canyon had several campsites, but no water source was located. Camping on the rim is certainly possible in many places.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2011-08-28 nonot
  • Sedona Trails 2018
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    Sedona Trails 2018
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
Bunker Hill Spring Canyon
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The start of a weekend getaway started here, Saturday morning traffic heading up north was terrible and I couldn't wait to get onto FR 231 so I could relieve some city driving stress. Several large groups of people along the FR to enjoy the weekend were everywhere, good thing I was heading as far back as I could go. Once I made the turn that would lead me to where I would end up, that was the last I saw of anyone, the rocky, rutted, muddy road put a smile on my face and my isolation began.

Once I pulled up to the end of FR 6288 which would be the end of the road and my starting point, three does just stood their ground and looked at me as if to ask what was I doing there? I just sat and watched them for a few minutes and let them enjoy their morning graze. Once I opened the door that was their cue to prance on off. I gathered my gear, scouted out the area from up top and then started the trek.

The drop in to this canyon is pretty steep, it wastes no time and you will be at the bottom fairly quickly. Right away I was greeted with some fresh rain water in a shallow pool and then a large drop off into a bigger pool. The down climb here was slick but I managed to get into the ankle high water early. The upper portion of this canyon is quite pleasant with several pools to get into. Most of them are deeper than they appear, in fact my theme for the pools became "how deep can they be" and most of them were all chest deep with that few second feeling of not feeling the bottom. It was pretty refreshing to be in the water as the sun was out in full force making it warm in the canyon.

The single rappel in this canyon is pretty straight forward with a good anchor point leading you straight down the rock into a waist high pool. Others might need to do another rappel or set up a hand line on some of the other drops, but I was able to down climb these bigger drops without too much hassle.

After the fun top portion of this canyon it spreads out and becomes a little brushy, you think you're done but you are not, another set of narrows towards the bottom of the canyon form and you are treated with a few more pools and a keeper pothole. Once I was in the lower narrows which were very nicely formed, something caught my sense of smell. Up ahead I could see what looked like would be the keeper, as I approached this section I knew something was dead either in the canyon or just above it.

The most repulsive odor I've ever encountered was offered here, I get to the top of the pool and look down, yep something is dead in here for sure. A skeleton of what I do not know is floating on the top of the pool, a nice top layer of matted hair, stagnant slime and a million flies and mosquitos swarmed the area. My eyes watered and I almost vomited in the pool to add another flavor.

From here I did what I had to do, I wrapped my shemagh around my mouth and slid on into the pool as I noticed the water level was high enough to do a beach whale to get out. The top layer was like muck that attached itself to me like mud. The stirred pool brought up the stench to a level I could barely breath, the skeleton shifted and touched my side as I made my way to the exit. For whatever reason something told me to grab the skeleton and see what it was, the skull came off with ease and I threw it out of the pool as I reached the end and beached myself on out.

Now if you really think I did the above you are nuts, I did what anyone with common sense would have done, I climbed on up and around the pool holding my breath most of the time because the smell was really that bad. I did go back to the other side of the pool to get a picture but couldn't stay here long or else I would have added that vomit flavor to the pool.

Away from this section and able to breath again the canyon finishes up with a nice narrow chute to down climb or rappel into a small pool. Once done, the canyon opens up into a bushy area where the elk paths will lead the way for you. Towards the end, there is one more pool to go through, and if you are doing this trek in the warmer months trust me you will want to get in and get wet before the hike out.

Once I reached the barb wire fencing I was almost telling myself this couldn't be the trail up as it seemed to quick to be here. But sure enough this is it, a very wide path at the bottom half to lead you on up. The entire hike out is fully exposed to the sun so be prepared for a warm hike out. This hike out isn't bad and if you turn around to look at the area you are in the views are incredible. Halfway up you'll see the power lines up on the ridge which will be your destination to get out, you'll come to a road and now it is time for the classic road walking I know someone would have enjoyed for another mile or so before getting back to where you started. Anytime you do a trek and do not see a single soul is a great trek in my book.
Bunker Hill Spring Canyon
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Bypassed the keeper.

Canyon narrows are very cool.

Burned half an hour admiring a momma and baby waste of half an hour I can think of! :y:

Elk trails in Mooney are fantastic.

Hot Hot HOT!! :sweat: on Mooney trail exit. Approx 88 at the top (which I considered cool), so I'm guessing 95-100+ at the was tough to handle for this non-native Arizonan.

Permit $$

Map Drive
High Clearance possible when dry

To canyon trip
From Flagstaff take Rte 66 west to Woody Mountain Rd. Turn left (south) on WMR and take it to FR538. Turn right at the junction onto FR538. Continue on FR538 and take it to FR538B. Turn right onto FR538B as it follows powerlines. Park at were FR538B reaches FR626B.
page created by nonot on Aug 28 2011 9:32 pm
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