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LOST - Canyon Segment, AZ

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Guide 24 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Queen V NE
2.8 of 5 by 11
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.55 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,813 feet
Elevation Gain 679 feet
Accumulated Gain 720 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.15
Interest Historic & Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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8  2050-04-01 skatchkins
6  2018-12-05 Sredfield
4  2018-07-14 MandaBearPig
5  2017-01-22 PrestonSands
16  2016-11-26 SunDevil3
24  2016-04-02 chumley
11  2015-11-07 gummo
16  2014-12-11 AZLumberjack
Page 1,  2
Author chumley
author avatar Guides 75
Routes 667
Photos 13,162
Trips 1,416 map ( 10,534 miles )
Age 46 Male Gender
Location Tempe, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Nov, Mar, Apr → Any
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:08am - 6:30pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Make a Resolution to see some history
by chumley

The "Canyon Segment" of the LOST ( Legends of Superior Trail ) follows the old alignment of US Highway 60 from the town of Superior up the lower portion of scenic Queen Creek Canyon through the historic Claypool Tunnel (1919). It's an easy way to spend a couple of hours, and may make an excellent secondary activity for those who visit the Boyce Thompson Arboretum and are looking for something else in the area.

The hike starts at a picnic table adjacent to Queen Creek on AZ 177 just north of the US 60 junction. There is no established trailhead or parking, but there is room for a few cars to park along the dirt road before the gate. Note that the signs on the gate indicate no trespassing, but just to the left side is a LOST trail sign that makes it clear the old road closure signs are not relevant to hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrian users.

Following the old road alignment is easy going. It's mostly dirt, but parts have fractured pavement from yesteryear. The path takes you across the old Queen Creek bridge and then under the much larger and higher new highway bridge before reaching a large water storage tank. Despite numerous valves and other infrastructure along the way, there is no public access to any water, so make sure to bring your own. In February 2016, interpretive signage was added to educate hikers about history, fauna, geology, etc.

After the water tank, the old highway switchbacks up steeply and you will pass a couple of signs of another old road alignment before approaching the current highway as it enters the current Queen Tunnel (1952). Two miles from the start you will reach the highlight of this trip, the historic Claypool Tunnel, constructed when this road was built in 1919-1922. The tunnel is the official end of the trail and many will turn around here, but you can continue up another quarter mile until you reach the highway at the east end of the currently used tunnel.

Most will turn around and head back down hill, and the mileage and distance listed here reflect that likelihood, but there is the option to make this a one-way hike if you set up a shuttle at the small pull-out along US 60 just east of the tunnel.

LOST ( Legends of Superior Trail )
There are three segments of the LOST. The Desert Segment, Urban Segment, and Canyon Segment (described here) combine to connect the town of Superior to the Arizona Trail at the Hewitt TH north of Picketpost.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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

2016-04-04 chumley
    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
    LOST - Canyon Segment
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    At the tail end of a day trip to Globe, I started this hike from the top down at Queen Creek Tunnel. Queen Creek itself was roaring with whitewater from the weekend's heavy rain, and water was seeping out of the bedrock everywhere. Scanned the south wall of the canyon in an effort to find the elusive lower half of the Bellamy Trail, but no luck. Made a hellishly nasty but thankfully brief bushwhack down to Queen Creek for a few sunset shots before heading back up.
    LOST - Canyon Segment
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    Our first stop of the day after rolling into Superior was this hike, which I had been looking forward to after learning it was legal to hike. Shauna and I parked at the lower end of the trail and started up the 1920's alignment of the Globe-Superior highway route. I played the triple role of enthusiastic hike leader, way too in-depth history nerd, and tour guide. Canyon wrens called and geologic wonders beckoned as cars roared obliviously by above. At the halfway point we dropped into the bed of Queen Creek to eat lunch next to a pool shaded by a massive sycamore. The scenery and views only grew better the further we hiked. Hiking through the Claypool Tunnel brought relief from the sun and a cooling wind tunnel effect. A threesome of seemingly unfriendly rock climbers answered my "hello" with a single, unintelligible syllable as we reached the upper end of the trail near the eastern portal of Queen Creek Tunnel. We turned around at the current highway and made our way back down, our next destination being Boyce Thompson Arboretum. I was thrilled to discover new things along this trail that I had never noticed while whizzing by on the modern highway 60. Great hike!

    A fair amount of penstemon in bloom all along the route.
    LOST - Canyon Segment
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    Stop #2 on our day road trip.
    Convenient side-trip on the drive back home along Hwy60 for a quick leg stretcher.
    Didn't really expect much on this short road hike, but found it to be a really enjoyable stroll down the canyon. The bridges and tunnel were cool and I was glad we made this stop.

    Globemallow along the road in many places.
    LOST - Canyon Segment
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    I met up with Randy (rwstorm) at the parking lot of the Boyce Thompson Arboretum about 3 miles West of Superior. We haven't seen each other in a while so it turned into a two hour BS session that included new cameras, HAZ tracks, cell phones and on and on. We finally talked about taking a hike as long as we were in the area and settled on the old Hwy 60 trail from Superior up to the tunnel.

    We drove into Superior and stopped at the Tourist Information Center (the old red caboose on the North side of the highway) where we picked up some local maps and information about hiking trails. We were concerned about the "Keep Out" signs at the trailhead, but we were assured that it was okay to pass the gate and hike the roadway. We parked our vehicles a short distance from the locked gate and prepared for the short hike up the deserted road.

    The years haven't been kind to the old road and the only traffic would be service vehicles traveling as far as the large water storage tank a short distance beyond the gate. From the water tank, the road makes a sharp hairpin turn and begins to gain altitude. There are several scenic points along the way where you can capture both old and new bridges spanning the Queen Creek Gorge.

    There are several colorful trees lining the creek below the road with a few Ash providing the most brilliant yellow colors. Most of the Sycamore trees are past their prime colors but still have golden leaves that shine in the afternoon sun. Some Willow and a few Cottonwood round out the tallest of the trees.

    As we continued on up the road, it's clear to see that this roadway passed over an even older road surface buried beneath it. We crossed old concrete bridges that were part of the previous highway, one partially buried, was plugged with boulders.

    We finally arrived at the old tunnel which runs under the present tunnel and found old drill rods still sticking out of the walls. This old tunnel must have a colorful history associated with the capped pipes sticking out of the walls, large diameter drill holes going nowhere and concrete foundations along the roadway.

    A short distance past the tunnel, the old Hwy 60 intersects with the current Hwy 60 and the traffic keeps whizzing past, oblivious to our presence. From here it was just a matter of turning around and retracing our path on back to the trailhead. The day was a bit warm so it felt good to get into the shade of the bridges and the towering cliffs far above us.

    Once back at the trailhead, we stowed our gear and headed to Porter's Cafe for a couple of cold brew's and compare results on HAZ Tracks. Can't understand why my unit recorded 827 aeg while Randy's has about half that number :-k From there it was off to Los Hermanos for some good Mexican food and the drive home.

    Thanks Randy for setting this one up on short notice, and thanks for buying the dinner. Let's not wait so long for another hike :y:

    A bit late for some trees, but others had good coloring.
    LOST - Canyon Segment
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    Did the Queen Trail in the morning, before stopping by the Historic Pinal Cemetery early in the afternoon. Stopped for breakfast at the Buckboard Cafe, but still got started a good 30 minutes earlier than I expected. Even though the sun was up, I hiked 3/4 of the hike in shadow, even at the very end, around 10:40 a.m., because Queen Creek Canyon is narrow and deep enough, and the sun has a hard time getting around Apache Leap. The low light played havoc with the focus on my iPhone, so I shot a lot of photos in the hope of getting a few that turned out. (173 photos and videos, for an average of 32 per mile. :whistle: )

    Lots of grafitti in and about the Claypool Tunnel. Semi air brakes audible the whole hike. On the way back, when I reached the Superior water facility, I dropped into the Queen Creek creek bed. From the trail, it had appeared as if the flat creek sides would be easily navigable; instead, they were dense with grab & stabs. :oplz: Only practical option is to walk right up the rocky middle. And it is quite rocky. Careful foot placement recommended to avoid ankle injury. (Half my hike time was in the final 1/4 of the hike.)

    Hike video:
    LOST - Canyon Segment
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    Superior Peaks n Tunnel Loop
    Joe dialed up an adventure.

    ** Disclaimer 1- I posted way more photos than I normally do. Joe forgot his camera, so I was taking pictures for him. ** Feel free to bypass the photos

    ** Disclaimer 2 - I posted a video that is longer than normal. Playing with a new toy and not totally happy with the results yet. I have some more studying to do.

    The weather was perfect, the views were stellar in all directions, plenty of mining history to check out.

    We parked off of 177 across from Sunset in anticipation of our loop finish coming off Apache Leap. The finish coming down the Leap, would not happen on this day.

    We headed straight up to the ridge right after we crossed over the bridge on the Queen Trail. We were able to check out the mine that we always wanted visit. Making the trip back from the Globe area, it's very noticeable. The mine has a metal grate over it and when viewed from Rt 60, appears to take out the top of the mountain.

    Next was an unplanned stop to check out the large scale mine equipment in an abandoned building and the fenced off pit mine a couple hundred yards away.

    The ridge climb was not all that bad and afforded some great views. We hit peaks 4928, 4944, 4971 and then took lunch on 4504. Did I mention the views?

    The trip was slow going because of terrain and lots-o-cool stuff to see. The climb down to and over the Queen Creek Tunnel did nothing to speed things up. So the original loop was cut short. No problems here, as I enjoyed the heck out of myself.

    We finished by hitting up the Queen trail, checking out some more mine equipment, and watching 3 guys rappel 153' off the Queen Creek bridge with a 150' rope.

    Watch only if you have 9 minutes to waste
    LOST - Canyon Segment
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    Superior Mines Peaks & Tunnel Tour
    If you look at a topo map around Superior you will notice an extremely large quantity of mines. Anyone that has driven US 60 east of town up through Queen Creek has surely marveled at the surrounding geology.

    I finally took a serious look at topo and threw a loop together. Then slipped the game plan to Bruce.

    Response... "Holly Crap...Is that even doable?". Which I read as a certified yes and off we went!

    The plan was to return on AZLOT69's "Cross Canyon" route so we parked and started by Sunset Drive. First on the itinerary was to check out the huge steel grate covering a mine on a ridge at 3300 ft. Getting up to it was steep on tarter rock that reminded me of the Red Wall in GC. The grate covers a large fissure cutting through the ridge. Inside we could see a smaller grate.

    Next up was to hit 4928, 4944 & 4971. Along the way we crossed two pit mines that are clearly visible on satellite. The surprise was a skatchkins type building between the two pit mines. It housed some seriously large Westinghouse motors that would spin huge cable wheels to what we guess is an underground mine across the ravine. Judging by a few details it may have been in operation just a couple decades ago. Where it goes into the ground we could hear something that sounded like running water. Which seemed odd high on the ridge.

    Next it was on to the peaks. The terrain was easing up yet Bruce was starting to lose interest in the full enchilada. I sensed the seams starting to rip. The game plan was aggressive and it wasn't his so certainly understandable. Luckily the peaks were pretty easy. The views from each were just fantastic.

    From the peaks we would dart down to the 1952 Queen Creek Tunnel and hike through the 1921-1922 Claypool Tunnel. Bruce dreaded this and it did look scary from certain angles. Typically if I can place a pinky between the 200 foot intervals on topo it is usually doable.

    Heading down I stumbled upon an old plane part and Bruce spotted the wreck down the ravine. About here for those interested. Perhaps just an oversized easy bake oven... we didn't check it out.

    We lined up with the ridge we needed to head down and found a killer lunch view. Since we wouldn't be able to complete the planned loop I was interested in the ridge. It would have been easier to take the wreckage ravine down. Yet we had the time and when I'm too old to hike I want to know I made it over the Queen Creek Tunnel when I drive through it. It was kinna like a slanted Mother Lode with repetitive mini obstacles. Bruce was doing great and I think he may have enjoyed parts too! This one was good to the last drop. Just after crossing above the Queen Creek Tunnel we got off the ridge and headed for the Claypool Tunnel.

    It was pretty easy hiking here on out. We checked out a few of the lower QCC trinkets as I'm sure thousands have over the years. Passing under the high span bridge we came upon three guys rappelling off the bridge. 150ft rope just reached. The third guy came down quick, his figure 8 device must have been pretty hot.

    Great hike! Leaving home this morning I had a feeling I was forgetting something... my camera

    a white less seen variety popping in areas
    LOST - Canyon Segment
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    Claypool Tunnel - Superior
    John thought it might be fun and interesting to participate in the LOST (Legends of Superior Trails) EcoTourism Festival so he PMed me. I wasn't sure if I could make the time as, yes I'm still working on my mom's place, but my brothers decided they needed a day off so I got to go :DANCE: . THX JOHN!

    We arrived at the Magma Club and got out to a roaring and very cold wind and I'm thinking, this is not good hiking conditions. We registered, talked with Sirena and she decided she would join us for the Tunnel hike; more specifically Claypool Tunnel (built in 1922, a major engineering feat in its time). Interestingly, this is the second time I've been on a hike event with Sirena on her birthday :) .

    Well as we tried to hold on to our hair and our clothes, we walked back to Ray Road and then hung a left at old Hwy 60 where we met up with the rest of the group and headed up the very windy trail. It was blowing so hard that my boot laces came untied :lol: . We observed the old mine and loading dock not far up the trail. According to our guide, this mine was closed in 1945.

    We rounded a corner toward a smaller road bridge and finally hit some sunlight. That felt so good. And just a bit further you can see the Queen Creek Bridge above you. You can frame the mountains along the 60 just below it. The creek also had some water running in it. Superior's rather large Water Tank comes into view and you walk around that before heading up the first switchback. The trail climbs fairly quickly and if you look over to the left you can see an even older road.

    Eventually you come to some boulders along this old Hwy 60 and just a short distance is the tunnel. If you ever wonder where the "wind tunnel" came from; well this could certainly fulfill that name. SHEESH! major, major wind here. The tunnel is quite cool in two ways. It is very high and from what I've read, they may have made it that high to get the mining equipment thru or it was for structural reasons. We walked a bit past the tunnel before heading back. We did encounter several folks on horseback below the highway bridge above us.

    It's a great destination hike and once the wind died down, much more tolerable. John and I observed the old highway sign showing the curve into Superior. You can barely make out the arrow on the sign. Next it was on to a BBQ lunch by Los Hermanos at the Magma Club. The cake was YUMMY!

    Here is a video of our hike: [ youtube video ]

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Superior is about an hour east of Phoenix on US 60. The trailhead is 100 yards north of US 60 on AZ 177 at the east end of town.
    page created by AZLOT69 on Apr 04 2016 11:31 am
    1 TB Flash Drive... $40
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