Ok for us 60+ hikers
This hike is the completion of an effort to connect White Canyon from two different directions the northeast and from the south. Initially, I hiked in to White Canyon from the northeast (Official trail in HAZ by Grasshopper as White Canyon Upper - SW Approach FR319). As Grasshopper describes, the approach from the northeast takes you to the top of the valley with some fantastic views of White Canyon. Further investigation showed a number of approaches from the south from Battle Axe Road, but no routes that connected to the top of the ridge where the approach from the northeast ended. The track described below is the result of a combined effort with George from Solera, who recorded the initial track.
The accompanying GPS track is helpful in picking the right general area, but in places may not have followed the best line, as it is easy to miss the trail. The GPS track does become very helpful in knowing where to leave the creek to go up to the top of the valley to the right.
Using the track from George as a guide, we parked my pickup at a wide spot on the road (N33 09.658 W111 04.433) beyond which the road deteriorated a bit. More aggressive drivers with suitable vehicles could drive up to 1.1 miles further and park where the road separates from the creek bed.
The hike in on the first 1.1 miles is on a travelled road, mainly used by off road vehicles. It passes a spring which has been fixed up with a pipe coming out of the ground keeping a pool filled. Later I was told that this spring is warm water, although I didn't think to feel it at the time. As you hike in on the road the cliffs to the side become more rugged and impressive.
Where the creek bed separates into two, the road follows one, and the track takes the other as you work your way up the creek. About 0.2 miles from the road, you are likely to encounter a registration stand. This registration stand is located in a remote location, and contains a surprising number of entries. It seems likely that a number of hikers going up the creek bed would miss the registration completely.
As you work your way up the creek, you will encounter all sizes of boulders some of which will test your scrambling skills, but none of which required any special skills other than picking the easiest route. A trail can be found for much of the way, but it will disappear from time to time particularly where the trail is right in the bottom of the creek.
After about 3 miles from the parking spot, you will come to a waterfall (likely dry) on your right. This is where you leave the creek bed and turn uphill. At first, this will appear to be impossible to scramble, but if you look closely at the left hand side, you can begin to see a path, and as you work your way up, you find that it is indeed not that difficult to scramble. If you use a series of switchbacks, the otherwise very steep track can be made much easier. Initially, we thought that it might be ok going up, but could be difficult to descend later, but descending turned out to be relatively easy as well. As a comparison, those familiar with the hike to the Picket Post summit will find this route by the waterfall slightly easier and much shorter duration.
Once at the top, we returned the same way we came. For hikers in this area for the first time, I would encourage you to go further to the north along the edge of the valley to take as many scenic lookout points as time allows. If transportation can be worked out to combine this track with the one called White Canyon Upper - SW Approach FR319, a very good outing can be had by hiking from one trailhead to the other.
This is a moderately difficult hike.
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.