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Seep Spring Canyon Loop, AZ

Guide 2 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3 of 5 
no permit
12 2 0
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,987 feet
Elevation Gain 563 feet
Accumulated Gain 600 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.3
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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12  2008-09-18 PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 169
Routes 148
Photos 5,667
Trips 1,758 map ( 9,109 miles )
Age 44 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Oct, Apr, May, Sep → Early
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  5:40am - 7:01pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

canyons, cows, and cosmos
by PrestonSands

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This short and scenic loop near the Arizona-New Mexico border takes in the rolling hills and forested valleys of the Big Lue Mountains. Solitude is almost a certainty in this out of the way country. Colorful wildflowers and verdant hills make late summer an ideal time to hike this loop.

Beginning at Forest Road 212's crossing of Seep Spring Canyon, a very faint old jeep road heads west up Seep Spring Canyon into a Ponderosa Pine forest. The old road soon disappears in the narrow canyon bottom, but one only needs to follow the creek bed to stay on route.

About two-thirds of a mile in, the creek bed forks. Follow the right (north) fork, which is Seep Spring Canyon.

A few hundred yards past the fork, the old road reappears on the canyon's right (north) side. Begin following the road again.

After passing a couple of abandoned metal water troughs, the road reaches a switchback, where, directly below, a rusted 1940's era car lies wrecked in the creek bed.

The old road bends right at the switchback and climbs a rocky, basaltic hillside into juniper grassland. Sturdy boots help negotiate the numerous spherical rocks that cover the road surface. Openings in the trees allow for distant views of New Mexico's mighty Mogollon Mountains.

Turning north, the road crests an open, grassy mesa at 1.5 miles, where it encounters a side road to the left. Go straight. You are now on Forest Road 212A.

Heading downhill to the north, Forest Road 212A soon arrives at a junction with a side road to Maverick Tank. Stay left.

Forest Road 212A (signed) terminates at its junction with Forest Road 212 (Martinez Ranch Road) at the hike's 1.9-mile point. Turn right (east) onto Forest Road 212.

The road now contours east through juniper-oak grassland that affords outstanding views of the rolling Arizona-New Mexico borderlands. The bluish silhouette of the White Mountains dominates the skyline to the north.

At around 2.5 miles, the road begins a steady descent off the mesa, eventually turning south to make a gradual drop into Big Lue Canyon. Wide-open views of the upper Big Lue valleys and Maverick Peak keep the hike interesting.

The 3.3-mile point brings one back to their starting point on Forest Road 212, at the bottom of Seep Spring Canyon.

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2008-10-15 PrestonSands
    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Safford, head east on Highway 70/191. 10 miles from Safford, the highway splits, turn left onto Highway 191 and follow it for another 23.75 miles to a (4-way) highway junction known as "3-Way" (old drive-in movie theater and store). Go straight at the intersection. You are now on Arizona highway 78. Follow Highway 78 for approximately 16.25 miles to the signed turnoff for Martinez Ranch Road on the left. Turn left and follow Martinez Ranch Road (Forest Road 212, dirt and rocky) for about 0.7 miles to a short side road on the left (just past the second creek crossing). This is the unsigned trailhead, and there is parking available here. (see hike description)

    ***Note: those with cars or low clearance vehicles may want to park at the first creek crossing, approximately 0.1 miles before the trailhead***
    page created by PrestonSands on Oct 15 2008 12:35 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool

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