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Monument Canyon - Tonto NF, AZ

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Guide 38 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
3.5 of 5 by 12
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 4 of 5
Distance One Way 1.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,201 feet
Elevation Gain 918 feet
Avg Time One Way 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.86
Interest Off Trail Hiking
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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20  2019-01-20 jamminaz
2  2018-06-06 gummo
2  2018-04-06 gummo
1  2018-03-31 gummo
1  2017-10-18 gummo
2  2017-10-14 gummo
20  2017-03-25
Apache Trail Road Trip
5  2016-11-29 wallyfrack
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5
Author AZLOT69
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 247
Photos 7,293
Trips 1,818 map ( 15,596 miles )
Age 68 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 7 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:10am - 6:31pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Bushwhacking The Monolith
by AZLOT69

Monument Canyon lies at the Southwest corner of the Superstitions directly beneath the southern side of the Flatiron. Man made monuments are often built to impress or leave you in awe. Monumental refers to something extraordinary in size or power. The massive rock monoliths guarding this canyon stand as a warning. Heed the warning if you are simply looking to stretch your legs. Pay no attention to the distance of this hike. It will certainly take most of the day. Route finding skills will be put to the test. It is a rough, rocky trail followed by a brutal bushwhack with bouldering and canyoneering into an area few others have visited offering yet another side of the mysterious Superstitions with the hint of some obscure history.

The easiest access to the Monument Canyon Trail is from the Broadway trailhead. Take Jacobs Crosscut Trail #58 one mile north of the Broadway trailhead. You pass the Lost Goldmine Trail at the 1/2 mile mark, bear left and continue 1/2 mile to the Y intersection simply marked "trail". Jacobs Crosscut #58 bears left. The Monument Canyon Trail starts here, bear right. The rocky trail continues and in sections resembles more of a jeep road with a double track. The mature vegetation grows thicker as the elevation increases. No doubt you will be curious about the cave high on the mountain off to the right but that is another adventure. As you get closer to the mountain it becomes obvious that someone has cleared large amounts of rock and created piles of rocks lining both sides of the trail. There are piles of rocks everywhere and the trail seems to disperse in several directions. The area is worth checking out and most trails meander around this immediate area and take you to an old homestead. Basically all that remains is a stone fireplace, some sheet metal, and a depression in the ground perhaps a latrine. My research indicates a German miner resided here in the early 1900's. His mine remains in the canyon ahead. There is no trail from this point.

Bushwhack towards the northwest from the chimney and cross the rocky wash. A steep climb up the embankment on the left at this point will make for a relatively easy way to the mine. Follow the embankment north using the faint animal trails. At one point it even seems there may have been a crude road here at one time. Soon some mine tailings will appear. Make your way up to the mine tailings, an old fire ring and admire the mine. Research indicates the old German was looking for gold but probably found little. It is more likely there were some concentrations of silver here. The mine is interesting and deep enough to require a flashlight. Now move about 100 yards to the north on the highpoint and look into the canyon ahead plotting your route. Binoculars are a great asset on this hike. In 1919 it is reported that a stone statue was located and removed from this canyon so follow your curiosity. There are a couple choices down from the embankment. Each is steep with scree but not too bad. Cross the wash towards the northeast and work towards the north on the east side of the wash. Long pants with long sleeves are desirable but with full sun exposure year round can make for an uncomfortable day. A cool, cloudy day would help make this a perfect adventure.

After a short distance you come to deer habitat with scat and bedding areas all around. Follow the deer trails towards the center of the wash work up onto the boulders to avoid all the vegetation in the wash. You can walk the boulders for quite a while eventually exiting towards the right side of the wash again. Shortly you will cross left into the middle of the wash again up on the boulders. Look far ahead and see a simple cairn high on the boulders. Head for that cairn. The canyon now seems to Y with a mountain in the middle. Perhaps you will notice some metal reflecting in the sun from this mountain in the middle. This is some wreckage from a World War II training aircraft which crashed in this canyon April 10, 1948 at 6am. The Cholla covered steep mountain makes it nearly impossible to get up to it. Save your energy for the actual impact site. Continue up the canyon staying tight to and left of this mountain in the middle. Shortly you will cross left into the middle of the wash again and begin following the now slick rock wash up and over several steps and obstacles. The canyon narrows and the walls close in. Stay observant and perhaps you will spot more pieces of the airplane scattered about obscured by vegetation. Just past the sheer steep walled cliff on the right look for the mature multi-armed saguaro to point the way to the aircraft impact site. Don't let curiosity dictate your actions-respect the site. Continue on up the canyon for an increasingly more intimate view this side of the flatiron. For those that have looked down from the flatiron or from the ridgeline hikes, this certainly adds a new perspective. With your senses on overload and thoughts about more substantial footwear return the way you came.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2008-11-19 AZLOT69
    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 of 14 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Monument Canyon - Tonto NF
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    Rumors of a skull chipped in the rock way up Flatiron Canyon lured me in to trying this loop. The hike up Monument Canyon was routine passing the chimney, the mine and the T-6 Texan wreckage along the way. I dropped into Flatiron Canyon a few miles up and started the scramble down. A few dry falls had me wondering but they ended up being easy down climbs so no trouble. I looked for petroglyphs or the skull but didn't find either.
    I also heard stories of catclaw in the canyon and I missed that as well. The boulder hopping was a good work out and I was glad to get down to the open desert again. It was interesting to see Christmas Cholla over and over again as I took an off trail roue back to the trail. There were no other hikers on or off trail all day.
    Monument Canyon - Tonto NF
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    I was given a copy of Senner's Gold so the quest to find Senner's Grave was on. The book calls the unnamed canyon between Hog Cyn and Monument Cyn "Flatiron" Cyn and that was the first goal. The best way in seems to be from Monument Cyn so that was the route. Once you exit the canyon the overland route is steep and loose so looking for somewhat level terrain is a task. After scrambling up to the cliff ledge there were 5 alcoves to check. One had what may be on old grave but it was hard to tell. There was a prospect hole near this spot and honey combs high above. The ledge had a lot of big horn (?) droppings and I founs an X in the rock. The next goal was a scramble up to the ridgeline and a hike over to the lone cypress tree on a ridge to the east. After the detour, I hiked over to the Flatiron and down Siphon Draw. Siphon draw was busy as usual and i was glad to get down to the Crosscut trail and away from the crowd. Three mule deer jump up on the Crosscut trail and were patient enough for photos. This route is not recommended unless you like off trail.
    Monument Canyon - Tonto NF
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    First sighting of big horn sheep in the Superstitions :y:

    I was on call till 8:30 AM so we had a later than normal start. Once we hit the split in the canyon we hiked up the west ravine, then up to the crash site, had lunch, then worked our way down to the east ravine, and out, checking out the many metal findings along the way. Some areas in the ravines were really choked up with heavy vegetation so travel was slow. Although I wasn't feeling 100% I really enjoyed this close-in hike.
    Monument Canyon - Tonto NF
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    With rain in the forecast I wanted to do a short hike. I decided on Monument Canyon as most go left at the split and leave the main canyon so is there anything else up there? I got up at 5am and saw the rain, went back to sleep and looked out at 7am and saw sunshine. I got ready and was hiking by 8am. The trail up is rocky as usually and gets more difficult as you route find and boulder up the canyon. The split up Monument Canyon proper is a rock wash which is the most enjoyable section for me. I had heard the story of Al Senner's grave being up there but didn't see any markers or rock piles so that may be just a story or I missed it. I thought about hiking up to the ridgeline but when I topped out I was one ridge over. It looked like skirting 4648 was possible but more than I was prepared for so I decided to parallel the canyon via the ridge to the east. The ridge was easy going until it came time to drop back down via the scree chute. I finished by 1:30p which was a good hour before the storm rolled in. Lucky is good.
    Monument Canyon - Tonto NF
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    Peak 4102 via Monument Canyon Ridge
    Ever since Mike and I went up to the Ridgeline via the Monument Canyon Gap, I've been intriqued by peak 4102 which sits on the SE corner of the cliff band. I took a less-direct approach leaving Broadway TH and worked east below the Broadway Cave and around the back. It was rocky and full of cholla, so the going was slow. Once around back I got on a nice scree pile leading a good way up to the ridge. Once on the ridge the going was much quicker and the views were sweet!

    I went around the east side of 4102 and had hoped to climb up to its ridge, but I felt pressed for time and with all the loose rock and nothing to catch a fall, I decided to play it safe. I explored and took some pix, then bailed down a drainage that went to the west fork of Hog Canyon. It was a long hike out and I got back to the car with just over an hour of daylight left.

    It was a tough off-trail adventure but my curiosity is satisfied (at least for now). One day I'll go back and get on that little ridge!

    Note: Distance and AEG are estimates.
    Monument Canyon - Tonto NF
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    Monument Canyon to Supes Peak 5024
    Mike had mentioned wanting to try this after we completed Hog Canyon, so today we gave it a shot. Headed out from Broadway TH and saw a rattler, gila and tortoise within the first hour! We continued up the wash past the first large aircraft pieces and at some point decided to turn right and head up to the ridge coming off the cliffs. We found an area littered with plane parts up there.

    We continued scrambling up the rocky ridge until it flattened out and then started our traverse over to the gap leading to the top. The base of the gap starts as a cool slick rock area with pour overs, the first one being the most difficult to ascend. Mike went up to investigate while I took a break. His first run didn't go well but after stepping away for a minute he went back and right up. It's not a big climb but the hand-holds are minimal. I made Mike nervous going up the left wall but soon I was up too and we were glad that we wouldn't have to go back the way we came. A few more fun little scrambles and soon we were up on the ridgeline trail! Took a break then hit 5024 to make it official! Down Siphon Draw to the shuttle at Mining Camp (nice call on that Mike!!).

    A challenging off-trail excursion that satisfied our curiosity! When we got back to the other vehicle at Broadway we were both amazed looking up at where we had just been. We'll never look at that gap the same way again! More awesome Supes memories! Thanks Mike!!
    Monument Canyon - Tonto NF
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    I had time for a quick hike and decided to go back to Monument Canyon. Denny came along for the adventure and to see the old mine and the T-6 Texan crash site. We started early 6:23a and there was just enough light to see. The morning was cool and we stayed in the shade most of the time in the canyon until the hike out. We stopped by the stone ruins and looked at what seemed to be filled in mines. We then hiked up to the shelf on the west and hiked north to the old mine. After looking in the mine we boulder hopped up the canyon until under the wreckage. We scrambled up the hill to the aluminum pieces and took photos. At this point we discussed going higher up and then thought why not just drop over to the canyon to the east and return that way. Once on the other side, the slope was good but we were in a cholla forest. The hiking wasn't bad but you had to watch every step. We kept seeing plane parts on the way down and realized the most of the wreckage is actually on this side. There was a large section (probably from a wing), the engine and various other parts. We hiked out after a successful search and were back before 10:30a. Thanks for driving Denny.
    Monument Canyon - Tonto NF
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    What an adventure! I had done this same trek a few years ago but didn't make it all the way to the impact site...this time we did! Last time I was alone, this time I took my two youngest. Don't worry, they are 20 and 22 so they handled it just fine! Ha ha!

    Headed up the the old homestead. Took a few pictures then the real adventure began! Made our way to the mine and checked that out! Then the serious boulder hopping, bushwhacking, cats claw scratching began!

    I pointed off in the distance about where we needed to head and they were game so on we went! When we found the first piece of the WW ll wreckage we were all excited! Then a second and third piece! Woohoo!

    Either I don't know how to use my new GPS quite yet or the downloaded route wasn't quite right. I was just saying that we were finding quite a bit of wreckage for the impact site to be much further but the downloaded route said it was a ways up. Probably user being the user! Anyway, I looked up to the right and there it be! We were really excited now! Got the binoculars out and took some pics, had a snack and headed back out!

    Found a young couple by the homestead on our way out that was looking for the Broadway Cave so we took them up there (my son hadn't been so what the heck). Isn't that what everyone wants to do after a brutal bushwhack is climb up a steep, loose rocky hill? Ha ha!

    Back home and apparently brought a little of the adventure home with me....found two ticks on me! Geez! I have heard that deer carry ticks but have never picked any up here in Arizona! Lesson learned, while crawling through a canyon, who knows what you might pick up!
    Monument Canyon - Tonto NF
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    Today I decided to try out the Jacob's Crosscut trail. It gives a different view of the Supes than most any other Supes trails. I kind of felt I was cheating just walking along the rolling hills, so when I got to the Broadway Cave trail I did a detour to get some elevation. That sure worked. Disappointing though, didn't find any treasure, not one coin. Nice view and good exercise though, maybe that's treasure enough. Then just to appeal to my masochistic side I checked out Monument Canyon a bit, found the remnants of the old cabin. Didn't go to far into the canyon before deciding the overgrowth didn't make it worth the fight. Continued along the crosscut which turned into the Goldmine trail. Finally turned around at Hog Canyon. It was a great day to be out there. Surprisingly in the first almost 5 hours I never saw another soul.
    Monument Canyon - Tonto NF
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    I went out to stretch my legs and though this would be easy. The start is easy going but the bouldering does take it's toll on the way up. I was looking for wreckage from the T-6 Texan and found a few pieces. There are more parts up the hill but thought I'd wait for a cooler day and come back. The trail is well marked for about 2 miles then becomes more difficult to follow.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Broadway Trailhead
    The Broadway trailhead is located by taking Highway 60 east of Mesa to Apache Junction where the expressway ends but Highway 60 continues. Shortly after the expressway ends is the first stoplight marked as Mountain View Road. The stoplight only applies if you are turning left. Turn left here and proceed 1.5 miles to Broadway. Turn right and go one mile. At the entrance to Superstition Highlands Subdivision there is a fence and parking on the left for 5-6 cars. Park here, Jacobs Crosscut trail starts behind the fence and takes you to the Monument Canyon trail, and on to the Broadway Cave Trail.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 39.4 mi - about 48 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 132 mi - about 2 hours 5 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 183 mi - about 2 hours 53 mins
    page created by AZLOT69 on Nov 19 2008 11:00 am
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