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White Canyon via Wood Canyon, AZ

no permit
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Guide 9 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Superior SW
3.8 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,996 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,000 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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25  2018-11-10
White and Wood Canyon Wander
23  2018-11-10
White and Wood Canyon Wander
21  2018-11-10
White and Wood Canyon Wander
15  2017-02-04
Wood-White Canyon Loop
50  2014-12-24 CannondaleKid
24  2011-01-28
Wood Canyon to 3953 Saddle
Author CannondaleKid
author avatar Guides 43
Routes 137
Photos 20,492
Trips 1,898 map ( 15,608 miles )
Age 69 Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Jan → 9 AM
Seasons   Late Summer to Late Spring
Sun  6:08am - 6:30pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Canyon to Canyon and back
by CannondaleKid

This hike provides an alternate route into the White Canyon Wilderness from the north. Although listed as a 7-mile round-trip, you can continue as far into White Canyon as you have the time and inclination.

If you do not have a very capable high-clearance (preferably 4x4) vehicle, it will add another 7-miles to the round-trip.

The trailhead is near the geographical center (north-south) of Wood Canyon near the end of old Forest Road 1039. Start off following the wash to the southeast for about a quarter-mile where you will pass Wood Canyon Spring. If you happen to notice the large cave on your left, you might want to check it out. Just past the cave the wash curves toward the south, not that you need to worry because all you need do is follow the wash.

There is a reasonably easy trail to follow for the first 1.5 miles until you reach your first fork-in-the-canyon. Choose the fork to the left then if you stay toward the right side of the wash you can follow a series of faint here-one-moment, gone-the-next game trails. You may be tempted to drop into the wash at times, but until you reach the White Canyon Wilderness fence-line you will be better off staying 50-150 feet above the wash.

At the 2.5-mile point you will reach the fence marking the northern border of the White Canyon Wilderness. If you are in the center of the wash, just walk 50 feet to your left and you can probably step over the fence and continue. If you are slightly west of the wash, you can pass through a gate. (33.19187 -111.10323)

About a quarter-mile into the wilderness is the first of two large pour-offs. This one can be bypassed reasonably easily by staying 100 feet or so to the right. While the slope might look steep, it's just a matter of one step at a time.

Another quarter-mile and you will reach the second and larger pour-off. This one can also be bypassed on the right after a bit of a climb. From here on you can pretty much pick whatever route suits your fancy. Once in the flat open wash at the end, turning right at the first 'Y' will bring you into White Canyon proper. From here on, however far you wish to go is up to you. Enjoy!

While you can simply retrace your route on the return trip, I would highly recommend an arc about .25 mi east of the two pour-offs, which bypasses both with a higher (and more scenic) route.

Water Sources
Wood Canyon Spring, White Water Spring and seasonal flow in both Wood Canyon and White Canyon.

Yes! Check out the scenery and pick your spot!

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.

2014-12-25 CannondaleKid
    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
    White Canyon via Wood Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Wood-White Canyon Loop
    A really nice loop hike connecting Wood Canyon with Upper White Canyon. I threw this loop together about a year ago and then last week while visiting another hiking site read a trip report on basically the same route. I'm in, let's go.

    Saw lots of new areas which is always fun to do. Did some exploring and noted areas that require a return trip to check out closer. We both really enjoyed Wood Canyon. Saw no others the entire day, weather was great, flowing water. Great hike.
    White Canyon via Wood Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Tracey had Christmas Eve Day off so she it went like so...
    "Let's do a scenic hike, you know, something like White Canyon?"
    To which I replied "Well it's been over two years since we last hiked out that way so why not?"
    Then Tracey asked "But that's a lot of boulder-hopping, isn't it?"
    "Ok, so let's hike in from Wood Canyon" and that was that.

    The drive to the trailhead along old FR1039 was every bit as rough as two years ago, no wait... actually it was worse. but eventually the drive ended and we set off on foot. It appeared there had been recent equestrian traffic along the trail while in Wood Canyon so route finding was a breeze.
    After reaching the 'Y' where we veered left the trail pretty well died off, with bits and pieces of faint game trails popping up every once in a while. But with my GPS track of two years ago it was just a matter of winding this way instead of that way around a thorny or overgrown spot.

    It was pretty obvious there had been very little traffic, game or otherwise in a long time as brush was overgrowing the trail in many areas. Unlike the herds we saw two years ago, this trip we found absolutely no evidence of any javelina... all the prickly-pear cacti were intact. In fact, we would not see any evidence of ANY game during the whole hike.
    Once in the White Canyon Wilderness we continued along the same route as before, bypassing two tall pour-offs as before until reaching the last intersection of washes that fed into White Canyon from the east. At that point we ate lunch and took a 15 minute nap. Laying back on the bare rock and with the sun warming us in such scenic and peaceful surroundings it was the best Christmas present one could ask for!
    After lunch & nap we wandered around a bit then set off on the return trip. But let's try another route to avoid climbing around the pour-offs. So we did. Only the next day would Tracey wonder why she felt so tired... well, uh, on our return leg we climbed way higher to avoid the pour-offs than we would have otherwise, the end result being we had almost a thousand feet more AEG more than this hike two years ago.
    Funny how I managed to slip in some extra AEG on our hikes... :whistle:
    Ok, not so funny for Tracey, but still being a working gal while I'm out hiking, she doesn't get as much practice as I do. So I try not to rub it in.
    Ok, once back on our original route we just follow it back to the trailhead? Uh, well, not quite... I mentioned we could just go up and over a small ridge then hit the end of the old Forest Road and follow it back to the TH. So let's do that. Whoops! I forgot there's a deep drainage and another ridge to climb up and over before we hit the road. Sorry, it's just another few hundred feet of climbing then a piece of cake on the road. Ok, so this part of the road was more like the boulder-hopping Tracey wanted no part of in the first place, but eventually it did look somewhat like a road and soon we were back at the TH.
    Another enjoyable hike on another beautiful day in paradise! :y:

    Just one thirteen and a half-minute video:
    Wood Canyon Road - Highlights and slow-lights of the drive
    White Canyon via Wood Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    After two hikes in the Wood Canyon area all it did was whet my appetite for more, so here I was again to make it three hikes in the last week for me and two for Tracey.

    This trip we planned on making it into the White Canyon Wilderness and hopefully as far as White Canyon. Since we already had been a few miles out on Tuesday we didn't waste any time on route finding that far so we were making good time. But eventually we were reduced to following Javelina trails, which could range from like cruising on a sidewalk to crawling through cats-claw. Less than a half-mile before the wilderness boundary we heard a bunch of rustling followed by squealing. With plenty of scat around it didn't take a moment before we knew it was a group of Javelina. What we didn't expect was how many there were. Since they took off in three different directions through brush it was hard to count them all, but there must have been 15-20. Two separate groups had a number of juveniles as well as a couple tiny, almost kitten-sized babies. Unfortunately with all the commotion I only got a couple photos and a 45-second video yielding barely 5 seconds of usable in-focus video. :(

    Oh well, we were out here for the scenery, not necessarily for Javelina, so we continued along in our quest and we reached the wilderness boundary in just over 90 minutes. After a few minutes of scanning the fence line we located a spot where someone had cut the top wire so we were able to climb over instead of try to scoot under.

    Once in the wilderness our route became a wide, flat smooth-rock canyon floor and we picked up speed again. Until we reached a 50' drop. To bypass it we had to climb a steep slope for a hundred yards before descending some distance past the drop. After that we were already to the point we reached last year on our attempted loop from the south end of White Canyon over to the old Arizona Trail and back to the TH. We knew where his den was so we looked for the old-haggard Javelina we saw there last year but found no trace... maybe he bit the dust.

    Shortly after that we reached a deep pool of water that we would have to bypass by climbing so we stopped for lunch. After a short break I headed on into White Canyon and Tracey stayed to do some exploring. My plan was to locate a way to connect to the trail into White Canyon from the northwest. Grasshopper had followed above the eastern side of the canyon with no luck and a few weeks ago I had bypassed the first steep drop on the opposite side only to end up at another 50' drop.

    I did in fact find a way barely a hundred feet from where I stopped from the other direction. Although it appeared to be almost a sheer cliff from the northeast, from below it was just a series of steps up to where I had my lunch a couple weeks ago. I didn't climb it now because I had already taken way more time than I expected and Tracey was probably impatiently waiting for me. But we had walkie-talkies so I could at least let here know I was on the way back. (At least when I wasn't on the canyon floor)

    Since I didn't care to cover the same route I took to get this far, I set of on a beeline back toward Tracey. Well, the terrain was having none of that and I was cliffed out a few times, and each time the best route meant climbing higher. Finally, when I reached the highest part around and another cliff ahead of me, I could see Tracey so asked her what might be the best route. It's a good thing her left and my left weren't the same or I would have had a tough descent. Thanks to the misunderstanding I found an easy route down and we were soon headed back.

    And as usual for our out-and-back hikes we sought out short-cuts and/or easier routes, and although we did a bit more climbing we cut over .3 mile and almost 30 minutes off our trip on the return.

    Again, nothing but awesome scenery all the way so we will be back again. And maybe be more prepared for some better video and photos of the Javelina. I think Tracey got a back-end photo of the tiny one so I'll have to check out her photos.

    I posted 50 photos on HAZ and the full set of 70+ photos on my web-site.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To hike
    Take FR230 from Superior (Country Club Road, or Arnett Road) to intersection at 33.254891 -111.109858.
    Although not marked, the road to Wood Canyon is old Forest Road 1039.
    Continue on FR1039 for 3.5 miles to the TH at 33.21602 -111.11133.

    Experienced high clearance drivers may be capable of negotiating without 4wd in dry conditions.
    page created by CannondaleKid on Dec 25 2014 10:14 am
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