Exploring Chuparosa Canyon
Hank (Grasshopper) emailed me last week with a proposition to go hiking the canyon East of Hieroglyphic Canyon. A couple of years ago I hiked into the canyon directly North of Turks Head Mountain and, although interesting, it was a torturous, brush busting trip into a short canyon, so I had some reservations on doing this one. Hank assured me that it wouldn't be as bad and the views would be much better. So I agreed to accompany him for an exploratory hike..... and I'm glad I did
We drove to the Hieroglyphic TH which was already filling up, and hiked up to the split in the trail where we cut off on the Lost Goldmine Trail heading East. A short distance down the trail we had to climb over a barbwire fence to get into the Wilderness Area as there's no gated access. The hiking was easy as we followed the wash and then climbed up the hillside alongside the wash, keeping an eye on the rock formations that were the entrance to the canyon.
As we dropped down into the wash, we were soon immersed in fields of Chuparosa, (colloquial Spanish term for "hummingbird") plants that were loaded with beeeeeez
The bees were everywhere but were so preoccupied with the flowers that they ignored us as we passed through the many patches of the bright red plants. The canyon was relatively easy hiking with occasional boulder fields to get through but almost no catclaw to contend with.
The Western side of the canyon consists of steep slopes of smooth volcanic rock while the opposite side was mainly loose rock and lots of brush..... we chose the Eastern slope. The views are great all around us with lots of slickrock leading up to the base of steep cliffs, tall rock spires and far ahead of us, the top of the canyon.
As we continued exploring the canyon, the sides got steeper, the rocks looser and the Cholla more aggressive so we finally reached a point where we decided to call a halt to our short exploratory hike. Unless your intent is to continue on to the top of the canyon and from there, drop down into Hieroglyphic Canyon, this should be looked at as an "out-and-back" hike. This was a short but interesting hike with lots of views and almost no chance of running into another hiker. Water runoff would be short in duration because the canyon is relatively short and not much dirt to retain the moisture... A good choice for a short hike.
Lots of Chuparosa in full bloom with several Brittlebush mixed in for appeal. Only a few small patches of Mexican Poppies along the way.