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Dane is Dandy
Dane Canyon has its origin at the Rim Road, Forest Service Road (FSR) 300 right at the Mogollon Rim. The lower end is where it empties into Barbershop Canyon for a length of about 10.1 miles. The official route is in reverse from Barbershop Canyon junction to the Rim Road, and the start coordinates are at the Barbershop and Dane Canyon junction. To the West of Dane Canyon is McClintock Ridge that separates Dane Canyon from Barbershop Canyon and to the East is Dane Ridge that separates Dane from Yeager Canyon. Moonshine Draw and McClintock Draw are the two significant canyons that drain into Dane Creek, and they come in from the Southeast off of Dane Ridge. Major trails that cross Dane Canyon are the Barbershop Trail near its Southern end and the U Bar Trail Near its Northern end. This guide is for its entirety. Most explore Dane in portions as part of a greater loop hike. Posted guides for possible loop hikes are Dane Canyon Upper, Dane Canyon Loop, Barbershop Cyn & Dane Cyn Loop, and a few other possibilities. This description and route is a compilation and summary of three separate hikes. Most of this route is off-trail, and some route-finding and map reading skills are required. A GPS or Topo map is essential in case there is a need to exit the canyon and return via one of the ridges.
This route from the origin of Dane Canyon starts at the Rim Road FSR 300 and FSR 145. From FSR 145, head downhill to the east toward the creek bottom. Initially, it is through forest and brush. If you pick the easiest route, within 0.2 miles, you will be in the creek, and the going is more comfortable. This very upper portion is a wide basin with small streams feeding Dane from the rim. Stay toward what appears to be the stream, and you’ll soon pick up on a game trail that will guide you through the maze. This game trail is not continuous, but when visible is the easiest route. Within a half-mile is a Marshy area that appears to be feed by springs from the rim and continues for about a tenth of a mile, easy walking here. Upper Dane to the Barbershop Trail is a “U” shaped canyon and makes for easy navigation. The only hard part, if there is one, is that some of the route follows in the stream bed and it is rocky. During high flows, this portion of the canyon can be navigated by staying to the side of the stream, but there are more obstacles to circumnavigate. This portion of the trail from the Marshy area to Barbershop Trail is not engaging, but just wait, it gets a lot better soon. The Barbershop Trail is at 2.1 miles, and this is the start of a more narrow and harder to navigate Dane Canyon. The Barbershop Trail to McClintock Draw (mile 4.7) is a combination of reasonably easy walking mixed in with some obstacle avoidance. Stream crossings are numerous where the canyon narrows with a few sandstone ledges on one side of the creek or the other. This would be a problematic section if the stream were running high. The constant change in the scenery around every bend in the stream keeps you occupied, and the trek to The U Bar Trail at mile 6.7 miles goes pretty quick. The route from the U Bar Trail Crossing to the junction with Barbershop Canyon is slow at times because of the narrowing of the canyon and the dense brush. While it is slower than the rest of Dane Canyon, it is not overwhelming and can be navigated with minimal aggravation. Careful in this area. I managed to trip and fall twice, which I try to avoid since I’m usually alone. With a little more work comes a lot more scenic and exciting areas though. There are numerous pools, not deep but relatively long in this area. Probably dry or almost dry in dry seasons. I did see some Trout in one of them, so there must be permanent water somewhere. The junction with Barbershop comes up without any warning because it can’t be seen due to the thick brush in the stream (that is if you aren’t continually monitoring your GPS). Beautiful place at this junction, but now that you're here, how do you get back. This is as about as rooted in the middle of nowhere that you can get on the rim. Could say you should have thought of that before, but if doing a car shuttle, FSR 145 is upon McClintock Ridge to the south, and FSR 321 is to the east on Dane Ridge, but they both look like steep climbs. There is a loop trail posted in the description that takes in both the lower Barbershop and lower Dane Canyons and is a good solution if a car shuttle is not an option.
Like most Creek hiking, you want to pick a time when they are not running too full or when they are dry. Too full makes them hard to navigate and too low, and they aren’t quite as scenic. I like the monsoon season a few days after a good rain. Fall could be impressive for the fall color change, but the streams will probably be dry unless we had a wet September early October. Probably best to do this Canyon in parts as part of a loop hike but could be done with a car shuttle. Although it is only 10 miles, it will seem like more because there is no trail as such to follow, so the going is slower.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.