Rock Corral - Santa Gertrudis Road, AZ

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Circular Hay Bluff Walk Including Twmpa Via Gospel Pass
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Distance One Way 3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,399 feet
Elevation Gain 346 feet
Accumulated Gain 510 feet
Avg Time One Way 2-6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.7
Interest Ruins, Historic, Seasonal Waterfall & Perennial Creek
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9  2022-02-17 freewilley
8  2017-10-29
Chile Quest
26  2016-11-26
Rock Corral Canyon
43  2014-10-04
Tumacacori Peak
author avatar Guides 5
Routes 5
Photos 25
Trips 2 map ( 8 miles )
Age 66 Male Gender
Location rio rico, az
Associated Areas
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Tucson Region
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Feb, Jan, Dec, Mar → 7 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Early Summer
Sun  6:48am - 5:28pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Nearby Area Water
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hidden GEM with ruins and views
by freewilley

Mojave Rattlesnakes are found in this canyon. They are more aggressive so careful in snake season.

This hike has an indigenous architectural site on the first peak to the south when you enter the canyon. This is a trinchera, which was a hilltop used for defense (maybe) and is one of several dozen in the southwest. Trincheras are entrenchments or fortifications in Spanish according to

It has an old Rock Corral which is Spanish or indigenous. Plus an old brick cistern and well. The water here is amazing rocky pools. But wait that's not all, it has been rummaged and scoured for Jesuit treasure dating back to the expulsion of said order from New Spain. This whole area has been turned over by treasure hunters, particularly Rock Corral and Peck Canyons.

Trinchera: ← summary and pics.
Rock Corral: it was evident before, but recently someone cleared out the interior and it is much better to experience. Nobody knows who created this old structure.
Mine: There is a white cross that supposedly marks the grave of a miner.
Treasure: Many items online if you dig into it (pun intended).

The hike can be 6 to 10 miles depending on the variation. The first decision is the starting point. If you do not have a serious 4x4 you need to park at I 19 frontage and walk. A 4x4 can take you 2 miles in where you will find the actual old corral and a great camp spot.

One mile further and you will have walked through the wonderful canyon and rocky pools. There you will find a great stopping place on the cistern wall.

The next leg ends up at an old mine site (with a grave marked with a cross) 1400 feet up and 2 miles in. The old road is quite rocky and steep.

Hike west and where the road forks, take the left fork onto FR 4145 and go down the hill. At approximately 1 hour into the hike, you will see the remains of a large rock corral on the left side of the road. At about 1 ½ hour into the hike, the road forks. The left fork goes about ½ mile and ends at a nice streambed; take the right fork and after about another 20 minutes, you will come to a rock cistern with a well, pump, and pump-house on the right side. This is a nice spot to have lunch in a little canyon with views of the distant mountains, lots of oak trees, and rock outcroppings. Or, if you want to go farther, there are plenty of other nice spots along the trail to stop for lunch.

After another half-mile, the road rises quite steeply and has lots of potato-sized boulders up to the top.

Then just hike back out the way you came in.

Water Sources
Even in dry times, you will find water in the pools.

Nice shady spot.

One of the prettiest canyons in the area. Walking in from the interstate means a mile or so of uninteresting terrain, but when you turn around and come down that road the views are pretty darn nice. You are staring at San Cayetano and the Santa Ritas and get a great view of the Santa Cruz Valley.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2022-02-20 freewilley

    One-Way Notice
    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.
    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 $$

    Coronado Forest
    MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
    Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Take I-19 south of Tucson to Tumacacori to exit 29. At the end of the ramp, turn right and then turn right again onto a rough road paralleling the freeway. Drive a short distance and park at the large clearing.
    page created by freewilley on Feb 20 2022 4:39 pm

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