Cochie Cochie Coo!
Overview: Cochie Canyon is one of the large, wide canyon spilling out of the southwestern Tortolitas. Some old ranches dot the canyon bottom/wash. The canyon is accessible from the network of trails taking off from the common Wild Burro trailhead, located off Dove Mountain Blvd. The negatives of this hike include a 1.4 mile wash walk to the point where the trails all split off into the mountains. This walk will take you right past the new eyesore Ritz-Carlton resort. That's just the way it is. The payoff is a relatively new small network of trails in the southwestern Tortolita Mountains. Some of these are very nice. The hike into Cochie Canyon is one of them.
Hike: I've written up the ubiquitous beginning of this hike on other Tortolita descriptions here on HAZ so I will just recapitulate the beginning section from those hikes.
Take the Wild Burro Trail out of the gravel parking lot. It immediately drops down into the wide, sandy wash. This will take you into the mouth of the canyon. The trail itself snakes along the wash, crossing over and coming back. You can take the trail or just go straight up the wash, it doesn't really matter. The wash passes through a new high-end golf course and resort being built..we'll see how they preserve or reroute this passage in the near future. As you get closer to the mouth of the canyon, the vegetation perks up and the canyon walls slowly close in. After about 1.3 miles you reach a number of signed trailheads and the fun begins.
Hang a left at the signs for the Upper Javalina and Lower Javalina trails, with the Upper Javalina being the goal for now. Almost immediately, the Lower Javalina breaks off to the right, stay left on the Upper Javalina as it climbs up and swings out west. This trail crosses over a steep descending gully, then switchbacks up the other sidewall to gain access up the north wall of Wild Burro Canyon. This trail is very pretty with a great assortment of cacti and flora, particularly when there has been ample rainfall. There are some unfortunate views of the Ritz along he lower section. The higher section climbs away onto the hilly ridgeline. In about a mile another trail intersection is met. The signed Upper Javalina continues off to the left, around and down a ridge. The Wild Mustang trail goes straight/right - take this route and continue higher up into the "highcountry" of mountains. This leg of the hike is relatively short, perhaps 0.7-0.8 of a mile. The last signed trail junction for this hike is the Cochie Spring trail, which breaks off left.
Take the Cochie Spring trail north as it continues to ramble across the hilltops, descending slightly through some magnificently huge saguaros. Soon the trail takes you by a drop off where you can look northeast into the wide Cochie Canyon. Thereafter, the trail descends down and west around a ridge(an old fence is encountered) before continuing back east and passing through a rickety old fence gate. You have now accessed to southern wall of Cochie Canyon. You will mostly continue on along the wall of the canyon, heading northeast for about 2.5 miles. There are some ups and downs along the way. The trail crosses over several drainages feeding down the canyon wall. There are big, long views into the canyon and up the canyon all the way. You can see some old, presumably abandoned buildings in the wide wash floor, along with some old dirt roads. This canyon has a long ranching history and there is still one active ranch in the canyon, the Carpenter Ranch. As such, you may well encounter some livestock along the trail. Ultimately the trail begins an earnest descent into the wash, where you will encounter the old Cochie Spring, with it's requisite AERMOTOR CHICAGO windmill. From here, the trail continues on only a very short way over a ridge and back into the wash again.
The Cochie Spring Trail is about 3.25 miles in length and it takes a roughly 2.8 mile hike from the Wild Burro trailhead to access the Cochie Springs trail.
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.
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.