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Siphon Draw with an arch
This hike starts at the Arch Canyon pull out on the 27-mile driving loop of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. A sign at the trailhead says the trail is 0.75 miles and leads to a view of the arch. It also says that you cannot get to the arch from this trail. Wrong! We followed this trail, and where it looks like it dead ends, it wraps around a rock. From there, the trail is narrow but easy to follow as it is very well marked with rock cairns.
Approximately 1.25 miles in, there is a sign warning of steep inclines and loose footing. This is true, but it is no worse than Siphon Draw in the Superstitions. There are fantastic views of volcanic rock formations all along this trail, as well as lots of Organ Pipe Catus and agaves. We startled a Western Screech Owl out of a small pinon as we neared the top... but back to the trail.
This trail has lots of small switchbacks and shade as you reach the top. You come out up above the arch, and as you look back into the wash you've come up, you'll see it down to your right. This is an enormous arch, 700 something feet long and 36 feet high. It's the perfect place to have lunch and look out at some gorgeous desert vistas. The trail is rarely used, so it is an excellent way to avoid crowds.
Besides offering truly breathtaking views from the top, this hike shows you the variety of vegetation to be found in the desert. Starting at the lower elevations with creosote and bursage and ending up in the higher ones with agave, rosewood, and small junipers. The vegetation throughout this valley is very lush.
I am guessing at the actual mileage on this trail. Some of the ascents were so vertical that the GPS didn't track very well.
There is another trail on this loop, the Estes Canyon-Bull Pasture loop. This is another strenuous climb to a high plateau where ranchers used to keep cattle in winter. This one is 4.1 miles and looks like it has excellent views, but it also had all the people.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.