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. There is a sign at the trail head that says the trail is .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 Superstions. There are amazing views of volcanic rock formations all along this trail, as well as lots of Organ Pipe Catus and agavesagaves. 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 switch backs and shade as you reach the top. You actually 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 a very large arch, 700 something feet long and 36 feet high. It's the perfect place to have lunch and look out at some really beautiful desert vistas. This is also a really unused trail, so it was a good way to avoid crowds.
Besides offering truly breathtaking views from the top, this hike really show 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 through out this valley is very lush.
I am guessing at the actual mileage on this trail. Some of the assent was 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 great views, but it also had all the people.
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.