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Temporal Gulch - AZT #4, AZ

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Guide 56 Triplogs  3 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Sierra Vista
3.6 of 5 by 10
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 22.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,074 feet
Elevation Gain 2,491 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,870 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 35.2
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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3  2019-03-02
Old Pueblo Endurance Run 25 Miler
13  2019-01-21 tibber
22  2019-01-19
Temporal Gulch - AZT #4
12  2017-10-14 pjhikes
7  2017-10-14
Temporal Mtn Bike Ride
11  2017-05-31
Arizona Trail along Road at Patagonia
21  2017-01-26
AZ Trail Temporal Road & Temporal Gulch
39  2016-09-25 sandyfortner
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Feb, Mar
Sun  6:07am - 6:29pm
Official Route
8 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Overview: From the Post Office in Patagonia the route follows Highway 82 northeast for 1/4 mile and then turns left on Temporal Canyon Road (FR 72). It follows this road up to the Walker Basin Trailhead in Walker Canyon. After passing Upper Walker Tank it crosses a saddle and then descends, working its way east into Casa Blanca Canyon. It goes by Bear Spring, crosses several drainages and then comes to the Tunnel Springs Trailhead. From here it heads east and then follows the old flume north and east up to Gardner Canyon Road.

Southern Trailhead: Patagonia - Hwy 82

Northern Trailhead: Gardner Canyon Road - FR 92

Note: This page is open to authors. Hike must be listed South to North as one-way. Do not include an overview as the above is permanent.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Temporal Gulch - AZT #4
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Arizona Trail Passages 4-5
    This was a casual paced 2-passage hike on AZT passages 4 and 5 over a 3 day weekend. Our biggest day was day 1 where we hiked from Patagonia to just shy of the junction of the Mt. Wrightson summit trail and camped in a lush oak drainage. Water was plentiful in the mountains and we never ran dry.

    Day 2 was a casual stroll up and over the saddle and down to our awaiting reservation at Kentucky Camp in the rental cabin. What a luxury! We had the entire afternoon to relax with some beers left in the cooler of a car we staged there, and it was great sleeping in actual beds and having running water to clean up and cook with.

    Day 3 was the majority of passage 5. The scenery in this passage is breathtaking with rolling hills of tall grass and drainages that nearly all had good water to filter. It was hot on day 3, but we had a quick storm roll in that actually hailed on us for 5 minutes before completely clearing up again.

    Another 2 passages knocked off the list!
    Temporal Gulch - AZT #4
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Azt #3 & #4
    February 20th

    We arrived at the Canelo Pass Trailhead just before midnight after setting up our shuttle vehicle at the end of passage 4. It was warm for a Feburary night in Arizona.

    We laid out our groundsheets, inflated our sleeping pads, and then crawled into our sleeping bags.

    Around 6:30AM we woke up, packed up camp, ate a quick breakfast, and then hit the trail.

    Back on the AZT!

    Today would be our long day (mileage), and tomorrow would be our climbing day.

    We meandered through the Canelo Hills, passing numerous running creeks and full water tanks. The abnormally warm temperatures for February in Arizona was melting the high country snow, filling the valleys below with water.

    We spotted 9 white tail deer along a mile stretch of trail.

    I got a chance to try out a new piece of gear, my lightweight umbrella, as the temperature and sun exposure increased. It was definitely worth the cost and the weight.

    The views of the San Rafael Valley and into Mexico were amazing. The towering Huachuca Mountains, and Santa Rita Mountains dominated the skyline on the US side. We were headed towards the Santa Ritas.

    The trail passes through the small town of Patagonia. We stopped to eat some pizza at Velvet Elvis, and to enjoy some beverages before continuing.

    We walked another another 7 miles out of town and set up camp near the Temporal Gultch Trailhead. The gentle grade of the trail through this area allowed us to easily bag a 23 mile day.

    February 21st

    We got a later start on Sunday. We weren't packed up and ready to leave camp til about 9:30 AM. We only had 15 miles to do, but there was a few thousand feet of strenuous climbing in there.

    I was excited to finally get to traverse our first sky island on the trail, the Santa Rita Mountains.

    The trail continued to follow a dirt road we started on in Patagonia. It was only 11AM, but it was already considerably warm. I was glad to have my umbrella to shade me until we could reach the higher elevations where the cool pines were.

    After a moderate climb, we reached the end of the well maintained dirt road and took a lunch break by a running spring.

    From here we climbed over 1,000 ft in a mile. We finally hit single track trail again about half a mile before topping out. We were rewarded with an abundance of shade and ponderosa pine trees.

    On the descent, when the hillside opened up, the views of Mt. Wrightson were great.

    About 5 miles before finishing, I bumped my head pretty good while squeezing through some boulders that had fallen on the trail. I was dizzy for a moment. After sitting down for a minute, I gathered myself and continued, slightly dizzy for the next few miles.

    We finished our descent back into the valley below and reached the shuttle vehicle.
    Temporal Gulch - AZT #4
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Wrightson via Temporal to Walker Basin
    Prison Stories, Goat Stories, Dead Cows, Poop, Wild Flowers, Surprise Guests, White Men in White Face.... this hike had it all.

    Belinda posted a Wrightson loop, climbing from the east. I'd never done it from the east. Chums and
    Joe Joe were a go, so we met up with the Chummobile at 4am for the drive to meet up w/ the Tucson crew at 6am.

    Into Patagonia and then the drive on AZT #4 to our TH. Other than the stinky dead cow we had to drive OVER, the drive was uneventful.

    Temporal Gulch Trail #595 Was a bit thin in spots and is a steady climb to Josephine Saddle. The views just kept getting better. We made a stop at McBeth Spring to sample the agua.

    At the Old Baldy Trail #372 we saw the first of the masses coming up and down from the Summit. Ran into and SkyIslandHiker on his way down from his 300th? summit.

    We enjoyed a break and lunch at the top with our surprise guest Randy. The first time I did Wrightson, it was in a group w/ Randy the speed demon. Great seeing him again.

    It's all downhill from here Gardner Canyon #143, to Walker Basin #136. The views are easier to enjoy going downhill not staring at you feet. We all took an extended break while Joel read the newspaper.

    The hill dropping into Upper Walker Tank was brutally rocky/steep.. we should have taken the AZT reroute instead of "The Road"

    Thanks for settin' this one up Belinda! Good to finally meet you, Joel, Mark and Mike...

    Hard to believe that the Cow smelled worse on the way out.. :o
    Temporal Gulch - AZT #4
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    AZT - Passages 1-2-3
    This was a great solo trek - my first big undertaking of the AZT, completing passages 1, 2, 3 and a bit of 4. Water was plentiful in springs and washes. Leaves were changing, aspens up high and sycamores and cottonwoods at mid-elevations. Temps were nearly perfect. A great time to do these 3 (and a bit more) passages. Water was not an issue - as I mentioned - and good clean water in the springs/washes was easily found on most sections of the trail. Passage 3 - Canelo Hills West - was a bit difficult to navigate due to the flooding this monsoon season. Sections of the trail are just not there anymore and illegal trails can easily be mistaken for AZT right-of-ways. All part of the glorious adventure. Passage 3 is also home to many trailside cat-claw acacia, pants or brush gaters are a must. Read on ---

    Up and over the highest peaks of the Huachucas escorted by the chortles and croaks of my friends, the ravens, following me for miles (four ravens do not a murder make; or do they?). Yellow had set into what is left of the post-fire aspen groves on the slopes between Miller and Carr Peaks. Autumn does exist here in southern Arizona. You just have to find it. The chance sighting of a twin-spotted rattlesnake and a Lewis’s Woodpecker made the afternoon more memorable. They are rare encounters here, the former a resident, the latter a visitor. The trail moves directly onto the crest past Tub Spring (yes, there is actually a bathtub) and Bear Saddle (no bears), dividing the view east and west. Then down, and down some more into Sunnyside Canyon with rusty orange Sycamores lining the wash, still running with water. I camped near the wilderness boundary, a fresh, still warm pile of bear scat nearby (hang the food high!). After a dinner of sardines and pasta, I sipped a bit of whiskey and listened to owls call across the oak groves, pleasantly reminded of why I do this sort of thing.

    On the trail the next morning I encountered the first of two border patrol agents I would come across during the journey and consequently the only two people I would see in three days. I wondered if I had tripped a sensor since he seemed to be waiting for me where the trail crossed a two-track road. “I’m coming from Mexico”, seemed like a fitting yet possibly misinterpreted remark. He failed to see the humor but wished me well, his diesel engine roaring off into the foothills. The trail follows shady Scotia Canyon, crisscrossing the flowing wash, and then intersects with FR 48 (BP encounter #2) near Parker Canyon Lake and the beginning of AZT passage 2: Canelo Hills East (Güero Canelo de Este).

    The trail literature mentions that in the future the AZT will actually pass near Parker Canyon Lake, but the current trail passes well south of the shore. A spur trail heads north to the lake but I continued on into the Cinnamon Hills, eager to explore an unfamiliar area. Resting near a big pool of clear water in Parker Canyon I studied the map. The elevation profile of the Canelos looks like an EKG. Up and down, up and down, for 17 miles. The trail is in great condition here with no real issues with navigation. I opted for the ol' map and compass over a GPS. Partially because I enjoy orienteering (which is not really necessary along this passage but.. still) and partially because I don't own a GPS. I pushed through this section of trail but enjoyed the landscape and scenery and spent the night in the Canelos, about a mile from the beginning of passage 3, up on the ridge overlooking the Huachucas and San Rafael Valley. Coyotes were active and they came a little too close for comfort that evening, no doubt interested in my food hanging high - or as high as possible - in a nearby juniper. Short stories by Ed Abbey kept me company that evening, refueling my mind for the next day.

    Passage 3 started the next morning pre-dawn as I made my way down the ridge and across Canelo Pass road. West of Canelo Pass I took my pack off and meandered along the saddle before descending into Meadow Valley. I'd seen lithic scatters along other saddles similar to these and I was sure I'd find some cultural evidence here at this point between two viewsheds. On to Meadow Valley's amber waves of ... grasslands. The trail was well marked through this area as singletrack merges with old two-tracks and back to singletracks, along a finger ridge and down into the head of Red Rock Canyon toward Down Under Tank (which was full to overflowing). The section past the exclosure area begins to get tricky as flooding has erased trail signs through the wash on the way to Red Rock Ranch. It's fairly easy to see where one needs to go however and other than a few moments of wandering I was able to find my way to the ranch and the windmill. It was near this point that a Sonoran Coralsnake crossed the trail in front of me -- a rare treat indeed. Beautiful.

    With some difficulty (re: navigation) I was able to find the trail that eventually leaves the wash of Red Rock Canyon and heads south toward the saddle and Harshaw Rd trailhead. Grateful to find the road into Patagonia I trudged the 2 miles into town, finding cold beer and good food at Velvet Elvis and a comfortable bed at Stage Stop Inn. The next morning, after coffee and a good breakfast in town I headed north on 1st Ave in Patagonia and along Temporal Rd, 7 miles to where my supportive, wonderful girlfriend picked me up at Temporal Gulch.


    Aspen near peak at high elevation (8,500ft) between Miller and Carr Peaks in the 'Chooks. Sycamore starting to change in the mid-elevation spots along riparian corridors: Sunnyside Canyon, Scotia Canyon, Parker Canyon, Red Rock Canyon. Cottonwoods just starting to turn in above mentioned mid to mid-low elevation (4,000 - 5,000) canyons.
    Temporal Gulch - AZT #4
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    AZT Passages 4-5
    It was my hope from the very beginning that I’d be able to share a bit of the glory and adventure of Sirena’s through hike on the AZT. The fact that I am insanely envious barely plays into it at all (wink). So, when my schedule shifted about a bit and opened up an opportunity for me to not only join her for Passage 4 but to take her family camping afterwards in my travel trailer, King Gilbert, I was ecstatic! An overnight on the AZT…with my celebrity friend…just the two of us and the foothills of the Santa Rita mountains on one of the most beautiful weekends of the year? Oh yeah. I’m in!

    Passage 4 of the AZT follows the Temporal Canyon Road in Patagonia for the first 13 miles. For most through-hikers, road walks are similar to unwanted chores: often necessary, rarely enjoyed. Sirena had taken care of the first 7 miles of the road walk the day before to speed things up, so we had only about 6 miles to go before we truly got off into the wilds. Luckily, even road walking in this area can be scenic and rewarding. Winding through the oak forests and over the pools of Temporal Gulch wasn’t such a horrible chore at all – and the terrain offered enough distraction to keep us contented as we hoofed along.

    Throughout our walk on the road, we were amazed at the amount of water that we were finding. The spring boxes were full, and there was often a slow trickle in the bottom of the canyon. Although it has been an unusually dry (and warm) winter and early spring in southern Arizona, it seems that a few well-timed storms have really helped out these riparian areas. It’s unlikely that the pools will remain long without more moisture coming from the sky and soon – but it was a real treat to know that we would not have to worry about running dry on this particular piece of trail.

    Once we turned off onto the Walker Basin trail and got back to our preferred single-track hiking, the mountains rewarded us with even better vistas and diversity. Mt. Wrightson, the highest mountain in the Santa Rita range, is topped by Baldy Peak at 9,453 ft. This barren, granite summit presides over the entire range like a patriarch, and it’s steep wooded flanks have always called to those seeking solitude and adventure. Both Sirena and I have visited the summit on multiple occasions – but somehow it’s even more impressive to see the mountain this way – wandering about at it’s base staring up. Although the Arizona Trail does not climb to the top of this range as it does with the Rincons and the Santa Ritas further north, it does provide hikers with an intimate experience with Wrightson just the same.

    16 miles into Passage 4 (9 for us today), we arrived at Bear Spring. Our initial plans were to camp near the spring, as Sirena had often wanted to but schedule often didn’t permit. The spring is a beautiful spot – cold, clear water from the tank and a sycamore-studded stream babbling just down the hill in Big Casa Blanca Canyon. There were some ideal tent sites near the creek, and plenty of trees for my hammock. We took our hiking shoes off and dunked our feet in the icy creek, filtered and drank our fill of the delicious water and considered our options. It was still early in the day, with hours until sunset, and our feet now felt refreshed and ready to go again. We decided that while the spring was an ideal spot, we’d take our chances on the trail ahead and keep moving just a little while longer. Besides - we knew there was a group of high-school students hiking the opposite direction who were supposed to be staying at Bear Spring as well that night, and we really didn't want to be all settled in when they crashed (if they were coming).

    Luckily, we found them just a few hundred yards down the trail, camped in a large spot beside the creek. Now we knew where they were, we could camp in confidence that we'd not be disturbed by "eager young minds" that night.

    Beginning at Bear Spring, the trail follows a historic drainage feature called a “flume”. This ditch was dug into the mountainside in the early 1900′s as a part of an effort to provide water to a gold mining operation in nearby Kentucky Gulch. Water from Bear Spring was diverted into the flume and ran in the ditch for 2 1/2 nearly level miles to the next improvement at Tunnel Spring. Because of this historic engineering effort, the trail feels almost dead-flat, and contours high above the steep floor of Big Casa Blanca canyon. At one point, Sirena began telling me, it’s supposed to duck through a hole in the rock – but she missed the spot back in 2008 by accidentally taking the bypass built for equestrian use. She was just finishing the story when we came around a corner and found the “hole-in-the-wall” – a small tunnel through the conglomerate rock that makes up the canyon walls. Her excitement made passing up the Bear Spring camp 100% worthwhile!

    As the sun got lower in the sky, we began to look for a spot to camp. Since the trail is carved into the mountainside, we started to scan the ridges and slopes that ran perpendicular to the trail for a spot. I spotted a faint foot-path heading off onto one such ridge, and we followed it out to one of the finest campsites we could have hoped for. A small fire ring, cleared spots for ground sleepers, trees for hammocks and drop-dead amazing views to the south, west and east. We arrived just in time to settle in before the evening light show started, then made ourselves a modest fire and ate Thai green curry chicken and rice by its glow. For girls like Sirena and I, it simply does not get any better.

    The next morning we didn’t get an early start (which is SO typical of us!), but we were on the trail in plenty of time to cover the 10 miles remaining to our base at Kentucky Camp. We had more historic flume hiking ahead, followed by a series of small ups and downs along the historic water system, and ending with a short but wearing road walk from Kentucky Camp to my trailer just down the road. We were low on food (Sirena’s finally got a through hiker’s appetite), and eager to get back before her family arrived at camp. Never the less, we hardly hurried. The trail is just too much fun to rush!

    By the time we caught sight of Kentucky Camp, we were hungry and a little tired in the feet - ready to kick back and relax. It was good that from the same ridge where we first spotted the buildings, we could also see King Gilbert - full of food and promising sandals and chairs. We were on a mission!

    Seeing her family's reaction to my choice of campsite was hilarious. It was a busy weekend in the grasslands, and the larger, more established sites had already been taken when I arrived Thursday night. However, I picked out a spot on a ridge with 365degree views - but no existing fire ring or bare dirt. Where do we camp? Where do we make a fire? I lead them through the steps of building the fire ring and that process stamped down the tallest grasses immediately around the trailer. By sunset, they were as in love with the spot as Sirena and I had been. Just took a little "getting used to" the Arizona way of things ;)

    I took my hammock down the hill to the nearest copse of trees for my hang that night and slept with a contented smile. What a great weekend on the Arizona Trail!

    One spot of poppies, blue dicks scattered, cacti looking like they're starting to bud out.
    Temporal Gulch - AZT #4
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    For three of the last four years on the Ides of March, my wife Tresa & I have ventured to Temporal Gulch for a bit of an afternoon tailgate picnic and short BD walk about the area...

    Having lived in Santa Cruz county (Sonoita) in the recent past, I am well aquainted with Temporal Gulch - its prominent views of Mt. Wrightson & Mining Artifacts. This is one of my favorite lower AEG hikes to just stretch-out a bit...I usually meander back on the well maintained dirt road to the camping site (which are many) found at the GPS routes beginning - where abundant shade is provided by Arizona Sycamores!
    Temporal Gulch - AZT #4
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    For those of us who dwell in the Baja Arizona - that being south of the Gila River Valley / the Gadsden Purchase proper - the sections of the AZT that snake about our part of the state can be more than just thru routes or section hikes to complete the AZT. These are great day or afternoon hiking routes that usually allow for extended off-road access before embarking on a well removed hike.

    Having lived in Santa Cruz county in the recent past, I am well aquainted to Temporal Gulch and its prominent views of Mt. Wrightson & Mining Artifacts. This is one of my favorite lower AEG hikes to just stretch-out a bit...I usually meander back on the well maintained dirt road to the camping site (which are many) found at the GPS routes beginning - where abundant shade is provided by Arizona Sycamores! Avg. Grade 31.4% - GPS Route Available.
    Temporal Gulch - AZT #4
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    Back on the AZT with The Funky Bunch and our Southern Corespondent, Ram. I was wishing Nick could make this one, maybe next time.

    This hike started a whirlwind, little sleep weekend, with two trips to the southern hemisphere. I'm sure that's where Patagonia is.

    Denny got us on track right off the bat on this one, and made sure we stayed on the sidewalk for the first 1/4 mile or so. The route finding got continually tougher on this one. Luckily we had all 5 GPS's loaded with a traced track and just barely made the first turn on 1st street. We no longer had a sidewalk here, so we bushwhacked on the side of the pavement. The Border Patrol passed us twice, I'm guessing to make sure we were not lost.
    Two lanes, to Dirt, to Single track, and ultimately to a well worn trail....Yea!

    All kidding aside, the views were top notch, the history plaques were interesting, and the weather was just about perfect throughout this hike. I love the Grasses and rolling hills out there.

    Denny, Thanks for driving. Ram, Thanks for helping set up the shuttle (I'll tell Nick you made him proud), and Dave thanks for the interesting "Fast Food".

    As always, Joe kept things light and airy and was generally committed to making this an a safe event. He whined very little today.

    20 Passages now completed!!
    The Green in the map below is completed, Red is yet to do.
    Temporal Gulch - AZT #4
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    met the boys at mcdonalds, per routine, then headed south to gardner and patagonia to set up the shuttle for azt#4.

    a long section on a dirt road into the santa rita foothills managed to hold my interest well enough, and some focal uphill towards the end of said road managed to kick my butt well enough too. very nice and pleasant up to this point. we then found the single track and another climb and the hike changed instantly as we really entered the trees and began climbing up the flanks of josephine peak to a saddle and highpoint before descending down into some simply spectacular canyons (highlighted by Casa Blanca Canyon). this part of the hike was just fantastic

    thanks for letting me tag along again, even if joe doesn't want to admit i was there :sl:

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    page created by joebartels on Jan 09 2010 12:41 am
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