GET Segment 9 overview
The Santa Teresa and Pinaleño sky islands serve as prominent landmarks, while our route charts the rolling high desert sea between them in this short but interesting segment. Eastbound hikers begin in the wide east-draining valley separating the two ranges and trend south, meandering along adventurous dirt roads, across hackberry-lined Underwood Wash, and on toward well-ensconced Two Troughs Canyon at road's end. Here ensues a challenging, mile-long stretch of cross-country travel, as the route ascends an outlier ridge of the Pinaleño Mountains, before joining descending track into Tripp Canyon at the base of the range proper. Basic routefinding skills are recommended for the trackless portion, which climbs an open, grassy slope at a 20% grade. As one progresses in this segment, the plant community transitions from spare juniper and mesquite near Klondyke Road, to chaparral and grassland - as on our climb - and finally to shady pine-oak woodland in the upper reaches of Tripp Canyon, a noteworthy change given the segment's minimal net elevation gain.
Surface water here is generally limited to a single, impermanent spring and a few stock sources, one of which (Holdout Canyon Tank) features a solar-powered well. In addition, a fairly reliable source is located in the main drainage of Tripp Canyon, a short walk beyond the end of this segment, in Segment 10, near the junctions of FR 286 (Tripp Canyon Rd) and FR 675. And speaking of moisture, if you're heading eastbound in early spring of a high mountain snow year, then you may have already noted the white stuff high atop the Pinaleños ahead. Should you opt to avoid the range altogether, one possible though not particularly salient detour follows Tripp Canyon Road east about 19 miles to US 70 at Pima, then south to Safford (the trailhead driving directions for Segment 10, followed in reverse).
A detailed, mile-by-mile description of this segment is available in the official GET guidebook. See www.GrandEnchantmentTrail.org
This segment of the GET forms part of a longer trip option between resupply locations, as described below:
GET Segments 6 - 11, Mammoth to Safford
East of AZ Hwy 77 the Grand Enchantment Trail heads into Sonoran desert foothills of the sky-island Galiuro Mountains, wherein lies the entrance to spectacular Aravaipa Canyon (BLM Wilderness). Sheer canyon walls rise a thousand feet above the lush, deciduous banks of perennial Aravaipa Creek, where we linger, wet feet and broad smiles, for some 12 unforgettable miles. Quiet dirt roads resume east of the canyon, leading within range of the remote outpost of Klondyke - another potential maildrop resupply location - before our route turns northeast to climb into the extreme rugged terrain of the Santa Teresa Wilderness (Coronado National Forest). Little-used trails provide supreme solitude as we navigate the adventurous granite-domed wonderland of Holdout Canyon, then over 7000-foot Cottonwood Mountain near well-named Pinnacle Ridge, and south to reach Klondyke Road. A fun yet challenging cross-country connection culminates at Tripp Canyon, where the GET soon rejoins foot trail to climb high into the forested Pinaleno Mountains (Coronado NF), passing serene Riggs Lake and the viewful fire tower atop 10,000-foot Webb Peak, where snow may linger well into spring. The desert heat seems as far away as the distant horizon atop this tallest of Arizona's Sky Island ranges, where broad panoramas reveal such distinguished neighbors as the Rincons, Huachucas, Chiricahuas, as well as the Mogollon Mountains in New Mexico farther along the GET. Leaving the high country by and by, we follow the magnificent craggy defile of forested Ash Creek Canyon on down toward the open desert nearly a vertical mile-and-a-half below, passing through an astonishing range of life zones in only a few miles of travel. Finally the route joins quiet greasewood-flanked dirt roads to reach the outskirts of bustling Safford, with most services available.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.