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Triple Arch via Black Glass Canyon, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
4.2 of 5 by 9
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 1.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,717 feet
Elevation Gain 469 feet
Accumulated Gain 489 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.13
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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20  2019-02-06
Goldfields: Golden Dome and Peak 3141
15  2019-01-27 te_wa
12  2019-01-27 Pickles
12  2019-01-12
Golden Dome
14  2018-02-18
Goldfield Combo
15  2018-02-18
Goldfield Combo
15  2018-01-14 jamminaz
5  2017-04-01 hikerdw
Page 1,  2,  3
Author AZLOT69
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 247
Photos 7,293
Trips 1,818 map ( 15,596 miles )
Age 68 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:13am - 6:24pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
You Are Fragile-Hike With Care
by AZLOT69

This short but dramatic canyon is described in a counterclockwise direction starting from Willow Springs Lower and coming out to meet the Rough-N-Ready Trail. The route is completely off trail and requires rock hopping, bouldering and some scrambling. Long pants, long shirt, and light gloves are a plus. Although the route is confined in the narrow canyon, route finding skills will be tested to circumvent boulders the size of houses blocking forward progress. If you need an established trail or regular markings to guide you on an adventure take a pass on this hike. There are only two cairns marking this trail, at the beginning and at the end.

Flash flood warning. This normally dry canyon can fill with water quickly and the water can be strong and violent. Evidence abounds that water at depths over ten feet deep have passed this way. Water will significantly add to the difficulty as the entire hike is in the waterway.

The hike starts from the Willow Springs Canyon Lower Trail, a quarter mile north northwest of the Willow Springs Basin Trail. A small cairn on top of a huge boulder marks the entrance to the narrow dark canyon heading to the southwest. This hike is all business, all fun from start to finish. The sheer rough rock walls tower on either side and in front of you. Pick and choose your route over and around the boulders up the canyon. There are many small caves and alcoves which appear to provide shelter to wildlife. In the wet season it may be difficult to avoid getting wet but the many waterfalls along the way will make it worthwhile. Even a casual rock hound will revel at the surroundings. Obsidian(black glass), and geodes are plentiful. Your first trip thru will probably be a mission of survival but you're sure to return to savor this special little canyon. You will come to a boulder chocked area with a waterfall in the center of the wash. There is a fat mans(not) pass on the right bank around this obstacle. If you can't get thru the option is back in the wash over the boulders on the left side. Soon you come to a waterfall that steps up twenty feet. A natural rock ramp on the right side makes for an easy time. Now there is another twenty foot waterfall on the right. Go up left if there is water. The jojoba is thick in this section but you can push thru it as you stay high on the left bank heading for the saddle ahead. Once at the saddle take a look back before you descend down to the wash. The wash levels off here although it is rocky. Take the best route which is sometimes right or left of the wash. The canyon opens up at this point with nice distant views. Soon an arch appears high and off in the distance directly in front of you. At first it seems to be an illusion. Its huge and offers a perfect silhouette with the sky. Continuing upstream the arch gets better with each step. Soon you realize there are smaller arches on either side of the large one. Climbing up to the arch is a nice short excursion. A little over one half mile up the canyon look left for a mild sized saddle and work your way up to it. The vegetation is light here and bushwhacking is easy. Work your way down the other side of the saddle which has many interesting rock outcroppings covered with lichen on the right. Down in this wash you are heading southeast. Stay to the left side of the wash up on the bank to avoid the worst vegetation. The wash starts its descent towards the Rough-N-Ready Trail. Staying high and left seems to be the ticket aiming ultimately for the little saddle between two rocks at the mouth of the canyon ahead. After the little saddle it's a steep but easy meander down to the Rough-N-Ready Trail.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2010-02-10 AZLOT69
    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
    Triple Arch via Black Glass Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Goldfield Combo
    one of the best things about haz is the ideas you get from other people
    @hikerdw, @hikingaz2, @azlot69, and @cannondalekid have all posted triplogs, photosets and gps routes for two hikes i've been wanting to do
    thought we could combine razorback knob and camouflage tanks with triple arch via black glass canyon
    doing it this way would eliminate the nasty bushwhack down the exit wash, eliminate a duplicate approach, and give us a lot of bang for the buck
    after my route manager skilz scared jj off, john and i set out around 0715 on dave's track, hooking up with a trail i belatedly realized i've been on before: rough n ready canyon
    we found the point where the off trail began, and took the path of least resistance up to the base of razorback knob
    neither of us were feeling the summit due to steep and sketchy terrain
    great views from the base
    headed off to the camo tanks, exploring the area and taking a snack break
    bigger than i pictured, some animal paths leading toward it, interesting setup
    i also had hikingaz2's route of black glass canyon, and it was a very simple matter to drop down to it
    that was the piece i was missing, so perhaps my track can help the next person connect the two
    nice to see triple arch, then continue into the canyon
    boulder hopping and a little bit of finding the best way down
    only one real drop that required a work around
    beautiful in there and a fun descent
    a few pools of water
    came out in willow springs basin, and immediately saw a couple in a jeep doing some four-wheeling
    a couple miles of walking in gravel, then took one of the horse trails back
    some gratuitous aeg on this; would try the other trail another time
    saw three groups of horseback riders along here
    the entire hike was only 10.2 miles - i had thought it would be closer to 12
    while i was a tiny bit disappointed not to summit the knob, i got to see four cool goldfield landmarks up close
    thanks for being willing to come along, john
    i always enjoy hiking and exploring with you

    Triple Arch via Black Glass Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Note to self, shorts+off trail+foxtails=!fun. The hike itself was great. I really like the area at the top of Black Glass Canyon and will plan some hikes in that area for next season, 3141 is calling my name. Going down canyon was fun and quick. The little trap you need to go through adds to the adventure. Didn't see any others until we hit Prevention Gap, then passed two groups of 3 hikers each, and a larger group at the trail head just returning.
    Triple Arch via Black Glass Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Time for the Triple Arch again, last time we drove out on Packsaddle and parked. This time we wanted a little distance and AEG. Parked at the Willow Canyon TH. Finally got to the turn off to Black Glass Canyon entrance, started to bring back memories of the 1st time doing this :o This time there were a few cairns to jog our memory, added a few more just to make it a little clearer. Forgot how beautiful the top side of this Canyon is :D turned the corner and the backside of the Arch stared down on us :) . Worked our way closer to the Arch and I told Roger that if I remember correctly the work has yet to begin getting down thru all the boulders and deep drop offs that we had to work our way around :scared: . Just be careful and take your time, and you'll soon be down to safe ground. Turned right on the Willow Basin Loop and couldn't wait to get to the Willow Basin Tank turn off, to get out of all the soft sand :) Nice clear water in the Tank, sounds like it will be a lot fuller after this weekend. Caught a new horse trail heading from the Tank, was nice to hike something that was just worked on today. they are doing a nice job, but seems like a few areas are not making any horse sense :o some areas are steep and slippery, but what do I know about horse trails except I'm always happy to see where they end up at :D Made it back safe and sound, now to figure out our next adventure :-k
    Triple Arch via Black Glass Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Very nice hike/canyoneering trip in the Goldfield Mountains. We hit the trail early figuring we would spend some time making our way through the canyon. The canyon was definitely the highlight of the trip but I also enjoyed the hike out and back. We didn't see anyone else the entire day so it was like having the area to ourselves which is something hard to find, close in, on a Saturday, on a February day in AZ.

    The one thing that was a disappointment was seeing some make-shift trail signs someone made and posted in the area. Not sure why someone, or group, found the need to make a mountain area into a nature walk type setting but I don't see the need. Anyone know the history behind these signs? I didn't take any pictures of the signs so nothing to post, nor will I make reference to the trail names given (my way of not acknowledging them) but they are hard to miss.

    Lot's of bees where the flowers are beginning to bloom.
    Triple Arch via Black Glass Canyon
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    First time in the Goldfields! Inspired by the recent photo logs, I had to check this one out. The canyon is fun with lots of interesting rock formations but the approach along deep sandy roads is boring. Cold start, even at 11am :o We saw 3 or 4 bighorn sheep looking down on us from a ridge when we were deep in the canyon. I think they were worried we'd mess with their (probably only) water source.
    Triple Arch via Black Glass Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Two of us did this hike to the Triple Arch via direct assault up Black Glass Canyon this autumn 2011. The ravine is as described with the addition of a "snake hole" that has formed from erosion of the area. My buddy said there has been rock movement and erosion since last there circa 2001. The cat claw in the ravine was significant. We called it the "let there be blood" hike.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To canyon trip
    Three good options accessing this trail are #1 The Willow Spring Basin Trail Accessed via milepost 204 trailhead on Route 88. #2 The Rough-N-Ready Trail accessed at milepost 203 on Route 88. #3 The Packsaddle Trail off Hackamore Road from Rt 88. See those trail descriptions for further details.
    page created by AZLOT69 on Feb 10 2010 12:48 pm
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