Haunted Canyon 203 West to Saddle
Haunted Canyon is located in the utmost southeastern corner of the Superstition Wilderness. Trail #203 in general is called the Haunted Canyon Trail. There is an upper/west trailhead and a lower/east trailhead. This trip is from the upper/western 203 trailhead to the ridge overlooking Haunted Canyon.
It was a rainy day. Being my last day of vacation for the year I didn't care about the rain and headed out. The first thing to surprise me was the turnoff onto Pinto Valley Mine Road. The turnoff is closer to Miami than Superior. Not that it matters, just different from how I had pictured it. Further in, past the mine, there is a fragile "looking" metal bridge. It did it's job so no complaints other than it's was a little slippery on the return. Later I noticed there are HUGE I-beams under the bridge. Autumn was dabbing a little magic on the trees surrounding the bridge. The trailhead for the lower section of Haunted Canyon is on a road to the left directly after the bridge. On this day the trailhead was closed. I have previously read this area is under review to be mined. Most of lower Haunted Canyon doesn't fall into the Superstition Wilderness. Hopefully that doesn't happen because it's a pretty place. Anyhow, eventually I made it to the pullout for Trail 203 on the right. The trail starts on the left side of the road. Immediately passing by a cattle corral and a very old one I might add!
The trail goes up a steady slope passing several rock-formed water bars. On most Arizona trails you're checking out the scenery in the distance. Not here, there's no need to look further than the forest surrounding you. Maybe I just came at a good time with Autumn in spin but it was more beautiful than I had expected. The beauty continues to a seep that feeds a small metal water tank. Thinking I was the stud of preparation with my rain coat, bug spray and what not. I found out I forgot one thing. Some morons decided to leave the area littered in crushed beer cans. It was then I noticed I didn't have a plastic bag in my small pack. You know I just try and picture a man, or a group or maybe some kids hauling a twelve pack up this ravine. I just don't get it. Basically it's just disturbing to me why some find it necessary to litter.
So I continued on and the grade began to get somewhat steep. It was then I started thinking. This was suppose to be a stroll up a hill then down into Haunted Canyon. Getting closer to the top I was getting a bit weary about going down anything. Knowing I'd have to come back up concerned me about my energy level. Not usually a problem but I really hadn't plotted out this trail.
Okay so the original plan was to turn around at Tony's Cabin. Standing at the saddle looking down into Haunted Canyon it started to rain. So that answered my question of whether or not to continue. There was no way I was going any further with rain. I took a couple photos and headed back. The rain didn't continue for long. I still felt good about turning around. Total time on the trail was an hour and twenty minutes. When I returned home I plotted out the trail. It would be another 1180 feet down to Tony's Cabin. That's a hefty day hike. Check out Haunted Canyon for a full trip summary.
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.