Canyon Lake Excursion
This out and back off-trail hike takes you to Peak 2811. Which is the high point of a ridge between First Water Creek and La Barge Creek.
Over the years I've received many complements on my La Barge Canyon View hike. This slightly puzzled myself, as it's not really anything to lose sleep over, though it does have a killer view at the end. I figure the masses like it because it's moderate, different and it's near the lake!
For the HAZ 7th anniversary I thought it would be nice to do an appreciation piece for the masses. So I tried to add a hike that was moderate, different and near a lake! Viola, peak 2811 seemed like the ticket.
From the parking as mentioned in the directions below just head up the drainage. The first step is a good three-footer straight-up ducking under a tree branch. It would be a good idea to study the map carefully before heading out. As noted on the map you're first goal is to gain a small ridge. Going up is pretty easy on not to steep brecciated waves. The elevation gain is about 300 feet.
Cross the small ridge to east end and you can see your next goal towering to the south. You'll dip down maybe 50 feet in elevation before tackling the intimidating slope ahead. Not to worry, it's only a 300 foot gain up this one. There's a tiny ridge that slants diagonally to the southeast. I put an X on the map for those interested in the best viewing point. This is a good turn around point for an easier hike that could be completed in under two hours.
Continuing on is rough on the ankles, as you'll need to skirt steep slopes. The views from Peak 2811 aren't really as good as from the X either. So continuing on really isn't recommended unless you just feel you have to bag the peak. In addition you're chances of getting lost greatly increase because you lose view of the road and popular landmarks.
You'll want to have jeans and especially well fitted boots to continue. The route is pretty easy to figure out from the map. Don't bother trying to go over the mini Baboquivary looking peak before your destination. Skirt the slopes on the west. The slope is steep and loaded with ball bearing pebbles. Be extremely careful with each step.
Atop Peak 2811 you'll be happy to note you didn't top out on a false peak. The near distant peaks are lower but do add better overviews of First Water Creek. The return is as you came. All I can really add is I did get off route coming back so pay attention. I ended up running myself ragged going up and down unnecessary canyons choked with brush.
The hike didn't turn out as sweet as I hoped for Peak 2811. Probably on the tough end of moderate with the pebbled slopes and loose rockslide. I think those looking for a moderate, yet different hike near a lake won't be disappointed if they stop at the X on the map. The views are great: Canyon Lake, Bronco Butte, Black Cross Butte, Geronimo & Malapais, Battleship Mountain and of course Weavers Needle.
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.