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Hog Canyon, AZ

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609 51 2
Guide 51 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions SW
3.8 of 5 by 20
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 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,300 feet
Elevation Gain 1,110 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,130 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.15
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Waterfall
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
33  2019-03-02 adilling
23  2018-12-01 rayhuston
25  2018-02-16 jameslcox44
34  2017-03-03 KBKB
13  2017-02-23 Daytripper
17  2015-12-18 jameslcox44
14  2015-05-09
60  2014-02-05 FLYING_FLIVER
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author Fritzski
author avatar Guides 43
Routes 0
Photos 597
Trips 59 map ( 132 miles )
Age 66 Male Gender
Location Gilbert, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 7 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:14am - 6:23pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Petroglyphs seldom seen
by Fritzski

Hog Canyon is one of the central drainages on the south side of Superstition Mountain. Just a "stones throw" north of Gold Canyon and its golf courses, it is situated between Monument Canyon on the left and the ever/over popular Hieroglyphic Canyon on the right. Interestingly, despite its proximity to the populated areas of the valley, hardly anything has ever been mentioned about this large and easily viewed canyon. What really piqued my curiosity was when a lifelong resident of Gold Canyon informed me that he heard that like Hieroglyphic Canyon, there were also Indian petroglyphs in Hog Canyon. Thus my search to locate some relatively unadulterated native American petroglyphs was underway.

After some consideration, the decision to publish this description was based on the assumption that due to the relative inaccessibility of these glyphs, anyone willing to undertake the fairly strenuous hike would have the ethical sense to leave the area in its near pristine condition.

Sticking to the anonymous nature of this canyon, the origin of its name is a mystery. The only written reference to the canyon I could find is in T.E. Glover's book "The Lost Dutchman Mine of Jacob Waltz, Part I: The Golden Dream". On pages 300-304 he mentions signs of a now non-existent trail up the canyon to the top of the mountain discovered by Jim Bark around the turn of the century and assumed it to be an old Spanish miner's trail. He goes on to surmise that it may have connected with other trails found in the Marsh Valley area via West Boulder Canyon. I'm a bit dubious about that assumption & talk about selecting the "path of most resistance"!

My friend and esteemed "Dutchman" guru Steve Creager sent me several paragraphs of facts regarding Hog Canyon & likely the most ever written on the subject. Most of it has to do with the "monumented" trail Bark discovered and its connection to several Lost Dutchman clues. As one might guess, these clues are rather vague and Hog Canyon seemed to fit the puzzle as well as others.

For those interested, it's logged on site!.

The Hike
There are two good ways to access the Hog Canyon drainage. The shortest is from the parking area at the west end of Cloudview Rd where you take the Lost Goldmine Tr north for just under 1.5mi to the first main drainage shortly after the trail turns westbound. You should see a gate in the WA fence at the end of a jeep road. The other way is take the Jacob's Crosscut Tr. to the Lost Goldmine Tr. eastbound from the Broadway trailhead. Although the hiking distance is a little longer, the driving distance is less. Here, make sure you cross the first big drainage and then also cross over to the east side of the second to the gate. Check the HAZ database for more info on the Lost Goldmine Tr.

From here simply enter the drainage and follow it north to the mouth of the canyon looming in the distance. Hint: There are many small drainages that seem to split and merge along the way. Take the effort to try and always bear right whenever possible. If you manage to stay in the easternmost drainages you will be rewarded with a "bush-free" experience all the way! I considered this nothing short of minor miracle compared to what I had come to expect for any off-trail canyon excursion in the Supes.

Although not particularly interesting, the going is casual and peaceful as you easily rock hop along. The terrain will soon begin to rise in front of you and the first small wall will come up on your right. At just over 2mi or about .75mi from the gate, the canyon begins a bend to the right at its mouth. High walls begin to envelope you on both sides and views ahead of its entire length to the top begin to unfold.

At just over 2.5 miles in, you will come to a distinct narrow slot in the canyon where the sheer rock rises almost vertically on both sides. It was here that I was convinced if I was an ancient rock artist, this would be the ideal location to showcase my work. After carefully scouring the area, I was able to find only two faded and rather suspect looking petroglyphs. Add to that some graffiti and a bit of broken glass and needless to say I was a bit disappointed.

Continuing ahead only added to this sense of disappointment. The canyon opens back up again with no signs of any promising rock art venues in the distance. The only reason I kept going is the fact that the unusually bush-free hiking was so pleasant, I really had nothing better to do, and the nagging feeling that I would just kick myself if later to find out it was "just around the next bend" which it indeed was!

Although there aren't any real bends to speak, this small side canyon happens to remain hidden until you are almost abeam it. At about 3.25mi or maybe a half mile up from the slot begin looking for a vertical wall coming out from your left that becomes more visible as you approach it. This is the east or right wall of a small side canyon climbing steeply up to the left. At its entrance, follow the left side up to the base of a dry(at the time) 30ft waterfall with a large pool at its base. Here you will be treated to some nice rock art on both sides of the scenic little grotto.

Looking up, you get a sense that this is only the bottom of a series of cascades, so my curiosity got the best of me. Once again stay to the far left wall and scramble up some 3rd class terrain to a point overlooking the next level. Scramble back down to another pool and some more nice glyphs. Not getting enough yet, it's on up to the next level. Cross to the right side now and again scramble up through a rocky area. Here were some of the best glyphs I found overlooking the pool below. From there it is a short hike up to the top of a small saddle with some spectacular views in several directions and the remains of a fire pit and tin cans that looked circa 1960s. Seeing another smooth rock cascade canyon just to the north, I proceeded to bushwhack over to it and followed it to its top, but no signs of any rock art were to be found. (BTW Rusty did this climb without any help from me & the little mutt never ceases to amaze!)

From here I returned the way I came, but one could easily continue up canyon and maybe even discover an ancient Spanish cairn or some other relic along the way.

I really enjoyed this hike and the solitude gives one time to think. I wonder if it should really be thought of as rock art. Why are so many of the same characters and symbols repeated wherever you look? Wouldn't true art express more creativity? I tend to think these symbols may have been more communal and spiritual in nature. Maybe they were put on the rock to help lure prey for a hunt or even to thank the spirits and celebrate the spoils. Maybe they represented guardian spirits watching over their favorite gathering places or even an expression of thankfulness for the sheer beauty in which they lived.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your canyon trip to support this local community.

2004-12-05 Fritzski
    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 of 19 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Hog Canyon
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    I led a group of six (counting me) on a loop which started at the west end of Cloudview Ave. We hiked north on Lost Goldmine Trail and then hiked Hog Canyon above the waterfalls and petroglyphs. We continued a short ways up the drainage north of Hog Canyon - this is the same drainage that feeds the waterfalls by the petroglyphs. From there, we made our way up to the ridge that forms a part of the Hog Ridge route. We then took the ridge east (and a little north) to the Superstition Ridgeline Trail. The Ridgeline trail brought us over to the path leading down Hieroglyphic Canyon. We hiked back to the east end of Cloudview and then took the road back to where we parked.

    One of the hikers in our group suffered a severe headache w/ dizziness which caused progress up Hog Ridge to be slower than expected.

    The GPS track provided by Hansenaz was most reassuring as we went up the ridge. For the most part, we followed his route, only deviating from it a few times. If possible, it's best to stay on the ridge. For those times when it makes sense to leave the ridge, we found it best (as did Hansenaz) to descend (only very) slightly to the left (north) and then return to the ridge at the earliest opportunity. There is significantly less vegetation on the top of the ridge and the footing is mostly better there too.

    We also took our time descending Hieroglyphic Canyon. We were all fatigued at that point and the the terrain after leaving the Ridgeline Trail is fairly steep and loose. It's best to make sure of your footing so that you can descend safely.

    I had a lot of fun on this hike, more so I think than if I had done an out-and-back using Lost Goldmine and Hog Canyon. Be warned though; this route is a lot harder than doing Hog Canyon alone.

    Bring a lot of water for this hike. I drank almost all of the six liters that I brought with me.
    Hog Canyon
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    I hope to lead a group up Hog Canyon in a few weeks, so stopped by the Lost Goldmine Trailhead (on Cloudview Ave) late on Sunday afternoon to check out parking and access. It was only drizzling when I arrived, and the trail looked good, so I hiked out to where the Lost Goldmine Trail intersects with the Hog Canyon drainage. I explored the drainage and its banks for perhaps half an hour and then returned the way I came.

    There's parking at the pullout by the trailhead rock/sign which will fit two cars easily, though I would guess that three could be squeezed in (maybe bumper-to-bumper) if needed. Additionally, there appears to be a larger pullout just after the pavement ends on Cloudview Ave. It might be advisable for larger vehicles to park at this first, larger pullout that's encountered in order to make turning around easier. Shortly after the trailhead pullout, the road narrows considerably and looks a lot rougher too. I parked our compact car at the trailhead pullout and needed to do a Y-turn in order to leave. Had I driven the F-150, it would have been somewhat more challenging to turn around.

    The initial part of the Lost Goldmine Trail is easy to follow and has some reassuring cairns along the way. It was wet when I did it, but even so, was not especially muddy.

    As noted earlier, I hiked to the Hog Canyon drainage. The gate at the end of the jeep road is about 1.6 miles from the trailhead. This differs slightly from the hike description which indicates that it may be found at slightly less the 1.5 miles from the start. I would guess that the Lost Goldmine Trailhead has been rerouted slightly since the Hog Canyon description was written. Lost Goldmine zigs and zags a lot, but when zoomed out, the track that I ended up with showed that it goes pretty much north until it turns to the west.

    Accessing the Hog Canyon drainage: There's a good path through the gate and then cairns to the left (west) leading into the drainage. However, a good path continues NNW along the bank for a short ways. It looks promising for a (short) while, but then becomes blocked by vegetation. I found it possible to continue by going over rock or through some vegetation, but it's almost certainly easier to just use the drainage.

    I also went a short ways up the drainage; the section I saw required a bit of rock hopping as well as pushing past clumps of fountain grass.

    I look forward to seeing more of Hog Canyon on another day...
    Hog Canyon
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    Had to take advantage of the freakishly cool May weather and get back out to the Supes for something different.

    Karma was set for a successful hike, seeing a Javilina on 56th st at City North, on the way to the hike.

    This hike was inspired by the incomparable Hansenaz's (AKA Steve, The Stevinator, Steverino) 2009 loop.

    Started from the Broadway TH for the first time. Not a fan of the ankle buster rocky trail leading up to another one low on the list, Jacob's Trail #58. But it's a way to get to the Hog. We kept commenting on how perfect the conditions were to see snakes in the tall grassy wash area and Joe made sure to follow me, saying that "They're known to hit the person at the back of the pack, so I'll follow to watch out for you". What a good friend he is.......

    We stopped at the dry fall to check the area out and then started our climb up the Hog Canyon Ridge. For the most part pretty straight forward, but we had Steve's track to keep us on the straight and narrow. You had to continuously look back to soak in the views. The scattered clouds made the views pop. I'd say the hardest part was the initial climb to get on the ridge and there was one other section where Joe just made it by going straight up, but my legs were too short and I had to go around.

    The Climb up Hog Canyon Ridge :next: ... t=vd

    Finally on the Supes Ridgeline and smooth sailing. One reason for making this loop was to pick up a short section of the Ridgeline I hadn't been on yet. We saw a single hiker on the Ridgeline and then started seeing a few more as we got closer to the Flatiron.

    Down the trail to the Siphon Draw and then hopped on the Palmer Mine Trail over to the Treasure Loop #56 and by Praying Hands.

    My least favorite part of the day was the 4+ mile slog back on Jacob's Trail #58. That trail just never ended...
    The weather was absolutely perfect!
    Hog Canyon
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    This was the day we would visit Hog Canyon for the first time and try to link up to the Ridgeline. We parked at Hiero and walked the mile+ west on Cloudview to catch the Lost Goldmine Trail heading north. Hopped the fence where the trail bends west and made our way into the wash. As mentioned in the description, the wash to the east is very managable and the trail up to the petroglyphs/falls is well cairned.

    Not knowing what lay ahead, we passed on looking for the glyphs and continued up the wash heading towards the saddle where the ridge separating Hog from Hiero meets the Ridgeline Trail.

    There were a few spots where it looked like the wash would get choked, but after busting through, it would open back up. So we continued up the wash. When it really started looking bad Mike noticed a nice slick-rock chute on the right so we decided to follow it. At first it looked like it would only go up 30-40 feet, but it ended up going several hundred! The Hog Canyon Express Elevator! You can tell when Mike is having fun because he goes into attack mode! He made it up to the top quickly while I had to stop for air a few times!

    From there we found a nice game trail that led us through some thick brush and over to another slick rock area. We found a nice spot for a break here before the final scramble up to the ridgeline. Once on top, we headed over to a plateau on the ridge between Hog/Hiero and enjoyed the views.

    Heading down to the Hiero saddle I stumbled on a rock at the worst spot: the trail went left and two big agaves were straight ahead. In avoiding them I twisted my knee pretty good. Because I was having trouble putting weight on it after that, my plan to boulder-hop down the Hiero wash with Mike got changed. He took the wash, I took the trail. Once I got off the step section and down to the trail, the knee was feeling better, but any wrong step was a painful reminder! Mike came back up the trail to find me, then did some exploring on his own while I kept heading for the car.

    The knee isn't feeling too bad today, so hopefully with a couple days rest I'll be ready to get back out there next week. Other than that mishap, it was another great day exploring new areas and having fun in the Supes! Nice work on the route Mike! That worked great!!
    Hog Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    This could have been my last hike and last day alive. When I started my hike it was already warm and reached 113 with 40% humidty. And yes I ran out of water. I could see some house below so I decide to head down not knowing I was probaly taking the worst way out.
    So I started down Hog Canyon, it wasn't long before I realized this was not the way to go. I got cut up climbing over and under brush. After a while I gave up and crawled under a bush just to sleep I just could not go any farther. I don't know how long I was a sleep but all at once the biggest Owl I ever seen in my life made the loudest screech I ever heard. this made me get up and start down the mountain again. At this time I had been with out water for over seven hours and being in the canyon cell phones don't work. It was now dark and the Tarantulas were on the move luckly I had a tiny little lite in my pocket not even sure where I got it was damn glad I had it. After about another hour of hiking down I got lucky. I found this hugh rock that had a nice chuck out of it and that hole was full of very dirty water that tasted so damn good. I was glad that I beleive in pack it in pack it out because I could only stick my hand in to get water and I needed to take water with me. But I had a small empty bottle that I drank at the beginning of my hike. I used this bottle to fill my Camebak and head on down. As I got to the bottom of the canyon out into a clearing my phone started ringing, it was my wife and son looking for me. next I got a call from Pinal Search and Rescue who were looking for some other hikers. I gave them my gps location and a helicopter flew over and drop me some more water.
    They told me to stay and I did. When they got there they asked me how I felt and I said I felt great once I had found that water. Of course I am diabetic and had no medication with me. I walked with them to there truck and they drove back to my car where my son and wife were waiting. The people from Search and Rescue do a great job, so thank you again.
    Of course I had to do this hike again and I did with great success.
    I only had two liters of water the first time, I now carry five liters and don't hike on high humdity days.
    Hog Canyon
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    This started out as another hike up into Hog Canyon, but as I approached the entrance to the Wilderness, I changed my mind and decided to explore the unnamed canyon immediately West of Hog. For some time now I have been intrigued by this canyon that looks interesting when checking it out on TOPO and yet it has no name and I can't find hikes referencing it. So I made a slight course change and angled towards it's entrance.

    The dry wash exiting the canyon is identical to it's cousin to the East, with scattered boulders, rock fields and lots of brush to weave your way around and through. The wash itself is a constant scramble while dodging the Catsclaw, and above the wash is heavy brush and cacti. I found out on my return that the best route is well away from the wash, walking among the Saguaro, a bit further, but ultimately quicker.

    Once in the canyon, things deteriorate in a hurry. At one point, I climbed the side wall to gain enough altitude to see if there might be a preferred path, but none exist and the sidewalls are treacherous going. So I stuck to the main path of the wash with it's boulder dams and catsclaw barriers.

    I don't think I have seen so much catsclaw on a hike before. Busting my way through the stuff left me with bloodied arms and legs and torn shirt and pants. I don't know how this stuff can be so healthy in such a drought year.

    There was no water to be found anywhere, even pools had dried leaving not even moist sand. The animals must be fighting for their very existence, and the Saguaro appear to be loosing the battle as well. Only the catsclaw thrives.

    I thought I might find some wildlife in this little traveled canyon, but I didn't see anything but a few small birds. Any animals would have heard me coming long before I would have had an opportunity to see them. The canyon walls do not have any waterfall areas and there is no signs of ruins or petroglyph sites.

    I finally ran into a seemingly impenetrable wall of catsclaw and brush so I figured that I should begin my return before I suffered any more loss of blood. I'm glad I finally got that canyon out of my system and I now know why that canyon has no name.
    Hog Canyon
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    Another patented CannondaleKid-style hike with all the ingredients... awesome panoramas, fresh clean air, off-trail wandering, boulder-hopping, expected natural beauty, unexpected treat, ancient history, added adventure and of course the slog back to the car.

    Let's take it in order...
    1. Awesome panor... WHAM! Body Slam! Oooof! ](*,) Knees, palms heels and chest are all screaming in protest! :stretch: What the he..? Move along people... nothing to see here... just another one of Mark's patented full-frontal crash-and-burns within minutes of the Broadway TH. Let's take a moment for damage inventory:
    Knees... no abrasions, just pain
    Palm heels... nice abrasions and plenty of pain, feels like I cracked a bone in my right hand (it's happened before so that's from experience)
    Chest... feels like I took a punch from Joe Louis. While the camera bag on my chest absorbed some of the blow, it concentrated it in one place.
    Camera... oh no! Did I break another one this year? Whew! Only an abrasion across the lens cap, probably from the zipper scraping hard against it.
    Head... hmmm, feels better now, the attendant pain elsewhere is enough to overshadow the migraine I was fighting

    Enough of the drama let's get back in order...
    2. Awesome panorama! The front of the Superstitions up-close-and-personal never ceases to arouse the awe of our Creator in me!

    3. Clean, fresh air! Absolutely wonderful! So crisp and clear after the cleansing of the prior days of rain that somehow all the pain faded into the background and nothing could spoil our hike now.

    4. Off-trail wandering! The Goldmine Trail wandered south-eastward toward the Hog Canyon TH but we decided to shoot a bee-line for the drainage up Hog Canyon and save .3 mile by cutting the corner. The terrain was pretty open so there was little issue with the path we chose. Plenty of sign of javelina and deer but none were observed.

    5. Boulder-hopping! Once in the drainage this became the mode of transportation. Might seem like too much to some folks, but after remembering our White Canyon adventures of late it was like a walk-in-the-park.

    6. Expected natural beauty! Although in full boulder-hopping mode, the beauty we had heard about and thus expected did not fail to impress. All the various types of rock and shapes of the formations made this hike a winner and we weren't even halfway through it.

    7. Unexpected treat! Along the wash we found a few small puddles of water here and there so we didn't expect to see much of anything at the falls. But nearing the turn toward the expected dry-falls we heard water flowing and moments later came the very unexpected treat, the waterfalls were flowing! :y: What a bonus, we came for the petroglyphs and found running falls, four of them! This was the time for shooting video more than still shots, which I proceeded to do.
    Check it out:

    8. Ancient history! Ah yes, the petroglyphs! Teased by mnlumberjack with just one petroglyph photo, we wanted more, which meant climbing above the falls, not something Tracey was very enthused about. :oplz: As I was contemplating how best to encourage her to push her limits and climb up with me, all of a sudden she is off and climbing ahead of me. Taken by surprise it took me a few moments to take off in hot pursuit. Wow, that was easy! But Tracey took one glance back down and there was no way she would go back that route. :scared: Ahh, but that was quickly lost in our excitement of the petroglyphs. And not just one or two but many, almost every direction we turned. :y: Now this is what we came for. We both took numerous photos of the glyphs and the falls... more than enough for one photoset, but reluctantly that's all I posted.

    9. Added adventure! Ok, now that Tracey didn't want to drop back down around the falls, what shall we do. We continued up above the uppermost falls and a few more pools higher and back from the falls to a saddle where we could view both up the Hog Canyon drainage as well as back down on the area we were boulder-hopping on the way up. Not having followed Snakemarks Kat's-Klaw Tour route :scared: we had yet to give much of a thought (and as yet no blood) to brush of the thorny variety, it seemed such a shame not to enjoy part of that experience. So we headed down the next drainage and into the maw of brush. But much as we expected to be eaten alive by thorns, we had very little trouble, only one time did I pull out my clippers to create an opening. After that it was simply up to careful route planning, selecting the best tactical route as we followd the overall strategic route.

    10] Slog back to the car After the all the high (and low) adventures of the day now began the long walk back out. While there were new photo opportunities with the sun casting afternoon shadows, eventually the excitement waned enough that the aches and pains of the experience began their more vocal bid for attention. Still we continued all the way to the Hog Canyon TH that we had not seen then turned to follow the Goldmine Trail back to the Broadway TH.

    So there you have it... one awesome hike, by the numbers with CannondaleKid, steps 1 through 10.
    (And you wondered why it took me a few days to do the triplog... it took some R&R before my right hand felt good enough for this much typing... I lied, it still hurts like crazy)
    Hog Canyon
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    My previous trip here was a once in a lifetime experience. I saw this canyon in a way that few, if any, had or ever will see. Right then, I should have made a pact with myself never again to return to this place, as the bar had been set impossibly high for any subsequent visits. But, after 2-3 days of almost continuous rain, my curiosity got the best of me (the 'kat') and I had to go check it out.

    As I started off, I couldn't help but compare everything I saw to the way it looked the last time. It was completely unrealistic to expect it to be like that again and I knew it, but after hiking nearly 2 miles without seeing any water, I actually considered turning back. This was my 4th time up this rocky canyon and it just didn't seem worth the effort to continue. As I debated that idea, kicking myself for not choosing any one of several other destinations I had in mind instead of this one, it started to drizzle. It was already a cold, dreary day and the idea of getting wet tipped the scales pretty heavily in favor of scrapping the trip. But, who's gonna be a quitter? Not me! In remarkable foresight, I had stuck my rain poncho in my pack that morning, so I put it on and kept going.

    Feeling a bit smug for not being a wimp, I was determined to stick it out, regardless. This 'can do' mentality lasted almost 2 minutes. The poncho was a cheapie and there was just enough breeze to keep it billowing around me, making me look like some sort of absurdly hued cartoon tent in a tornado. It was bugging the crap out of me and I couldn't see my feet most of the time, which is downright dangerous in Hog Canyon (especially if you're hiking alone when you snap your ankle). I was just about one profanity away from throwing in the towel when I saw running water. This looked promising enough to outweigh all of my current grievances, so I removed the circus poncho (since it had stopped drizzling) and got down to business.

    Hiking further up the canyon, I started seeing less and less water... not a good sign. This meant that the water I had seen probably wasn't coming from the falls above, but from the lower drainages along the way and the upper part of the canyon had already drained out. Knowing that the best was already over before I even got out of bed that morning sent my ever-fluctuating enthusiasm needle back into the red zone. Nevertheless, I was now fully indoctrinated to self-punishment, so if this revelation crushed my last delusional hope, you would never know it as I marched onward, picking up my pace just to get it over with. I thought about one of my favorite Monty Python skits... "Could be worse... could be raining."

    Just before the turn-off to the falls, there is a lesser tributary which doesn't appear to be reasonably accessible. The logical entrance is walled off by many years of sediment and flood debris piled high from water coming down the main canyon. It always catches my interest when I walk by and I did make a half-hearted attempt once to find a way in, but I came up with nothing. Approaching it now, I thought I could hear the falls. Can't be. Even if they were flowing, I didn't think I'd hear them from this distance. Trying to pinpoint where it was coming from, I looked up that tributary to see a rather large waterfall quite some distance in. I never would have noticed it if it hadn't been the only water sound left to hear now.

    Fifteen minutes later, I rounded the last turn to see the wet, black stain on the cliff wall that was undoubtedly a spectacular waterfall 12 hours ago. That's how fleeting the excitement is here in Hog Canyon. The moment it stops raining, the countdown to obscurity begins. I knew I should have been here at midnight! :doh: The pools were full to the brim and just a little water was still creeping down the soon to be dry fall, keeping a slow spillover going from pool to pool. No surprises here. Just as I sat down at the edge of the upper pool to have lunch before heading back, it started to rain - complete with thunder rumbling in the distance... not exactly the water sounds I was hoping for. I put my poncho back on, tucking my pack and myself underneath, and sat there eating cookies, watching the rain and thinking I really got my $3 worth out of this cheesy looking thing.

    As the rain was ending, a chilly breeze was blowing in and that was the final factor in determining that I was completely through having fun up here and it was time to be anywhere else. Instead of the usual speedy trip back, it had rained enough to make all the rocks and boulders wet, which slowed my progress considerably and provided plenty of gut check moments as I slipped and slid my way down. I was greeted by sunshine as I stepped out of the canyon, even though it was still gloomy behind me. After being in the cold (wet) shade all day, the warm sun was an instant attitude boost and when I finally got off those rocks and onto the dirt road, I was absolutely beside myself with joy.

    Every hike has a happy ending. Whether you're happy because it was the greatest trip ever or whether it was a death march and you're just happy it's over... happy is happy!
    Hog Canyon
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    I woke up early Monday morning to the sounds of rain in the East Valley. As I walked over to the clubhouse for Monday morning coffee with the guys, I noticed that the entire Superstition Mountain range was cloaked in a heavy, dark bank of clouds.

    Last year I hiked Hog Canyon to find the Hieroglyphics, but missed the canyon that would take me up there. So ever since, I have wanted to complete that trip and thinking that the rain & clouds would be providing the moisture needed for the pools, tomorrow should be the day. One of the residents (Howard) offered to come along, so we made plans to head out Tuesday morning.

    We drove to Cloudview road, as on the way to Hieroglyphics Canyon trailhead, but instead of turning right, we turned left and drove to the end of the blacktop and parked along the gravel road, the time was just a little past 8:00am. We got into our hiking gear and I cleared my GPS of previous data and trails, set a waypoint at truck and headed North through the low desert on a faintly used horse trail. We followed a barbed wire fence on our right, went through a gate and continued to a point where the fence line turned East/West.

    We followed the fence line for a short distance until there was another gate just before the dry wash. This gated entrance is into the Superstition Wilderness and would be the obvious trailhead (if one existed). From here on, there are no clearly marked trails as anyone going beyond the gate, just meanders along with the entrance to Hog Canyon clearly visible ahead.

    Once you enter the canyon, you are committed to hiking in the (hopefully) dry wash as the canyon walls are too vertical and irregular for a trail to exist. The first several hundred yards of the wash are easy going with patches of tall grass, that hides the rocks. But once you see the large rocks and boulders, the walk in the park is over. For the next 2 miles (approx)it's boulder hopping with a couple of 6 to 8 foot vertical climbs (ropes not necessary).

    As you continue up the wash, the scenery becomes more stunning. The canyon narrows at one point to a gorge and the sun has a hard time getting through to the wash. Photographing the scenery is difficult cause the dark shadows and the sunlit areas are so pronounced that something has to give (but that's why there's Photoshop).

    Barrel Cactus and Saguaro, dot both canyon walls and it makes one wonder just what the roots find to anchor to. The brush can get heavy if you try to get out of the wash and Catsclaw is just waiting to grab onto your clothes or skin.

    Finally, at coordinates N 33deg 25.323, W 111deg 25.536 you will come upon a noticeable fork in the wash where you should guide to the left along the edge of a tall rock wall. As you round the corner, you will notice the dark stains higher along the wall where the water falls about 40 feet into a deep pool (now almost dry).

    This part of the adventure was just like stepping out of an Indiana Jones movie where you suddenly emerge into Shangra-La. The rocks are smooth although you're surrounded by tall cliffs and your voice echoes in the canyons. My plans of finding water in the pools was all for naught, as there was only a small amount down at the deepest part of the pit. But clearly visible around the edges, was a white ring indicating where the water normally rose to before spilling out into a series of deep crevasses on its way to the wash.

    A couple of Hieroglyphics were barely visible on the rocks at this level and I wanted to ascend to the next level where they were better. I removed my pack and began climbing the left side of the falls but my arthritic knee began acting up and this didn't look like the place to be having any mobility problems. I desperately wanted to continue, but reluctantly descended back to where Howard was basking in the sunshine. We had a needed lunch break and just admired the magnificent scenery from this spot.

    It was just past noon as we finally began our arduous descent back down the rock and boulder strewn wash. We were at the narrow gorge area where we took a short breather, when I noticed something out of the ordinary well up on the West canyon wall and asked Howard of those were animals? He had a small set of binoculars and was able to make out some Bighorn Sheep observing our progress (or lack thereof). I zoomed in on them to my maximum 12X and took a couple of photos (see photos). That was my first encounter with Sheep in the Superstitions and I'm really excited about seeing them.

    Too soon, we were on our way again. Quickly you discover that the trip up, uses all leg muscles as you ascend the rocks, while the trip down is all impact on your joints as you jump to the lower levels. It was a relief to finally get out of the canyon and leave the wash in favor of the brush along the upper edges and a couple more miles brought us back to the waiting truck.

    It's easy to see why Hog Canyon sees very little use. It's a tough hike and the going is slow, but the rewards are worth the effort. You will probably not see another person the entire day and the scenery can be awesome. Hopefully, there will be water in the pools and you can ascend to the upper levels and have an experience you will long remember.
    Hog Canyon
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    OK, so like most of us, I ate too much over the weekend and what better way to work off those excess calories than to take a hike in the Superstitions. My hike started at 7:30 this morning after parking along Cloudview drive at the West end of the blacktop.

    I hiked in following a 4-wheel drive trail for two miles until I came to the fenceline for the Superstition Wilderness and at that point I began following the dry wash up and into the Hog Canyon. The morning was nice and cool with temps in the low 50's and a slight wind blowing from the South.

    After entering the canyon, I met up with another hiker who was going in the same direction. We talked for a short while and I found out that he was from Oregon and visiting for the Holidays. Then away he went, jogging up the wash and was soon out of sight. Gotta respect the guy's motavation, but it's kinda hard to admire the views when you're on such a quick pace.

    I continued boldering up the wash and, at times bushwacking through the heavy undercover. The sun was still below the rim, so the canyon was all lit up on one side and presented a dark Silhouette against the sky on the other.

    The sights along the wash are spectacular and I was keeping my eyes peeled for sighs of the petroglyphs that I had heard about. At a point, I could see some discolored rocks high up on the Western slope of the canyon, so I started climbing. When I reached the rocks, I found that the coloration was due to water runoff that had stained the face and had left some interesting patterns.

    I went to check the altitude and found that the batteries in the GPS had given up (guess I should have charged them up prior to the trip) and I was expected home for the football games. So, I took some more pictures and began my return down the rocky slope, down the bolder strewn wash and down the 4-wheel trail to where I had parked my car.

    I got to my car and wouldn't ya know it, I had a flat tire (must have happened when I drove over some rocks in the trail). So I put on the spare and continued my trip home where I spent the afternoon watching football. I think I trashed a pair of jeans from bushwacking through the thorn bushes, but thankfully no skin cuts. Now I just gotta document my trip and post the photos.

    Enjoy the day, you're in Arizona :) :y:

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To canyon trip
    East approach: See "Hieroglyphic Trail" and at Cloudview Rd. proceed west to end of pavement and park. Trail is just ahead at sign on dirt road.

    West approach: From Hwy60 turn north on Mountain View to Broadway and turn right. Proceed to end and park at entrance to subdivision. Jacob's Crosscut Trail begins just behind small wall.
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