The Dutchman Heads South?
The short hike to Dutch John Spring in Madera Canyon of the Santa Ritas is nothing spectacular..but it certainly is a nice little hike in a great place. It's a good one if you are spending the day in Madera Canyon and want a short little hike with a decent climb attached or could function as a "desert hike" to something else you were there to do. Either way, it's a pleasant little jaunt along a small canyon to an old spring with some nice vegetation along the way.
The easiest way to start this hike is out of the Nature Trail and Amphitheater parking lot on the right side of the road as you head up Madera Canyon. Cross over the street and see a small sign marking a trailhead for both Bog/Kent Springs and Dutch John. Follow this well maintaned spur trail for about 0.6 miles as it cuts through some scrub type vegetation and tall grass. There are periodic views of the Santa Rita crest as you go. The trail dead ends at an old jeep track, which is signed. Head left for a short descent into the Bog Springs Campground. At the circular campground take a right and follow the gravel road for less than 0.1 miles to a formal signed trailhead for Dutch John Spring on your right.
Hop onto the Dutch John trail and start heading up the mountain. This section of the trail to the spring is actually fairly steep and gets your heart rate going a little. It crosses over a streambed as it climbs up the gulley into Ducth John Canyon which will end up n your left. There is nice shaded vegetation as you climb. Squirrels and occasional Coues deer cruise around. After about a mile or so a small spur breaks to the left, down to the signed Dutch John Spring. There are some nice sycamores here, a small amount of running water and plenty of shade. The trail actually continues up past the spring for those who want to climb more, though I'm not currently sure where it goes.
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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.
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