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Great Seasonal Waterfall
by Red Rover
This hike to a seasonal waterfall is along a dirt bike road in the Rincon Mountains east of Tucson. Because this is such a popular area, stick to a weekday hike if at all possible. Even on a Monday, we saw 4 off road vehicles during our hike. The trail/road goes up and down through a largely open area with a variety of trees and saguaro along the way, crosses the Tanque Verde and Joaquim Washes, and ends in a lovely area with running water, ponds, and a great waterfall... if there's been any snow to melt. We were there in February with snow still at upper elevations so conditions were likely optimum. Sadly, part of the road area is trashed by inconsiderate bikers and 4WD users, but the hike is still worth it.
The jeep trail called #4417 leads out of the north end of the parking lot and is where the hike begins. Watch for posts along the way with numbers to be sure you stay on the right roads. It would be easy to wander all over without the numbered roads. There's an easy reference list of the roads and turns at the end of this description. I found it on line and it was invaluable.
The road starts out steep down to the first cow pond, and then turns into a rough 4WD road with rolling hills, short climbs and descents over lots of rocks. The first place of interest is called "The Chute". This is a rough area of big rocks and rough terrain that is a great challenge to riders. Continue east/SE through several small dry canyons and hills. When you come to another large cow pond on the left of the road begin looking for a single track trail which splits off to the right; take this trail. This is a short piece of single track which reconnects to the road. The single track ends just south of a huge tree and rejoins the road. If you missed the single track you will come to a T intersection where you turn right (south) and continue on. You cross over (yet another) cattle grate and continue east about .25 of a mile. Another sharp right turn takes you down to Tanque Verde Wash (sometimes running stream); keep to the right once you cross the stream bed. Cross the stream again under some large trees and follow the trail up a few more steep climbs. You will know you are getting close to Chiva Falls when you seem to be up against the mountains. You can get under the falls and even go around behind them if you stay to the right and climb over the boulders. It's a great place to cool your feet in the pool or climb around the falls. Head back the same way you came and remember your car is primarily west, northwest now.
0.0Start from the parking area. You can take the trail on the right or left since they join down the hill.
2.0Pass Chiva Tank on the left.
2.3Trail 4417 joins from the left. Stay right.
2.7Trail 4405 joins from the right. Stay left.
2.8Trail 4405 splits right at an old corral. Follow it across the Tanque Verde Wash and smaller Joaquin Wash
3.5Trail 4405 splits right up a steep hill. Stay left down the loose hill in front of you. You'll soon see the falls.
3.7End of the trail. Check out the falls if they're running. Return the way you came in.
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2007-02-11 Red Rover