Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Indulge in the Ultimate Outdoors!

Moderators: Backpack Specialist, HAZ - Moderators

Linked Guides  • Skull Cave, AZ  • Hell's Hip Pocket Ridge, AZ  • Skeleton Cave, AZ  • Brown's Cave, AZ
Linked Areas none
User avatar
Hippy
Posts: 618
Joined: Dec 02 2009 10:08 am
City, State: Grand Canyon
Contact:

Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by Hippy » Dec 02 2009 10:13 am

I've always been one for a good superstition tale and when i read about the battle at salt river cave or "skull cave" as Bark called it, i just HAD to see, so here i am asking any advice from any who have made the trip.

i've read its pretty dangerous and a bit extreme, is this true? i'm a pretty experienced hiker and i think i'll try it out no matter what (not alone of course)
but any advice would be much appreciated. and i'm also looking for a topo map of the area but cannot for the life of me find one, any ideas where to get a good map???

oh, and we'll be hiking from the ground up, not taking the boat trip via canyon lake, that doesn't seem as challenging to me ;)
thank you in advance!!! anyone care to join us too?? would make a great end of the year hike!

-HH

User avatar
joebartels
Posts: 7029
Joined: Nov 20 1996 12:00 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by joebartels » Dec 02 2009 10:44 am

Did you catch the bug from reading the Holmes manuscript? VERY few books can hold my interest over a page. That's one of three I couldn't put down cover to cover, I'd put it second.
- joe

User avatar
BobP
Posts: 1608
Joined: Feb 26 2008 3:43 pm
City, State: Scottsdale, AZ

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by BobP » Dec 02 2009 10:54 am

joe bartels wrote:I'd put it second
Joe's other two favorites were written by Dr. Seuss.
http://www.blindmotivation.com
http://www.seeitourway.org
Always pronounce Egeszsegedre properly......
If you like this triplog you must be a friend of BrunoP

User avatar
JoelHazelton
Posts: 1034
Joined: Mar 22 2006 7:45 am
City, State: Phoenix, AZ
Contact:

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by JoelHazelton » Dec 02 2009 1:43 pm

http://hikearizona.com/location_g.php?L ... =15&M=1&G=

Looks like Joe's "Hells Hip Pocket Ridge" will get you close. Go to Wide World of Maps for a topo of the area.
"Arizona is the land of contrast... You can go from Minnesota to California in a matter of minutes, then have Mexican food that night." -Jack Dykinga

http://www.joelhazelton.com

User avatar
nonot
Posts: 1930
Joined: Nov 18 2005 11:52 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by nonot » Dec 03 2009 7:47 pm

If you can arrange a 4x4 that can actually make it to the TH, I'd join you.
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!

User avatar
Grasshopper
Posts: 1652
Joined: Dec 28 2006 5:06 pm
City, State: Scottsdale, AZ

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by Grasshopper » Dec 03 2009 8:22 pm

In response to nonot:

Just looking at the topo to reach "Skull Cave", driving up serious 4x4 FR401 with a capable vehicle to start at Cane Springs TH would seem to me to make better sense(with shorter daylight hours) as a rugged off-trail backpack trip for 2nt/3days? An even better approach for starting the hike would be by motor boat or kayak up the Salt River? Maybe we can get Eric(ssk44) to make a kayak trip up there for some pic.. :)
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")

User avatar
JoelHazelton
Posts: 1034
Joined: Mar 22 2006 7:45 am
City, State: Phoenix, AZ
Contact:

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by JoelHazelton » Dec 03 2009 8:29 pm

I wonder about dropping into Blue Tank Canyon midway through Joe's "Hells Hip Pocket Ridge" route, then following the canyon down? Although, it does seem to lose elevation pretty rapidly near the lower sections; there maybe some pretty tall dryfalls to navigate.
"Arizona is the land of contrast... You can go from Minnesota to California in a matter of minutes, then have Mexican food that night." -Jack Dykinga

http://www.joelhazelton.com

User avatar
Grasshopper
Posts: 1652
Joined: Dec 28 2006 5:06 pm
City, State: Scottsdale, AZ

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by Grasshopper » Dec 03 2009 8:43 pm

So, Bruce was here in Nov'06... http://hikearizona.com/TL.php?ID=11078 8)
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")

User avatar
Grasshopper
Posts: 1652
Joined: Dec 28 2006 5:06 pm
City, State: Scottsdale, AZ

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by Grasshopper » Dec 03 2009 9:04 pm

azpride wrote:Although, it does seem to lose elevation pretty rapidly near the lower sections; there maybe some pretty tall dryfalls to navigate.
Yep, I believe it does: http://hikearizona.com/phoZOOM.php?ZIP=12178
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")

User avatar
Hippy
Posts: 618
Joined: Dec 02 2009 10:08 am
City, State: Grand Canyon
Contact:

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by Hippy » Dec 03 2009 10:04 pm

hey Joe, yeah i've a whole "library" of Dutchman books and guides in my front room, my daughter randomly brought me part 1 of the holmes manuscript one day and I started reading again. so yeah, i blame Brownie! ;)

my friends and I are thinking of renting a canoe (or two or three!) and camping overnight at Canyon lake then heading out first thing sun up to Blue Tank, docking and hiking from there.
I did find one route i think its the Hell's Hip Pocket route that takes you up and in, it was calculated at 13 miles round trip!! that sounds like a lot of hard work ,rough terrain...and well, a heck of a lot of fun!
I've been google earthing the different routes and trails, i haven't gone canoe-ing in quite some time but i think it'd be fun that way i've seen some photography from the salt, its beautiful!
although, either way that part of the state is perfect.

User avatar
joebartels
Posts: 7029
Joined: Nov 20 1996 12:00 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by joebartels » Dec 04 2009 1:14 pm

Haley I hope you make it there someday, post up a triplog when you do! :)

I'm pretty sure Hells Hip Pocket Ridge is the easiest route to the cave.
Well, unless you opt for the girl scout route by a motor powered boat (sorry Bruce :lol: )

It's about 12 miles roundtrip. I wouldn't call it extreme but definitely taxing especially considering the rugged ride to access. Cutting over from the last two wheel drive accessible area is about 13 miles roundtrip. That's a much more arduous trek (tell me when you are ready Bob) that would barely be doable in a day by the mid level extremist.

If you canoe or kayak the ELEVEN miles in a day I bow!
- joe

User avatar
Hippy
Posts: 618
Joined: Dec 02 2009 10:08 am
City, State: Grand Canyon
Contact:

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by Hippy » Dec 05 2009 10:05 am

haha, my cousin said he found a route to the cave from the lake via canoe at 4 miles, i only see one way and its very very long (as you know!) we're thinking of trying that next year in the summer so at least we can enjoy a swim now and then rather then freezing our bums off!

we've decided to take HHPR trail to the cave, it will be long but in my mind its wellworth it! if anyone is interested in hiking along with us, let me know! always room for more! ;) still setting date

User avatar
nonot
Posts: 1930
Joined: Nov 18 2005 11:52 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by nonot » Dec 05 2009 2:31 pm

12 mi off trail and a long 4x4 drive would require a 2:30 AM start from the east valley to do this as a dayhike but I'm game : rambo :
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!

User avatar
joebartels
Posts: 7029
Joined: Nov 20 1996 12:00 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by joebartels » Dec 05 2009 7:41 pm

joe bartels wrote:Cutting over from the last two wheel drive accessible area is about 13 miles roundtrip. That's a much more arduous trek (tell me when you are ready Bob) that would barely be doable in a day by the mid level extremist.
It took Bob almost a FULL hour to respond :)

With even an hour pre sunrise start we didn't have enough calculated daylight to conquer. I posted a triplog and the route(not for the timid...)
- joe

User avatar
big_load
Posts: 4391
Joined: Oct 28 2003 11:20 am
City, State: Andover, NJ

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by big_load » Dec 05 2009 8:01 pm

joe bartels wrote:With even an hour pre sunrise start we didn't have enough calculated daylight to conquer.
That's always a problem this time of year. Almost every AZ trip I've done has been a race with the sun.

User avatar
PLC92084
Posts: 723
Joined: Dec 22 2009 8:46 am
City, State: Vista, CA

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by PLC92084 » Dec 28 2009 7:19 pm

I'm planning a trip mid-March if I can garner an enthusiastic partner or two (considering a solo trip as a last resort...).
Got a 4x4; planning on driving in on Hewitt Canyon Rd if it's passable. From there, park and hike in to the cave. Hoping to spend a day or two camping and exploring the area (amateur rock hound). Any information or tips to plan a successful trip would be highly appreciated. PM if anyone has an interest...

User avatar
joebartels
Posts: 7029
Joined: Nov 20 1996 12:00 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by joebartels » Dec 28 2009 7:26 pm

In response to PLC92084:
Sounds like you're headed more to Roger's Canyon with the mention of Hewitt. Skull/Skeleton caves are 30 miles and a lake away near the Four Peaks.
- joe

User avatar
Moodrets
Posts: 20
Joined: Feb 22 2009 7:58 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by Moodrets » Dec 28 2009 8:36 pm

HippyHaley wrote:haha, my cousin said he found a route to the cave from the lake via canoe at 4 miles, i only see one way and its very very long (as you know!) we're thinking of trying that next year in the summer so at least we can enjoy a swim now and then rather then freezing our bums off!

we've decided to take HHPR trail to the cave, it will be long but in my mind its wellworth it! if anyone is interested in hiking along with us, let me know! always room for more! ;) still setting date
Presumably it's too late now, but have you done this yet, OP?

User avatar
PLC92084
Posts: 723
Joined: Dec 22 2009 8:46 am
City, State: Vista, CA

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by PLC92084 » Dec 29 2009 8:35 am

In response to joe bartels:


There definitely seems to be some confusion with the location (on my part!!)... I've been going off map coordinates obtained from a survey document I located (http://members.cox.net/azpaleon/arizcaves.html). This would explain the discrepancy. Skull Cave, Brown's Cave, Skeleton Cave... Let's pin down the actual name and location and go from there! Since you've actually been there (and posted nicely detailed routes), I'd have to believe you are the authority and not I... I don't mind a good hike but 30 miles is a bit more scenery than I'd have time for on this trip!

User avatar
BobP
Posts: 1608
Joined: Feb 26 2008 3:43 pm
City, State: Scottsdale, AZ

Re: Planning a trip to Skull Cave!

Post by BobP » Dec 29 2009 9:31 am

PLC92084 wrote:There definitely seems to be some confusion with the location (on my part!!)...
Its not just your part...there is a lot of misinformation and opposing views out there. Skull Cave on topo isn't the Skull Cave(aka Skeleton Cave) Joe and I went to. Its like going to Sycamore Creek, or Sugarloaf Mountain decide which one you want to go to(like you said). If you want to go to the cave where the "Battle of Skull Cave" happened follow Joe's description and route. I saw an article that said the battle happened in 1972(instead of 1872) go figure. Volatile Places(book) lists it as 1873 and calls it Bloody Salt River Massacre.
http://www.blindmotivation.com
http://www.seeitourway.org
Always pronounce Egeszsegedre properly......
If you like this triplog you must be a friend of BrunoP

Post Reply

Return to “Backpacking”


cron