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Favorite Loops? And tips?

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bpelsue
Exploring Kokopelli
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 07 2018 6:08 pm
City, State: Essex, MA

Favorite Loops? And tips?

Post by bpelsue » Feb 07 2018 6:14 pm

Hi everyone!

I am brand new here! I live in Massachusetts but will be in Arizona in March. I would like to hike one of the AZT Loop Trails while I am there. I was wondering if people had any opinions on:

1. What's an especially good loop for that time of year. I am thinking of doing the Santa Catalina, but I am open to suggestions.

2. Any tips you have for what to bring/how to prepare. I have done some distance hiking before, but never in a desert climate. It seems like water and navigation will be the two trickiest things.

I am happy to have discussion about this on here, or to talk with folks individually.

Many thanks for any suggestions you have.

Best,
Brendan

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KBKB
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Joined: Apr 22 2012 4:52 pm
City, State: Fountain Hills, AZ

Re: Favorite Loops? And tips?

Post by KBKB » Feb 07 2018 11:55 pm

Hi Brendan,

Are you looking for multi-day loops? Or long day hikes?

March is an excellent time of the year to hike in AZ, though if you're here in late March, it can start to get a bit warm in central AZ. If you pick hikes at higher elevations though, you can usually find something that's not too hot, especially in March - in fact, it's often the case that hikes at elevation at that time of year will be chilly.

With regard to water, I've been bringing at least 6 liters with me on my long day hikes. There have been a few times when I wish I would have brought more. We've had a dry winter here, so don't expect to find much water that you can filter - unless you know for certain that there are reliable springs on your route.

With regard to navigation, this site (HAZ) has excellent GPS routes for most any trail that you might want to do. If you don't already know how to use your GPS device (or phone) for navigation, you might prepare by spending some time figuring that out.

The parts of the AZT that I've done (which isn't that many) have all been really easy to navigate. The path is usually well trodden and there are some decent cairns when it's not. Don't know if it's all like that, but the parts that I've seen certainly are. It's possible that the rest of your loop (off of the AZT) will be less well defined.

Kevin

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bpelsue
Exploring Kokopelli
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 07 2018 6:08 pm
City, State: Essex, MA

Re: Favorite Loops? And tips?

Post by bpelsue » Feb 08 2018 7:05 am

@KBKB Thanks for the response! I was hoping to do a multi-day loop and camp. My biggest concern is water––would I need to cache some at road crossings? For someone coming into the state from far away, and using a rental car, that might be a difficult proposition.

I have from March 17th-22nd or so to hike.

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KBKB
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Joined: Apr 22 2012 4:52 pm
City, State: Fountain Hills, AZ

Re: Favorite Loops? And tips?

Post by KBKB » Feb 10 2018 10:45 pm

bpelsue wrote:My biggest concern is water––would I need to cache some at road crossings?
Possibly, but not necessarily...

Once you have a route in mind, find it on this site and look for waypoints which indicate springs or other water sources. You might also read triplogs for the various trails along your route to see what others have to say about water availability.

On a hike that I did last weekend in the Mazatzals, I was astonished to find water in the South Fork of Deer Creek. We haven't had much rain recently, so I would think that the water we saw was spring fed. Anyway... if you choose your route carefully, you may well be able to do it without caching any water.
Last edited by KBKB on Feb 10 2018 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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sandyfortner
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Joined: Mar 16 2009 9:24 am
City, State: apache junction, AZ

Re: Favorite Loops? And tips?

Post by sandyfortner » Feb 11 2018 4:47 am

So the trail really doesn't have any loops since it's a continuous trail from border to border, but there are options out there to use the trail for part of your loop and then use another adjoining trail to get yourself back to your starting point. 2 "loops" that would be all Arizona Trail are the 2 bypasses. In the Santa Catalinas you can use the main trail which takes you past Hutches Pool - reliable water - through Wilderness of Rocks up to Marshall Gulch - reliable water and then you could take the bypass back to the start. On the bypass you will come to road periodically where you can access water/bathrooms and maybe even campgrounds. Best to check on what is open in March. This loop can be done clockwise or reversed and would have water. About 40 miles and change with some definite elevation changes. The other loop is in Flagstaff. March can be tricky up there, as well in the Catalinas. Definitely will be cold at night, but snow, at least so far this year, is not an issue and may be fine in March. In Flag you could take a much shorter loop by taking the main trail up through Sandy Seep to Schultz Pass and then take the urban bypass down through Buffalo Park. This would be an overnighter trip and you could get water at Schultz Pass. You could also do a loop in the Superstitions using part of the AZT around Rogers Trough and then using any number of other trails to get yourself back to your starting point. Supes won't have snow in March and there's some water out there, but the dry winter will definitely take its toll. Other options on the AZT are out and back or straight through a couple passages and shuttle.
:M2C: Goldilocks

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