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Bass Canyon - Hot Springs Loop
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mini location map2012-03-11
45 by photographer avatarRedRoxx44
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Bass Canyon - Hot Springs LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 11 2012
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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What a pretty canyon! Often I have driven the road from Muleshoe Ranch toward Jackson cabin for forays into the Galiuros and Redfield canyon wilderness. After the water crossing you climb on the road into a rounded area of mudstone type rock. The area is reminiscent of a slice of southern utah for me. I have looked out at the canyon as it winds its' way thru the mudstone domes with the green canopy and wondered what it was like.
I was distracted driving in looking at the Winchesters and figuring out access for that. Glad I was not dissuaded. I parked on the public land just after leaving the Nature Conservancy boundary and walked over some short rolling rock humps and was immediately pleased to see I was cliffed out with the stream bed some 30 feet below me.
Traverse and down. Quite a bit of water in here. The spring driving this must be incredible. Lots of leaf litter etc so it was hard at times to find the edges of the little stream. Some of pools were at least waist deep and had some small fish. Low flows had carpets of green on them. A few times I stepped on "rafts"--- it looked solid but wasn't. You might as well give up and have wet feet if you stay in the bottom.
Down canyon Bass feeds into the Hot Springs canyon which is nice in its' own right. I was going upcanyon. Flood waters have gullied out the bottom in spots and it was eerie seeing the many tree roots and grapevines hanging over and at times making little hiding places.
Some of the trees are absolutely huge. No trails but game trails. Where you see them it is interesting to follow. Up onto banks where grasses grow and it pleads to lay down and relax in the soft understory. Places where the leaf litter from the sycamores almost knee deep. Runoff chutes from the domes of rock have neat narrows and surprising fun scrambles. What goes up must go down tho and when I would try to get down there was that 20-30 foot bank again. One time I could not resist. The bank was not high and there were some big grapevines that had broken loose from their soil anchor. Swing out sweet chariot!! What fun!
I was not making time. So many things to see and nooks and crannies to get into. A big alcove that promised a wonderful camp. A small overhang that was now a bird nursery but has old smoke stained walls and a mano and metate there. Some worked rock. No pottery but I didn't look much. It seemed strange why they were here as this far up no water flowed. I walk around the corner and sure enough, bedrock bottom and a small persistent seep. This was after a fork, when I went back to check out the other fork nearby the next surprise presented itself.
Soon the main way was wide and uninteresting except for some weird bright colored chalky rock shot thru with crude calcite crystals. Minimal facets and chunky but cool. Nearby was a prospectors hole. The rock looked blue under headlamp but when I brought a piece out in the sunlight I was not impressed.
Back to the fork, immediately it became rock bottomed with some tiny carved out narrows. Fun and easy with a little sidehilling with grippy shoes to bypass. A fair amount of relatively clean water, considering it had not rained in so long.

I returned the same way going up a couple more little side diversions. If one had time and could camp no doubt this is a great place to just look around, explore, and let your imagination do the rest.
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