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Hells Canyon Wilderness Ridgeline, AZ
mini location map2013-09-28
19 by photographer avatarBarrett
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Hells Canyon Wilderness Ridgeline, AZ 
Hells Canyon Wilderness Ridgeline, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 28 2013
Barrett
Hiking6.40 Miles 2,502 AEG
Hiking6.40 Miles   6 Hrs      1.22 mph
2,502 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Coming up from Lake Pleasant on Castle Hot Springs Road, this 1300' foot high, 1 1/2 mile long ridge is the first part of the Hells Canyon Wilderness you will see. Anchored by the 3201' north summit, it's a bumpy scramble through welded tuff to the 2904' south end.
I parked at the easy to find Castle Creek Trailhead (33.965356 N 112.343683 W), crossed the wash and signed in at the equally easy to find register (33.964420 N 112.344718 W), noticing that other than The Governors/Salvation Sauna Shindig with BobP and Denny a few weeks back, no one had signed since May.
I left the trail pretty quick, heading straight for the easy slope up the summit just south of 3201', enjoying the wind and sand sculpted tuff in the early light. From there, some rock-hopping to the high point, where I took in the panorama, including the route south. :D
For the most part, I stayed just east of the "ridge" - the strata tilts east and though the cliffs are higher on the west, a few feet back from the edge the going was pretty smooth. No real exposure, with few cholla or catclaw. The roughest spots were slopes of baseball-sized nuggets that did managed to face-plant me - fortunately no spines awaited at the bottom.
Reaching the south end, I spent about 20 minutes cliffed-out until finding a break right above a headless saguaro. I followed the drainage down to the Spring Valley Trail and headed north towards the springs.
I left the trail and followed the wash to the nameless 1st spring (33.952286 N 112.342974 W), and then on to the second, which I had been to 8 years ago from a different direction. It's under a few huge palms, and depending on the season and time of day, it can be quite nice. (33.950123 N 112.339179 W). After getting wet, I chilled a bit before heading upwash and cross country to the trail and my truck.
An adventure to be sure, but the best part would have to be the north summit, the quality of stone, size and sculpting makes for great rock-hopping fun. :GB:
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Barrett's
175 Photosets

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