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Arizona Canal - 56th to Scottsdale Rd, AZ
mini location map2014-04-13
11 by photographer avatarblack_toes
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Arizona Canal - 56th to Scottsdale Rd, AZ 
Arizona Canal - 56th to Scottsdale Rd, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 13 2014
black_toes
Hiking5.04 Miles
Hiking5.04 Miles   2 Hrs   16 Mns   2.77 mph
      27 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
One of the more interesting segments of this canal. MJ and I walked E from 56th and back along the more developed S bank in late afternoon. Wind was up causing rough water but the few waterfowl we saw seemed to weather it well. Even a Mallard mama and her six ducklings were handling it OK.

SRP says the distance is 2.39 mi to Scottsdale Rd near the Fifth Avenue Shops in downtown Scottsdale. We ended up walking about a quartermile more without major diversions. Parked at Arcadia Park on SW corner of 56th and Indian School, then walked across two busy streets to get started on the canal. Coming from the E, Herberger Park is a better option to leave the car. From the W, you'll have to do a U-turn at some point to get to Herberger because of the median.

Arizona Falls, once a natural 20-foot drop and now, since 2003, a dam with a modern structure, sets just above Herberger and about 1/10 mi E of 56th. It is no Grand Coulee but worth a look-see. Has a dance floor as well but saw no activity there. Said to be a "gathering spot" for the Arcadia Neighborhood.

It is along this segment of course, around 60th St, that you cross over into Scottsdale from Phoenix. Here, the canal bank changes significantly. From dirt and natural setting, to concrete path with manicured shrubs, night lighting and fancy railing. It was enlightening to see how two connected cities deal differently with the canal. For Phoenix, it's just there, a canal and nothing else. For Scottsdale it's an attraction, although we saw only a few walkers and bikers along the way.

About 6/10 of a mile out we passed the beginning of the Crosscut Canal which diverts water from the Arizona to another hydroelectric plant far to the S nr Papago Park and then provides water to its poor sister, the Grand Canal. I completed the Crosscut a few months ago.

Scottsdale has made a "wonderland" of the Arizona Canal as it crosses downtown on a NE angle nr Camelback Rd. New luxury condos rise on both sides, interspersed with lively restaurants and patrons dining outside overlooking the canal. Lots of pedestrians in here, up to the Paolo Soleri sculpture and bridge at Scottsdale Rd. While I like the more natural areas of the world, this was certainly an entertaining change of pace for my hiking.
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