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Devils Chasm N Fork Meander, AZ
mini location map2016-03-20
11 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Devils Chasm N Fork Meander, AZ 
Devils Chasm N Fork Meander, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 20 2016
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking3.60 Miles 1,192 AEG
Hiking3.60 Miles   5 Hrs   43 Mns   0.63 mph
1,192 ft AEG12 LBS Pack
 
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This started out being a hike up the north fork of Devils Chasm to look for some cliff dwellings reported in Lange's "Echoes in the Canyons....". The well known Devils Chasm cliff dwelling is in the south fork. First a word about some confusion Hank and I had about the actual name of the north fork. I could find no maps that actually call it the north fork Devils Chasm. I did find an old map in Haury's 1934 archaeology report on cliff dwellings in the SA that named the south fork "Dripping Spring Canyon" and the north fork "Devils Chasm". Lange's "Echoes in the Canyons..." published in 2006 refers to a south and north fork of Devils Chasm so those are the names I'm going with.

It was a beautiful morning and we stopped several times for sight seeing on the drive down FR203 from Camp GH. Being a weekday the usual crowds at the trailhead campsite and on the trail were gone. We would hear some people hiking up the trail later in the day but never actually saw anyone. Upon reaching the fork in the canyon I took one look at the dense growth of trees and brush in the north fork and talked Hank into taking a well worn trail which went up the side of the canyon on the north side, "just to get a better look at our proposed route up the canyon". ;) I am not a fan of bushwhacking up the bottom of canyons or dry washes and will avoid it when ever possible. As we ascended the side of the canyon the view up the north fork opened up showing a narrows where the cliff sides of the canyon formed a slot about a half mile up the canyon. With visions of impassable vertical pour offs and a boulder choked slot canyon in my head, I opted to continue following this well worn path. It must go somewhere of interest. We would later conclude, based on shod horse hoof prints, that it was a ranching access trail to an unnamed canyon between the north fork of Devils Chasm and Cold Spring Canyon.

The trail we were following disappeared after reaching the mouth of the unnamed canyon. We were running out of time so decided to climb to the top of a low peak in the center of this canyon to get a look at the north side cliffs for cliff dwellings. After some scrambling through breaks in the cliff sided peak we reached the top where we were treated with good views. Unfortunately a hill blocked our view of the north side of the canyon preventing us from scanning that side for cliff dwellings. While checking our position on the gps I discovered that the Garmin map showed a road ending within 100 yds of our location. This road is not shown on any of the HAZ topo map overlays. Further research on Google Earth after returning home indicates this is the old overgrown road used for the hiking trail into the Cold Spring cliff dwelling and also the start of the trail into the Pueblo Canyon ruins. This old mining road crosses over the ridge on the south side of Cold Spring Canyon and ends in the unnamed canyon - perhaps a good route for future explorations. :)

Although disappointed that we had not reached our original destination, the N. Fork cliff dwelling ruins, we were rewarded with some great views and discovering an unnamed canyon with future opportunities for finding cliff dwellings. Hank recently pointed out that the peak we ascended before turning around is shown as Peak 4333 on HAZ topo map overlays. So it was also a successful peak climb.
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