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Devil's Chasm
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mini location map2016-04-23
56 by photographer avatarddgrunning
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Devil's ChasmGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 23 2016
ddgrunning
Hiking5.22 Miles 3,246 AEG
Hiking5.22 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   1.34 mph
3,246 ft AEG   2 Hrs   37 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Checked this one off my wish list as a daddy-daughter overnight trip with my 16 year old, and only left with a firm desire to get back again soon (as well as to visit the other ruins in next canyons over)!

We headed out from Gilbert around 3 pm and set up camp at a sweet spot just past the first crossing of Cherry Creek (with the concrete pour-over)--at 12 miles in on FR203 (side note: FR203 actually has mile markers along the road). Thanks @outdoor_lover for the awesome suggestion! Used some rope to set up a rope swing and then explored the creek for awhile before the sun went down.

After dinner and s'mores, we enjoyed the campfire until the full moon began to rise. Watched it crest over the horizon to the sillohuettes of a couple of saguaros. Wow. What a sight! :) See photoset for my unsuccessful attempt capture the beauty.

Temps were perfect for a great night under the full moon.

Awoke around 6am, ate some breakfast, cleaned up camp, and headed the last 10 miles to the TH. The second crossing of Cherry Creek was a non-event, given the relatively low flow. The 2WD Suburban managed the last 2 miles beyond Ellison Ranch just fine. We took it slow and managed to get in and out with all four tires intact (floor jack remained safely stowed in the trunk).

At the TH there are probably at least 3 spots that could accommodate camping groups. Only one was taken. (I liked our campsite on Cherry Creek better, FWIW.) Spoke to the gentlemen camping at the TH. He was not a hiker, and said he had not been to the ruins in years. He warned us of the difficulty of the hike and wished us luck.

The solo camper was the last person we saw the rest of the hike. Had the canyon entirely to ourselves! :y:

The hike lived up to its billing as packing a real punch in just a small number of miles--both in terms of challenge as well as beauty. We found our gloves and hiking poles to be great assets for much of the scrambling required up and down steep, loose slopes of the canyon walls.

A few notes on the trail:
1. The "official route" shows the hike beginning a good 0.2 mi. before you get to the actual trailhead.
2. At 0.4 mi. there is a somewhat tricky juncture where the trail drops from the left side of the creek and suggests continuing by crossing over to the right side, just where the canyon forks (as seen on the topo map). We actually did cross over but I could see from Route Scout that we needed to stay to the left. We eventually made it back over to the left and re-connected with the trail. On the return, we figured out that the trail actually switches back and up (staying on the left side of the creek), and goes up and over a large outcropping. Either way, the key is NOT to get suckered into veering off into the north fork ....
3. The rope at the big chockstone is intact and in decent shape, but I think for most folks it's not really needed.
4. The rope on the waterfall has a spot where some fraying is beginning (see photo). It's still serviceable for its purpose for the time being. But, I tried the "steps" bypass on the right of the waterfall, which was remarkably easy and required no ropes or undue exposure, and would definitely be my preferred route when there is a strong flow over the falls.
5. Just above the waterfall is another cascade with a pool at the base that is at least 7 feet deep. We dubbed it "the Jacuzzi."
6. Shortly after the falls section the trail goes along the right side of the creekbed for a short distance before crossing back over the left. We could see where folks were suckered to stay on the right side and turn up too early in search of the ruins.
7. The final crossing to the right side of the creek is marked by two huge boulders on the right side of the creek. On the way up, we turned up at the first of the two boulders. This worked out okay, but involved a little extra bushwhacking. On the return, we realized that we should have passed the first boulder and turned up at the second one.
8. The final climb is just as several triplogs describe: steep and slippery. The ruins do not come into view until you are almost right beneath them (see waypoint marker on my route where we first spied the ruins). I took a couple of photos where we turned off on the return to visit the lower ruins, which are just below and to the east of the main structure.
9. We kept looking for the cave that some have described, but did not locate it. We didn't have a lot of intel to go on, other than a vague reference that it's up on the left (south) as you ascend about half way up. Much of the south wall was covered in foliage, so perhaps it was not visible. Or, perhaps our information was not accurate. Either way, just one more reason to go back to this special place.

Awesome trip and good one-on-one, "unplugged" time with my teenager! :y:
Fauna
Fauna
Canyon Tree Frog
Named place
Named place
Devils Chasm - Main South Fork
Meteorology
Meteorology
Moon
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