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Old Smokey - Tunnel Spring Loop, AZ
mini location map2016-11-16
5 by photographer avatarJuanJaimeiii
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Old Smokey - Tunnel Spring Loop, AZ 
Old Smokey - Tunnel Spring Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 16 2016
JuanJaimeiii
Hiking12.65 Miles 3,556 AEG
Hiking12.65 Miles   7 Hrs   28 Mns   1.86 mph
3,556 ft AEG      39 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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joebartels
Several years ago I did Palm Canyon in the Kofa's on my way to do Cactus to Clouds. That was my last and only visit to this unique and intriguing Mountain Range. The rock formations are rugged and visually stunning.

The drive in is smooth on the main road and then rocky and rough on the Queen Canyon Road. It can be navigated just fine with a high clearance vehicle but be prepared to be rattled by the end of the 8.6 mile road.

The highlights of this off trail loop are Old Smokey and Tunnel Spring. Old Smokey really delivers with a fun scramble at the end and amazing views in all directions. I'm not one to spend much time on a summit but I could have easily spent a half hour on this one. As it was we were probably up there 20 minutes while I read off the old entries in the register. The register is intriguing since the posts date back to 1980. The last recorded visit was by Chumley and Joe in March.

After Old Smokey it was a seemingly long off trail trek across this rugged range and then Boom, there it was! Tunnel Spring which is one of the coolest things I have encountered on a hike. This would be extremely hard to describe and do it justice. It's a huge cavern in the side of a massive rock that has a spring inside and water trickling out. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal but it is! It is super cool and it was evident that the Big Horn Sheep think so too.

From tunnel spring it's more off trail hiking over the easily traveled range back to your starting point. I wouldn't attempt this one in the summer unless you started really early and took a ton of water. Best done on a cooler day.

From my home this was over a three hours drive. Totally worth it!
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