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Tunnel Spring Cyn / Towhee Loop, AZ
mini location map2017-01-15
15 by photographer avatarchumley
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Tunnel Spring Cyn / Towhee Loop, AZ 
Tunnel Spring Cyn / Towhee Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 15 2017
chumley
Hiking10.85 Miles 1,930 AEG
Hiking10.85 Miles   5 Hrs   33 Mns   2.30 mph
1,930 ft AEG      50 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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I've been eyeing the northern Kofa for a while now, wanting to get out of starting from Kofa Queen Canyon. The High Tank Nine area looked good and I was able to pencil in a loop using Tunnel Mine Canyon, a little bit of Burro Canyon road walking and the rugged, narrow, Towhee Canyon (we made that name up -- as with many features out here, there are no names on the map).

The wide canyon bottoms are easy to traverse. We were happy to find good trail in the drainage south of High Tank Six, between Tunnel Mine Spring and the road east of De La Osa Well, from Burro Canyon to High Tank Seven, and a reasonable route on the bypass from Towhee Tank to the opening of the canyon. The rest was relatively open with plenty of dodging prickly things.

Despite the storms over the weekend elsewhere, it did not rain in the Kofa. There was plenty of water in the bedrock canyons however. Normal rainfall in December is 0.5-1" and December 2016 received 1-2" by radar estimates, so it may be wetter this year than others. The last rain was two weeks prior, on January 1 with approximately half an inch. Spring wildflowers here may be good this year.

dry Burro Canyon Dry Dry
Sandy and dry. No bedrock to hold water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Cripple Tank 76-100% full 76-100% full
Not developed. Just a pothole under the falls in bedrock. Almost full. Other pools in bedrock along drainage had water too.

dry High Tank Nine Dry Dry
Small concrete dam filled in with sand and sandy below it too. But plenty of pools in bedrock up and downstream.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 High Tank Seven 76-100% full 76-100% full
Clear and cold.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 High Tank Six 76-100% full 76-100% full
Not quite running over the falls, but almost totally full. Hadn't rained in over a week. Pools in drainage above it too.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Towhee Tank 76-100% full 76-100% full
Not flowing, but pools in every pot along the way down canyon. Only the very top pool is accessible without technical gear.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Tunnel Spring Dripping Dripping
Full springbox. Clear and cold. I think this one is reliable all year!

dry Tunnel Spring Canyon Dry Dry
Sandy and dry. No bedrock to hold water.
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