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Chuparosa Canyon - Superstitions
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mini location map2018-01-27
43 by photographer avataradilling
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Chuparosa Canyon - SuperstitionsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 27 2018
adilling
Hiking5.16 Miles 2,154 AEG
Hiking5.16 Miles
2,154 ft AEG   1 Hour   11 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Chuparosa Canyon. This cool little canyon has been on my radar for a while. I took a look down it once on my way up to 5057. I finally set aside some time and went in there today.

I followed a gps track from Grasshopper, who I believe got it from vanman. Either way, I used that track to get to the base of the canyon.

My plan was to go into and up over the canyon and go back to the trailhead via the Balancing Rock and the Hieroglyph Trail.

The trail starts along the Lost Gold Mine Trail and cuts over right when you first see the barbed wire fence of the Superstition Wilderness. There is a faint trail at the start, but I was able to get on the trail. It was surprisingly well defined. It was also a little steeper than I expected. But, it was a nice path to follow. Once you are up into the canyon, you follow the drainage up. That was well cairned (another surprise). I also came across a large group of hikers coming down. That was an even bigger surprise as I started before sunrise. I was expecting some solitude on this one. They had been up at Ermahgerd Canyon.

I followed the cairned route up to the very base of the canyon. There was a “turnoff” cairn for Ermahgerd that goes to the right. I was looking for the best way to get up to the top. There’s a really neat needle on the west side of the canyon that vanman had gone up in one of his ventures into the canyon. I opted for the longer route up on the left.

The drainage looked particularly nasty (and it was too – Cat Claw and overgrown). So, I thought I saw a clear line along the very edge in the tuft rocks. I started up and everything was going great. Steep, but not too bad. However, I did reach a point where I was basically cliff-ed out. I had a couple of rock climbing sections that reminded me of Battleship. I did not want to go back down the steep climb I just did. So, I took my time and carefully navigated the couple of sections that required a little climbing.

I eventually ended up in the drainage as the top grew closer. It was a really nasty slog to the top. Cat claw, scree on steep angles and lots and lots of cactus (I am still pulling cacti needles out of my legs hours after the hike). But, I made it to the saddle.

The steep and nasty section of the hike complete, I was on the little saddle that is part of the 5057 route. I saw cairns here and there and followed “the trail”, sorta. This area has great views of the Flatiron and 5024, and of Hieroglyph Canyon as well. AND, it was flat and NOT overgrown with catclaw…ha ha.

I made it to the Balancing Rock. It’s still holding on, but the rocks underneath that serve as the “wedge” holding it up are cracked more than I remember. We might be seeing that fall before too long.

I could hear the masses down at the pools of the Heirogylph Trail. Lots of folks out today. The weather is awesome, so I do not blame them. I got on the trail and navigated the traffic jams along the way and made it back to the trailhead.

For anyone considering this hike, my gps track took me to some scary places on the way up. If you are comfortable doing a little rock climbing, you should be ok. If not, you might want to consider taking the drainage up rather than the left side of the cliff like I did. Either way, this canyon is really cool.
_____________________
“Wilderness is not a luxury but necessity of the human spirit.” –Edward Abbey

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103 Photosets

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