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Dutchman Lower Barks Canyon Loop, AZ
mini location map2018-02-27
17 by photographer avatarmarkthurman53
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Dutchman Lower Barks Canyon Loop, AZ 
Dutchman Lower Barks Canyon Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 27 2018
Hiking11.40 Miles 1,802 AEG
Hiking11.40 Miles   5 Hrs   59 Mns   2.42 mph
1,802 ft AEG   1 Hour   16 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
1st trip
Day two I was suppose to do the Terrapin Dutchman loop and return on the Bluff springs Trail, but due to a storm coming in and not knowing when it would arrive I opted to not travel in as far. For this hike I did the Dutchman from the Peralta Trail Head to Miners pass to Bluff Spring. Returned on the Bluff Spring Trail and took lower Barks Canyon route to the Dutchman and return to the Peralta Trail Head. Turns out the storm didn't come in until much later in the afternoon but the winds picked up quite a bit. The drive back to Tucson was quite windy and dusty especially around Casa Grand. Turned out to be a great day for hiking though, just a bit breezy on the passes.
The Dutchman trail from the Peralta Trail Head is quite a pleasant stroll. The climb up to Miners pass is gradual enough that you hardly work up a sweat. Great views of Barkley Basin and Miners Needle and some other formations that I have no clue what they are called. This is the first time seeing Miners Needle and didn't even know that was its name until I got back and was reviewing one of the maps. I did notice the window high up in the formation so I guess the name is appropriate. This trail seems to be used a lot by horses so it is well maintained and easy walking. The climb up to miners pass is steady but not overly steep and once at the pass it is a pleasant stroll down to Bluff Spring. A bit windy on the pass and with a temperature in the upper 50's it seamed a bit cold but once off the pass it was pleasant again.
Took a side trip to Bluff Spring and there was a trickle of water coming out of the pipe. Back on the Dutchman I headed to the Bluff Spring Trail. Took the Bluff Spring Trail down past the Terrapin Trail to Barks Canyon. Standing at the junction of the Bluff spring and Barks Canyon I looked at the boulders in the canyon and contemplated if I really wanted to do this alone. My options were to take this canyon or head down the Bluff Spring Trail but since I did the Bluff Spring Yesterday I decided to go down the Canyon, it would be different. Just had to go into the be more cautious mode (no site seeing while hopping). Quite an interesting route, lots of boulder hopping and route finding (try to find the best route down the creek that won't end up at a drop off). The route stays in the wash and surprisingly very navigable. There are section that the creek crosses bedrock and the going is easy but at the lower end of these easy spots are large rock jams that means you are back to boulder hopping (no real climbing involved). At the lower end of the wash there is an old mine on the east side of the creek and it is at this spot that it appears it is best to leave the creek and head down a ridge to the Dutchman Trail. I didn't do this at first but after reviewing the route on my GPS I noticed that it left the creek, I headed off east out of the creek to catch the route. I believe this is the best way because the creek gets chocked in brush and tall grass. The only water I saw in this canyon was in pools that collected on the bedrock in the creek. Glad I opted to do this stretch because while it was a bit slower it had its rewards. Once back on the Dutchman Trail I headed back to the Peralta Trail Head. Being on the Dutchman after this rock hopping adventure I felt like I was on Interstate 8 at two in the morning, clear sailing.
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