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Cave Trail Bark's Canyon Loop, AZ
mini location map2018-03-23
23 by photographer avatarmarkthurman53
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Cave Trail Bark's Canyon Loop, AZ 
Cave Trail Bark's Canyon Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 23 2018
Hiking6.90 Miles 1,922 AEG
Hiking6.90 Miles   5 Hrs   3 Mns   1.99 mph
1,922 ft AEG   1 Hour   35 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
1st trip
Partners none no partners
On my second day of hiking I opted to keep it short since it was Friday and I had to head back to Tucson. I wanted to do the Cave Trail and Bark’s Upper Canyon Trail and this seemed to fit in nicely at about 7 miles round trip. Once again got the systems up and running with the Bluff Spring Trail. At about 20 minutes in along this trail is the turn off for the Cave Trail. This is a fairly easy route to follow if you just look for the cairns. Great views over Peralta and Bark’s Canyon. Now after saying it was an easy trail to follow I have to say I did get lost. Between Cathedral Rock and the Fortress the trail drops into a small valley, My GPS said the trail stays on the Peralta Canyon side of the Fortress but the rock cairns led me on the Bark’s Canyon side. This marked route takes you to a cave (enclave) on the northeast side of the fortress where the cairns stop, leaving you to figure out how to get back to the main “trail”. I continued north of the cave at the same elevation or rock ledge until I was pinched off by a rather scary looking cliff. I was able to climb up to the rock level just above and onto a flat section that led me back to the route I was supposed to be on. The climb up was not difficult or dangerous it just didn’t resemble hiking. There were more rock cairns on this section so I must of lost them somewhere near the cave. The rest of the route to Fremont Saddle was fairly straight forward. I should have trusted my GPS when it said stay to the west of the Fortress but I was following the cairns. I must have missed an important cairn somewhere in that little valley between Cathedral Rock and the Fortress. Also should have paid closer attention to the right up on the Cave trail on the HAZ website. Oh well live and learn, you would think at my age there would be no more lessons to learn.
Once at the Fremont Saddle I continued down the Peralta trail to catch the trail to the Weavers Needle overlook, quite a nice little spot and excellent photo opportunity. From the overview I headed down the Bark’s Canyon Trail. This route is easy to follow and in better condition than I was expecting. The only trick to this route is to watch far cairns; it is very well marked by the cairns. If you aren’t seeing a cairn or you come to a cliff or impassable object you are off trail. If you ever played Finding Waldo you will do good on this trail, the object is to find the cairn before you go forward.
This is probably the most interesting trail I have been on so far in the Superstitions, Rock Hoodoos and views at every point along the trail. Between watching your footing and looking for cairns and stopping to admire the views it is slow going. Don’t try to do two or more of these things at the same time. I will have to try the cave trail again from Fremont Saddle to see Geronimo Cave and check out the section of trail I missed. I did see some Hedge Hogs and ocotillos in bloom, but overall pretty lame spring showing of flowers though because of the dry year.
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