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South Bass TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Apr 06 2018
Backpack22.28 Miles 7,726 AEG
Backpack22.28 Miles3 Days         
7,726 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Spent nice relaxing weekend in South Bass Canyon and great change from our more normal itinerary. This trip was all about relaxing, long breaks, and low miles. We arrived at the trail head to find it almost completely full. Several people were just finishing their South Bass-Packraft-North Bass canyon transit so I talked to them for awhile getting interesting details from their trip. They mentioned there were quite a few others on the trail and after starting we passed at least a dozen people in the first ½ mile heading up as we descended the trail. Fortunately, they were all heading up so we had the trail to ourselves the rest of the day.

Reaching the Esplanade, we dropped backpacks and grabbed our day packs for a side trip up Huethawali summit. It’s off trail but marked by cairns on the trickiest part of the summit making it fairly easy to follow the standard route. Took about 1 hour to reach the top and we took a long break reading the register (put there by @Chumley) and also enjoyed a summit brew. After the break we headed back down and resumed backpacking down South Bass Trail.

We dropped down below the Supai, then Redwall and eventually crossed the Tonto. We looked for water near the Tonto junction and only found one very small algae filled pothole. So the new goal was to continue on to Bass Tanks which is about 1 mile down canyon from the Tonto Junction. Sure enough we found good water and several pools in the area. There are also decent areas for camp setup and this would be home for 2 nights. Pleasant evening with some surprise sprinkles but it never amounted to anything and was able to leave the rain fly off for the night.

The goal day 2 was to day hike down South Bass Canyon to Bass Beach and Boat Beach at the Colorado. Total hike mileage was maybe 6 or 7 miles so this was a very leisurely day. First up we visited Bass Beach which is also the spot were pack rafters usually cross the Colorado to reach North Bass Trail on the north side. It’s a small beach but nice and we spent about 30 minutes testing our cold tolerance in the Colorado. After the break we headed over to Boat Beach about 1 mile away and it’s much larger than Bass Beach. When we arrived, the beach was unoccupied, so we had plenty of peace and quiet. We stayed for about 3 hours taking several swims in the frigid Colorado and enjoying beverages and snacks :D . Truly relaxing beach visit but finally packed up and headed out. However, shortly after leaving the beach we passed 2 groups with 11 hikers headed for the beach. Whew! Chatted for a bit and then continued on the trail. On the way back it was a bit warm and still fairly early so we grabbed our camp chairs and sat under a pour off near a seep.

Back at camp making dinner it was close to dark when 3 park rangers showed up coming down the Tonto Short Cut which connects Bass Tanks to Tonto West. They had hiked the Royal Arch Route and were on day 4 of the loop. They checked our permit before asking about the water so we showed them the pool selection. Surprised to see rangers out in these parts but they said they were on a patrol hike and get out more during the high season of spring. They camped close by and it was an otherwise quiet night and again we dodged the rain and had a rain fly free night!
Next morning, we headed up South Bass leap frogging the rangers a few times. Great trip and on the rim by noon!
Named place
Named place
Bass Rapids

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bass Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
a few very small pools
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