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Red Tanks Coffee Flat Loop, AZ
mini location map2018-11-08
27 by photographer avatarmarkthurman53
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Red Tanks Coffee Flat Loop, AZ 
Red Tanks Coffee Flat Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 08 2018
Hiking20.15 Miles 3,149 AEG
Hiking20.15 Miles   10 Hrs   15 Mns   2.42 mph
3,149 ft AEG   1 Hour   56 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
1st trip
I had time for a one day hike in the Superstitions and opted to do the Red Tanks, Coffee Flat Loop in the clockwise direction. This time I drove up to Apache Junction very early in the morning and headed back to Tucson that evening rather than do the usual stay in Apache Junction for a multiple day hikes. This hike was about 20 miles and I was concerned whether I could do it with the shorter days so it required starting before sunrise. On the up side, it is very satisfying being on the trail and watching the sun rise. The temps were in the low 50’s at the start, perfect for hiking so there was no need to be freezing chanting “come on sun”.

I started out from the Peralta Trail Head at about 0630 on the Dutchman Trail. Beautiful walk through Barkley Basin as the sun was rising. The desert was very green and the ocotillos were green with leaves thanks to the tropical storm in October. Made it to Miners Needle fairly quickly and headed up Miners canyon to the Whiskey Springs Trail. That rock formation just east of Minors Needle at the head of Miners canyon is quite interesting but I cannot find a name for it anywhere, surely someone has given it a name, probably even climbed it. The Dutchman Trail is in excellent condition as it gets plenty of use. The trail does such a nice job of climbing to the saddle near Miners Summit that you hardly notice that you just ascended about 700 feet.

At the Saddle near Miners Summit the Whiskey Spring Trail heads east for about 2 miles to the Red Tanks Trail. This trail is generally downhill most of the way to where it ends in La Barge Canyon. Didn’t notice any water in Whiskey Spring Canyon but by the looks of the large sycamore at Whiskey Spring there may have been water there. I didn’t check it out as I was concerned about finishing this hike before sunset. The Whiskey Spring Trail is in Good condition all the way to its terminus at La Barge Creek and the Red Tanks Trail.

The Red Tanks Trail Heads east up upper La Barge Box Canyon past the Hoolie Bacon Trail and up and over the Red Tanks Divide. From the divide there are views to the north of the upper La Barge Canyon and to the south Red Tanks, Randolph and Fraser Canyons. The Red Tanks Trail coming from the north is a gradual climb to the divide but a little steep and rocky on the descent in to Red Tanks Canyon. There were no issues staying on trail, I thought it was pretty well defined and cairns marked places where it crosses a creek. I Ran in to two hikers, the only ones of the day, near the Hoolie Bacon Trail. They were doing the same hike but in two days and camped in Upper La Barge Canyon.

The Coffee Flat Trail starts and the Red Tanks Trail ends at the junction of Randolph and Fraser Canyon. The rock is a reddish color and pools of water that form in and around these rocks probably are what give the Red Tanks Trail and canyon it’s name. The Coffee Flat Trail is well marked in most places and easy to follow. It follows Randolph Canyon as it heads west and heads up over a small rise to Coffee Flat where Randolph Creek starts to head to the southwest. Watch for this change of direction of the trail because I missed it and continued on down Randolph to Whitlow Canyon where I discovered I was off trail. I really need to check my GPS more often (I say this every time I get off trail; I guess old dogs don’t learn new tricks). The old topo maps show this trail and it continues down toward Whitlow Ranch to the south. After checking my GPS I opted to continue on up whitlow Canyon until I connected back up with the Coffee Flat Trail. Overall the Coffee Flat Trail is well defined all the way to the Dutchman Trail, just watch for the cairns when in the creek bed.

Great hike. Completed the hike in about 8 hours with about 2 hours stopped or resting. got back to the Peralta Trail Head just before sunset. The gallon of water I brought was plenty but I did fill my canteen cup up from one of the pools when I took a break at the Randolph - Fraser Canyon Junction. The water was much cooler than what I was carrying. Always have to give your immune system something to work on otherwise it forgets what it is there for; especially in our so sterile everyday environment (This is just a comment not advice).

My scale at home broke a record when I weighed myself at home. I have never seen it below 170 before but when I weighed in after this hike it was 169. I brought lots of high calorie snacks with me on this hike because when it says I could burn 3500 calories on this hike I knew the usual 500 to 1000 calories wasn't going to cut it. The next morning I was back up to 171 and I assume I will gain a couple more as I re hydrate over the next day or so.
Named place
Named place
Cathedral Rock - Superstitions

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Fraser Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

dry Randolph Canyon Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Red Tanks Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Upper LaBarge Box Canyon Light flow Light flow
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