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Miles TH to Rogers Canyon, AZ
mini location map2018-12-07
19 by photographer avatarbretinthewild
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Miles TH to Rogers Canyon, AZ 
Miles TH to Rogers Canyon, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Dec 07 2018
bretinthewild
Backpack35.00 Miles
Backpack35.00 Miles3 Days         
 no routes
1st trip
Made the best out of a couple unfortunate situations this weekend. Our original plan called for a big loop from Miles TH to Angel Basin on Friday (via West Pinto), then up to Reavis Ranch on Saturday (via Frog Tanks) and back to Miles TH on Sunday (via Fire Line and Campaign).

However, with all the rain Thursday night, on Friday morning my 2WD Hyundai Tucson SUV could not scale the initial muddy and slick ascent up the primitive road section of the 287A -- the part that starts just beyond the bridge. After a few minutes struggling with the mud, we decided to reverse and park next to a hunting camp, where we resigned to hike the road in the rest of the way and figure out a new plan.

Nearly 6 miles of uphill road hiking later, we caught a ride in the back of a pickup with a couple coues deer hunters for the last mile or so downhill, to their camp at the ranch.

From Miles TH, we continued on for about 5-6 miles up the West Pinto Creek trail. Lots of water in the creek, even flowing in some sections. The trees have largely dropped their leaves, which provided a nice mat to hike on, and some were still hanging on in the canopy. Lots of catclaw all along this trail that would get us all weekend, even with long pants and sleeves.

After passing connections to Cuff Button, Campaign and Spencer trails, the West Pinto trail heads up the canyon, giving you amazing views of the creek, trees and surrounding mountains. Because of the way the trail tends to take you above the creek, there are not many campsites to be found after the first couple miles. We finally made camp as the trail dropped down by the creek near Crockett Spring, where we found a spot big enough for our tent and an old fire ring. There, we ate dinner, failed to light a fire, and went to bed early.

On Saturday we decided that a loop was no longer an option. Instead, we would hang our heavy packs and do an out-and-back hike with day packs, returning that afternoon. Our goal was to see the ruins in Rogers Canyon, about 7 miles each way.

The West Pinto trail climbs and climbs until you reach the saddle of Iron Mountain. The trail goes from the creek and then almost straight uphill on one of the canyon spines, where eventually it becomes a highway through a thick forest of manzanita. We saw bear and mountain lion scat everywhere, as well as some tracks, but saw neither animal. There was a pool of water in Iron Mountain spring, which was barely flowing and full of leaves. Besides our campsite, we saw one other spot down by the creek where you could camp in this section, just before the climb begins. But otherwise it was pretty slim picking for campsites. We also did not see any other people in the West Pinto side of the canyon the entire weekend.

Up and over Iron Mountain, you get a nice view of some of the West Supes, and it drops you down pretty quickly to Rogers Trough TH. From there we took Reavis Trail and then Rogers Canyon Trail -- and hey, here are all the campsites! Haha. We made it to Rogers Spring, where we searched for the ruins for a little while, but with no luck and time running out we turned back around. I realized later we had to go further down toward Angel Basin to find them. For another time!

We made our 14 mile day hike back to camp in about 6 hours, and then grabbed our heavy packs and hiked another 3 miles back toward the trailhead to give ourselves a headstart on Sunday. We were hopeful maybe we could hitch a ride with someone on the road the next day but we couldn't be sure. We camped near the junction of West Pinto and Cuff Button trails, a nice open spot with lots of nice clear deep pools in the creek. We got a fire going and enjoyed the stars.

Sunday we woke up to frost, trudged out and hiked the road all the way back to the car, about 9 miles in all. Only saw a couple trucks on the road and neither were going our way.

The roads were way better driving out after a couple dry days with clear sunny skies. Maybe in those conditions my car would actually make it to Miles, but as of right now I think I'm going to give it a minute before I get back over that way. Definitely glad we did, though.
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