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Pine Canyon - Deep Pools Loop, AZ
mini location map2020-04-25
9 by photographer avatarmikemcg
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Pine Canyon - Deep Pools Loop, AZ 
Pine Canyon - Deep Pools Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 25 2020
Hiking8.26 Miles 2,193 AEG
Hiking8.26 Miles   7 Hrs   28 Mns   1.56 mph
2,193 ft AEG   2 Hrs   11 Mns Break
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Since the temperature was expected to hit 100° in Phoenix this weekend, we drove up to the Rim to check out the Deep Pools route.

We parked at the Cinch Hook trailhead around 1130, and the only other vehicle was one RV parked further down FR 6038. The Pine Canyon trail was perfect. The temp was about 72° when we started and about 84° at the bottom of the canyon. We enjoyed unique views at every overlook.

Toward the bottom of the switchbacks, we met a friendly couple who warned us about a large black rattlesnake further ahead on the trail, which we never saw. They were the only people we encountered on the trail all day.

The creek had moderate flow, and was very pleasant. At the Darling Rocks sign, we left the Pine Canyon trail and headed upstream on the east side of the creek. It was an easy, well-maintained trail up to the Darling Rocks Memorial. Beyond that it was slightly overgrown, with short bamboo stalks on the trail (1-2 feet high), some overhanging branches, and occasional thorns. However, the trail is easily identifiable almost the entire way, is marked by red metal flags (and sometimes faded pink ribbons), and follows the creek faithfully (with multiple crossings). The melody of the birds, the murmuring of the creek, and the smell of the pines (as well as the occasional smell of mint plants) made this a very relaxing, enjoyable trek. There were a few cheerful cascades along the way.

Eventually the trail turns north and begins climbing out of the canyon along a tributary, still marked by red flags, while the creek proceeds east. We were disappointed that we had not seen any deep pools, but continued along the trail to complete the loop. It was easy climbing, with a few strategically placed fallen trees to make it interesting. There was no water at this point, but it is likely flowing during March. There was one rock wall that looked like it would make a great waterfall if it had any water. Eventually we came across a series of waterfalls and "deep pools". The tallest waterfall was approximately 15 feet, while the deepest pool was 3 feet max, and maybe 15 feet long by 4-5 feet wide. The water was clear, cold, and refreshing. We stopped to enjoy this area, then proceeded to the top of the Rim and along an old forest road to complete the loop.

There was one large white plastic tarp caught on a tree branch at the edge of the creek that we removed. No other trash was seen.

On the way home, a moderate size black bear loped across the road right in front of our vehicle on 87 between Pine and Payson. I've lived in bear country intermittently for over 35 years and have never seen a bear run in front of a vehicle before.

Thanks to @The_Eagle for exploring and posting this route.
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Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Parsnip Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
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