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Mormon Canyon Pole Bridge Loop, AZ
mini location map2020-07-20
27 by photographer avatarmarkthurman53
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Mormon Canyon Pole Bridge Loop, AZ 
Mormon Canyon Pole Bridge Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 20 2020
Hiking13.13 Miles 3,591 AEG
Hiking13.13 Miles   8 Hrs   14 Mns   2.24 mph
3,591 ft AEG   2 Hrs   23 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
1st trip
I planned a two day trip to the Chiricahua Mountains This time to do the Mormon Canyon, Pole Bridge Trail Loop. Originally I was going to go up Pole Bridge and come down Mormon Canyon but after giving it some thought I reversed it. I didn't want to come down Mormon Canyon if it decided to rain, Might be a little difficult. After completing the hike without any rain I still think the way I did it was best. The Pole Bridge Trail is a brutal down hill trek. I don't think I would want to go up it. Of coarse I say that because I did the Pole bridge at the end of the day when I was pretty beat. The Mormon Trail was no cake walk, it is a relentless uphill that took about 2 hours. Once at Mormon Saddle the Mormon Ridge Trail to the crest trail is fairly easy. Luckily the temps were in the 70's and I had a light cloud cover. When I read the guild for this trail I expected to do some route finding but the trail was quite visible, I don't think I even lost it once. Some dead fall along the trail especially toward the saddle where the trees across the trail looked like pick up sticks. Reminded me of boot camp running the obstacle coarse. If there had been a bear riding my rear it would of been just like boot camp. Overall a good trail and guaranteed to give you a workout.

The Mormon Ridge Trail to the crest Trail 270B is in good shape only a couple trees across the trail. Fairly easy grade. Great views along this section.

The Crest Trail to Monte Vista Peak is in good shape only a couple places is it overgrown with grasses but it is kind of intuitive where its going. Nice views to the right and left of the trail down the canyons. Fairly level trail but there are some peaks to go over or skirt around that will mean ascending or descending a couple hundred feet. This trail overall is quite scenic and no matter how you got up here it seems like a well deserved break.

The side trip to Monte Vista Peak was the highlight. The lookout tower made the views even greater. Would of been nice if it wasn't so humid so the views would be clearer. While the lookout tower and cabin were something to see I thought the billion lady bugs covering every tree and stump was to bees knees. They were only on the peak, 30 feet below the peak there were none. Must of been some kind of convention. They liked tree trunks, tree stumps, tree branches and it appears they even liked me but they didn't like the steel tower. How do they get up here? Where are they going? What are they doing? Why do some have more dots than others... so many questions. Will have to do some research.

I returned on the Turtle Mountain Trail to the Pole Bridge Trail. These trails are in good shape with the exception of one section of the Turtle Mountain trail where it does some switchbacks down a hill. The trail gets a little vague in sections, thankfully I had the GPS with me that gave me the general direction of the trail. This was only a couple hundred yard section where the trail makes its turns and then the trail becomes easy to follow again. The morning cloud cover was gone and though the temps were in the low 80's this section of trail is hot. The Turtle Mountain Trail and John Long Trail junctions are marked but you have to look on the ground for the signs. I believe they are at least pointing in the right direction. This was to be tomorrows loop hike but since there was no cloud cover on Tuesday and these are south facing trails I opted to do these trails when the weather cools down a bit.

The Pole Bridge Trail is in good shape but there are a lot of switchbacks, not 99 of them but I bet 30. My feet were feeling this continuous downhill jaunt, but my knees were good, guess you can't have everything.

There was water in sections of the Mormon Creek Trail and the lower part of the Pole Bridge Trail. It looks like rain hit the Mormon Canyon watershed but not along the crest trail 270B or the Turtle Mountain Trail. Raspberries were everywhere along the trail and they were ripe for eating. All you had to do was pick them as you were hiking.
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