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mini location map2021-01-30
19 by photographer avatarJohn10s
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Hog CanyonPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jan 30 2021
Canyoneering7.73 Miles 1,169 AEG
Canyoneering7.73 Miles   6 Hrs   8 Mns   1.51 mph
1,169 ft AEG   1 Hour   1 Min Break
Canyon Hiking - Non-technical; no rope; easy scrambling; occasional hand use
A - Dry or little water; shallow or avoidable water; no wet/dry suit
II - Normally requires a half day
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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After the recent rain, I wanted to check out Hog Canyon and see if the seasonal waterfall was flowing. I suspected the answer was no given the extreme drought conditions lately, but since rain has been so rare around Phoenix of late, it seemed like this could be the best chance to see it flowing for the foreseeable future. I last visited Hog Canyon in late February last year, and the waterfall was flowing nicely and my friend and I had the canyon to ourselves. We started from Broadway Trailhead that day; this time I started from the Lost Goldmine Trailhead at the west end of Cloud View Drive, which I assumed would be far less busy than Broadway Trailhead.

The first mile and a half of the hike meanders directly north along the fence line of the residential area, then takes a sharp left turn along another barbed wire fence. From there, we started following the creek bed leading into Hog Canyon. It was dry early on, but I still hoped there might be some water at the falls--the creed bed was dry in that area last year even though the falls had plenty of water. As we entered the canyon, the creek bed was still dry, even in areas where I'd waded through calf- to knee-deep pools last year. The canyon was even more beautiful than I remembered, and I noticed a few natural arches high along the southern wall of the canyon.

I was disappointed to hear voices up ahead, and we passed a group of four hikers...we wouldn't have the falls to ourselves this time. We finally started to see some pools of water and a few small trickles over the last half mile leading to the falls, but when we made the final left turn and saw the stains on the canyon wall, my suspicions were confirmed: not even a trickle. The pool at the base of the falls had some water, but the water stains there indicates the level was a few feet below where it would typically be during the wet season.

Still, I was excited to climb up above the dry falls and check out the petroglyphs that I'd missed last time. It's a quick scramble around the left side of the falls, and up on the ridge, I immediately found two nice panels of rock art, consisting almost entirely of drawings of bighorn sheep. I climbed down from the ridge to the top of the dry falls, and there was a metate-like formation in one of the boulders, though it was more likely a coincidence than an artifact.

There were a two or three more panels of petroglyphs just north of the main waterfall, near an area where a second, slightly shorter waterfall would would flow--I really wish I'd climbed up last year when the water was flowing. Today, the second fall had only a trickle of water with a shallow pool at the bottom. I climbed up around the right side of that pool to the next level above the second falls, and the canyon opened up again up there. I found a few more petroglyphs and decided to start back down, having seen most of the attractions up there.

Two other hikers climbed up above the falls before I went down, and once I was back at the bottom, yet another group of people showed up--a far cry from the solitude my friend and I enjoyed last year. This time, on the hike out, we passed three or four more groups on their way in--another reminder about how crowded the Superstitions have become in recent years, even some of the formerly off-the-beaten-path spots.

On the hike out, the clouds were spectacular and cast shadows all over the Superstitions. Despite the dry waterfall and the lack of solitude, it was still a beautiful and very enjoyable hike, with perfect weather. It had been almost eight months since I'd hiked in the Superstitions, and it was great to be back. Hopefully there will be more rain this spring and I can return when the water is flowing again.
Named place
Named place
Hog Canyon

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Hog Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout A few pools and trickles of water in the canyon, but the main waterfall was completely dry, with a shallow pool at the base. A trickle and another shallow series of pools above the main waterfall
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