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Apache Leap Tanks Loop, AZ
mini location map2021-04-17
37 by photographer avatarJohn10s
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Apache Leap Tanks Loop, AZ 
Apache Leap Tanks Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 17 2021
Hiking8.40 Miles 1,592 AEG
Hiking8.40 Miles   8 Hrs   52 Mns   1.34 mph
1,592 ft AEG   2 Hrs   36 Mns Break
1st trip
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I'd had Apache Leap on my list for a while, and this seemed like a good weekend to check it out with some cooler temperatures. We parked at a pullout at the side of Magma Mine Road near the intersection with FR 315 and followed Magma Mine for a short distance before cutting west toward the cliffs. Most of the trip logs mentioned the thick brush and the slow pace with no trail, but there was quite a bit of exposed rock on the way to the cliffs, and I didn't find the brush as bad as expected. But the landscape was every bit as good as described--we were surrounded by hoodoos, spires, windows, and balancing rocks all day. Early in the hike, there was quite a bit of noise from the mining activity at the copper mine to the northeast, but other than that, it was secluded and peaceful.

The views from the cliff were spectacular overlooking Superior, Picketpost, and the Superstitions. Since the official route was a short out-and-back, we'd mapped out a longer route that followed the cliffs to the south and looped past a few tanks, returning on FR 315. Further south along the edge, where the cliffs were more vertical, there was a group of six or seven rock climbers, including a few kids, out on a point, and they were the only people we saw during the hike. That's apparently a popular climbing area--there we lot of chains and bolts in the rocks there and cairns marking the tops of climbing routes.

We loosely followed the cliff to the south, past the first two tanks, which were both dry. On the way to the southernmost tank, we noticed an intriguing cave with a rock wall built in front of it. It looked like a small set of ruins from a distance, but I went in for a closer look, and it was clearly something modern. That area also had a number of wooden stakes in the ground, likely marking mining claims.

The third tank was also dry and was more of a large, grassy meadow. We turned northeast into a small side canyon, and the brush was very thick over the last half mile before we finally connected with a jeep road, but the geology was still beautiful in that area, including a double window in the rocks. Our pace picked up on the road, and we took a quick detour east on FR 315 toward Devil's Canyon to check out the road for a possible future hike there. As we completed the loop, we finally passed a tank with some water, and even a few ducks.

Overall, it was an enjoyable hike in an area I hadn't explored much before. The history here is sad, though I'm not sure if we actually saw the specific spot where the leap supposedly took place. The brush wasn't as bad as expected with the exception of the side canyon on the southeastern part of the loop, but our pace was still very slow with the rocky, off-trail terrain.
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