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White Cliffs and Balanced Rocks, AZ
mini location map2021-06-28
34 by photographer avatarHikerWill
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White Cliffs and Balanced Rocks, AZ 
White Cliffs and Balanced Rocks, AZ
Hiking3.23 Miles 551 AEG
Hiking3.23 Miles   3 Hrs   17 Mns   1.19 mph
551 ft AEG      34 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked   none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
White Cliffs to Balanced Rocks
It’s been over two years since I went on this hike. There is a lot packed into these three miles.
Half a dozen balanced rocks and a few windows. Lots of chances to scramble and rock hop. All kinds of nooks and crannies, ledges, cliffs. Hideaways and a cool view at the East end.

Exit 12 on I-19 head West on Ruby Road. Rt.39.
In 10 miles you can take a left to go to Pena Blanca Lake or take a right toward Ruby. In the next mile there are a lot of cool things to check out.
1. Castle Rock
2. Tarantella Rock
3. Waterfall Rock
4. Alamo Canyon
5. Pena Blanca Canyon
6. Mines
7. A dozen or so small buttes on ridges that you can climb on or around.

A good jump off point is the entrance to Alamo Canyon. This is also labelled as Noonville site and Pena Blanca Spring on various maps. To the East of this intersection there is a corral and there seems to always be water here. About 50 yards beyond the cattle guard there is a camping site to the SE. It’s shaded and fenced. (At the beginning of the Covid Crisis there was a man camping there, trying to ride it out. He was burning dried cow poop to cook food and stay warm at night.)

My plan today was to park near the corral and hike up the wash on the edge of the White Cliffs but people were camping in that aforementioned campsite. Soooo I headed on out the road and at the next fork headed to the South up a dead end canyon. There is a small break in the cliffs that will lead to the top. It’s between 350 and 400 feet in elevation gain and there is no path. At he beginning of this way up there is a boulder you have to climb under and from there just stay in the steep, steep wash and it leads to the top.

Once on the top head South and skirt around the fence. The fence is right as you come out on top and you can hop it or risk climbing around where it ends…. At the edge of the cliff.
If you stay within 20 -50 feet of the edge of the cliff you won’t run in to any cats claw and there are some amazing lookouts and views of Castle Rock. I opted to beeline for the “road” and follow it toward the red cliffs to the South.

The only reason I can see for this road is for access to the small dam at the top of the cliffs. Follow this SE until you come to the cliffs directly to the South. From here…… Find your way up through them.
There is no path and every time I come here, I try to go a different way so as to not make one. You can actually see one of the balanced rocks from this road and there is a pretty obvious way up to the Left of it.

There are several cairns along the top. Some are there to guide the people crossing to food and narrow shady places.

I thought that maybe this area had been spared from the fire, but the top was burned off pretty good. This made the return trip a lot faster and easier. From the balanced rocks I headed East as close to the edge of the cliffs as I could. This paid off because I found more small balanced rocks and some windows that I had never seen before.

The top of the hill/mtn/rock is crisscrossed with many breaks in the rocks that are almost like paths. These were great for the return trip. Along side these are lots and lots of little ridges and blobs and boulders to climb on. (It reminds of me of when we were kids and pretended the floor was Lava and we had to make it from the living room to the kitchen without touching the floor.) These range in depth from 1 foot to well over 20 feet deep. Several times I had to backtrack because there was no way down across and over.
There are several shade options along the way. Sparse trees and several shallow shelter caves.
I was headed to the cliffs on the East end which looks down into Walker Canyon and it juts out so you are surrounded by cliffs on three sides.
My water was running low, and the temps were rising fast so I took a very direct route back to the base of the cliffs. There were cows along the road so I opted to pick a way though the cats claw. Took a chance on a short cut that paid off. Instead of heading back down the way I came up, I went the way I intended to start the day. The campers were gone AND I got some pics of two more balanced rocks and a column.

Next times I plan to explore the wash along the cliffs that lead to Walker Canyon and also the lookout beyond the cliffs. Somewhere up there is a survey marker and a short shallow cave on the side of the cliffs that is a great place to take lunch and shade and….. a nap.
Times and particulars.
It looked really smokey again and I almost gave up and went home.
4 pints of water- half frozen- returned with one.

7:32 – left the car. No truck needed for this one. 81 degrees
7:44 – headed up the hillside to base of cliffs
7:53 – top of cliffs – (Hellmans)
7:56 – dam
8:13 – headed up second cliffs to the balanced rocks
8:16 – first balanced rock
I was really pushing it till now, trying to beat the heat.
8:35 – first water break and rest in the shade. Breeze made it chilly.
9:25 – second break in the shade. Small, shallow hollow on the South side of the cliff overlooking Walker Canyon. This is very close to the end.
9:37 – End of the line
9:39 – headed back.
10:07 – off the rock and cliffs into the shade.
10:49 – back at the car. – 93 degrees
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