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Goldfield Pedestal Arch - Razorback - Cave, AZ
mini location map2022-01-29
26 by photographer avatarJohn10s
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Goldfield Pedestal Arch - Razorback - Cave, AZ 
Goldfield Pedestal Arch - Razorback - Cave, AZ
Hiking12.08 Miles 2,500 AEG
Hiking12.08 Miles   9 Hrs   55 Mns   1.62 mph
2,500 ft AEG   2 Hrs   27 Mns Break
1st trip
We returned to the Goldfields again today with plans to visit five destinations: Pedestal Arch, Razorback Knob, Razorback, Triple Arch, and a large cave I'd noticed on a hike to Black Glass Canyon last month. There were only one or two cars in the parking lot at Willow Springs Trailhead when we arrived, but quite a few vehicles pulled in behind us--it looked like at least two or three groups of hikers/off-roaders getting read to head out.

We hiked along Willow Springs Basin Trail and passed the tank. It was mostly full, and someone had set up a hunting blind next to the water. The first three and a half miles were easy trail/wash hiking, and the bushwhacking started around the intersection of Rough N Ready Canyon and Packsaddle Trail. There was a large, deep pool in the wash in an area that was bone dry in doesn't seem like we've had that much rain, but there was quite a bit of water out there today.

We left the wash and started the off-trail ascent west toward Razorback Knob. I climbed up most of the way but didn't reach the was a lot like the top of Helmet Rock near the top--steep, but even more loose gravel on the slope, and I could tell climbing the last stretch wasn't worth the risk. From there, we continued toward Razorback and saw a group of ~eight hikers down in the canyon below, presumably heading toward Triple Arch.

We paused to check out Camouflage Tanks, which are no longer camo and are painted white. The catchment and structures around there look relatively new, and the plaque in the concrete said it was dedicated in 2017, so there's been some work done there in recent history. We passed Razorback and made our way over to Pedestal Arch, and we noticed two small windows up in the rock on the way. The arch and pedestal were impressive, but I was disappointed to hear voices as we approached, and three women were heading down a ridge toward the arch. I think they were just as surprised and disappointed to see us as we were to see them...they mentioned they'd never seen other people out there :).

[ youtube video ]

We saw them in the parking lot earlier in the morning, and they'd driven past us on the forest roads and apparently hiked in from another spot. They eventually took off toward Razorback, and we had the arch to ourselves for a few minutes before we started in the same direction. I could see them up on the spine of Razorback from a distance as we approached, and they were back down and passed by as I made my way over to the west side to climb up. It was a fun, short scramble up to the top, with great 360° views.

We didn't have time to make it over to Triple Arch today, so after Razorback we headed back to the wash at the Rough N Ready Canyon/Packsaddle intersection, then hiked north. There were more pools in the water there, and I scrambled up the slope to the cave I'd seen last time. The climb looked very brushy from the bottom but wasn't as bad as expected...not too much catclaw or too many thorns in the mix. The cave was empty, as expected, but it was fairly large and a fun climb up to satisfy my curiosity and see it up close.

[ youtube video ]

We hiked back toward Willow Springs following a slightly different route than we took on the way in, so we got to see some new landscape along the way. The parking lot was mostly empty when we finished, and one person was setting up a tripod on a small ridge to photograph the sunset. Even though we didn't make it to Triple Arch, we reached the four other destinations...plenty of interesting features in the Goldfields to combine into nice hikes, and just a short drive from Phoenix.
 Geology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Natural Arch
 Culture [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Mining Claim

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Willow Springs Basin Tank 51-75% full 51-75% full
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

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