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The Best Hikes in San Carlos

39 Triplog Reviews in the San Carlos
Most recent of 27 deeper Triplog Reviews
1 mi • 0 ft aeg
It has been 25 years since I last visited Coolidge Dam/San Carlos Lake. When I saw the water level up 40 to 45 ft since June I decided it was time to pay another visit to see the rebirth of the lake and try some fishing. Since the water level has been almost empty for a year or two and with large fish die offs there was not much for fishing but it was still nice to hike the shoreline again and visit this memorable place. There is an algae bloom likely from all the nutrients now in the water that could translate into a healthy fish population in the years to come pending water levels. In years past this has been a premier fishing spot for Bass and Crappie. One of the reasons the water levels were so low, other than record low rain and snow, was to perform repairs on the dam. Mostly to the intake assemblies. Spillway looked new as well. Not sure why no attention has been given to the dome structures on the face of the dam that are cracked. Remnants of a time when care was put into architecture can be seen on the dam.
7 mi • 850 ft aeg
A little weekend R&R at the 'hikers playground' with Dallin and a crew of adventurers. We headed into the canyon on Saturday a.m. Varying abilities made the journey a little more tedious. Visited the first falls for lunch and swimming, before heading downstream to the grotto area for camp and further shenanigans. Cliff jumping was the afternoon/evening entertainment. A good time was had by all. Myself, Dallin and Savannah got up Sunday a.m. and were the first to depart. Dallin went ahead of us and found a climb route directly out of the canyon. This shaved off a good amount of time from our trek back to the vehicles. Beautiful area, indeed.
4.06 mi • 1,817 ft aeg
I drove out to check out the wildflowers on Peridot Mesa, but made a wrong turn. ;)

The drive is almost more of a challenge than the hike. I'll add info on that later.

You can no longer buy permits at Circle K or the Bashas.

Downed trees block the road almost a mile before it ends, but I don't think previous hikers drove to the end anyway.

The route is well-constructed and easy to follow. I had to fight some deep snowdrifts, but it didn't slow me down too much. The off-trail traverse across the top is overgrown and thick. Stay on the north side and you'll find an easy class-3 chute that gets you up to the summit.

It was pretty hazy today. But this is such a central spot that landmarks from the White Mountains to the Pinalenos, Galiuros, Teresas, Rincons, Catalinas, Pinals, Ancha, Newman, Four Peaks, among others ... were all visible. It was nice to finally see the reverse view from this peak to all those others! :)
6.43 mi • 987 ft aeg
Perhaps on of the most captivating and downright beautiful places I've ever had the honor of visiting. To some people this may be another canyon but to me I truly feel the sacred aura and energy that resides here. Truly a place of deep history, unique geology and mesmerizing terrain.

Started out off Rd 1500 and ventured across the WS flats to Destination Overlook and then spent the entire day inside of the canyon. My friend took naps while I took hundreds of photos! :lol:
Made our ascent at sunset and we were greeted with breathtaking views as well as a little surprise finding some of the most well preserved petroglyphs Iv ever seen.

Hands down one of my favorite places Iv ever been to at this point in my life, throughout the trip I had to keep reminding myself what I was seeing was actually real and not a dream! :GB:
I have big plans for this place and plan to return and camp inside the canyon and venture around more because I feel my time here just flew by due to the sheer astonishinment of what I saw!
4 mi • 700 ft aeg
When I did an Ankle Test in Pinto, apparently I didn't Test it enough... I needed to Ricochet around in some Rocks and Bash the Ankle against a Boulder or two to see if it would hold up.... ](*,) I was also reminded of something on this Crystal Trip. It's never over, until it's over... :?

We did not use the Hiking Route. There is a Canyoneering Route on the other Side of the Canyon that everyone uses. From where you Park the 4x4 Vehicle, it's only .18 Miles before you Drop into the Canyon. You're roughly 1 1/2 Miles Upstream from the Tech Section when you hit the River, but overall, the Route is about 2 Miles shorter. One of the Guys ran a Track, I'll see if I can get more Accurate Mileage and AEG from him. It's still not an easy Approach by any means. The Slope going down is very Steep and once you hit the River, the Route along the River is negotiating through a Boulder Field most of the way... Although I was a little slower than usual (Is that Possible??? :o ) the Ankle held up very well...We got to the Beginning of the Technical Section and started off with a Slide into a Pool, a Swim and then a 25 foot Jump into the next Pool, followed by another Swim. And then we were at the 2 Rappels...

The Water was flowing very well... :sweat: But, it was doable to stay out of the Main Flow if you worked against the Rope's Fall Line and stayed Canyon Right on both Rappels... It is supposed to be 2 Separate Rappels. You Rappel the First Fall and then stay connected to the Rope so you don't get swept over the 2nd Fall. The Anchor for the 2nd Rappel is right at the Edge of the 2nd Fall on Canyon Right and not easy to get to from the Water as it's High on the Wall. You can stand on a Ledge just before it in the Pool, but the Ledge ends before you can reach the Anchor... :sweat:

One of the most Experienced Guys went first. He stayed on Rope in the Pool and finally managed to reach the 2nd Anchor and clip in his Safety Line. He determined that the 2nd Anchor was no longer good enough to Rappel on, it was not safe to use on it's own Merit. But that had been hinted at when Researching this Trip, so we were prepared for that Scenario. We had brought enough Rope to Rappel both Falls off the same Rope. We did thread it through the 2nd Anchor to try to take a bit of the Load off the Top Anchor. 150 Feet of Rope was barely enough for a Single Strand Rappel. If we had needed to "Pull" the Rope, we would have needed 300 Feet. But we didn't need to Pull it since you can go around and get back to the Top Rappel to collect your Gear. We took 300 Feet for Safety Reasons.

As the rest of us went down, we Rappelled the first Fall, got off Rope in the Pool, but clipped our Safety to the Rope when Swimming through the Pool to the 2nd Fall. We had someone "Man" the 2nd Fall Anchor and help people reach the Anchor to clip in...Then, we'd get back On Rope and Rappel the 2nd Fall. If you didn't go against the Fall Line and stay Canyon Right on the 2nd Fall to a Ledge around the Corner near the Bottom, you were going to get absolutely Pounded with Water. One of the Guys who is heavily experienced in Class C Canyons, called the Water Level ok to run, but just shy of Hazardous... :lol:

I was the 3rd one down. The first Guy had made it to the Bottom without getting into the Main Watercourse, so we knew it was doable. The second person stayed at the 2nd Anchor to Assist everyone else. I had a great Rappel down the first Fall, staying right and getting into the Pool. Clipped on the Safety and swam over to the 2nd Anchor and managed to finally get up and get hooked in there. Then I was back On Rope. I was surprised to learn that the 1st Person down, didn't stay at the Bottom, but was instead, on his way back up and around. But I went anyway... It was harder for me to fight the Rope's Fall Line on this one, especially since I was Rappelling Left-handed. There were times where I needed to grab that Right Wall and it was awkward for me to do so. I was right on the Edge of the Main Water and the Edge of the Fall still came up to my Waist, but I made it around the Corner and was standing on the Ledge. I had made it! The Ledge went back more and I decided that I needed to be away from the "Edge" a bit more, so I fed some slack through my Device and took a couple of more Steps to get further into the Ledge. And then it happened... Something happened and I can't even tell you what or why, it happened so fast. One minute I was standing on the Ledge and the next second, I was being Whipped to my Right, right into the Base of the Main Fall. Because I was now entering the Natural Fall Line and I must have still had a little Slack, I was not only being Whipped Right, but I was also Falling DOWN some and I fell off the Ledge. So I'm now almost in a Horizontal Position and then the Water hit me, flipping me the rest of the way Upside Down. Luckily I still had both Hands on the Rope, with one hand above, so I was able to right myself. I didn't quite hit bottom, so the Rope swung forward into a more Vertical Position which allowed me to travel through the Fall and end up BEHIND it, where I grabbed onto a Ledge above me and stuck there. I managed to find Vertical Footholds to help keep me there because I couldn't free up my Brake Hand without Falling the rest of the way... I still had Water coming down on Top of me, but not nearly as much and I could Breathe and I could see... And then the Pain hit...Somewhere in that whole Mess, I trashed the Ankle. I can't even tell you how. I either smashed it up against something or caught it somehow and Torqued it to where even having the Brace on couldn't save it... :(

So now, I'm clinging to a Ledge about 4 Feet off the Deck, using my Brake Hand to keep from Falling the rest of the way and possibly sweeping back out into the Main Flow, and I'm using both my Feet to try to help keep me there as well, with that wonderful Initial Pain coursing through the Brain. To say that there was a Stream of Expletives and Unmentionables streaming forth is an Understatement of the 3rd Degree. And as the Pain starts to ease after about 5 Minutes, I'm wondering how in the Hell I'm going to get out of the Mess I was in. I didn't know how Deep the Pool was below me or whether there was a Hydraulic Situation or not. I couldn't reach my Whistle and even if I could, I didn't think they would hear me above. The Fall was Deafening and the Ledge actually was the Bottom of a large Alcove. So I clung there trying to collect myself and think...I knew that by now, everyone up top was starting to freak since I wasn't Off Rope yet, they couldn't see me and it had already been at least 5 Minutes longer than the Rappel should have taken...I also knew that it might take them awhile to Rig the other Rope and get down to me, and as Time passed, I knew I had to find a way to get out of this myself...I finally had my Wits about me enough that I started looking around more and realized that if I could pull myself up onto the Ledge, the Ledge went all the way to Canyon Left and around the other side of the Fall and I could get out without getting Pounded or risking Deep Water. I didn't want to Tie Off and try to get up, because if I fell, then I was Underwater Tied Off and I wouldn't be able to Move anywhere. So I completely Disconnected and got Off Rope. There wasn't much for Hand Holds and I was looking at the Ledge at Chin Level, so I was going to have to haul myself up a bit. Somehow with about all the Effort I had, I was able to "Beach" myself up onto the Ledge. There was Rock Overhanging the Ledge in places, so I couldn't even sit up, I had to slide on my Stomach all the way around. In one Spot it was a slightly tight Squeeze. But then I was out and beyond the Fall. I went to stand up and take a Step and something in the Ankle Popped and I almost fell again... ](*,) But I got out to the Edge of the Main Pool and was able to see and be seen by the two People at the 2nd Anchor. I gave them the OK Signal so they could relax a bit and then I jumped into the Pool to swim to another Spot so everyone could see me. I think they were relieved. I think I was glad I managed to do it on my Own, but Instant Depression set in, knowing I would have to break the bad News to them about the Ankle and knowing that not only did I ruin their Trip, but that we all had a Long Day ahead of us... :( I felt terrible when it happened before and now, twice in one Month, I was subjecting Friends and Teammates to a long, slow Exit and it was almost too much to bear. But I knew what had to be done, and for the next 5 Hours, with the help and grace of my Friends, I did it...Luckily, I was able to do it again, under my own Power. But instead of 300 Yards this Time, it was going to be almost 2 Miles over some nasty Rocky Terrain. Luckily, it wasn't Downhill this Time. The Rest of the Team divided up my Pack and one guy found me some Poles to help in places and away we went. We made it to the Vehicles just before Dark... : rambo :

A Severely Disappointing Trip, but I brought it on myself. Beautiful little Canyon that I could only enjoy briefly and got very few Photos of... I did learn a lot on this Trip though and I had some Amazing People with me once again, and for that, I am extremely Grateful. There will be no more Technical Canyons for me until at least June, possibly longer...I will be taking as long as it takes to get back fully this Time...Although I didn't wreck the Ankle quite as bad, it's bad enough and I'm almost starting from Square One again.... :(

This is a Beautiful little Canyon which takes quite a bit of Effort to get to. And I was all about the Effort, plus some and had very little Time to enjoy the Reward.... I will be going back someday and getting it right...
1 mi • 0 ft aeg
West Peak
Took an out-of-town friend on a quick midweek car-camp overnight to show off some non-desert views of Arizona. As I tend to do, I decided to explore somewhere I hadn't been before. Perfect weather to be enjoying the great outdoors at higher elevations! There are several trails in the area, and we sauntered a short distance down a couple of them, but generally didn't venture far from the truck.

The road up West Peak has just finished being largely rebuilt. It is in great shape, and there were three bulldozers that had been doing some amazing work. The amount of boulders that have been moved is impressive. I can't imagine what this road was like before! Even now, it is hands-down the steepest grade of any forest road I've ever driven. On the descent, I dropped it into 4LO, and down into 2nd so that I didn't have to ride the brakes too much. I can't imagine trying to drive down this with a full load in the truck!

In the lower elevations, the original road construction is impressive, with each culvert built with custom stonework. There are some nice areas in Tripp Canyon with corrals, camping areas, etc. This area doesn't appear to see much use. I guess that's part of what makes it so cool!

On the way back to the valley, we drove around to Coolidge Dam, which for some reason, I had also previously not been to. I'll have to come back here sometime. It looks like a great place to explore some more.
1 mi • 0 ft aeg
This place is incredible! In the middle of the afternoon it was like having a ghost town all to myself. I roamed back and forth across the dam for awhile, snapping away with my camera. The only thing I didn't like was the big bathtub ring around the lake. I thought the one at Lake Mead was bad. Pretty soon this dam might be holding back nothing but mud.
1 mi • 0 ft aeg
I've seen photos of Coolidge Dam, but they don't so it justice. This is such a fabulous piece of history! I can only imagine what it would have been like to be at the ceremony to dedicate this marvel. The detail in the stone work is incredible! And there's hardly anyone there - We saw two other cars cross the dam during our exploration.

It's not far off the beaten path, so if you're in the area, go check it out!
5.2 mi • 720 ft aeg
My friend Steve and I went out to the San Carlos Indian Reservation this weekend.

We began the arrow straight hike out into the middle of nowhere towards the San Carlos River. This time of year it was pretty dead and ugly on the flats. The ground was also soft and it made the mileage seem longer.

I'd like to reiterate that the way down into the canyon is pretty sketch at first. Many times the best place to put your feet is already taken by a cactus. Steve had developed a fear of heights after a cave fall and this steep drop in frazzled him- So much so, that he unfortunately had to turn back. Even with the sky looking stormy I decided to continue figuring out a path down. I made it without too much trouble but this is not a place to bring a group, or anyone you may be unsure of, or those that think hiking is on a trail only, etc, etc.

I played around a good bit down there but I could have stayed the whole day. I felt a little bad about being the only one enjoying it and was a little worried about rain coming out of the dark egg-crate shaped clouds above so after some tripod time and a swim I trekked back up. I was able to bypass most of the brushy edge loop by doing some climbing near the cliff top.

As we got back to the vehicle we saw the only other person we saw all weekend. A SC Ranger was pulling up to my vehicle and he waited for us to approach. We got out our permits and then an almost comical exchange of cultural differences occurred.
"What were you doing out there?"
"We were hiking a bit."
"Is that like a hobby or something."
"You could call it that. We brought our cameras too."
"Out there?"
"Yes sir, we went towards the river."
"All the way out there?"
"Yes sir."
"What's that in your pack?"
"Which one sir?"
"Is that a tennis racket?"
At this point Steve and I were completely lost and asked what he meant. The Ranger got a little frustrated and said, "No the racquet sticking out of your bag.
"Ohhhh!! That's a hiking stick."
He remained unsure about us until he wrote in all our information and left.
We just knew someone that night at dinner was going to here a, "You'll never believe what I saw white people doing today with a tennis racquet," story.

Back at the vehicle we drove on and found a camp spot in a large shady area and set up for the night. We made a lean-to with the tarp just in case it rained overnight. We did hear a short but fierce downpour for a little bit but that was the only real rain that fell on us all weekend.

Fun camp story time:

Due to the bear poop and tracks near camp, Steve was on edge about them getting us while we were sleeping. He wanted to sleep outside so we made a tarp lean-to off the Xterra rack. He then set up the chairs and table and stuff to block off the triangle openings, theorizing that if we heard something we could jump up and into the X before the bear got us...

We joked as we went to sleep about which one of us would get eaten first. I maintained it was him because while he wasn't looking, I painted his sleeping bag to look like a tortilla and said the last thing he ever heard was going to be the bear saying, "Mmmm this burrito is delicious, but it is filling!"

Well anyway, at some point late in the night I ended up on my back and completely lost my bearings and awoke to a loud rustling on what I believed to be the open side of the shelter just inches from my head, so I yelled as loudly as I could, "HEY!!!!!!!"

Turns out it was just Steve rolling around in his sleeping bag I was yelling face first at, I just got mentally turned around on my North and South. He awoke with a start and did a, "Mike, Mike, it's okay, you're okay!" dad-thing and immediately started snoring again.
Of course it took me a little longer to go back to sleep.

I had told Steve about the bear prints I saw 100yds from camp that evening. In the morning he walked out and came back and told me he saw the three I was talking about. "Three?" I said. "There were only two last night." I checked and sure enough the middle print was new.

We packed up and headed out to another area. The brush was exceptionally thick and we got pretty scratched up but the payoff was great again. Another waterfall stood before us and we found our way down and swam.

T'was a good weekend.
0 mi • 0 ft aeg
My husband and I go to this area almost every year for fishing (which includes a little bit of hiking when you take "government trail" rather than the pump station stairs). It is a beautiful area still, but the fishing has been devastated by the AZ Wallow Fire from last year. The fishing was terrible this trip due to the silt and ash that has collected along the river banks. Hubby got stuck up to his knees in the mud and almost lost his shoes it is so thick at the bank's edge. The next day we woke up to an inch of glorious snow on the ground which we are not used to at our home in the more southern part of AZ. The photo opportunties are endless in the pristine area where we (only) saw antelope, mule deer and javelina on the drive into and out of our campsite.
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