Did this hike with Jake and our dog Ollie. We started around 1:40pm and it took 4hrs to complete the round trip. Temperatures were in the 70s and it was sunny. Overall a great hike.
We took exit 151 (Welch Rd) off of I-40 and headed north, following FR6 for a few miles. We saw quite a few vehicles camped on the side of the road, as well as utility guys working on the power lines. A nice couple on their way out in a Jeep advised us to park before the canyon because of how muddy the bottom was. We therefore turned around, parked off of FR6 by a group of juniper trees, and hiked about a mile along the road to Johnson crater. Mud
was indeed pretty thick at the bottom and a section of the road rather rocky. Nothing I think the outback could not have handled, but we really appreciated the word of caution and didn't mind the extra hike.
At the top of the canyon, the road continues straight and Johnson crater
is to the left of the road. The top is basalt and there are a lot of prickly pear cacti, which could have been bad for Ollie's paws. Thankfully he didn't step on any of them. Then, we continued all the way to a cattle guard sign. There, the road forks: take a right
to go to the old railroad (don't continue straight to the cattle guard).
As we continued our hike, we reached a pile of rocks
in the middle of the road. I would not have tried going over it with a car, especially that further down the road, parts of the roads on the bridge were a bit washed.
We reached the power lines
and were so distracted by the sound and views that we startled a rattlesnake
. Thankfully, it let us know ahead of time that we were bothering it and didn't bite our pup. I think it was more scared than us so we gave it space and turned around to take a break. When we came back about ten minutes later, it was gone. On our way to the tunnel, we found other interesting plants (some of them I am not sure what they are) and animals (one tarantula, a few beetles, a lot of grasshoppers and one gopher). Temperature inside the tunnel dropped and there was a light breeze, which, even mid-october, was really nice. We reached the end of the tunnel and decided to turn around using the tunnel instead of the trail that goes around it. I think we had enough emotions with one rattlesnake for the day.
There isn't much of the railroad left to see other than the tunnel itself and the retaining wall. We found a few railroad spikes
and could see traces of dynamite
used to clear the road. Next time we will bike this trail.