I occasionally search for hikes in the Wickenburg area, and always come up empty. This time, I found something promising: Sophie’s Flat. The system has four designated trails: Red Top Loop Trail A, plus connector trails B, C and D. Supposedly there is an E and F, but I couldn’t find them.
* The B & C trails in the attached GPS route were traced at the 20 ft. level using the map at Wickenburg Conservation Foundation
as a guide.
My plan was to hike Trail A counter-clockwise to Red Top, Trail D to Dinosaur Wash, to Box Canyon, then back to Red Top, finishing the second half of Trail A.
Setting a theme for the day, Trail A crosses one small wash, travels the sandy bottom of Blue Tank Wash, crosses over a jeep trail on a spur, then drops into another large sandy wash. It was there I made my first of several wrong turns, onto Trail B. It’s easy to do with so many jeep & foot trails criss-crossing the area.
From the Red Top / Hill 3064 saddle, Trail D drops 250 ft. in a half mile to a very small wash. Near the bottom of the descent, the stegosaurus rock formation first comes into view, to your left, on the north ridge of Hill 3064. Trail D signs continue down the wash for ¼ mile to Dinosaur Wash.
For most of my day, I took each photograph twice, first with my iPhone SE, then with the Ricoh WG-6 pocket camera. That way I could compare the two while testing the Ricoh WG-6. The iPhone SE did much better on terrain, cactus, geology and object shots. Clearer, with better color balance. The Ricoh WG-6 took better zoom shots and, ironically closeups of flowers. Last week.
This week, there were no flowers: None. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Not even brittlebush, creosote or scorpionweed. I was surpised, considering we had a solid winter monsoon, Wickenburg seems to get more rain than Phoenix, and the temps were in the low 60s.
Dinosaur Wash had amazing geology! Sections of narrow pink congolmerate slot canyon alternating with wide & sandy sections with dark, lichen-splattered, granite. I was taking my time, oohing and aahing at the rocks, so I only made it halfway to Box Canyon by 1 p.m., three hours into my hike.
With a solid five miles back to he trailhead, I decided to bail. Back at the Red Top / Hill 3064 saddle, I found some shade and finished my lunch. I had Verizon 2-bar LTE, so I texted my wife to let her know I was on my way.
The second half of Trail A was more of the same and seemed to drag on forever. I questioned why the trail designer was so cruel, crossing all those washes, rather than routing down a spur more directly towards the trailhead. The trail even crossed Blue Tank Road twice, and Blue Tank Wash for a second time. I thought about thumbing down an OHV, but I needed to put the work in.
With no flowers to photograph, and slow me down, I made it back to Sophie’s Flat Trailhead at 3:44 p.m. After rehydrating, and debriefing my wife, we headed into Wickenburg for a date night dinner at El Ranchero.
Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/798022931