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Oversite Canyon Trail # 112 - 3 members in 5 triplogs have rated this an average 4 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Mar 30 2019
chumley
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 Guides 75
 Routes 667
 Photos 13,238
 Triplogs 1,423

46 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Chooka8, AZ 
Chooka8, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 30 2019
chumley
Hiking13.91 Miles 4,232 AEG
Hiking13.91 Miles   6 Hrs   10 Mns   2.35 mph
4,232 ft AEG      15 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Knocked two more uniques off my Huachuca list. Nice to get out on the west siiiiiide! Oversite is a great trail. I think Shawn told me once that the Douglas RD is really good with maintenance? Maybe I'm misremembering. Either way, tough to argue. These certainly don't get a lot of legitimate hiker use, and yet are very well maintained, with obvious trail maintenance as recently as last fall.

Ida reminded me of the trail up Babo. Similar terrain and flora. I was heading down later in the day and the mountain shaded me a bit. This wouldn't be as fun to ascend, and definitely not earlier in the day when the lower portions are exposed to the sun.

I did a loop down Wisconsin Canyon (which I learned apparently got it's name because the temperature dropped 20 degrees as soon I started down) and up Pat Scott. I was expecting more water in PS creek given the recent snow and overall wet winter, but it really wasn't any more than I had seen it previously.

Since JJ and and the doc had hit the alternate PS Peak last time they were here I decided to cover my bases as well. Glad I did. The views from up there far exceed those from the peak(s) under the text name on the map.

Got stopped by border patrol on the way down. After ribbing the poor guy a bit at my surprise that he was out of his truck and actually hiking on a trail, I answered a bunch of his questions and pointed him toward the only questionable things I had seen on my loop. After showing him the soles of my shoes, I continued on.

He must have lost a bet or something cause two other officers were at the bottom relaxing in their truck and waiting for him to radio down when he had had a chance to check out what he was investigating. They asked if I was the owner of the vehicle down the road with the, uh, art, on it. I confirmed. Lol.

I did the trailhead drive as a loop to figure out which is faster. No contest ... through SV and around the south side over Montezuma Pass was almost half an hour shorter than the dirt road to Parker Canyon Lake and Sonoita. Though that is one of the prettiest drives in the state. I also drove that 35mph road like Andretti at about 60, so it might technically be even longer than that. In review, get there by going around the east side through SV. Don't listen to Google, sometimes it really has no clue.
Named place
Named place
Bear Spring
_____________________
Profound observer
Nov 01 2018
markthurman53
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 Guides 83
 Routes 488
 Photos 5,777
 Triplogs 405

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Oversite Ida Canyon Loop, AZ 
Oversite Ida Canyon Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 01 2018
markthurman53
Hiking7.17 Miles 2,238 AEG
Hiking7.17 Miles   3 Hrs   56 Mns   2.16 mph
2,238 ft AEG      37 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Headed down to the Huachuca Mountains west slopes south of Parker Lake to complete two trails I haven’t been on before. The Oversite Canyon and Ida Canyon Trails to the Crest trail were meant to form a good loop hike. This is a 7.3 mile loop with an AEG of about 2000 feet and impressive views to the southwest. I chose to start at the junction of Cave Creek and Ida Canyon on FR771 off of the West Montezuma Canyon Road. Definitely need a high clearance vehicle to get the last .5 miles of FR771

From my starting point I headed South up a two track along Cave Canyon to the Junction with Oversite Canyon and the Miller Peak Wilderness boundary. The Oversite Trail officially starts here. I did not see the cabin that is near this junction but I wasn’t really looking because I was unaware that it was/is there. Ben Telly in his description of the Oversite Ida Canyon Loop has more details and a photo of this cabin. The Oversite Trail is fairly easy to follow with cairns marking some of the tricky spots as it crosses the creek. This trail is a serious uphill climb the whole way but not unreasonable with switchbacks along the steeper climbs. I like trails that know where they are going and don’t waste a lot of time meandering around needlessly. This trail has an elevation gain of about 2111 feet and an AEG of about 2133, that’s just 22 feet of aimless meandering, COOL! After reaching the Saddle between Oversite and Ida Canyons the trail levels off quite a bit as it heads along the upper reaches of Ida Canyon to the Crest Trail. There was a short 100 to 200 yard stretch just about .5 miles up from this saddle that is a bit overgrown. I thought it strange that for a trail that was so easy to follow that it would suddenly become faint and overgrown. With knowledge of where the trail is heading and a little bit of imagination getting through this section wasn’t a problem. There was no water flowing in Oversite Canyon except at the two springs, one at the beginning of the trail and the other just before the ascent up to the Saddle. There were a few small pools and it looked like the creek may have been running a week or so earlier.

Once on the crest trail it was a quick .5 miles to the junction with the Ida Canyon Trail. The upper portion of the Ida Canyon Trail is steep as it descends down to Bear Springs. Easy to follow and I considered it a well maintained trail. The trail around Bear Springs gets a little faint hidden by pine needles but wasn’t an issue. I saw another bear, Ironically at Bear Springs, standing in front of the Bear Springs Sign. The bear saw me first because I was busy looking for the trail and I was unable to get a photo. It was a very nice looking Black or very dark brown bear. I also saw a couple of White Tail Dear in this area. There was water at the spring. From the spring the trail heads around the ridge that separates Bear Canyon from Ida Canyon and then descends down into Ida Canyon. There were remnants of a mine and some mining equipment along the switchbacks going down into Ida Canyon. I thought the switchbacks along this trail were a little overdone taking way too much time to get where they were going, Might make ascending this trail a little easier though. The creek in Ida Canyon was dry on the lower end. The Ida Canyon Trail ends in the creek and it was a short .3 miles to where I parked the vehicle at the junction with Cave Canyon Creek.

I really like the Huachuca Mountains, Especially the west slopes. The expansive views to the west and south leave you thinking that a time warp could have transported you back 150 years and you would never have known it. Borders are a man made phenomenon and in this area the US and Mexico just kind of blend together on the grasslands of the San Rafael Valley. Sounds kind of science fictiony but why not since I just got done hiking two trails that have some kind of space time warp occurring that allows the travel in one direction of the trail to be shorter than travel in the other direction (at least that’s what the signs say).

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bear Spring Dripping Dripping
Seepage at spring

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Spring - Oversite Canyon Dripping Dripping
Water in pool at spring

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Spring - Prospector's Cabin Dripping Dripping
Not sure what the flow rate was but I could here it running
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Dec 14 2016
AZHiker456
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 Guides 28
 Routes 197
 Photos 7,418
 Triplogs 184

38 female
 Joined Nov 07 2015
 
Miller Carr and Calyx, AZ 
Miller Carr and Calyx, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 14 2016
AZHiker456
Hiking13.64 Miles 4,609 AEG
Hiking13.64 Miles   8 Hrs   3 Mns   1.82 mph
4,609 ft AEG      34 Mns Break
 
1st trip
The past week has been very warm in Southern AZ relative to the previous several weeks, and I haven’t been the only one soaking up the sunshine at the lower altitudes. After encountering bees on all three 6,600’+ summits I bagged this past Saturday in the Whetstones, I decided to set the bar a little higher this time, [and capitalize on the warm spell], by knocking off one of my few remaining ‘big-gun’, Southern Arizona bucket-listers: none other than highpoint of the Huachucas, [aka Miller Peak].

In first researching route options [over a year ago], the myriad of different approaches / THs for accessing this peak has always impressed me, [and always made me feel torn in terms of what to go for first]. However, after moving to Elgin and researching the options in more detail, the decision became an easy one: I’d approach via the Oversite Canyon TH / Oversite Canyon Trail #112, which is located on the much more remote, SW part of the range.

The plans were as follows:
1. Launch from the Oversite TH on the Oversite Canyon Trail #112;
2. Shortly thereafter, depart from the Oversite Canyon Trail #112 and bushwhack up to the Arizona Trail in a much more direct line toward Miller Peak compared to the roundabout way that the trail goes;
3. Bag Miller Peak; [which from this point would be via the Arizona Trail #103 followed by the Miller Peak Trail #105];
4. Bag Carr Peak; [take the Miller Peak Trail #105 off Miller Peak, reconnect with the Arizona Trail #103 heading NW, pick up the Carr Peak Trail #107 by Bathtub Spring, followed by the short little spur trail marked #108 up to Carr Peak];
5. Bag Granite Peak [retrace steps from Carr Peak back to Bathtub Spring, then continue NW on the Arizona Trail #107 for a little over a mile; at which point depart from the trail and bushwhack up to Granite Peak… which looked to be extremely easy… provided that the topo maps didn’t ‘generalize’ the contours…];
6. Return via the Ida Canyon Trail #110 or the Oversite Canyon Trail #112;
7. If time permitted, bag Sutherland Peak

I did not expect to get through everything; but personally, I like to have extra planned out vs not enough; and I’m extremely glad I took the time to draw up some very good route options / back-up options… Route Scout topo was completely nonfunctional on this one, and the old fashion / ‘line-of-sight’ method would not have been particularly helpful either [it was typically either crystal clear where to go or not clear at all]. Having topo contours would definitely have come in handy; but even with just the routes/waypoints I’d drawn up pre-hike, Route Scout still exceeded expectations and allowed me to pull off an epic adventure.

Items #1-4 were executed almost exactly as planned. With boulder crags abound, the bushwhack up from Oversite Canyon to the AZ Trail had the potential to go bad at several points; but from a route finding perspective proved exceptionally smooth. I followed some routes out of Oversite Canyon and pretty much had routes the entire way up to the AZ Trail [which ranged from faint animal routes during some stretches and full out human / “International” routes during other stretches].

Frustratingly, what should have been a wicked fun bushwhack ascent proved to deliver quite a beating. Relative to the “R-” and “X-”rated bushwhacks I did earlier this year in the Chiricahuas, I would have given this bushwhack a rating of “PG”…. yet thanks to the pumpkin-up equilibrium impairments that have not resolved, it proved to be a bit of a battle, which ended with me getting battered far worse than on some of my ‘X-rated’ Chiricahua bushwhacks. It’s one thing to take a beating while negotiating truly difficult terrain, but after experiencing the following as a directly result of my pumpkin-up equilibrium - gashing open my knee during a basic bouldering maneuver, taking a direct hit to my eye by a branch in a NON-brushy area, and smashing my head against rock, [among other more minor assaults] – I wasn’t in a very pleasant mood by the time I finally reached the AZ Trail.

After reaching the AZ Trail, I picked up the pace [but nothing that I thought was too fast], and heard some backpackers exclaim as I passed by, “Wow, you are cruising like a ninja” [or something to that effect]. It lifted my spirits a little to know that all was not lost, and I started to feel better after reaching the summit of Miller Peak and enjoying the beautiful views… but then I took a step closer to see what the deal was with this “pit” on top of the peak that everyone was throwing cans / bottle into. There are some mid-large sized rocks that people have placed by the edge of the pit and [thanks to my pumpkin-up equilibrium yet again], I tripped over one of them. Fortunately, my ability to recover while flailing through mid-air is not impacted by the equilibrium issues; but the acting of recovering, [and literally not landing in such a way where I’d break an ankle/knee or end up in the pit] unfortunately took all of my focus……………. and the split second before my foot reconnected with the ground, I realized that my body was headed straight for the rocks surrounding the summit register. I attempted to shift my weight, but it was too late, and somehow during the landing process, [either one of my legs brushed the glass register into a boulder or perhaps it was when I used the rocks supporting the register to spring toward solid ground], the glass jar shattered.

I was beyond furious at how my handicap was directly responsible for destroying something that is special to so many, and I did my best to make amends, first using some choice words directed toward myself, acknowledging that I was the one who broke the register when I signed the log, then donating my trusty carrying case that housed my tweezers & headlamp as the new register and further wrapping that in a poncho I had in my pack. All paper and all writing implements that were in the glass register actually fit perfectly; but it was still very frustrating… the new “register” is not as secure from a waterproof standpoint, and until it is replaced by a better container, whoever signs will need to wrap it with care to ensure that it stays waterproofed.

Although I made the summit of Miller Peak in just 4.55 miles, my time to summit [3 hr 37 min] was extremely slow due to the bushwhack in combination with my equilibrium impairments, and as I departed from Miller Peak I wondered whether I’d even have time for Carr, let alone the other two. Luckily the Arizona Trail between Miller Peak and Carr Peak was very fast; and with some snow that was firmly packed between the gaps of the rocks, [but not so firm as to be slippery], it was really smooth sailing. Once on the Carr Peak Trail, there were a few places where I was able to cut some switchbacks / head ‘as-the-crow-flies’ over terrain that was good enough to allow me to both cut off distance AND save time. I thought the views from Carr Peak were much better than the ones from Miller, but both were very nice… however, neither can hold a candle to anything I’ve summited in the Chiricahuas and/or Pinalenos! As for a register, I did not see one at all on Carr Peak. Had it not been so late in the day, I would have easily stayed another hour on Carr Peak [and Miller as well]. With awesome views, unbeatable temps, and no bees, both were very pleasant summits. However, it was just after 3 PM by the time I departed from Carr, and it was a good 5-6 miles back to the Oversite TH.

Ironically, no sooner did I dismiss the idea of going for a 3rd summit do I find myself atop the unofficially named Calyx Peak. I’d started to come off Carr but instead of heading Southward [back down to Carr Peak Trail #107], I decided to stay on the ridgeline that heads due West of Carr Peak. I’d been eyeing this ridgeline earlier as I approached Carr Peak. Although parts of it looked craggy, I didn’t see anything that would prevent me from exiting this ridgeline and banking back down to the Carr Peak Trail #107 if the going got slow. About 1/2 mile from the summit of Carr Peak as I crested a ‘bump’ on this ridgeline, I encountered a metal rod near the highpoint, which was supporting a small wooden sign that had the words “CALYX PEAK” carved into it. Ironically, I thought the views from Calyx Peak were even been that from Carr.

The ridgeline from Carr to Calyx – and then onward from Calyx back to the Arizona Trail, [which ended up being almost another mile] – was extremely well routed. Even with my equilibrium being markedly worse on the type of terrain I encountered during this hike, I was able to go relatively fast on this ridgeline, enjoy myself on the off-trail, and not take any further unnecessary ‘beatings’. It would have been nice to explore more but I knew that even if with a very fast trail, this adventure was going to end in a race with the setting sun.

A little over 1/2 mile after reconnecting with the Arizona Trail #103, I reached the junction for the Oversite Canyon Trail #112 [my exit trail]. The HAZ Description for this trail rated it a 1 in terms of the Route Finding, and this was very helpful in planning my route. Aside from a very short overgrown section where the trail does some switchbacks before reaching a spring at the upper end of the Canyon, the going was quite fast and the route was extremely obvious. It proved to be the perfect exit trail… I have horrible night vision, [in terms of hiking in the dark], and I reached my vehicle at 5:47 PM without needing to reach for my headlamp or flashlight; enough said!
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Sep 23 2014
BenTelly
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 Guides 1
 Routes 1
 Photos 64
 Triplogs 12

38 male
 Joined Sep 30 2014
 Borderlands, AZ
Oversite Canyon - Ida Canyon Loop, AZ 
Oversite Canyon - Ida Canyon Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 23 2014
BenTelly
Hiking7.80 Miles 2,048 AEG
Hiking7.80 Miles
2,048 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I feel particularly lucky to be able to experience the Huachucas during the monsoon. Water everywhere - in every drainage, spring, gully - t'was amazing. Due to these conditions I couldn't drive to the "Cave Canyon"/Ida-Oversite trailhead. The washes were too deep, even for the old pickup. I parked about a mile from the "official" trailhead and walked the road to the wilderness boundary - hence the 7.8 mile loop rather than the +/- 7 miles listed elsewhere. The riparian corridor in Oversite is beautiful, lined with sycamores and large oaks. Excellent bird habitat. The prospector's cabin (I've seen this listed as Happy Jack Cabin) is still standing, but probably not for too much longer. Behind the cabin are two trails, both leading to caves (one called Happy Jack Cave) that have evidence of mining activity.

Part of the fun of the Oversite trail is route finding, but it's route finding in a fairly narrow canyon so it's never too difficult to get off track. Plus, every so often there are massive cairns that are impossible to miss. The switchbacks near the head of the canyon are - as the description states - difficult to navigate and hastily built. I chose to come UP Oversite and DOWN Ida for this reason. Easier to navigate on the ascent, and safer given the trail conditions.

The trail levels out and the hike to the junction of the Crest Trail and then Bear Saddle is great. Nice views and tall pines along this traverse that takes you out of Oversite and above Ida. I paused for a spell at Bear Saddle and enjoyed the cool breezes and views down into Ramsey to the east, Bear and Ida to the west and southwest. The slope down to Bear Spring is an old burn area and oaks are growing back, but not many conifer seedings. There are a number of downed trees along this descent to the spring and the going is a little slow. At Bear Spring the trail junction of Ida Canyon and Bear Canyon looked completely washed out. The spring was roaring, creating cascades through the mixed conifer forest. It's a beautiful area, but like many west range springs and canyons the area was strewn with trash. I filled a small bag with empty water bottles, making a note to bring a larger trash bag next time.

The trek down to Ida Canyon was pleasant, traversing up the east slope of Bear Canyon and along the divide between Bear and Ida. I love this mixed conifer forest with the occasional giant huachuca agave patch. The switchbacks are well built and easy to follow, at least compared to the set at the head of Oversite. A series of cascades highlighted the final stretch of trail down Ida Canyon to the trailhead.

What do I love about the Huachucas? One reason (of many) is that I seldom see anyone else on the trail. And when I do, it's usually some stand-up, good citizen out enjoying the same world I love. The Oversite - Ida loop seems seldom visited and I wasn't surprised when I didn't see anyone all day. But this has happened to me numerous times in the past month or so. It's like I'm the only biped out there. I know I'm not, especially when I check other triplogs, but the landscape - and especially the Miller Peak Wilderness Area - provides that most wonderful characteristic that is solitude.
Flora
Flora
Yellow Columbine
_____________________
Jun 22 2012
MAVM
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 Guides 1
 Routes 43
 Photos 666
 Triplogs 78

54 male
 Joined Mar 15 2012
 Seattle, WA
Oversite Canyon Trail # 112Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 22 2012
MAVM
Hiking6.95 Miles 3,586 AEG
Hiking6.95 Miles   7 Hrs      1.54 mph
3,586 ft AEG   2 Hrs   30 Mns Break18 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Oversite Canyon completes the triumvirate of sister canyons (along with Ida & Bear Canyons) in this region of the Huachuca Mountains. I chose to hike them all in an out & back fashion, so as to potentially obtain a more in-depth feel for each of them individually, and not in the loop-type fashion that is readily available when Crest Trail is engaged. Oversite is a bit steeper (a 20-20 candidate for sure, as all three canyons are) than the others and more primitive than Ida for certain - as it tends to be overgrown, tight and easily lost in several places - this of course has its appeal to many trekkers - myself included.

There is an excellent spring near the prospecting cabin in the lower portion of the route. It is listed in the topography maps of the region as merely 'spring' - and is unlisted here on Hike AZ - so I will be adding it to the data base. The spring is just above the terraced area around the cabin and was flowing audibly strong at well over a gallon per minute in later June, an excellent sign of reliability as a source. I actually wished I had needed to take on water, as it was so appealing!

Overt evidence of Bear activity is lacking in Oversite Canyon - very similar to Ida in this regard - there is a greater feeling of openness, as the canyon is the widest of the three with a more permeable canopy overhead. This also allows for more accurate GPS tracking for those who are documenting such details. I have reanalyzed my previous canyon hikes in the region via the elevation correction feature offered by TrainingPeaks - as the Garmin (AEG) data never seemed accurate or even close. The data entered for the Oversite Canyon GPS route provided is accurate and cross-checked with Google Earth & TOPO. At any rate, the bird varieties were very pronounced and several sightings I am still trying to identify. The 'Wild Turkey Hens' I happened upon in Oversite Creek were not overly shy at all (see photos) - and are the oft mistaken Pea Foul of the Huachucas - a Sky Island extension of their more prominent AZ territory throughout the Mogollon Rim.

Oversite Canyon Trail #112 works its way along the drainage of Oversite Creek and then upward through steep switchbacks and over a couple of ridge-line saddles to ultimately join Crest Trail #103 700 - 800' above the bowl of Bear Spring and then follows Bear Saddle toward Granite Peak if you are westward bound. The trail in its uppermost regions peers into the aforementioned adjoining canyons and is narrow and offers a double incline / decline of both the slope of the ridge traverses while continuing to gain / lose elevation. This is particularly interesting and more pronounced in the decline trajectory of the the return trip...where I managed to only fall flat on my rear twice all the way back down. AEG 3586'- FPM 516' - Grade 19.5% GPS Route Available
Flora
Flora
Huachuca Agave
Fauna
Fauna
Wild Turkey
Named place
Named place
Spring - Prospector's Cabin

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Spring - Oversite Canyon Dripping Dripping
Pooling with a bit of an overflow - somewhat brackish away from source.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Spring - Prospector's Cabin Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
This source was found fluid & running audibly strong - it appeared near pristine to the eye.
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The MaNtiS - Assume & be Damned!
http://www.mavm.com
average hiking speed 1.97 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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