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Whitewater Spring from AZ177 - 2 members in 2 triplogs have rated this an average 2.5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Jan 02 2017

 Guides 75
 Routes 668
 Photos 13,774
 Triplogs 1,461

46 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
White Canyon Upper - SW Approach FR319Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 02 2017
Hiking7.73 Miles 1,748 AEG
Hiking7.73 Miles   4 Hrs   52 Mns   1.71 mph
1,748 ft AEG      21 Mns Break
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I was a bit tired from my New Year's weekend hikes but didn't want to let a day off go to waste, especially not with all the water that has been flowing around the desert mountains lately.

White Canyon has been on my radar since Arizona Wilderness introduced it's Crystal-Pepsi-like uneducated tarzan swinger White Canyon Stout ... which is blonde colored but tastes like a stout. :o (Yes, I realized I wanted to visit somewhere because of the name of a beer!) :sweat:

After visiting the spine and seeing 1-800-the-joey put together a big loop out here a few weeks back, it was fresh in my mind. I was hoping to see good water flowing through the falls in the canyon. I decided that the drive and miles of creek hiking from the south were a bit more than I wanted to tackle on Monday, so I chose the north route from FR319 (the hike description title should probably be renamed sometime so as to not confuse future hikers).

I almost drove all the way to the spring on FR2260, but stopped where a jeep had parked at the top of the hill. 4wd would be required to descend the hill, but primarily because of the one main switchback which has some big boulders as you make the sharp turn. The rest of it is a standard rough 4wd road. Of course, it's not a long walk, so if you don't enjoy roads like this, just park and walk the extra mile or two when you don't feel comfortable driving anymore.

The upper canyon had a light flow of water both above and below the spring, but much less than I was hoping for or expecting. I passed the jeep people as they were on their way out. They were hunting fox but came up empty on the day. To say they were shocked to see me would be an understatement. They had no idea people actually just go out here to hike and explore! : rambo :

The upper canyon is easy to travel in and a couple of well-worn bypasses leave the creek bottom and are marked with cairns. When I reached the top of the box, I stayed on the north side and looked for a way down to the bottom. Along the way I found a very nice 40 foot waterfall from a side drainage. It was interesting that this drainage was flowing more than the much larger main drainage!

Once I had worked my way to the bottom, I attempted to head back upstream toward the fifteen foot falls in the box. There was a short swimmer that I couldn't bypass, and I waded in hoping to find a reasonable way across. Nope. I stripped down and jumped in! With air temps in the low 50s, calling the water refreshing would be an understatement! :o

Unfortunately, at the end of the pool is a small 2 foot cascade, but unable to touch bottom and the water flow hitting me from above, I couldn't manage to climb up. Defeated, I retreated to the beach and put on some warm, dry clothes.

Next I climbed back upstream a bit looking for a descent down the western wall. About halfway down, I felt uncomfortable with the unsure footing on a short pitch I would have to downclimb, and I retreated back up. Next I tried to crab butt-scoot down the angled slope of sheer rock adjacent to a vertical wall. This worked remarkably well and I reached the bottom of the box just below the fifteen foot waterfall. Sadly, it wasn't that exciting. ](*,)

I explored downstream in the box to the cascade and pool that had turned me away earlier. I enjoyed this section. On the way out, I learned quickly that getting up the sloped rock I had descended was not a good plan. But the pitch I didn't want to climb down earlier proved to be much more reassuring on the ascent and I was out of the box in no time.

Not wanting to return the way I had already been, I headed downstream looking for an exit point on the east side of the canyon. I saw one spot that looked promising, but decided to continue downstream and explore a bit more with the time I had remaining. There's a horseshoe bend in a narrow slot with high vertical walls before the canyon opens up about a quarter mile below the box.

Here I made my exit, encountering an obstacle consisting of about a 15 foot vertical layer that included a dryfall near the top of the drainage. There was a crack on the right that was nicely protected from exposure and allowed me to get above it with a short class 4 scramble.

Once above the canyon, it was just a pleasant stroll along the edge of the canyon, taking in the views from a variety of outlook points. Once I had returned above the box, I descended this side into the canyon above the fifteen foot falls, discovering yet another fall, this one in a narrow slot of smooth rock that dropped into a nearly hidden circular pot.

For the most part, I was able to stay in the canyon from here back to the top with the exception of one narrow section that would have required me to get wet again, which I chose not to do. With darkness approaching, I made swift time on the return, getting back to my truck in less than an hour.

White Canyon, you've got me hooked. Can't wait to get back and check out the lower part and explore some more. The geology out here is awesome! So is the stout! :y:

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max White Water Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Full trough, good flow from pipe, and running water in the adjacent creek.
Profound observer
Dec 17 2016

 Guides 5
 Routes 793
 Photos 9,475
 Triplogs 1,141

64 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
White Canyon Loop - White Canyon Wilderness, AZ 
White Canyon Loop - White Canyon Wilderness, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 17 2016
Hiking16.16 Miles 3,626 AEG
Hiking16.16 Miles   10 Hrs   30 Mns   1.64 mph
3,626 ft AEG      40 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
1st trip
Six years ago while hiking the old route of AZT 16 in this area, Joe made a comment that stuck with me. "I don't know why they didn't route the AZT through White Canyon. That area is incredible." That always stuck with me, but it took me this long to draw something up that visited this area.

An easy mile road walk gets you into the northern arm of White Canyon, close to White Water Spring. This canyon gets more impressive the farther you get in.

At 3 miles in, you will have a decision point. Staying in the canyon (without equipment) is not an option, as we'd find out later. We went up to the left and enjoyed the views into the canyon from above. We ultimately dropped back in at mile 4.75. There is plenty to explore up top..


We continued down the canyon until we hit the FR and then continued to the old routing of AZT 16. After some lunch, we made the decision to climb straight up to unnamed Peak 3635. It was steep and loose, but not too bad. Then it was a matter of following the ridge line back down to White Canyon. ... csms

The plan was to follow the canyon back to where we'd originally gotten out of it. Plenty of water and small falls, pools, and a few areas we had to traverse around. Plenty of geology lessons and even a bat cave.

Getting close, we came to a point we could not get through. We contemplated swimming it, but luckily decided against it. We went high right to get out, with no luck. Back down in the canyon, we went high left, and this worked. Looking at the bypass area from above, there were a few swimmers and no friendly exits.

The rest was just pushing daylight getting back to the Truck. It was a chilly 41 when we finished.

This is a sweet area to explore.....
Height of Light

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max White Water Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Trough was full of cool clean water
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
1 archive
average hiking speed 1.68 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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