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Peoples Canyon Loop - 2 members in 3 triplogs have rated this an average 5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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May 06 2014

 Triplogs 1

30 female
 Joined May 06 2014
 Santa Maria Ranc
Peoples Canyon LoopNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar May 06 2014
santamariaTriplogs 1
Hiking9.56 Miles 1,305 AEG
Hiking9.56 Miles
1,305 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
PSA from the granddaughter of Tina & Erik Barnes who own the Santa Maria Ranch and the 40 acre parcel that is Peeple's Canyon. While this is indeed a gorgeous hike, there seems to be some confusion about what is and is not private property. Entering through state grazing leases and the wilderness area from Hwy 93, you don't actually hit "private property" until you near the canyon itself. Tina & Erik have been generous to give permission to enter to most of the people who inquire about hiking to the canyon, because they too believe it is a special place and should be shared with those who will pass through it responsibly. They do ask [after you've received their permission] that you not camp in the canyon itself and not go with a group of more than 7 or 8 people. Thank you for your understanding.
Nov 16 2013

 Guides 84
 Routes 694
 Photos 17,480
 Triplogs 1,703

49 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Peoples Canyon LoopNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 16 2013
chumleyTriplogs 1,703
Hiking14.18 Miles 4,687 AEG
Hiking14.18 Miles   1 Hour   14 Mns   11.50 mph
4,687 ft AEG
1st trip
Partners partners
I've wanted to explore this area for over a year now, and after the JBLP trio were there during a flood last winter my interest was piqued even more. But their visit did little to appease my curiosity since I knew that the conditions during their visit were extremely rare.

So Joel and I headed up early Saturday morning for a planned overnight in the canyon and I thoroughly enjoyed the landscape here. It's remote and rarely visited. The elevation is a bit lower than the Supes, so there is not nearly as much vegetation to fight, especially up away from the canyon bottoms. Sparsely spaced cactus and desert shrub made travel fairly quick and pain free. In the canyon bottom, travel was surprisingly easy going, except for in the spring areas where growth made for some serious bushwhacking. Still, willows, reeds, ferns, and riparian grasses don't cause nearly as much pain as catclaw and manzanita!

The drive to the trailhead is 90% nice dirt road. The other 10% is mandatory 4x4 high clearance. Just a couple of short stretches, but not the kind of road a Rav-4 or CRV is gonna enjoy. A real truck is definitely in order. Once done with the 5-mile dirt road to the trailhead, we made it down canyon in pretty good time. We took a nice break in the narrow canyon area at Sycamore Spring, followed by changing terrain along a couple of dry miles before reaching South Peoples.

At this point, we found the only flat ground possible and managed to squeeze our two tents on what might be considered a gravelly beach adjacent to the creek. Joel set out to find some photographic opportunities, and I headed out to explore some areas around the canyon. Had I had more daylight I would have liked to check out the cliff-lined ridge on the west side of the canyon, but I only managed to get about half way up before deciding that daylight wasn't on my side. The views from above the canyon were still spectacular and I would love to come back and spend more time exploring here. I did find what turned out to be a concrete trough -- something I had seen on a satellite photo and decided to seek out.

I went up one side drainage, crossed over a ridge, and descended a parallel drainage. Both were really neat. Narrow little slots with sandy bottoms. Often not more than 3 feet wide, but only 5-20 feet high. In a few places there were small dry falls that I had to bypass, but nothing was ever a real challenge.

Downstream of South Peoples, the vegetation is very thick and travel is significantly more difficult than any part of the canyon above it. I managed to get about half a mile in about an hour's time which is about where the water heads underground and the canyon dries up and becomes easier to travel in again. I'll have to get back here sometime to finish the last few miles to the Santa Maria.

So after a couple of evening beverages, we enjoyed perfect weather for sleeping and awoke to sun on the cliffs above. The hike out to the road was uneventful, and the 2-miles of road hiking back to the the car seemed neverending but still scenic. I surprised a few head of cattle that had adopted a friend in one of nature's paradoxes that just doesn't seem real. I've had several days of emails and photo exchanges with a biologist at AZGFD about it and they are sending a team out to check it out.

Didn't see another vehicle or person all weekend, though there were some obvious man-made boot prints in the sand from time to time, so it's not like nobody has ever been here. Then again, who knows when the last time it rained there?

I posted a few more photos than I normally would just because there's not much information out there on this one. I also try to keep my videos under 3-minutes, but this is a new area for me and most who visit this site, so I went over a little bit. Hope you don't fall asleep... ;)
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 South Peoples Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Spring source is not evident, but plenty of surface water appears, eventually turning into a running stream with deep pools of cool clear water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Sycamore Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Plenty of water. No visible spring source, but deep clear pools for filtering.
two scoops!
Jan 26 2013

 Guides 9
 Routes 818
 Photos 10,969
 Triplogs 1,936

66 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Peoples Canyon Loop, AZ 
Peoples Canyon Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 26 2013
The_EagleTriplogs 1,936
Hiking16.31 Miles 2,920 AEG
Hiking16.31 Miles   8 Hrs   53 Mns   2.07 mph
2,920 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break16 LBS Pack
Partners partners
Johnlp 365!

An Excellent Adventure into a little traveled area.

4 days of rain, and rain all day, made this Epic
Fauna [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Teva
Meteorology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Flash Flood

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max South Peoples Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Hard to tell with a river running through it.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Sycamore Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Hard to tell with a river running through it.
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry 🦅
average hiking speed 2.07 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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