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Needle Trail - Weaver Mountains - 4 members in 6 triplogs have rated this an average 3.5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Dec 08 2020
GrangerGuy
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 29
 Photos 188
 Triplogs 27

64 male
 Joined Dec 26 2018
 Phoenix, AZ
Williams-Needle-Hassayampa Loop, AZ 
Williams-Needle-Hassayampa Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 08 2020
GrangerGuy
Hiking10.50 Miles 1,496 AEG
Hiking10.50 Miles   7 Hrs   13 Mns   2.11 mph
1,496 ft AEG   2 Hrs   15 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners

The road
I started from the BLM trailhead on the Hassayampa Canyon Wilderness. The speed on the road is 5-10 mph for the last 5 miles. Took 1.5 hr from route 60. I was glad I had a 4x4. High clearance without 4x4 would have been possible, but not pleasant.

The trail

Arrived at the Hassayampa Canyon Wilderness BLM TH at 8 am. Put on my water shoes. Converted my pants for water walking. Signed the register. Looks like a few people visit this wilderness every week.

About the time I got to the creek, a couple of the ranch dogs came down to check me out. One of the ranch dogs followed me at a distance but very wary of me. Every time I turned around, he backed away. Eventually he got bored and headed home.

In early December 2020, the creek was very low. Looked like it would pose no hassle whatsoever. I headed downstream, and in a short distance, the creek disappeared into the sand. In one sense I was glad the stream was dry, so it made the walking ridiculously easy. On the other hand, I did not bring a lot of extra water. I saw that the water was actually just below the surface at some places. It could be found by digging down. The water regularly came to the surface, then disappeared again.

My biggest concern about this trip was quicksand. Based on an earlier report on HAZ, I reviewed self-rescue from quicksand before departure. I figured, by following the paths of the cows, I should stay out of trouble. Any time the sand was smooth, I poked at it with my sticks before stepping onto it. I did not encounter any quicksand.

There were a lot of quail. Also, from time to time I smelled skunk, although I never saw any. I also saw elk sign, and maybe deer prints.

Near the bottom of the Needle Trail, I spotted the remains of someone's gear. It was a black and red giveaway sleeping bag with a Marlboro logo. Also a pair of scissors, brush, comb, and some lotion. It looked like someone was cutting hair here. I marked the location to pick it up on the way back.

I did about 2.5 mph in the streambed, much better than I expected. Because the stream was dry, walking in the stream bed was fairly easy. Although it was tempting to try to follow shortcuts that cut off meandering portions of the stream, it did seem to be faster just to stay in the stream bed. The stream bed was alternately sandy and small-bouldery. With the right footwear and the confidence to walk in the water, it was easy to maintain pretty good speed.

Conditions were near perfect. 50-70 deg., The sun was mostly behind the hills. The stream bed was mostly, but not completely dry. The only disappointment was that the area is not as beautiful as I hoped. At locations where the stream came up, there tended to be a few trees, and a little fall color. I kept comparing this to Aravaipa, but this canyon is much drier. My wife points out there is a reason Aravaipa requires permits and this place doesn't.

By the intersection with the Williams Trail, I had traveled 4.7 miles. I found a shady spot for a 15 minute break, then headed up the wash to the right. Going up, there was a place where two washes come together. A flat one to the right, a rugged one to the left. It turns out, the trail leaves the wash here, and goes up in between. The trail climbs aggressively from the intersection of the two streambeds. You need to pay attention to the GPS track to stay more or less on course. Once the trail levels out a little, it becomes easier to follow. At times, however, it vanishes, and requires attention.

Eventually, The Needle came into view. It is a needle like Weaver's Needle.

As you cross the ridge near the needle, there are many paths, and they appear and disappear. It took some effort to find the best way over to the Needle Trail. Finally, I just decided to ignore looking for the faint Williams Trail, and arrived quickly at the Needle Trail. I came out slightly above the preferred intersection, but not far.

Leaving the trail intersection, the Needle Trail follows down the ridge. Part way down, there is a camp with a couple of steel fireplaces. I dubbed it "Camp Poopy". After this, the trail drops down to a drainage, then climbs aggressively up the other side.

Be careful when crossing the next saddle. There is a clear trail heading up the ridge, but you really need to descend from the saddle. The trail skirts the left side of the peak 3236, and then it is all downhill to Jesus Canyon. The last couple hundred feet of elevation down to Jesus Canyon requires care, as it is steep. The trail up over the ridge after Jesus Canyon is pretty pleasant.

Before Jesus Canyon, I had heard one of the ranch dogs barking. After crossing the canyon and climbing the other side, I encountered the ranch dog, trying to herd some cattle someplace. Once I passed, he herded them back down toward Jesus Canyon. He was obviously independent, and on a mission.

I arrived back at the main canyon without incident. Returned back to the trailhead, with several pounds of trash from the abandoned camp.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
Apr 11 2020
deanmasters1
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 Triplogs 1

male
 Joined Nov 02 2006
 Surprise, AZ
Hassayampa River Wilderness, AZ 
Hassayampa River Wilderness, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 11 2020
deanmasters1
Hiking13.01 Miles 1,830 AEG
Hiking13.01 Miles   9 Hrs   58 Mns   1.42 mph
1,830 ft AEG      48 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Driving in, the road took an interesting hard left into a wash that was still wet and torn from recent storms. I was questioning if I was on the correct road at this point, considering I've never been here before. GPS map and my position confirmed I was good and kept going. 4x4 was comforting to have with the soft wet sand. It got better the last half mile. Upon parking and getting out of the jeep, I was greated by a dog coming out of the ranch. Little did I know this guy was going to hang out with me the whole trip!
It was a short walk down to the river. Seeing how wide it was had me a bit concerned, I did not want to get very wet and have soaked boots since I planned on exploring the desert around this area. I found a shallow, but wide, enough area to cross. I stayed as much as I could on the side I made it to, knowing the trail's access would be here. About 2 miles downstream, through thick overgrown bushes and low hanging trees, I came to the Needle trail. I went back to the river to hang for a bit before climbing out. "Quickly" I found out about quick sand. I so happened to step on a spot that swallowed my whole right leg up to my inner thigh. Luckily a small tree was within reaching distance. I was able to slowly pull myself out, trying to not lose my boot. I can feel the vacuum pulling it off. Success, I was out, but now fully wet and muddy. Oh well, so much for staying dry.
I got on the Needle trail and headed up. Passing patches of wildflowers, this part of the trail was very colorful. It was an easy accent, though losing the trail was just as easy at each small ridge summit where cattle have trampled and soiled the grounds. I had to use GPS to confirm my route.
The trail ended at what I think was either the Roy Waits or Fools Canyon trail, regardless, I head South Westish on it down to a sandy wash. Cattle here too have marked it heavy. Soon the Slaughterhouse trail appeared.
At first this trail was tricky to navigate, as it completely dissapears and even with GPS you don't see it, it is more of a route heading up. When getting to the ridge, the views open up looking down into the river wilderness. The trail was easier to follow at this point. When I was down in its sandy bottom wash, there was interesting colors showing on the edges. Deep rusty reds, bright solid white and even teal blue dirt was exposed. I even saw a Gila Monster strolling down the wash. Being that was the first time seeing one in the wild made my day.
When I got back down to the river, I was feeling good. But the trek back up river soon wore that feeling out. The river was wide, so either it was walking in the water or in the overgrown brush on the sides. Being in the water wasn't bad, until it was deep and quick. The brush on the sides posed its difficulty with a labyrinth of impenetrable dead ends or thorny "wait a minute" shrubs. I left the canyon bottom a few times to see if the desert was better. Its wasn't. Thicker denser and thornier plants awaited along with surprise drops. So I went back down and just settled with the crossings, brush and river rocks. Reflecting back, it wasn't really that bad, it was just my feet were done with the wet, grit and rocks.
I made it back to the jeep, said goodbye to the amazing trail dog that hung with me the whole time and listened to the ranch goats nearby scream in their interesting way.
As I drove out, the road seemed much easier. I thought about what I explored and experienced. Even though some sections were tough, a lot was beautiful. I reminded myself, that was a wilderness. It sure was.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
_____________________
2 archives
Apr 25 2015
joebartels
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 Guides 245
 Routes 837
 Photos 12,313
 Triplogs 4,964

51 male
 Joined Nov 20 1996
 Phoenix, AZ
Treasure - Jesus - Fools Canyon Loop, AZ 
Treasure - Jesus - Fools Canyon Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 25 2015
joebartels
Hiking19.20 Miles 3,240 AEG
Hiking19.20 Miles   8 Hrs   55 Mns   2.35 mph
3,240 ft AEG      45 Mns Break14 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
Almost a repeat of the hike Bruce and I did a month ago. A couple extra miles with a slightly larger loop. I'm not exactly sure of the trail names. Think we continued on Jesus Canyon Trail? Karl wanted to hit up an oasis looking area just up creek of Jesus Spring. It was bomb diggity albeit short lived.

Continued up to the crossroads junction of trails in a subtle valley then headed to Fools Canyon. Witnessed two of the nicest Sugar Sumac trees I've ever seen. In the Superstitions they hug the ground. Here, nice tall picturesque specimens with walking clearance underneath.

Fools Canyon has a few granite gems. One of granite areas had nice basalt accents. The monster Palo Verde Bruce and I saw in Slaughterhouse was in full bloom. Enough blooms to keep a million bees happy for a week.

Bruce's off trail canyon is still a good option and Hassayampa is obviously the main attraction. Our good k9 buddy that followed us for 14 miles greeted us at the trailhead with several other cousins. He came right through the pack and we said our hellos. No tag along today, the cowboys yipped 'em back. Overcast, cool & breezy with mean sprinkles on occasion.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Not blooming but Desert Trumpet owns many hill sides. Compared to a month ago it is developing blue splotches consistently on most plants. Not sure if it common.

Buckhorn Cholla is busting out all over. Ocotillos have dropped their leaves yet still flaunting red blooms. A few of the sparsely populated Palo Verde are going banana yellow nuts.

dry Dead Mexican Creek Dry Dry
Grateful we didn't find the namesake.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Fools Canyon Light flow Light flow
Report is for upper Fools Canyon. Intermittent for multiple stretches. Fair amount of grazing activity...

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Martin South Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
About a gallon per minute. Steel circular catch was overflowing with crystal clear water. Surrounding area was cow party zone.
_____________________
- joe
Apr 25 2015
BiFrost
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 Guides 4
 Routes 372
 Photos 8,261
 Triplogs 1,002

51 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Treasure - Jesus - Fools Canyon Loop, AZ 
Treasure - Jesus - Fools Canyon Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 25 2015
BiFrost
Hiking19.20 Miles 3,240 AEG
Hiking19.20 Miles   8 Hrs   55 Mns   2.35 mph
3,240 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Fools Canyon and Hassayampa Creek were the highlights of the trip and Joe planned a great loop to maximize seeing both canyons. It threatened rain early on so I put my pack fly on and that seemed to keep the rain at bay. Nine miles in we had lunch at Fools Canyon and then headed down canyon where we scrambled over some cool granite rock sections. After crossing a few more canyons we finished up on the Hassayampa Creek which was really the main attraction. Made it back to vehicle as the sprinkles were starting to pick up...lucky to avoid the rain all day :D
Named place
Named place
Fools Canyon
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
_____________________
1 archive
Mar 21 2015
joebartels
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 Guides 245
 Routes 837
 Photos 12,313
 Triplogs 4,964

51 male
 Joined Nov 20 1996
 Phoenix, AZ
Treasure - Hole - Roy Waits - Slaughterhouse, AZ 
Treasure - Hole - Roy Waits - Slaughterhouse, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 21 2015
joebartels
Hiking16.35 Miles 3,134 AEG
Hiking16.35 Miles   7 Hrs   44 Mns   2.34 mph
3,134 ft AEG      44 Mns Break12 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
WSW of the Bradshaws in the Weaver Mountains

For years the old standby joke and bottom of the list hikes to tackle was Jesus Canyon. Blah reviews, blah location, no one ever hikes out there, yadda yadda yadda. In all seriousness I've been eyeing Jesus Canyon since the 90's. There is an inspiring short blurb in the Scott S Warren bible of Arizona Wilderness.

While I couldn't whet the appetite of an eagle to follow Jesus... he drafted a route to double cross the namesake in a wilderness romp.

Constellation Road was recently graded. Currently a Toyota Corolla could handle this road at a good clip. The Dude Ranch as Sir Eagle calls it looked a little shack-ie. From the get go we needed to cross the Hassayampa RIVER twice. It just tickles my Elmo a river is flowing so close to Phoenix and rarely sees hikers. Senior Feather claims it runs year round but imma doutin'. Got our feet wet as it seemed hopeless. In hindsight a minute of tender bare foot terror may have been the prime choice. Soggy shoe syndrome all day...

We probably hit the best loop in the best weather with a healthy wildflower show. Three dogs greeted us in the short jaunt to the river. A nagging pit on my backside was not to my liking. Luckily after a couple minutes him and another retreated on a distant call from the ranch. A wall eyed lab russell terrier looking mix continued to tag along. As in tagged along for 14 miles. This guy was fit as a fiddle and ready for action.

We climbed steadily for almost five miles. First along the Treasure Trail. After 2.8 miles we got a tiny breather heading down to our first crossing of Jesus Canyon. Next up was the "Hole Trail". Seemed we'd never stop ascending but did just after sneaking over 4k. All of the trails encountered were better than anticipated maintenance wise. No signage, yet I'll take trail over signage anyday. Pants were nice the first mile or two. Probably only minimal blood loss tackled in shorts.

Bruce opted for Roy Waits and that turned out to be a great choice with nice distant views from the ridgeline. After a short stroll in Fools Canyon we made good on the loop carefully putting Slaughterhouse to use. Now 270 degrees around "The Needle" Bruce wanted to head up a canyon to avoid some of the river slog. A 30ft slick granite waterfall wasn't in the cards for our newfound canine friend. On the brightside this canyon was money all the way. A trickle flow of water with a spring breeze headwind. Ten minutes later our trusty wall eyed friend found a way back to the good life!

We finished up crossing back over Jesus Canyon and followed the Hassayampa back. Along that stretch a horseman and gal passed. In neato style the gal was a BLM ranger. They had several dogs in toe. After fourteen glorious miles our good buddy joined their posse abandoning us without even a goodbye...lol
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
More Fairy Duster than imaginable. Brittlebush took over several mountain slopes. Acres of trophy sized Desert Trumpet. A light mix throughout of the usual spring specimens.
_____________________
- joe
Mar 21 2015
The_Eagle
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 Guides 9
 Routes 805
 Photos 10,311
 Triplogs 1,625

65 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Hassayampa River Canyon Wilderness Loop, AZ 
Hassayampa River Canyon Wilderness Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 21 2015
The_Eagle
Hiking16.72 Miles 3,096 AEG
Hiking16.72 Miles   7 Hrs   39 Mns   2.42 mph
3,096 ft AEG      44 Mns Break16 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Fast Facts
:next: The word Hassayampa is an old Indian word that means “the river that flows upside down.” All tributaries on the west side of the Bradshaws flow into the Hassayampa.
:next: This is one one of Arizona's longer rivers running just over 100 miles before dumping into the Gila River.
:next: The Hassayampa River Canyon Wilderness was created in 1990.

Caveat:
Trail locations and names were derived from a document provided to me from the BLM. These names do not necessarily agree with the sign at the trailhead at Williams Ranch.

The drive on Constellation Road was in much nicer condition this time, then the last time I was on it the end of 2014. There would probably be no problem getting a sedan all the way to the Trailhead a Williams Ranch.

The Hike:
We started our hike before 7am and were greeted by the Ranch Dogs. Three to four of them. After calls from the ranch, all but one returned. Lucky for us we got the nice one (I think Joe wanted to take him home) and the best hiker of the bunch. You could tell he'd been on the trails before.

Across the flowing Hassayampa we found a trail on the opposite side that took us right to the Treasure Canyon TH

Treasure Canyon Trail is 2 miles and 600' of AEG to get to the Hole Trail. The trail is thin is spots requiring a track to stay on trail. Nothing too thick, but I was glad I had long pants on to begin. I'm assuming the Canyon we traversed, to the east, was Treasure Canyon (Unnamed on Topo), but we found none.

Hole Trail is on an old jeep road, and climbs very steeply coming out of Jesus Canyon for 2 miles. There's some big views from up here. Flowers were substantial in pockets with a wide variety, accented by brittlebush.

Roy Waits Trail was a last minute decision. I'm glad we decided to give it a try. Pretty well defined and great views all the way down. Second favorite trail on the day

A half mile stint on the Fools Canyon Trail and we jumped on the Slaughterhouse Canyon Trail. Use your GPS track to determine the real trail from the cow paths on the west side. Once you crest and start the drop, you get some great views to the east.

Joe, Route Scout and myself took a short lunch at the Hassayampa, before heading up the Williams Trail, to an unnamed canyon, and forcing Route Scout to turn around at a 30' climb up a dry fall. Thinking he'd turn around and go back to the ranch, he rejoined us a 1/2 mile later, after finding a way around

Needle Trail was next and another decent climb out of the canyon. This was probably my favorite trail on the day. We once again lost Route Scout on this trail, this time to the horsemen and their fellow dogs from the ranch.

Once in the Hassayampa River, it was time to forget about trying to stay dry on the crossings, and just walk through the water. The water was quite refreshing

I really enjoyed checking out these new trails....and there more out there.

Hassayampa River :next: https://youtube.com ... 5rQc
Flora
Flora
Claret Cup Cactus
Fauna
Fauna
Dog
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Substantial to extreme in spots.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Hassayampa River at Williams Ranch Medium flow Medium flow
Plenty to filter from

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Jesus Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Pockets of water and running slightly where we crossed at Hole Trail
_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
average hiking speed 2.16 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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