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Juniper Flat - Sierra Ancha - 2 members in 2 triplogs have rated this an average 3.5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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May 21 2020

 Guides 95
 Routes 222
 Photos 9,008
 Triplogs 711

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Juniper Flat - Sierra AnchaGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar May 21 2020
Hiking8.32 Miles 629 AEG
Hiking8.32 Miles   4 Hrs   14 Mns   1.97 mph
629 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I don’t get out to the Sierra Ancha too often, as it is a three hour drive from Sunnyslope, despite being only 67 miles away as the crow flies. Or hawk, as I would later discover.

Exploring Juniper Flat is a total, but mild, bushwhack.

From the trailhead, I headed northeast, making sure to stay on the Juniper Flat side of the unnamed canyon that separates it from Elephant Rock Mesa.

Besides simply enjoying the day, my main objective was to see if there was a way down to the mines / caves, I had previously spotted from Elephant Rock Mesa ( [ photoset ] ). They were on the Juniper Flat side of the canyon, maybe 200 ft. down from the rim. When I got near to where they should be, I would get closer to the edge, peer around, move over a bit, repeat, etc. There were some cracks in the rim that I could have scrambled down to about the right level, but didn’t want to waste the energy if I didn’t see the caves first. It might be a small, unnamed, canyon, but it is sheer & rugged.

Moving along the rim of the unnamed canyon, and Cherry Creek into which it feeds, had both the most tangled vegetation on Juniper Flat, and also the most open movement. Where it was tangled, I would “dip in & out” from the rim, as I sought a less tangled path — which is why the attached GPS route looks so jagged. Where the rim was clear, it was smooth sailing across flat stone outcroppings.

Juniper Flat has much less wildfire damage than Elephant Rock Mesa, so there is plenty of shade. Still, I got quite sunburned from spending so much time on the exposed rim of Cherry Creek.

3.0 miles into my explore, I found two cairns about 25 yds. apart: one regular size, one with large stones. I couldn’t figure out their purpose, nor that of an obviously placed wood pole at the 3.4 mile mark. The wilderness boundary was nearby, so maybe that is why? 🤔

A ¼ mile west of the wood post is a beautiful, layered, dryfall that would be spectacular if water was running. I got buzzed by an irate hawk (see video below), who must have had a nearby nest. As I had already been exploring three hours, I decided to skip the northern half of my planned Juniper Flat figure 8.

The first 3.5 miles of my Juniper Flat exploration were in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness. I crossed the wilderness boundary two other times, and approached it a third, but never saw a fence of any sort, other than by the trailhead, and along the Young Highway / AZ-288. There is no fence along the Cherry Creek rim, nor where the dirt road crossed the wilderness boundary. (It ends in a loop a ¼ mile into the wilderness.) With no barrier, it was no surprise to see an OHV exploring the dirt road.

After walking the dirt road’s length, I again headed off trail, searching for Juniper Flat Tank — which is not where the map claims it is. I did, however, find a land survey monument and the cadastral survey marker for the northeast corner of the Cagle Cabin admin site.

What I assume is Juniper Flat Tank, was 200 yds. away. It was a large, waterless, clearing with two large water bladders, wood benches, an upright metal tank, a small metal tank on a trailer, and an old home site with two concrete foundations, a stone grill / BBQ pit, and a mostly intact stone chimney. From Juniper Flat Tank, it was under a mile back to the trailhead.

Hike Video:
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Juniper Flat has quite a bit of vegetation, mostly pine, pinyon, juniper, manzanita, etc. No catclaw that I recall. The few cacti were mostly prickly pear, which had some amazing flowers. Fleabane and some yellow flower I can never remember the name of were quite common. The manzanita were blooming their tight clusters of white & pink flowers. I also found New Mexico thistle, indian paintbrush, century plant, and an absolutely stunning purple number that I believe was a Gunnison’s Mariposa Lily.
_____________________ : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
2 archives
Feb 18 2014

 Guides 46
 Routes 483
 Photos 8,859
 Triplogs 547

75 male
 Joined Dec 28 2006
 Scottsdale, AZ
Elephant Rock Arch - Sierra AnchaGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 18 2014
Hiking5.90 Miles 2,119 AEG
Hiking5.90 Miles   7 Hrs   20 Mns   1.26 mph
2,119 ft AEG   2 Hrs   40 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
Since learning years ago of this large, natural, and remote access Sierra Ancha Wilderness Arch which resides at the lower NE base of "Elephant Rock" , I had always thought that a well planned off-trail hike to view it up close would be outstanding and today it did not disappoint :D

Through the years I had taken a stab at planning various off-trail route ideas for access, but I had never finalized an "out and back" route that I felt physically capable of safely accomplishing. Fortunately, I was able to gain Oregon Hiker (Larry's) interest in this arch via his viewing of a few previouisly posted HAZ pictures and through our exploratory scouting trip to the north Cherry Creek Road (FR203) area back in Nov'13 .

Now with a good plan in place which included Larry's recommended GPS planning route choice to approach "Elephant Arch" from a Park/TH Start off The Young Highway (Hwy 288 north), and with an additional planned and interesting secondary hike destination , it was now just a matter of scheduling a suitable good weather day for this higher elevation Sierra Ancha hike (between 6350ft to 6854ft). Due to cold/snow/ice/wetness, normally we would probably not be able to safely attempt this completely off-trail and difficult route finding hike in February, but this year with its unseasonable higher temps and less rain, and after a previously scheduled December'13 date that we needed to cancel, today was the day.

As usual I enjoy telling and showing the hike story via my above posted picture set, pic captions, tag notes, and through my geocoded pics GPS Route. Time to review all this should hopefully give those interested and qualified a good idea of what this most enjoyable & rewarding off-trail hike has to offer.
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")
average hiking speed 1.61 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.

90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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