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Feb 23 2017
caquark
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 Guides 1
 Photos 4
 Triplogs 1

female
 Joined Feb 25 2017
 tucson, az
Grass Canyon LoopSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 23 2017
caquark
Hiking7.20 Miles 1,255 AEG
Hiking7.20 Miles   7 Hrs   15 Mns   0.99 mph
1,255 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I would really have to psyche myself up to do this hike again. Don't know why this hike is rated only 2.5 of 5, as I've done a 4.5 of 5 rated hike (Ventana Canyon) that was a cake-walk in comparison. The Grass Canyon Loop was all around one of the hardest day hikes I've done, not because of elevation or distance, but because lack of trail, lack of solid footing for most of the distance, fighting brush and bramble, rock climbing and scrambling up Grass Canyon, and scrambling down sills in North Fork Alamo Canyon. Easier walking happens in the final 1-2 miles of the loop. Definitely do the loop in a clockwise direction. Swing to the west along Alamo Canyon Road before angling northward on your approach to the Grass Canyon entrance (as per the ranger's recommendation) to spend less time scrambling up and down the many washes and to avoid all the cholla.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
We ending up using drifts of Mexican poppies as our "guide" to the entrance of Grass Canyon. There were 4-o'clocks, penstemon, and others (purple, yellow, white daisy like flowers, pink) that I don't know the name. Also some ocotillos were blooming too.
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Jan 22 2006
desertlavender
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 Photos 109
 Triplogs 23

67 female
 Joined Nov 29 2004
 Tucson, AZ
Grass Canyon LoopSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Jan 22 2006
desertlavender
Backpack6.00 Miles 1,255 AEG
Backpack6.00 Miles
1,255 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Grass Canyon - January 21-22, 2006

Visitors to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument cannot help but be intrigued by the description of the Grass Canyon Loop in Eric Molvar's "Hiking Arizona's Cactus Country." Molvar describes it as a "moderately strenuous" 6.2-mile-long day hike.

Huh?

The hike begins at the Alamo Canyon primitive camping area and heads north along the base of a wall of red rhyolite. There is no trail, but it's easy enough to make your way across the bajada bristling with saguaros, organ pipe and teddy bear cholla.

About two hours out, you'll pass a box canyon on your right and then make your way around an enormous stone tower. This is the entrance to Grass Canyon, lat. N32° 5.77', lon. W112° 43.49'.

Over lunch we cheerfully contemplated what looked like a gentle 3/4-mile ascent to Grass Valley Saddle. Three hours later, bruised and bleeding, we clawed our way up a rock slide to the only flat spot within miles.

At Grass Canyon Saddle, lat. N32° 5.28', lon. W112° 43.54', there are wonderful views east into a steep-walled canyon, and west across an endless alluvial fan.

14 hours in the tent gave us lots of time to think about the route ahead. Although in theory we were 2/3 of the way around, if we maintained the same snail's pace, we'd never make it to Alamo Canyon by dark. We reluctantly concluded that in the morning we should go back the way we came.

For the return trip we stayed high on the canyon wall. Although loose stone and steep slopes make for tough going, it's far better than dropping into the wash, which is choked with house-sized boulders, hackberry and cat's claw. Aim for the bases of the lowermost stone pillars, and STAY OUT OF THE WASH!

We'll return to Grass Canyon, but only once we've checked out the approach from the Alamo Canyon side. See http://www.desertlavender.com/organpipe ... canyon.asp for photos and maps.
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average hiking speed 0.99 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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