Aravaipa Canyon, AZ
October 20-21, 2007

Participants

Dave O'Brien
Jason Barnes
Curtis Cooper
Rick Greenberg

Description

Aravaipa Canyon is about 1.5 hours northeast of Tucson. It's very scenic and it contains one of the last free-flowing rivers in Arizona, so it's a hot-spot for birds and other wildlife. As such, it's a protected area and permits are only issued for 30-50 people per day. There's no maintained trail, so a lot of the hiking is along the riverbank or through the river itself. It's not particularly difficult and doesn't involve much elevation change, but is a bit slow-going. We hiked about 5 miles each day and camped basically in the middle of the Canyon.

The canyon was hit with severe flooding during the 2006 monsoon season, which knocked out both the East and West access roads. The West road was re-opened earlier this year, but the Eastern entrance was still closed at the time of this trip.

The official BLM web page for Aravaipa Canyon, with info and an online permit request form, is here. Further information, including free topo maps of the Canyon, can be found here.

Other People's Photos

Jason's

My Photos

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Getting ready to go at the trailhead
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Aravaipa Creek, just a few hundred yards from the trailhead. Most of the hiking from here onwards is either through it or right next to it.
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The first mile is through private land, so there were a number of houses overlooking the creek before it really starts to enter the canyon
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Our first sighting of "Harry" the heron. We kept running into him (or vice versa) throughout the trip.
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There were a lot of different kinds of butterflies around
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Snack break!
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One of the many, many stream crossings
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Harry makes another appearance (he's pretty much in the center of the next three photos)
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Harry takes flight (just a few feet above the stream)
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More pics of Harry, further down the Canyon
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To the left is Horse Camp Canyon, which Rick and I did a short side hike in. We camped pretty much across the creek from it.
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More pictures of Harry from right around Horse Camp Canyon
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Checking out the ruins near our campsite. They are supposedly from the early 1900s when people were using the Canyon for ranching.
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Neat shadows and lighting on the wall above Horse Camp Canyon
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Rick and I hiked up through Horse Camp Canyon, which was very different from the main canyon
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Setting up camp for the evening
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Filtering water on the morning of Day 2
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This ~1 meter long boulder was stuck in these trees, suggesting that the flood that put it there (possibly the one in 2006) was pretty strong
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Harry appears again
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Neat frog, which blends in quite well with its surroundings
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If you look closely, you'll see a winged, black insect dragging a large dead spider
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Small natural arch near the top of the cliff
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A large tree uprooted and deposited on the cliff on the left side of this narrow passage by a flood
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Finished!