Hike #85 – White Canyon / Aqua Fria River – 18 miles

Location : White Canyon Wilderness (NOBO Mile Marker 273.1)

Date: 11-25-2019

Weather: Clear skies, starting temperature 59 degrees, Cool throughout the day .

Total Mileage Completed : 18 miles on AZT plus approach trail of 8 miles

Hike Description:

This hike was a tough approach trail and in retrospect was a little poor planning on my part. For years I had studied the maps trying to figure out how to get back to the elbow of the AZT in the White Canyon Wilderness along the Aqua Fria river. The eastern part was so easy we did it way back on 12-20-2016 (Hike #12). I knew this hike and the upcoming Hike #89 would be a big approach trail and long AZT miles. I found Battle Axe road off of Highway 177 a very popular 4×4 road entrance into this section and with a little googling, I found a way to get just north of the AZT from what appears to be a small bushwhacking wash hike of like 1 mile to a road that would eventually lead back to the AZT at mile marker NOBO 273.1. This simple little wash turned out to be a scramble that we had to do twice… and the approach road was long long long than a wash hike in soft sand for about 1 mile to finally reach the AZT. Once on trail, man it was easy flat quick hiking.

It was a nice cool day and this AZT part of the trail only offered a challenging up and down when you reach the elbow of the trail entering White Canyon, which is were I found a nice looking AZT Trailhead sign and parking lot… I guess if you would have continued on to this offshoot of Battle Axe road you would eventually ended up here. Now I have no idea how bad the road is as we obviously did not take it that far, but it must be good enough for the AZT people to truck a big metal trailhead sign out here. Maybe save yourself the goofy approach trail stuff and try it. This TH is at mile marker NOBO 279.3.

After the sign we hiked into the White Canyon from the south and the views became amazing. The white canyon has to be the most remote section of the AZT but it’s worth the trouble. Very cool area of Arizona.

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