Wednesday, November 6, 2013

King Canyon Saguaro National Park West November 3, 2013

                             In the King Canyon wash

My main reason for returning to Saguaro Park on Sunday was to hike in King Canyon. King Canyon offers a number of neat washes to explore and excess to the Sweetwater Trail as well as Wasson Peak. This trail head is not marked because it is in the Tucson Mountain Park. To find it drive to the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum and look for marker K 24 on the side of the road. There will be a parking lot with cars in it.

The Hike: Today I am hiking to a saddle with Wasson Peak as well as exploring a number of unnamed washes in the canyon. If you stick to the trail it is 5.4 miles to the saddle. Elevation gain is about 960 feet. Including my wash detours I hiked about 8 miles. The trail is very rocky and uneven so watch your step in places.

The King Canyon trail  is easy to follow with minimal route finding. Trail junctions are also well signed. The first mile of the trail is on an old road to a crumbling Civilian Conservation Corp picnic area called Mam-A-Gah. After Mam-A-Gah the King Canyon trail is above the King Canyon wash as it works its way to the saddle. If you are going to hike washes in the desert please follow leave no trace principles, watch the weather and do not hike beyond your ability. A storm miles away can cause downhill flooding. Also please carry more water than you can possibly drink.

                   Cholla cactus

                         Saguaros and wash rock obstacle.

                    Looking north and the canyon the Sweetwater Trail comes up

                              Looking down King Canyon; notice the King Canyon trail on the right side.

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