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Saturday, January 24, 2009

HAUNTED CANYON

HAUNTED CANYON Superstition Wilderness Tony’s Cabin is still standing, as it has for decades, at the edge of a sycamore-lined creek in Haunted Canyon. Abandoned long ago, it serves now as a shrine to a camaraderie of hikers who have never met. The weathered log building is lovingly maintained and stocked with canned foods, matches and other survival essentials, like beer, by outdoors enthusiasts just passing through. Be it a stash for the lost or an offering to the spirits that inhabit the wilderness, you too can become part of the tradition by depositing a can of beans of your own. Undulating and traversing a variety of terrain, the Haunted Canyon trail starts out as an easy-to-follow stroll, but quickly demands more of your quads and route-finding skills. Views from the high ridgelines into the forests and meadows are worth the effort. Keep in mind that the downhill sections on the way in become uphill slogs on the way out. Except for some tortured looking cottonwoods, and the calls of fugitive owls, the trail does not seem haunted. Native Americans slapped the moniker on the canyon as a determent to outsiders. But, slag heaps and tailings ponds along the drive to the trailhead are ample evidence that phantoms are no match for the lure of copper. LENGTH: Optional. 7.5 miles out and back RATING: moderate - difficult ELEVATION RANGE: 3,200 – 4,900 feet GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, take Hwy 60 east past Queen Creek to the Pinto Valley mine exit (FR 287). Follow the paved road almost 3 miles to the mine entrance. Turn left and follow the “public access” signs. Keep bearing left until you reach the Trail 203 sign. INFORMATION: Tonto National Forest, Superstition Wilderness

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