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Sunday, June 14, 2009

SPRING VALLEY

SPRING VALLEY TRAIL Hells Canyon Wilderness The jagged terrain of the Hieroglyphic Mountain Range provides a bewitching backdrop for the stark beauty of the Hells Canyon Wilderness. The Spring Valley Trail wanders through golden grasslands that sprawl out from the bases of craggy cliffs and dissolve into the lunar-esque silhouettes of distant volcanic rock formations. Murky watering holes attract grazing cattle and feral burros just before the path turns abruptly uphill along a rise where the soft-blue waters of Lake Pleasant shimmer on the horizon. The final leg of the adventure is marked by a rugged descent along an exposed ridge to boulder-strewn Garfias Wash. LENGTH: 5.8 miles round-trip ELEVATION GAIN: 200 feet RATING: moderate GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, drive north on I-17 to exit 223 (Carefree Highway/State Route 74). Turn west (left) onto SR-74 and continue to the Lake Pleasant Regional Park turnoff. Turn north (right) onto Lake Pleasant Drive and continue for about 5.5 miles to Castle Hot Springs Road. Turn left on Castle Hot Springs Road and drive a short distance to just past a cattle guard where there’s some fencing on the left and park in the turnouts along the road. The hike begins at the “trail” sign with a steep descent into a wash. Once in the wash, go south (left) and head towards the big cairn. From the cairn, pick up the faint path that leads to the trail register. From there, go RIGHT and uphill. INFORMATION: Bureau of Land Management Phoenix Field Office www.blm.gov/az/

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