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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hike a desert river gorge

Near Wickenburg

Picking our way through the willows
Route passes under Burro Creek Bridge on US93
Betcha haven’t hiked THIS one. Burro Creek is a 23-mile-long desert waterway located in the rugged and remote Bureau of Land Management wilderness north of Wickenburg. There’s no “official” trail--just follow the creek. Conditions vary according to water levels. In dry times, it’s possible to hike for miles without getting wet feet. However during periods of heavy rain and snowmelt, wading is required. The area is known for its active wildlife including beavers, javalina, shore birds and the marauding herds of wild burros for which the creek is named. Soaring copper-colored cliffs, mesquite-cottonwood forests, expansive desert views and the graceful arch of Burro Creek Bridge round out the sights. Private properties owners in the area guard their turf jealously. As long as you park in the Burro Creek Campground and stick to hiking in the creek bed, you’re legal.

Winter hike on Burro Creek

LENGTH: 6-9 miles round trip (without bush whacking and wading)
RATING: difficult
ELEVATION: 1,960 – 2,100 feet
DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 114 miles 1-way. Roads are paved up to the last 1.5 miles, and passable by sedan.
GETTING THERE: In Wickenburg at the intersection of US60 and US93, go north on US93 for 59 miles to the turnoff for Burro Creek campground—between mileposts 140 and 141. Turn left (west) onto the campground access road and continue 1.5 miles to the parking lot. Facilities include restrooms and running water.

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