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Monday, September 7, 2015

MORGAN CITY WASH

MORGAN CITY WASH
Lake Pleasant Regional Park
Morgan City Wash is open only to ranger-led hikes

From a lookout point near the 10-lane boat ramp at Lake Pleasant Regional Park, an emerald gorge is visible winding through the foothills below. Morgan City Wash occupies an area south of the lake where the high water table and a perennial creek support a dense forest of cottonwood, mesquite and willows. This lush, riparian ecosystem stands out in brilliant contrast to the muted tones of the surrounding desert. Within the 0.75-mile green zone, rare birds, native fish, dragonflies, amphibians and myriad critters like fox, raccoons and javelina thrive amid flood-scoured bends and water-sculpted stone escarpments. To protect the sensitive nature of this rehabilitating site, visiting the wash is only possible through regularly-scheduled, guided hikes. Park Interpretive Ranger Terry Gerber leads the way armed with deep insight (and a rather silly, but effective battery-powered cooling fan) of the area's history, geology and wildlife. The 4-mile treks descend from the lake along exposed saguaro-lined routes before entering the shady canopy of the wash. Along the way, Gerber describes animal tracks, bird calls, plants and interesting features such as Rattlesnake Arch and the “cowboy bathtubs”. If you haven't been out to the park lately, now is the perfect time to enjoy these cool hikes and get reacquainted with this north Valley recreation site.
With over 8 miles of new trails added this past year and an upgraded visitor center slated to open in early 2016, Lake Pleasant Regional Park is a hiker's paradise located less than an hour north of Downtown Phoenix.
Upcoming guided hikes to Morgan City Wash. Check the park website for details:
Sept 19: Hike & Splash
Oct 9: Hike into a Desert Forest
Oct 24: Hike and Splash
LENGTH: 4 miles
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 1,740' – 1,440'
FEE: $6 daily fee per car
GETTING THERE:
41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Road, Morristown. 928-501-1710
From Phoenix go north on Interstate 17 to Carefree Highway/State Route 74 exit 223. Head 11 miles west (toward Wickenburg) to Castle Hot Springs Road (milepost 19) turn right and drive 2 miles to the main park entry ( Lake Pleasant Access Road) and follow the "hike" signs to the meet up spot.
INFO: Lake Pleasant Regional Park
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