Sunday, February 16, 2014

Jean's Canyon & Redstone - 2/15/14

Part of the Old Arrowhead Highway

Exquisite Petroglyphs in Redstone

Jean's Canyon is named for a hiker that loved this throughway into Pinto Valley. The trailhead for the canyon is the large "Call Box" parking area near mile marker 25 on Northshore Road. Today, twelve hikers parked here, crossed the road and dropped down into beautiful Jean's Canyon to hike its length to junction with the old Arrowhead Highway. The canyon began very innocent with a nice gentle winding hike through a small wash of red dirt and rocks.

Soon, the canyon rose up over a few moenkopi layer slides and the terrain started added colors of gold and gray. The small range to the left of the canyon rose tall above us as we neared the saddle of the wash. In this area, we saw several bear paw poppies growing in the sandy dirt. They are already producing flower pods among their hairy leaves. Nearby plants were also beginning their flowering phase.

Climbing Through Jean's Canyon

A Few of the Smaller Points of Interest

After we crested the saddle, we began down-climbing a series of dry falls. Most of these falls were negotiable with just a little effort. It was at this time that Chuck noticed a group of four male bighorns up on the ridge to the left. They kind of looked at us like we were from Mars! Then they quickly climbed up to the top of the range. They stood there feeling very safe and watching us until we were out of their sight.

"Oh, look! People!"

We also kept looking back up at them to see if they were still there. Their silhouette at the top of the hill was unmistakable. When we were both out of sight, we continued our descent through the other end of Jean's Canyon passing several dry falls until we reached an especially high pour-over that we had to go up and around. We went up a small trail to the left of the wash, climbed over a small high point, then began a slip and slide descent down into the wash beyond. This took a few minutes!

Watching Eyes

Slip and Slide Descent

Soon, we were out of the canyon and junctioning perpendicularly with another wash which was the remnants of the old Arrowhead Highway. This was a single lane road that took adventurous travelers living between 1914 and 1924 from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City via Las Vegas. For an inside look at the old road, go to the following link: After a small break, we turned left onto the old road and followed it for around 0.7 miles. At this point, we curved off to the right and headed for the red rock in the near distance.

Heading Toward Redstone


On approach to the Redstone area, we immediately began looking for petroglyphs and interesting places to explore. The first point of interest turned out to be the skeleton of a bighorn sheep. He was a big one! Next, we climbed up a chute and dropped down the other side past an arch that required photos. At this point, the hungry group decided we needed a snack break so we settled into a large rock cove where a vast view of Pinto Valley could be seen from the exit.

Pinto Valley from Redstone

Getting Our Bearings

After our break, we continued our explorations of the area. Almost immediately, we spotted a small panel of petroglyphs. These appeared to be very old and not sophisticated. Nevertheless, it is always very exciting to see these writings that give us a tiny window into the lives of the ancient peoples that lived here before us.

Maria, the Birthday Girl!

Some of the Redstone Petroglyphs

We climbed up, down, up, down and around then finally came to an area where there were three other panels of petroglyphs. These panels were perfectly preserved and exquisite in nature. Some of the writings were unusual to us. It would really be interesting to know what they all meant.

Hiking Through a Narrow Crack

As we explored the Redstone area, we found very many arches, a couple of slots to hike between and a fantastic rabbit hole to slither through. The rabbit hole was so small that we all had to take off our pack to get through it! Maria, our birthday girl, enjoyed getting videos of the hikers as they came through the other end. She called it their "rebirth!"

Twelve Hikers Through a Small Rabbit Hole

Pinto Valley from Redstone

At the end of our Redstone explorations, we took another snack break at the same cove where we had taken our break before. We had come full circle. From there, we headed out to the top of a nearby ridge and dropped into a wash that would take us in the direction of our cars. On the way out of this wash, we passed by another great petroglyph panel.

Finally out of the wash, we could see the mountain just behind our parking area about a half mile away. We made a beeline toward the road easily walking a flat ridgeline. We crossed the Arrowhead Hwy then connected onto an old 2 track road. This road led us all the way gently to Northshore Road where we turned left and hiked a third of a mile to our cars.

7.5 miles; 1500 feet elevation gain; 6 hours

Leaving Redstone to Return to the Cars

Hiking Out an Old Two Track Road

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