Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Horsethief Canyon & Little Spooky Canyon - 3/19/14

 Horsethief Canyon
View Out Horsethief Canyon

The Four Mile High Clearance Approach Road
 Horsethief Canyon Road is found at the White Rock Canyon Trailhead parking lot four miles south of the O'Callaghan-Tillman Bridge bypass of Hoover Dam. The road is narrow and has several large rocks sticking up in the middle of the road. With a high clearance vehicle, the road is passable in good weather conditions.

Getting Into Horsethief Canyon

One of Several Water Slides
Eight hikers arrived at the trailhead and stared at the large dry fall that blocks Horsethief Canyon. The rocks are somewhat slippery so a climb up the fall is unsafe. There is a dirt trail that leads up the left side of the canyon wall and drops the hiker down into the canyon just above the obstacle. That's what we did.

Upon entering the short canyon (1.25 miles one way), we immediately noticed its character. It was a wide canyon with many granite water slides. Today, there was very little water flow in the canyon so it wasn't an issue.

Small Amount of Water Flow
 We climbed up canyon quickly on the easy terrain. There were several incomplete sets of bighorn bones lying about from beginning to end.

Hiking Through Horsethief Canyon

Hiking Past Cottonwoods
 Some of the most beautiful places in the canyon were where huge cottonwood trees stood. They had just put out their bright green leaves for spring. We passed a canyon on the right where the trail junction is for Mt. Wilson. The peak was relatively not far from where we stood, however, it was around 2000 feet higher in elevation. Just past this, our canyon trail took a dogleg to the left where we had to climb up the only difficult scramble of the morning.

Approaching Hanging Tree & Large Dry Falls
 We saw the horse thiefs' hanging tree standing tall as we approached our high point of the hike.

First Large Dry Fall at Top of Canyon

Horse Thief Hanging Tree
 The hanging tree stood in front of a large dry fall covered in white minerals. Beyond this fall, there is another one that you can see if you climb up the side of the canyon in this area. We sat for a break then started back. The hike back to the trailhead went quickly and easily. Then, the up and around at the end was made easy by the more gentle slope that we chose.

This canyon is 2.5 miles out and back with around 1200 feet of elevation gain.

Down Canyon from High Point
 After returning to our cars, we drove the four miles back down the high clearance road and parked at the White Rock Canyon Trailhead parking lot.

Passing the Cottonwoods

Returning to Trailhead

 Little Spooky Canyon  
Little Spooky Canyon

Hiking Along Hwy 93

Going Under the Wildlife Fence
The finale of today's adventure, was a short hike down to a locally famous slot canyon we call Little Spooky. To get there, we hiked down the highway from the parking lot around a third of a mile, squirmed under the wildlife fence and started hiking up through a beautiful conglomerate walled slot. The slot had two separate side slots that we explored and we noticed that there might be an owl who lives here. After this short foray of almost a mile below the desert terrain, we returned to the cars. This portion of today's hike was a total of 2.5 miles with minimal elevation gain.

Exploring a Side Slot

Little Spooky Canyon

Today's Hike in its Entirety (5 miles of hiking)

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