Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Showgirl Trail (Top to Bottom) - Variation 1 - 8/19/15

Middle Showgirl Trail above Telephone Canyon

Lower Showgirl Trail

Upper Showgirl Trail

Hike a Bike Trail Section
 The Showgirl Trail showed up on the original map given out at the new Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway. The sections that are completed do not only have beautiful scenery but also are well-made trails. Unfortunately, the entire trail is not finished. Even though the hike can be done by using substitute trails, the Showgirl Trail has proven to be difficult to follow by hikers that are not familiar with the Telephone Canyon area. Because of this, the trail has been taken off of the official visitor center trail map and is no longer recognized as an official trail at this time. It also must be pointed out that the previously intended route of the trail is vague and is probably not the route we took today. However, in the near future, we plan to explore the possible intended route stretching between the Hike a Bike Trail and the Middle Showgirl Trail. That said, the part of the trail that this would eliminate from today's route is a beautiful view-filled segment that would be sad to lose.

Dropping Down into Telephone Canyon

Taking a Break in Tin Can Alley
 Since today's hike was a point to point hike, (top to bottom), the sixteen hikers brought five cars up Kyle Canyon Road leaving one car at the bottom trailhead located almost 14 miles up from I-95 and taking the remaining four cars up to the upper trailhead. There is a nice new trailhead located on the Angel Peak road. Turn right toward the Hilltop Campground and bear right at the fork. Look for the large parking area with a pit toilet. The trail starts down the hill behind the signage.

Crossing Telephone Canyon Road the Second Time

Trail Through Scree
 We wound our way around through the woods until we emerged onto an open plateau area. Following the worn trail, we continued until we found the Trough Trail that turns to the left. It is the only trail that turns left without a trail obstacle placed in front of it. (This is the section of trail that is either incomplete or should be heading in a different direction.) So, we descended about 20 yards on the steep Trough Trail until a much nicer trail crossed our path and we turned to go down. This nice trail continued down until we reached the Telephone Canyon Road.

Climbing the Middle Section of Showgirl Trail

Limestone Outcroppings in Middle Section
 We crossed the road and joined a trail that ran parallel to the road. Sometimes we had to follow the orange flags that marked where a trail would be in the future. Soon this flagged trail joined with the Tin Can Alley Trail and we continued down aside the Telephone Canyon Road. We found an area where there were several fallen logs that we could sit on for our break. We were already getting out of the shade but a small rest was nice. The temperatures would reach the mid-90's at the bottom of the trail so we didn't want to waste the last bit of shade. BTW, this is a better trail for the lower temperatures of the fall.

Middle Showgirl Trail

La Madre Mountain from Trail
 After the break, we continued down Tin Can Alley until there was a well-worn trail fork to the left that crossed Telephone Canyon Road. This would take us off of Tin Can Alley and put us back onto Showgirl Trail. This is, perhaps, the most interesting and beautiful section of the Showgirl Trail. We climbed gently up onto the the hillside and got great views of the surrounding mountains. We also passed an area of limestone which was an added delight. Around the corner of the hillside to our left, we arrived above the AtBF Canyon and started hiking down the small ridge that divides it from Telephone Canyon.

Dropping Down a Small Ridge

Cairn Where Showgirl Passes the Mouth of AtBF Canyon
 At the bottom of the small ridge, we crossed the mouth of AtBF Canyon which, BTW, is rattlesnake country. Just take my word for it! We passed a very unusual cairn that reminded each one of us of a different thing. Me? My imagination said, "SNAKE!" Anyway, we were starting now on the lower portion of the Showgirl Trail where the trail continues on a gentle slope down as it circles around the hills on the left side. The trail zigzagged in and out of washes as we melted in the heat.

Lower Showgirl Trail Zigzags

Joshua Tree Fence
All sixteen hikers stayed strong until the end but there were a couple of moments when we questioned our sanity. Such a long hike in the lower elevations when there happens to be a passing heat wave in ... LAS VEGAS! Yikes! The zigzags started to wear on the group but perseverance won the day. Eventually, we were hiking down to Kyle Canyon Road where a nice hikers' tunnel was built underneath. The five car drivers piled in the car at the trailhead and rode up to the cars in the upper parking area. They returned to retrieve the remaining hikers and all agreed that nine miles was enough! On a cooler day, they would barely be.

9 miles; 300 feet elevation gain; 2500 feet elevation loss; 4.5 hours

Hiking the Wash at the Bottom

Aha! The Road!

Hikers' Tunnel at Bottom Showgirl Trailhead

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