Saturday, August 22, 2015

Upper Showgirl Loop - 8/22/15

Overlook Down from Circle Junction

Mummy's Nose from Showgirl Trail

 The Showgirl Trailhead was the jumping off point for the leisurely hike this morning. So, we drove up into the Spring Mountains NRA on Kyle Canyon Road, turned right onto Deer Creek Road, turned right again at the Hilltop Campground, then took the right fork away from the campground entrance. Not too far down the small paved road, there is a brand new trailhead complete with pit toilet. We parked there where the bike club was set up for a picnic. After most of the twenty hikers visited the restroom (!), we started off down the trail that begins behind the signage.

Hiking the Showgirl Trail
 The day was still somewhat warm but much of the hike would be in and out of shade provided by the pinion and ponderosa pines. A few junipers and mountain mahogany were added into the mix.

Hiking the Showgirl Trail

  The Showgirl Trail travels in and out of the terrain below the Deer Creek Road for around a mile then it comes to an area where there are other bike trails that join or cross it. We continued straight on the well-worn trail until we came to the junction in the photo to the right. There is a trail that turns left beyond the lined rocks here and we made the turn. This trail takes the hiker over to a bare terrained saddle that you can see in the distance. There are lines of rocks at the saddle, too, that indicate trail direction. We continued straight through the saddle ending up on the other side of the ridge. We could see Telephone Canyon below us and Hummingbird Gulch across the canyon.

Starting Down Rock-Lined Junction Trail
When we reached the point where this trail crosses a wash, we sat among the logs and shade for our break. The trail continues from there but it was for another day.

SMYC in Distance

We saw the buildings of the Spring Mountains Youth Camp across the canyons on the north side of the hike. Angel Peak, with the big bubble dome, could be seen more often. After the break, we retraced our steps back to the bare saddle. Here, we turned left to follow a tiny trail up along the ridge. Soon, this tiny trail junctioned with the Trough Trail. We turned right and soon, junctioned with the Hike a Bike Trail and turned right again. The Hike a Bike Trail comes very close to the rock-lined trail junction that we stepped over a while back. However, we turned up to our left before we got to it. This trail takes a gentle climb up a ridge ending at a circle junction where the Camp Trail takes over. But, before we hit the Camp Trail, we turned to the left onto a wide old road that led us downhill to an abrupt cliff above the Deer Creek Road. The overlook was fantastic as seen in the first photo. Just PLEASE be careful and don't go near the edge of this cliff. The loose dirt and rock could easily give way.

Angel Peak from Hike a Bike Trail
We climbed back up to the Circle Junction and hiked around to the Camp Trail. This trail follows the next ridge back down to the Showgirl Trail where we had hiked earlier.

Climbing Up to Circle Junction

The remaining mile or so was a gentle descent and ascent back to the Showgirl Trailhead on the part of the trail on which we began. All twenty hikers enjoyed the new route. Executed at a leisurely pace, the five mile route is gentle enough for the leisurely Saturday morning hikers. And, WOW, what an overlook!

5 miles; 600 feet elevation gain; 3 hours

Returning on Showgirl Trail

Nearing the Showgirl Trailhead

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