Monday, May 30, 2016

Stepladder / Showgirl Loop - 5/30/16

Cliffrose (foreground) - Charleston Peak (background)

Stepladder Peak from Showgirl Trail

View from Stepladder Trail

Climbing Stepladder Trail
 It was a women's day in the Spring Mountains NRA as four hikers arrived at the Traffic Circle Trailhead across Kyle Canyon Road from the new Visitor Center this morning. Because of the expected heat, the hike was moved up canyon where the temperatures would be about 7 degrees cooler. We started up the feeder trail at the end of the parking lot and turned left onto the Stepladder Trail for our wake up climb. Much of the trail was still in the shade and our climb of almost 700 elevation feet in 1.3 miles was very pleasant.

View ahead on Stepladder Trail
 The hard work of the morning was out of the way when we reached the saddle junction.

Arriving at Saddle Junction
 There was a new trail we had not explored on the other side of the saddle and down we went.

Bottom of Steep Bike Trail

Starting Out Showgirl Trail
 This trail is very steep and probably gives young bikers quite a thrill! We weren't really thrilled. Anyway, at the bottom, we connected with Tin Can Alley and turned to the left. Hiking up to our next junction, we passed the preferred trail to connect the saddle junction with Tin Can Alley. Next time. Anyway, we hiked a short way up next to Telephone Canyon Road and found the crossing onto the Showgirl Trail. We had been in the shade from the earlier saddle junction.

Showgirl Trail
 Quickly, we passed over a large scree rock slide as seen in one of the photos above. Views of Stepladder Peak were ahead to our right.

Showgirl Trail
 We climbed a gentle continuous slope until we came to a limestone rock wall on our left. Here, there was still a bit of shade so we sat on the sharp rocks for our break.

AtBF Canyon from Showgirl Trail

New Bridge on Showgirl Trail
 After the break, we continued along the Showgirl Trail as it began to descend. The trail circled around the last ridge to our left then started switchbacking at the AtBF Canyon below us. We descended the gentle switchbacks on a small ridge that extends out from the higher ridge behind us. Finally, the trail drops into the mouth of AtBF Canyon and continues around the base of the next ridge. We had lost most of the shade that was aiding us so our speed picked up on the flatish trail.

La Madre Mountain Range from Showgirl Trail
 The trail winds in and out along the arroyos of the hill above then we spotted the Forest Road that drops down to the BLM Fire Station.

Steep Forest Road
 There is a very nice shortcut from the Showgirl Trail to the Forest Road which we took. Then we took on the challenge of the steep rocky road. After the fire station, we turned to the right and caught the beginning of Tin Can Alley to the right.

Climbing Tin Can Alley

Charleston Peak from Tin Can Alley
 Tin Can Alley climbs in a winding fashion then we found the unmarked spur trail turning back to our left. This trail led us to a crossing of Telephone Canyon Road where we caught a spur to Shady Hollow Trail. Finally, the Shady Hollow Trail took us back to the feeder trail and the cars. The clouds had come in to cover us near the end of the hike so we ended on a cool note. Very nice route.

7 miles; 1300 feet elevation gain; 3.5 hours

Starting Down Spur Trail

Spur Trail Crosses Telephone Canyon Road

Finishing on the Shady Hollow Trail

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