Saturday, July 2, 2016

Lee Canyon Narrows - 7/2/16

Top of Lee Canyon Narrows

Bottom of Lee Canyon Narrows

Sawmill Trailhead on Lee Canyon Road

Descending into Lee Canyon via Champion Road
 Due to the absence of a moderate level hike in the Spring Mountains, thirty-three enthusiastic hikers joined the leisurely hike today. We began at the Sawmill Trailhead on Lee Canyon Road on a beautiful fairly cool but humid morning. After a long line at the restrooms (!), we crossed Lee Canyon Road and started down Champion Road, a dirt road that provides primitive campsites on a budget. At the bottom of the hill, we turned to the left into the Lee Canyon wash.

Lee Canyon Wash
 The gravel wash begins innocently down between trees and brush. Recent rains have rutted the wash in places but nothing severe at this time.

Hiking Down Lee Canyon Wash
 The wash twists through a narrow section with conglomerate walls on mainly one side. Look for the "eyeglasses" formation up on the right!

Small Flowers

Descending the Wash
Down the wash a little further, the first "antique" car lies in the wash full of gravel. Someone suggested that it was probably a Studebaker.  The hike continued down the gravel until the walls started closing in again. We wound our way through the walls and stopped at a twenty foot cliff. Everyone took their turn viewing the cliff and the Lee Canyon Narrows below. The first photo of this entry shows what we saw here.

Passing Old Car
 The narrows passage to this point only allowed a single file line so we looked then returned to the beginning of the narrow passage.

Reaching the Top of the Narrows
 When everyone was gathered again, we climbed up the hill on the west side of the canyon to the trail that would take us up and around the narrows.

Passing the Narrows on the Up & Around Trail

Inside the Narrows
 Following the trail, we came to the wash again and turned to hike up the wash a little ways. Here, we found the bottom entrance of the Lee Canyon Narrows. This is an interesting space between high walls. A few of the hikers who didn't mind using their knees for transportation went past the obstacle boulder to the bottom of the cliff where we had stopped above earlier. (Hmmm, not sure those words are in the right order!) Anyway, we all had a good look-see then exited the narrows through the bottom entrance.

Entering the Narrows
 We reconnected with the trail then continued down the canyon. We wanted to get our 4 miles today!

Sediment built up under Chock Boulder
 The Lee Canyon Trail does not look like it has been used a lot this summer. Perhaps it hasn't due to the very warm weather we've been having in the lower elevations.

Exiting the Narrows

Hiking Down Canyon
 We took a snack break in the middle of the canyon with nice views of the distant walls and yellow flowers then started the return. Back up & around the narrows then past two more old cars. We climbed the exit trail, crossed the pavement then connected with one of the Sawmill Trails to return to the trailhead. Not a raindrop to be seen nor felt! Beautiful morning with lots of company!

4 miles; 600 feet elevation gain; 2.25 hours

Lee Canyon

Another Old Car on Return

Using the Exit Trail

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