|Lovell Canyon and Spring Mountains|
|Griffith Peak (L), Rainbow Saddle (C), Harris Peak (R)|
|Turning onto Lovell Canyon Road from Highway 160|
|Lovell Canyon Trailhead|
There were twelve hikers in the club called LOVE this morning. At least four of them were members of the Around the Bend Friends. This blog is being written for LOVE and because Lovell Canyon has not been covered on this website. Why? I haven't been there before today and, why did I wait so long? For anyone who has not been all the way out Lovell Canyon Road, your mind will be blown away as you follow the road and take a dive down into the canyon. Eleven miles from Highway 160, there is a left turn onto a well maintained dirt road called Lovell Summit Road. There is a sign here that indicates the Lovell Canyon Trailhead is this way. The trailhead is about 0.4 miles from the left turn.
|Climbing the First Hill|
We got ready and started out. The hike begins with a good climb as it zigzags its way up and around the hill.
|In and Out of the Pines|
We could see the wide Lovell Canyon wash below us through the trees as we curved around.
|Wilson Ridge in Distance|
|Hiking through Red Sandstone|
The trees were pinion pine with a few junipers. As we hiked, we noticed that there were a lot of oak trees on the hillsides that were not very old. Banana yucca and old man prickly pears were spread around and some were blooming. We hiked through a large area of red sandstone scree. It wasn't long before we reached the first signed junction. We took the right fork and Keith mentioned that we would be returning later from the left fork. As we hiked on, the views opened up in front of us. To our right, we could see Wilson Ridge. This is the ridge with a large "hump" on it.
|The First Junction (We went right.)|
At the right end of this ridge is the Red Rock escarpment. The ridge trails out from Harris Peak at its left end.
|Craggy peak Ahead|
Soon, we could see Harris Peak, the one with the road cutting across its slope. I was told that this road, Harris Springs Road, was washed out during the floods after the Carpenter One fire in 2013.
|The Second Junction (Before 1st wash crossing.)|
|First Wash Crossing|
From this distance it was clear that getting up to the Harris saddle would be very difficult from this side of Charleston's south ridge. The terrain is very steep and the trail and road are washed out. Nevermind the terrible burnt and chaotic terrain. Looking on over to the left, we saw the saddle then Griffith Peak. This whole side of the south ridge is burned and bare. It makes the mountains seem even higher! Neither Charleston Peak nor Mummy Mountain could be seen from this vantage point.
|Points of Interest|
We reached the second signed junction and proceeded to cross the very wide and rocky Lovell Canyon wash starting onto the Schaefer Spring Loop. Watch for the trail signs. The trail through the wash was obliterated by the floods and a new trail has not been worn in.
|Taking a Break in the Shade|
Not far after hiking the trail on the other side of the wash, we stopped for our break in the cool shade of a big rock outcropping. It was somewhat warm today but there was a really nice cool breeze that came along often enough.
|Lovell Canyon with Burned Ridge in Distance|
|Second Wash Crossing|
Continuing up a hill after the break, we were going up the wash. It wasn't long before we dropped back into the wash and had to cross it again. Here, we saw a trail sign and made our way over. Another loop trail continues up the wash a bit further but we were staying on the Schaefer Spring Loop. Although we didn't see a sign for the other trail, I think it may be the Griffith Shadow Loop. These trails are also used by equestrian folk and the loops can become quite long for mere hikers. We completed this loop as the trail connected once again near the second signed junction. We took a right and started climbing again. Now, we were back on the Lovell Canyon Loop.
|Climbing another Hill|
This hill was, perhaps, the most difficult. We were about 4 miles into the hike and it was a strong pace.
|Third signed Junction|
At the top of the hill, there was another signed junction. The other end of the Griffith Shadow Loop was here. And, a loop called Handy Peak was advertised. ... Okay, someone tell me which of the hills around there is Handy Peak!
|Another Trail Junction (What's Handy Peak?)|
Anyway, we continued around the Lovell Canyon Loop and found ourselves in the pines again. We turned right at the signed junction that was our first and completed the hike by returning on the trail on which we had begun. This was a very good workout at a good pace. We saw four other hikers and a dog on the trail. As we drove out of the trailhead, we passed a police cruiser on his way in so I guess they watch things there. Good to know. Great day!
7 miles; 1200 feet elevation gain; 3.75 hours
|Back into the Pines before Last Junction|
|Trailhead in View|