logo Arizona Trailblazers
Outdoor Links
Hike Arizona
Trip Planning Guide
Trip Report Index
Calendar of Events
Parsons Spring Day Hike
October 11, 2014
by Quy Nguyen
  GPS Map
  GPS Map
by Ted Tenny
Seventeen nature lovers at the trailhead.
first row: Donna, Quy, John R.
second row: Lori, Ben, Jeanne, Tim, Monika M., Gabrielle, Monika H., Ted, Sana, Dave, Biljana, Heather, Jim J., Dottie

This trail follows Sycamore Creek to Parsons Spring. First, the rocky trail drops 200 feet into Sycamore Canyon. The rest of trail to Parsons Spring is relatively flat and well marked with the signs and big cairns. We cross the creek three times. Each crossing is a fun adventure in maintaining dry feet.

The trail is short and easy. It meanders back and forth into the riparian desert forest and then onto the arid rocky ledges above. Most of the trail is in the shade of cottonwoods, sycamores, and Arizona walnut trees. All of us feel free to take it slow, snap as many pictures as we can. It seems like in every corner we can take postcard pictures. We stop often for the jaw-dropping magnificent red rock canyon, several different size caves on the canyon walls. We also enjoy a little bit of challenge in walking on narrow path, rock ledge along the canyon walls. We take turns to get our own picture with a hollowed tree almost big enough to walk through, just off the trail.

Hikers stroll down to the canyon bottom. [photo by John R.]
Hikers pause for picture at Cottonwood Arch.
[photo by John R.]
First creek crossing.
[photo by John R.]
Second creek crossing. [photo by John R.]
Third creek crossing.
Shady, tranquil pool. [photo by John R.]
Cliff of columnar basalt.
A hunk of basalt.

At the ”swimming hole“ where deep waters go right up against a tall red cliff, we stop for a while to take pictures and enjoy the spectacular beauty of red rock formations. This is the best spot for photography with the refection on the water. But today there are too many people jumping in for swimming. The water is not still and calm for a nice reflection.

Did we make this mess?
Cave in red rock canyon. [photo by Dave]
Red cliff walls of Sycamore Canyon.
Sunlight sparkles on water at the “swimming hole”.
The reflection of red canyon at the “swimming hole”.
The hollowed-out tree is a favorite for pictures. [photos by John R.]
It’s not smart to cut the line here. [photo by John R.]
A narrow path along tall red rock wall. [Dave]
The trail winds around trees and red rock walls.
Hikers stroll into beautiful wilderness.
Lunch at Parsons Spring.

After lunch, five people – Dave, Monika H. Lori, Donna, Ben – want to continue upstream to Parsons Spring. But for at least the first quarter mile or more after the spring, the trail is overgrown and difficult to navigate (that is what I am told).

The rest of us hike back at different paces. The hike back is just as enjoyable as the hike in. On our way back we take a break to catch our breath and enjoy the scenic surroundings with the afternoon sunlight.

Water runs throughly from Parsons Spring.
The leaves just turned a little yellow to brighten the scenery.
The view from the top.

Quy, Sana, and Monika M. head back home, while the rest divide into two groups having dinner at different restaurants.

This hike is the prettiest: easy, enjoyable, with some fun in crossing creeks and walking on ledge rock among the beauty of wilderness.

Thanks to all for coming to join my hike. Happy Trails.

End of season wildflowers.

Supplemental Report
Parsons Spring
October 11, 2014
by Ted Tenny

Ted made it to the ol’ swimmin’ hole and beyond.
Thanks to Quy for leading such a scenic and enjoyable hike! I’d never been to Sycamore Creek or Parsons Spring. All of the hikers were tops as outdoor and traveling companions.

The Parsons Spring Trail has some smooth sections, but there are a lot of little ups and downs and some rock outcroppings to get past. Shade and a light breeze made our hike very pleasant. Fascinating rock formations occur throughout the hike. The trail took us close to some of them, while giving us panoramic views of the more distant formations.

The first of the water crossings was challenging, because most of the stepping stones had water flowing over them and slippery moss growing on their tops. Also, some of the stones were unstable. When you step on a cobblestone, you never know whether it’s going to stay in place or shift underneath your boot. No one splashed in.

Volcanic rock columns on the slopes of Packard Mesa.
Trailblazers look over the swimming hole.
Statue high above Sycamore Creek.
IMG_6043_390 IMG_6084_390
Autumn leaves.

After the hike, Gabrielle, Jeanne, Tim, and I decided we would just return to Phoenix.

But then something got us talking about Mexican food, and we ended up stopping at La Fonda on the west side of Camp Verde. There we were surprised to meet Bill Zimmermann and his crew, who had just completed their Black Canyon hike near Cottonwood. Everybody had fun exchanging stories about our respective hikes and enjoying the fellowship and a fine Mexican dinner.

      top Top of Page
Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
Comments? Send them to the AZHC .

updated September 7, 2017