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The first time I hiked the Sycamore Rim trail was on August 19, 2012. It was a great hike with great scenery but the highlight was a gorgeous, 100-foot, three-stage waterfall called Sycamore Falls.
Twice since then I’d been back but alas, the falls were dry. They’re fed by rain water and not by any permanent water source, and if the rains don’t flow neither does the waterfall.
Undaunted, I resolved to try once again in 2014, this time on August 14, almost the exact anniversary of that first great trip to the falls. That way, at the very least, I’d be in the right time of year.
Thirteen of us made the attempt together, starting at 9:57 AM from the East Trailhead off Forest Road 56.
The route started as usual: first a flat warmup section and then a 600-foor climb up KA Hill. After reassembling at the high point we continued along the hill’s ridgeline. Being only six hundred feet above the surrounding meadow, there were no awe-inspiring vistas. The meadows themselves were beautiful, though, and we did gets some nice views of the San Francisco Peaks to the east.
Anticipation rose as we progressed toward the Pomeroy Tanks. For one thing, we either missed a turn or the trail just wasn’t marked, and soon we found ourselves at a three-way unmarked intersection. After a bit of exploring and GPS-reading, however, we rediscovered the trail and got back underway.
The Pomeroy Tanks are a natural series of ponds connected by (tada!) small waterfalls. Over the years the water has cut interesting formations into the surrounding rock and the area is actually quite scenic. But alas, while there was some standing water in some of the ponds, nothing was flowing. And unfortunately, this is the water flow that feeds the main falls.
And sure enough, the falls were dry. What a disappointment! But the canyon is still a fantastic piece of scenery and a great place for lunch. I showed a few people videos of the falls when it was running but it just wasn’t the same.
After lunch we continued our counterclockwise loop with a climb of about 300 feet. After that we hiked about three miles along the Sycamore Canyon rim. The trail here was generally level and featured great views of Sycamore Canyon if you left the trail and cautiously bypassed the brush south for a about 100 feet. There are several developed vistas as well.
The last leg of the hike runs through cool forest. The terrain was sometimes flat and sometimes undulating. Along the way we passed a lily pond, the remains of two historic log cabins, and site of an historic sawmill. And then, the next thing we knew, were back at the trailhead.
After the hike Karen suggested meeting in Williams at a bistro called the South Rims Wine & Beer Garage, located in Williams on Historic Route 66 eastbound. The décor was nice and included some very comfortable outdoor seating but the selection of beer, the selection of wines, and the food were only fair. The owner was a former Boing engineer who’d retired and started the restaurant, so hopefully he’ll keep trying and get it right. For us, of course, the main objective was our own company and in that we were completely successfully.
I still want to see those fall running again, though. Maybe next year ...
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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated April 29, 2020