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Aravaipa Canyon
June 3-6, 2017
by Michael Humphrey
Eight brave souls decided to go backpacking in Aravaipa Canyon.
Michael, Rebecca, Rudy, Bill, Sandra, Darrell, Ann, Mohammed

We left Phoenix and drove to Pima, Arizona, for lunch. It is a little past the turn off. Everyone had a good lunch at Juanita’s and then we were off to the Four Mile campground. We drove on a dirt road for 30 miles to the Four Mile Campgrounds and set up our tents.

You see, it goes together like this.

Then we decided to check out the road to Aravaipa Canyon and the Cliff Dwellings at Turkey Creek. The road crossed the creek a few times in the 16 miles from the camp to the entrance to the canyon. There is an old family church along the road.

The inside of the church is decorated.

We needed 4-wheel drive to get to Turkey Creek. So we continued on to the Cliff Dwelling at Turkey Creek and had a fun couple of hikes in the region.

Trailblazers visit the Cliff Dwelling at Turkey Creek.

One hike was to the cliff above the dwelling and the other to the dwellings themselves.

Had enough?

On the way back to the campground we see some turkeys, and then down the road, some javelina.


The campground does not have trees, so it’s hot in the summer. But with running water, flush toilets, sinks and paper towels; it is very nice. We get up the next day and repack all our stuff into our backpacks.

Our campground is very nice.

This is a short 2 mile hike into Aravaipa, so we can take our time packing. The trail is Aravaipa Creek, so everyone gets to walk through the water.

Aravaipa Creek
Rudy starts to wade across.

Rudy brought a case of beer and ice, so we had cold beer every night.

We will have lunch at Hell Hole and set up our camp there.

This is going to be our camp for the night.

We set up our tents beside the creek, so we can hear the water at night. Mohammed brought a couch that we get to try out during the stay. Most of Aravaipa’s side canyons are only passable for the first 100 yards and then become a jumble of boulders, but Hells Hole runs for many miles. The next day we decide to hike up Hells Hole to where it exits into the high desert.

You know, Hells Hole doesn’t look too bad to me.

Hells Hole is a slot canyon , which if you did not know it is there you would never even look for it. There is a sphinx that guards the entrance to the canyon.

the sphinx

Hells Hole has water in spots, which allows for many different types of plants. There is a little hanging garden with a water fall here.

hanging garden

Some of the hikers decide to take a shower here. As the crow flies, Hells Hole is only about 3 miles long. For the hikers it is over 5 miles long. We find a spot where large boulders have fallen into the canyon and call this our lunch spot.

Looks like a good lunch spot to me.

It is getting hot as we move closer to the desert, so this will also be our turnaround spot to head back to camp. On the way back to camp we find signposts pointing back to camps, left by one of our follow campers.

Now there’s a cairn for you, with a signpost.

Durning our stay in Aravaipa the moon is almost full, so we do not need to use our flashlights much.

Shine on, Harvest Moon.

The next day it is time to pack up the tents and get ready to exit this bountiful place. We have an early lunch here and then exit camp back to the trucks. There are a few water crossings to get back, but the water feels good.

The trail is dry on this side.

We stop for a break befor we get back and let the twins sit beside the creek.

I’ll get the perfect picture from here.

As we are almost back at the trucks we have old man river to greet us.

Old Man River

We get everyone and everything back into the trucks and drive back to the campground to change into fresh clothing. Then we’re off to Globe for supper. It is nice to have a hot meal, with a wash room after three days in the back country.

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updated September 7, 2017