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Parker Creek
Sierra Ancha
January 8, 2022
by Tamar Gottfried
  GPS Map 

Five adventurous Trailblazers gathered early on a crisp winter morning and drove past Globe to the Sierra Anchas. Shortly after climbing out of the desert on the windy road, the trailhead was reached. With sufficient space for our cars, we parked, donned jackets and gloves and start up the clearly marked trail.

It was a steady ascent with some plant matter jutting onto the trail and we soon could look down on a full Parker Creek with multiple waterfalls and a strong flow. We saw a little snow on the trail, but nothing we couldn’t clomp over.

This must be the trail.
The remains of a dam.

The lovely views of the creek and riparian zone continued as we went up on switchbacks, climbing to our goal. After a while though, our pace slowed as we need to go over and under multiple large fallen trees. This process was complicated as we faced more slow on the ground and the fact that some of these trees were burned, leaving ash on clothes and hands and making for less stable dismounts off the trees. By the time we were at the 2 mile mark and only at 6000 ft elevation with another 1000 to go, the snow was deeper and the amount of obstructions on the trail were worse, and I made the decision to abort the hike as we had neither clippers/ saws nor crampons / snowshoes and I was pretty sure the snow would be even deeper as we went to higher elevation.

Snow on the trail.
Workman Creek Falls.

We turned around and made our way back to the trailhead, never really seeing the ruins of the Forest Service experimental station as I had hoped, just a newer cabin below the trail. I was later informed that the old cabins were down the highway a bit where the lower part of Parker Creek is.

With time on our hands, we decided to drive another 7ish miles to Workman Creek Falls to see how different it looked since our last trip there in the Fall. The forest road was unpaved and snowy, but with tracks on it that were easy to follow in our SUVs.

A cute little waterfall.
The slopes are steep.
Across the road from Workman Creek Falls.

The gate was open at the top, in contrast to our last trip, but the snow was thick and we didn’t drive past that point.

We got out and hiked the 0.75 miles to the falls, which were running quite strongly, and snapped some photos before starting back down to the cars. The road beyond the falls was completely deep with snow and ice.

With everyone in agreement that we had done enough hiking for the day, we made our way to Globe and had a nice lunch at the old El Rey restaurant, which has now changed owners. It was still tasty and pleasant on the enclosed patio and we will visit again on our next time through Globe.

Now if we can get the Forest Service or the Boy Scout Troop who claim Parker Creek to actually clear the trail for future use.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated January 13, 2022