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Upper Haunted / Paradise Canyon Hike
May 6, 2023
by Tamar Gottfried
     GPS Map    
by Tamar
group A
Trailblazers are ready to brave the Superstitions. [photo by Leroy]
Marie, Robert, Anna, Ron, Deb, Tamar, Gail, Michael, Leroy.

Six trailblazers assembled and arranged themselves into a truck and a Jeep and headed toward Superior where we met 3 more hikers in another truck. We caravanned to the entrance to the Pinto Mine and through the 7 miles of decent paved and dirt road to the less well-maintained dirt road to the Miles Trailhead. A few of us missed the Upper Haunted trailhead on the first pass, but turned around and met the others. We left the 3 vehicles and started our hike.

Hikers on the trail. [photo by Marie]
Hikers going up on the trail. [photo by Marie]

This hike begins with a 1000 ft elevation gain in the first 1.5 miles, which was made easier by the 70-degree morning temperatures. After a brief deviation off the trail in a confusing rocky area, we reached the high point and took a quick moment to rest. We continued onwards starting our descent and began to notice thick bushes and branches on this remote and relatively unused trail. We never encountered another hiker on the trail in more than 6 hours this day! At this point, I also realized that I had underestimated both distance and elevation gain in my trip write up because what goes down must also come up. Luckily, we had a hearty group who would appreciate the longer and harder day.

Time to start down. [photo by Leroy]
Down to Toney Ranch we go. [photo by Leroy]

We continued to descend past the turn off for the Paradise Trail, past the intersection with the Bull Basin trail until we reached a more wooded area. A little further and we arrived to the turn off at the Toney Ranch to the Toney cabin. We had our first stream crossings and finally reached the cabin at 4.1 miles into the hike. Here we rested and explored and had our snacks. We had the whole place to ourselves.

We make it to Toney cabin. [photo by Leroy]

We set out once again, but now in the afternoon sun, and not looking forward to another 1000 feet of elevation gain through prickly bushes and branches. A little slower, we retraced our way and finally reached the Paradise junction. One of our group had headed back on the Haunted Canyon trail to the cars so that he could move one car to our exit point.

Paradise trail cross the creek. [photo by Leroy]

Paradise Trail does not start with ethereal joy as it requires yet another climb up at the beginning. Only after that steep hill does it equally steeply descend. Lungs were happier than knees as we made our way down to a more lush and verdant area following the creek. Multiple small water crossings were on this part of the trail, and we could see ferns and small waterfalls and even some areas dammed with plant debris.
Finally, we reached the road very happy to see Michael and his truck waiting for us with a cooler full of cold water. We all climbed into the truck cab and bed for the half mile trip to the Miles Trailhead. We piled out of the truck and some of us put on water shoes for the final treat of the day. We walked behind the large campsite to the West Pinto Creek and followed it a quarter mile to a swimming hole/ waterfall area. Here we soaked in blissfully cold water and recharged ourselves for the ride home.

Relaxing in the back of the truck. [photo by Marie]
Relaxing in the water. [photo by Deb]

We all fit back in the truck for the 2-mile drive to the other vehicles and followed each other out. Some of us stopped in Superior for an efficient and delicious meal at Los Hermanos. The machaca burros and homemade tortillas are worth the stop.
After food and drink, we headed back to the valley, satisfied by a long day of driving and hiking in a beautifully remote location.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona updated May 24, 2023
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