In view of our last disastrous dirt road drive I’d hesitated to suggest exploring Box Canyon on the Hassayampa River but the lady in the visitor centre assured us it really was an easy drive. So on another gorgeous sunny morning (whoever said you get fed up of constant sunshine hasn’t got a clue what they’re talking about!) off we went.
After heading north on highway 93 we turned right onto the scenic loop road just after marker 195. Even though it’s marked as a primitive road, it’s a good graded gravel/dirt road.
It follows the river and at one point descends into a sandy wash unsurprisingly it’s marked as a flash flood area, the views are spectacular.
We followed the road for seven miles until we came to the ‘no dumping’ sign and turned right into the parking area, if it wasn’t for the sign you’d easily drive past. There was a fire ring and when we got out there was broken glass, thankfully we hadn’t parked in it.
The parking area
Looking towards the river
The road down to the river has plenty of tyre tracks, so you could probably drive down, but it’s a bit rough so I don’t think for one minute DB would’ve been happy taking BT down it, especially not after last time!
Down in the river
A chap panning for gold in a small stream of running water, told us there’s quite a lot of gold still to be found in the area. We noticed some white plastic pipes sticking up, these we were reliably informed by our gold panning friend, were claim markers. Each claim is 20 acres and there is a marker in each corner north, south, east and west.
The entrance to Box Canyon is almost hidden in the trees, it’s only small but very pretty, although it’s not somewhere I’d like to be if it was pouring with rain.
We continued our hike, we were walking mostly in soft sand, it gives your legs a really great workout but it’s hard work, we were looking for the ‘Majestic Mine’ that we’d seen marked on the map.
The whole area is pretty with lots of saguaro dotting the mountain sides, the rock formations were interesting and I’m sure our geologist guide from Saturday would’ve been able to tell us all sorts of interesting facts about what we were seeing.
When we arrived at where we thought the mine should be, we couldn’t see anything that looked even remotely like it could be a mine. Although searching the surrounding mountain sides there were some suspiciously straight lines, and what looked to us, like spoil heaps, so we think it might be the mine and if it is, the access must be from the top of the mountain.
We decided we’d explore the river the other way towards The Narrows, lots of yellow butterflies were fluttering around some water on the gravel.
Neither of us had realised how hot it had become until we started walking in the shade, which was lovely.
There was more water in this section of the river and some government guys were busy measuring things, although they didn’t actually say what they were doing we wondered if it was something to do with water flow.
Further along there was obviously what was someones camp on a ledge above the river, I’m not sure I’d like to camp there as although it would be pleasant in the heat of the day, it’d soon be dark down there and just a bit creepy, maybe it belonged to someone working a nearby claim.
We passed a gauging station, the ladder goes right to the top of the rocks, so I’m not sure how deep it gets down here during the monsoon season.
A little further along we arrived at the narrows,
it’s very pretty, there’s more water here but it was too deep and to wide for us (okay me) to cross without taking my boots off, so we turned back.
On the way back to the truck
We had a great day, and would love to come back here and explore more, if you had an ATV you could probably drive all the way back to the RV park. That’d be fun!
Hmm, somehow the Cheshire Cats name has appeared in the middle of the photograph, sorry about that, I'll check my settings before I post again.
Have fun, we are!