Sunday, January 1, 2012

Picacho State recreation area, CA

Picacho, is a little park along the Colorado river in CA. I discovered by accident on my trip down Indian Pass road. At the end of the road I hit the park, and the fee area which was one of the things that caused me to turn around.

I did some research and found there was an easier route into the park, Picacho road, which is mostly unpaved. It is a well kept dirt road, passable by passenger cars, rvs and trailers, but the going will be slower. In my truck I can make it from Yuma to the park in about 45 minutes.

A web site recommended the stamp mill trail and ice cream canyon. I decided to make that my first hike, because it was a nice long loop. I did it back in October when the daytime temps were still hitting 3 digits. It was my first time using my iPhone with the GPS app. I was really impressed with the views of the Colorado river on this hike, It is around this area that the Colorado goes from canyons to the flat open desert. The stamp mill from the days of gold mining are also pretty well preserved.

Today I made my second trip to Picacho. I decided to hike the Red Rock falls. It is a pretty short hike if you just walk up the wash to the falls. By a happy accident I missed the falls because I took a side canyon and looped up and around above the falls without seeing them until my return trip. After about a mile of following the wash I started following the wild burro trails. Then I headed back down to the wash and took a side canyon, before deciding to go to the top of one of the low peaks for some photos. I became slightly disoriented after I was done taking the photos and almost set off in the wrong direction. I managed to regain my bearings and head back to the main wash that has the falls. When I reached the falls I was surprised. It is just a cliff with a little spout. I am sure it looks pretty impressive when there is water flowing through it, even if just a trickle.

 Desert Pool

Red Rock Falls from the bottom

When I finished Red Rock, I wasn't quite ready to leave yet so I decided to hike the Stewart Lake trail. This trail can be done as a loop, but I did it as an out and back. Near the campgrounds the trail was pretty overgrown, and in a few other areas there were some sharp desert plants across the trail. This was a pretty easy hike offering some good views of the Colorado river.

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