Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Trip Report - AZ Hot Springs via White Rock Canyon

After two days of holiday overindulgence, I decided it was time to get out and walk a bit...a quick overnight trip in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area was in order. A few miles past the Hoover Dam on the Arizona side is where this hike begins...if you're heading there, just look for the sign directing you to the parking area on the east side of highway 93, then walk under the bridge towards the west. It's about a 3 mile hike to the hot springs, all through a sandy wash. You will feel the burn on the way back up!

There really isn't a trail, so you just follow the wash down towards the canyon.

The wash narrows and turns into a canyon pretty quickly...you wouldn't want to be caught here during a flash flood!

It opens up in some places, then narrows again. I wandered slowly down admiring all of the beautiful sedimentary rock formations. 

Approaching the Colorado River, the last mountain you can see is on the Nevada side of the river.

As you emerge from the canyon, you are treated to this wonderful rocky beach. Head south following a small path that leads to the hot springs.

The trail is quite narrow in some places as you approach the AZ Hot Springs area.

Up and over a small hill and dropping down into yet another wash, you see a small trickle of water...touch the water with your hand and you know this is coming from the hot spring.

Nearing the end, the canyon gets very narrow in places. The sign on the wall warns of an Amoeba called Naegleria Fowleri that may be found in the water, and not to let it enter your nose or it could cause a rare infection and death. Good enough warning for me!

It's tricky so stay dry as you navigate this area. 

At the end of this short walk you are treated to a small hot water fall. At the top of the ladder there is a small pool that people soak in.

Wandering further south, I noticed some movement on the other side of the river. I was happy to be sharing this area with one of our locals...a Big Horn Sheep. This one was quite small, so I wondered where the rest of his family was. I usually sight them in groups of 5-7 or so. I sat and watched him for about a half hour. He stayed for a total of a couple of hours, grazing and relaxing on the steep mountain side.

Here is a quick video I shot of my furry friend and the surrounding area. My video skills need some work...

On top of this little bluff was a great view, so I decided to make my camp here.

My little camp, a perfect site just above the river.

Below my camp site was a great little area to do some fishing with my Tenkara USA Iwana 12' rod. The fish weren't interested, but I got some practice with my new rod, as I'm still a newby.

After a couple hours of fishing with no luck, I headed back to camp to make some dinner before it got dark. I'm still experimenting with different stove setups, hence the redundancy of Calderas.

As the sun disappeared behind the mountain, I was treated to the contrast of the rugged terrain.

One thing about winter backpacking...the nights are long. Real long! After 13 hours of dark, well let's say I was very rested! The morning light treated me to more beautiful contrast as I headed back to where I started.

A quick overnight trip like this is a wonderful way to walk off some calories, and escape the holiday hustle and bustle. This peaceful area was just what I needed!


  1. John, another great trip report! I love how you write and this post made me want to experience much more; what a tease! Yesterday I was lucky enough to meet with Kim (@TheNewNomads) who did the Arizona Trail back in April/May time and after reading her blog (www.thenewnomads.com), talking with her and now seeing your pics, well it's just another item added to the list of walks to do!
    Great job :-)

  2. Very nice report, John. That last photo is very pretty!

  3. Helen, Hendrik, glad you enjoyed it! Also thank you Helen for turning me onto Kim's blog...I really like the way she writes! We just have to get her to try out some trail runners! ;~)>

  4. Beautiful! This exact hike was my farewell hike in Arizona.. Such an exquisite place..

    Haha.. I just saw the trail runner comment!!! I did buy a pair of Inov8's but have been too wimpy to wear them in the snow!

    Thanks for such a great post and Happy New Year!!!