Madera Canyon (Coronado NF, Arizona) 24-Mar-2018

Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona

As we say in Oregon: When the going gets wet, the dry go to Arizona. And so it was that we found ourselves in Phoenix and Tucson for a week, visiting some old friends and doing six local hikes. The weather pretty much cooperated the whole time, with sunshine, mild air temperatures (mid 70ºFs to low 80ºFs), and only artistic clouds. There was a potent, cholla-hurling windstorm with clouds one afternoon but that was it for weather drama. We chose hikes that covered habitats fron saguaros to oaks to pines, at altitudes between 1,500 and 8,000 feet. Cacti spines were dodged, no snakes were startled (or startled us), and a good time was had by all. Now that there are direct flights between home and Phoenix, we may have to do some more hiking down there…

After The LovedOne’s knee held-up during our short hike in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness, we decided to try a slightly longer route (5.4 miles round-trip; 1,800 feet of elevation gain) in Madera Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains (about 30 miles south of Tucson) for our fifth hike. Starting from the trailhead at the Madera Canyon Picnic Area, we followed the Bog Springs Trail #156 to its junction with the Kent Spring Trail #157, then took that trail up to Kent Spring. From there, we followed the Bog Springs Trail back down to that junction and then followed the road (easier on the knee) back to the picnic area. This figure-8 route took us through forests of silverleaf oak, alligator juniper, and ponderosa pine, past a waterfall and three springs. Porcelain-white stands of gnarled old Arizona sycamores contrasted sharply with the surrounding forest’s brown and green tones. This is another a very popular area (particularly for serious birders), but with an early start, we were ahead of most of the weekend crowds. This was the one day we had weather in the form of clouds and strong winds – the worst of which arrived after we’d gotten back to the car.

Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
Starting up the Bog Springs Trail
Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
Along the Bog Springs Trail
Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
Along the Kent Spring Trail
Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
View from the Kent Spring Trail
Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
Waterfall below the Kent Spring Trail
Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
Waterfall pool
Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
Arriving at Sylvester Spring
Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
Sylvester Spring
Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
Porcelain-white sycamores
Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
It was an abrupt, steep climb to Kent Spring
Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
We found a group of other hikers clustered around Kent Spring
Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
View of building clouds from the Bog Springs Trail
Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
Sycamores near Bog Springs
Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
Bog Springs
Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
Alligator bark with moss
Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
Incoming weather, with Mount Lemmon on the horizon
Madera Canyon Bog Spring Coronado National Forest Arizona
Our figure-8 loop past the three springs

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