Monday, March 12, 2018

Jeep ride through the Santa Rita Mountains and a hike in the Madera Canyon

Monday, March 12, 2018 – Location:  Las Cienegas NCA near Sonoita, Arizona

Started our morning with a walk through the grasslands near our MH.  I walked and Yuma ran.


A little hide and seek.  Hard to spot in the grass.


Still haven’t seen who lives in these holes.  Second year now and these holes are everywhere, but can’t find anyone home.


Around 11 o’clock, I decided that Yuma and I should find Madera Canyon.  I’ve read there are numerous hiking trails at the end of this canyon.  Many leading to the highest summit in the Santa Rita Mountains,  Mt. Wrightson (Old Baldy) at 9543 feet. 

Here are the mountains due west of our camp as I started out.  The trails leading to the top are around six to eight miles one way, depending on the trail you hike.  So I know I could never make it to the top, but wanted to see the canyon and hike maybe two to three miles.


The road to the canyon is SR 62.  This road goes west off of hwy 83 just about two miles from the entrance to the Empire Ranch Road.  What I didn’t know was the canyon is on the other side of the Santa Rita Mountains.

SR 62 started out as a blacktop known as the Greaterville Road for about six miles and then the splits and turns to a dirt road in both directions.  To the left the Greaterville Road continues and to the right it turns into the Box Canyon Road.  This dirt road goes 14 miles right through the Santa Rita Mountains.


Not far down the road I saw my only horse riders of the day.


Oh yes.  This is open range so did see a few of these guys on the road.  The little guy got all excited as I drove past, but no one got hurt.


The Box Canyon Road was the best part of my day.  It was a beautiful road for my Jeep.  Any vehicle could drive it, but it was fun!

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Going down into the valley on the other side of the mountains.


Looking at the Santa Rita Mountains from the north side as I go around them.


The Box Canyon Road ended at the bottom into a blacktop, Madera Canyon Road.  This road went about twelve miles up into the canyon and ended.  I drove to the end and paid my $5 day use fee to hike.

The map of all the trails leading to the top.  I took the Super Trail.  It is much easier than the Old Baldy Trail, but much longer.


The trail is easy and well worn.   If I could hike 5 miles I could have made it to the saddle, but I don’t have 5 miles in me.  Plus, I would have to hike 5 miles back down.   We had a nice walk of about a mile and half up and then we came back down to the trailhead and called it a day.


Looking up at Old Baldy.  Wish I was younger.


Looking back down the canyon across the valley.


This is it.  As close as I get.  Looks so near, but I know.

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Heading down Madera Canyon Road towards home.


We got back to camp in the grasslands right at 3 o’clock.  Four hours and I’m beat and hungry.


Later in the afternoon after lunch and a bit of a rest, Yuma and I took a little Jeep ride down Oak Tree Road to see if anyone was camped under the Oak Trees.  No one was.  Big trees and they are old.



Home for the night.  There is my MH with the Whetstone Mountains as a backdrop.  MH color blends with the grass.


See you later.


  1. Are those prairie dogs that live in those holes? Your only horse riders of the day had a friend for Yuma. Sweet looking cows. The calflooks very curious. That canyon area is really cool! Maybe tomorrow you can tackle the Mr. Baldy trail. 😀 This area and the old trees are really pretty. Have a good night. ❤

    1. Thank Dolly. I think My. Badly is for another lifetime. Had a great time and the weather here is great.

  2. Not sure what lives in those holes, but you won't find me sticking my hand in to find out!
    Wow, you were in some absolutely gorgeous country today. Love those old oaks.

    1. True. They look to be active but they are shy. It is beautiful here and the horse camp is picking up. Think the ride starts Friday. I hope.

  3. What a fun area to explore loving your pictures.

  4. This area is so scenic & what a great curvy dirt road - looks somewhat smoother for Yuma to not get so jostled around. Really like these beautiful photos. 😳

    1. Thanks Moonfly. It was a decent road winding through the mountains. Really enjoyed coming and going. Yuma didn't like the many cattle gates though.

  5. Box Canyon Road looks like a nice drive. You and Yuma had another great hike, Doug. Now you are putting me to shame, I haven't walked much in the last couple of days!

    1. You're having a cool spell I see. That slows the hiking down for sure. I wish I could have hiked to the top but not to be.

  6. Bet you hated leaving Superstition Moutain but looks like you have another beautiful spot. Looks like had a great day for hiking again. How much weight have you lost since you started your journey? Take care Dad. Love you.

  7. Thanks Steve. This place is beautiful and the weather's great. I weigh about 155 now. So about 12 pounds lighter. Not bad. Love you.

  8. Beautiful pictures again Doug, we especially like your header pic. We do like that Cienegas area. Gord.

  9. Good to hear from you, Gord. This is a beautiful and peaceful area. Great place to sit back and relax.