Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness
Our visit to the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness was worth the long drive from Benson. Seven jeeps, a pickup and a rental car (all 4WD) line up in our park ready to trek north of Willcox to the Klondyke trail. We hardly see another soul once we leave Willcox, still an hour from the trailhead. The one vehicle that suddenly appears barreling toward us from the dust cloud we are following nearly scares me to death. I begin to believe we are in the wilderness long before we reach the official trail.
I am thrilled that our first rest stop is at the remote Four Mile Canyon Campground just east of Klondyke Store. Flush toilets and an operable, but somewhat multi-directional sink (think hand-washing and shower at the same time) along with a full paper towel dispenser are special features of this clean restroom.
I read an article referring to Aravaipa canyon as a “wet” canyon and it certainly lives up to that description. After miles and miles of the linear dusty Klondyke road, we enter the actual wilderness and find ourselves in a canopied forest repeatedly crossing Aravaipa Creek. One of our fellow Jeepers tells me that we crossed that stream over 40 times following the trail into and back out of the preserve.
For frequency of well maintained restrooms (one flush and one scenic pit toilet), numerous thrilling stream crossings, a shaded, cool lunch spot and an easy hike to the cliff dwelling, I give this trail an excellent rating. Be sure you go with someone who knows the trail as this is a remote area. Thanks again to Jane and Leyman for sharing this adventure with us!!