ADT, EM and I started out Sunday AM at the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site (Prison Camp) for a hike down Sabino Canyon to the Visitor Center. The gate at Prison Camp is currently closed/locked (I did not see/am not aware of any closure and folks were camped…) [there is still a decent amount of parking before you hit the gate]. The parking/camping area had obvious damage from the storms we had last month, but the road and trail are largely in good shape.
We hiked out towards Sycamore Reservoir (not as much water here as I thought there would be) and continued down towards Sabino Canyon. The East Fork Trail from Sycamore Reservoir to the junction with the Phone Line Trail trail is mostly easy walking – but it is overgrown, washed out and slightly hard to follow in places (both from the recent rains and from erosion (partly a result of the fires we have had in previous years)). At first I thought the metal trail junction sign at the intesection of the East Fork Trail and Phone Line Trail had washed away – but eventually we did find it, buried in sand with only the top of the sign visible!
At the junction of the East Fork Trail and Phone Line Trail we left the trail and headed down the bottom of Sabino Canyon. This is the section that I had really been looking forward to – the canyon is full of water and right away we were splashing down the canyon. We did some swimming at Miner’s Pool and continued down thru the huge boulders below. Eventually we arrived below the last tram stop and beginning of the paved road.
Currently there is a closure in effect for Sabino – but a careful reading of the closure seems to leave hiking in the canyon bottom open, so we continued downstream. The road is quite close to the canyon in places so we took a few shots showing the massive damage to the road [the Forest Service appears to be taking email comments until Oct. 15 on the ‘Future of Sabino Canyon’ (I assume that they laregly mean the future of the road…)]. We ended our hike (in the dark) at the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center.