AURORA THE EXPLORER DOES PARSONS TRAIL TO SYCAMORE CANYON
Length: 8 miles round-trip approx: 3.5-5 hrs
Difficulty: Easy 2.5/5
Elevation: Approx: 3,700 feet
Directions: Head to Cottonwood, Arizona. Follow the signs to Tuzigoot National Monument and Clarkdale, Arizona. At Clarkdale, turn right (east) at the Tuzigoot turnoff and cross the bridge over the Verde River. Then immediately turn left on Sycamore Canyon Road (FR 131). Follow the road about 11 miles to Parsons Trail Trailhead. The road is passable by sedan when dry but the last two miles can be rough. It is best suited for high-clearance vehicles.
Dogs Allowed: Yes (on a leash)
Best Times. Apri-May and September-November
Horses Allowed: Yes. Only to the 3-mile mark at the third crossing of Sycamore Creek.
Camping. Prohibited during first 4 miles. Only permitted 200 feet north of Parsons Springs. There are no developed campgrounds.
Parsons Trail is the perfect day trip for those who aren't looking for an extreme hike, more of just a relaxing adventure with friends and family.
It starts with an absolutely gorgeous view, as pictured above, before you make your descent down a fairly steep drop of about 200 feet from the rim to the canyon floor. If you brought your furry friend with you, please be sure to check the sand because there isn't much shade to start with and let me tell you, that sand gets HOT. Don't worry though, once you reach the bottom, the terrain is mostly level and well worth the hike.
After just over a mile, you will find yourself completely surrounded by lush nature thanks to the natural springs that feed into the creek. The first spring you will come upon is "Summers Spring". Be sure to do some exploring in this area as there is a lovely little waterfall nearby. There is also a variety of wildlife to see so always keep an eye out. I saw a few wild turkey, millipede, fox, elk, fish, and crawdads, but there are apparently golden eagles, mountain lions, bobcats, badgers, great blue herons and even black bears. How awesome is that?!
As you continue on your journey, you will feel less and less like you are standing in the middle of a desert, and more like a fairy tale forrest! It's flippin magical! There are butterflies, a beautiful array of flowers running along the path, woodland creatures...Oh! Quick reality check, there is also Poison Ivy and the strikingly beautiful yet poisonous datura flowers growing all over, as well as a few species of rattle snake so keep that in mind while you are wandering about. We are out in the wild after all!
While I am on the subject, you will come upon a HUGE black rock while strolling, DO NOT TOUCH THE BIG BLACK ROCK! This is home to a plethora of spiders who just wish to be left alone. So let's do them a favor and just ignore the big black rock all together. There is plenty more to be seen after all!
You will need to cross over the crystal clear waters of the creek several times, but you won't get too wet if you are pretty good at rock hopping. The water is shallow so simply walking across is always an option, no swimming necessary. That is until you get to the canyon. That is where you will want to shimey off your hiking clothes and get ready for some play time!
Before you even reach the canyon, you will likely hear fellow hikers splashing about and having a grand time. Once you see it for yourself though, I hope you are just as awe inspired as I was! Several small caves line the rich red canyon walls and at the base, the perfect swimming hole. The ledges are great for climbing and jumping off from!
I spent all day here, swimming, jumping, exploring and just feeling completely rejuvenated. All my senses were heightened, I took the time to appreciate the small things, and my troubles felt small and oh so far away. It was so refreshing and inspiring. I feel as though all of my fellow creatives would benefit the most from such an experience. Of course everyone needs to get out from time to time to get back in touch with nature and what really matters.
This trail is an excellent one to start off with! Not too long, not to short, and quite a site to see! Bring your art supplies, camera, writing book, swimsuit, and most importantly, an open mind!
Now get out there and experience it for yourself!
PM ME FOR ANY QUESTIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS!!