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Backpacker Magazine – September 1999

Arizona's Galiuro Mountains

Don't expect the red-carpet treatment in Arizona's Galiuro Mountains, just wilderness on its own terms.

by: Christine Maxa

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EXPEDITION PLANNER: Galiuro Wilderness, AZ

DRIVE TIME: The wilderness is located in southeast Arizona, about 185 miles (41/2 hours) southeast of Phoenix and 145 miles (3 hours) northeast of Tucson. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended, but a sedan can make the drive to the Deer Creek trailhead.

THE WAY: From Phoenix, follow US 70 about 72 miles east from Globe to Klondyke Road on the right (a sign marks the turnoff). Proceed about 25 miles to a T, where you turn left onto the Bonita-Klondyke Road. After 4 miles, turn right onto FR 253 (Deer Creek Ranch Road) and follow it 8.5 miles to the Deer Creek trailhead.

TRAILS/MILEAGE: The wilderness contains 100 miles of trail. Hike into the heart of the Galiuro on the 25-mile Tortilla-Power Garden-Corral Canyon-East Divide loop. Trails receive little maintenance and become overgrown. Bring a compass and route-finding skills. Also, carry plenty of water; the only two reliable sources are Power Garden in Rattlesnake Canyon and Holdout Spring on the Rattlesnake Canyon Trail.

ELEVATION: Trails start at 4,000 feet and rise as high as 7,549-foot Kennedy Peak. Rangers advise that the intensely rugged Galiuro has been known to cut short many hikers' itineraries.

DON'T MISS: Rattlesnake Canyon, where a line shack, old miner relics, and the Power Cabin still stand.

CROWD CONTROL: The chances of not seeing anyone at all rise the farther you hike from Deer Creek and High Creek trailheads.

MAPS: USGS 7.5-minute quads Bassett Peak and Kennedy Peak (800-435-7627; will guide you along the featured loop. Also, Safford Ranger District sells a useful map (see address below; $4).

PIT STOP: For a post-hike Mexican feast, try Guayo's On The Trail (520-425-9969) on AZ 88 just off US 60 near Globe.

WALK SOFTLY: The Galiuro Mountains are home to the highest concentration of mountain lions in the state, and black bears are common, too. Hang your food.

MORE INFORMATION: Safford Ranger District, Coronado National Forest, P.O. Box 709, Safford, AZ 85548-0709; (520) 428-4150.

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