Ash Creek at Mt. Graham

It started with leaving phoenix sometime around 11pm with our sights set on a certain waterfall in eastern Arizona. Our goal was to camp at the bottom of Mount Graham and hike up Ash Creek Trail to the waterfall the next morning. The drive is rather long but very interesting as you drive through one small Arizona town after the next. Sometime around 1 am we reach the road that leads to the lower trailhead of Ash Creek at the bottom of Mt Graham. As we drove down the further narrowing road in our two wheel drive pick-up; two things became clear. First is that the road was getting rather bad, and second it was going to be a long night. So roughly 3 miles down the dirt road we were stuck. Tires spinning and no forward movement we had only one option. We managed to reverse off the hill we were stuck on and make it back to the highway. I decided we would drive further east and drive to the top of Mt Graham and hike down to the waterfall instead. Now if you are unfamiliar with Mt Graham much like I was; driving to the top of Mt Graham is not easy or fast task. It is 17 miles of countless switch backs, twists, sharp turns, and narrow roads. Also about halfway up the road turns to a maintained dirt road. At this point numerous energy drinks were consumed and exhaustion was really setting in at 2 am. At 3 am we had finally made it to the campground! We were the only ones in the campground so we had the pick of the litter. After finding a nice camp spot with a relatively close bear box we started to set up camp. 4 am rolls around and the temperature must be somewhere under freezing. It had rained recently and all the wood around was wet which made for a struggle to get a fire going. The fire was a lost cause so we decided to try and get a few hours of sleep before we began our hike to the falls in the morning.

7 am. I awoke in my tent with my exposed face freezing and eyes tired. I stepped out of my tent to a lush and beautiful forest and breathed in the freshest air. I made some coffee and breakfast and began packing up. At 8 am we began one of the most beautiful hikes in Arizona. It is crazy to think that this mountain starts in the desert, but where we were could not be more opposite. The trail in all down hill and follows a lingering creek through thick forest and vegetation. Poison Ivy is very prominent on this trail so be careful! Approximately 2.5 miles in and I had come across a very large cascading falls around 50ft. Much like a scene from Yosemite this sloped waterfall, almost like a waterslide was an incredible sight. We took a break here to cool down in the crystal clear spring water. Another .5 miles and we were to the overlook for Ash Creek Falls! As we came over the bend we could here the crashing of the falls and our pace quickened. We climbed down to a ledge in front of the falls and stood in awe. 100ft of pure power! This waterfall is definitely one of the most under rated and beautiful waterfalls in Arizona. I set the hammock up and enjoyed to sun on my face and the sound of crashing water around me.

I found out about this waterfall by seeing one picture of it. Once i saw that picture I knew i needed to find it! Amazing places exist in Arizona, you just need to put in the work to find them!

 

 

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