Parson Spring "C" Fall Color Dayhike. TD: 8 mi, EC: 180', Pace: Easy.
The hike up the Parsons Trail is a pleasant stroll along a cool, clear desert stream set in a magnificent red rock canyon. Sycamore Canyon is a place sufficiently unique to have been one of the first areas protected as wilderness in Arizona. The trail leads through the lower reaches of this wilderness through a riparian area rich in plant and animal life. Colorful cliffs that are a unique mix of dark columnar basalt, red sandstone, and buff colored limestone enclose the lush green of the oasis. The trail leads 4 miles to a large pool called Parson Springs where this considerable stream springs to the surface from the underground course it has followed through the majority of the canyon. Up canyon from this point surface flow only occurs during snowmelt and after summer monsoons.
The limestone layer just above the streambed is riven with small caves. Flat ledges of red sandstone extend to the water's edge. Songbirds flit through the tall cottonwoods and thick mesquite bosques. At a number of points additional springs flow from the canyon walls through gardens of columbine and watercress. All these features combine to make this trail one of the most popular, and one of the most crowded, on the forest.
The first part of the trail drops us 180’ into the canyon. It’s out and back so yes, we have to climb back up 180’ to the parking area. From here it’s mostly flat with a couple of small climbs over tiny hills. There are many stream crossings that can be tricky so if you really do not want to get your feet wet, wear water-proof hiking boots. You can get them here.
This hike is rated “C”, which means 3 to 8 miles and/or a[masked] ft. EC
For more info on the rating system, please read:
All trails in Arizona are very rocky, and most have large areas where there is no shade. Temperatures vary with season, and sometimes can get unseasonably warm even in winter. You must wear comfortable clothes to hike in, good hiking boots (i.e no sneakers, street shoes, sandals), bring plenty of water and food for the trail**.
Meal in Cottonwood afterwards.
Any questions, please e-mail me at [masked]
**The hike leader reserves the right to turn away anyone without the appropriate clothing, footwear, water, food, or gear.