Saddlerock Canyon Road presents a variety of easy hiking opportunities.
Name: Saddlerock Canyon Road
Directions: From the intersection of Hwy. 180 and Hwy. 90, take Hwy. 180 west 12.9 miles to Saddlerock Canyon Road (on the south side of the highway). This road is close to mile marker 100 and is right after Mangus Valley Road. Travel on the dirt road for 1.3 miles to where the Gila National Forest sign will be. Soon after the sign, the dirt road divides. Stay to the right. You know you are correct if you see cattle corrals to your left (a few minutes up the road). Soon you will enjoy interesting rock formations. Continue on this road until you reach the green gate (a mile or two). Park.
Hike Description: Walk through the green gate and hike up the trail until you see the "Riparian Area" sign (a 5-10 minute walk). If you go straight, you will soon enjoy the canyon with little waterfalls (seasonal). If you go to the right, there is a lovely trail through sandy areas, groves of trees and mild hills. Once in the canyon, you'll also see the distinctive saddle-shaped rock that gives the canyon its name.You could travel anywhere from 1 mile to 10 miles hiking in this area.
Notes: The hiking options in this area are many. There are several side trails and dirt roads to explore. This area is worth many trips back to investigate. There are many fences to traverse; please be respectful of ranchers' livelihoods.
Helpful Hint: Carry things that serve more than one purpose: bandana (sun guard, hat, dust guard, wash cloth, tissue, signal flag, bandage, tourniquet), knife (cutting tool, screw driver, pick, scraper, eating utensil, toothpick), plastic bag (carry-all, carrying out garbage, water collection, tourniquet, hat, rain guard, signal flag).
Linda Ferrara is a former Silver City real-estate agent who recently
completed 100 local hikes in a year's time (see November 2012 issue).