Canyonlands: Tales from Narrow Places

Quicksand and warm springs in Kaiser Spring Canyon

Posted in Northern Arizona & the Mogollon Rim by canyoneering on January 25, 2010

Kaiser Spring Canyon
8 miles
BLM land, northwest of Wickenburg


As a massive storm violently ripped through Arizona last week, pounding the state with rain and filling its reservoirs, David and I pondered what kind of outdoor activity we would be able to do over the weekend and still bring our dog. After talking with Mike he suggested Kaiser Canyon, a non-technical hike with tight canyon narrows and a warm spring.

The weather on Sunday was wonderful in Wickenburg with the highs in the upper 50s and clear blue skies. While driving northwest on US 60, other than wide sandy washes flowing with water that would otherwise be bone dry you would not have guessed such a powerful storm had passed through just days earlier. Parking under highway 93 we headed up canyon and were quickly surrounded by towering rock walls. The lower narrow section of the canyon that is normally dry had some flowing water and ice-cold pools that we can only assume collected from the storms earlier in the week. Along with trying to avoid the chilly pools of water on the canyon floor we encountered an abundance of quicksand that was hard to avoid and difficult to recognize. David seemed to have the most issues with the quicksand immediately sinking up to his shins after one faulty step.

Having Briscoe along for the day was fun. Geared up with his super doggie harness he rock hopped and splashed through the canyon. On the few climbing sections it was easy to pick Briscoe up like a brief case and carry him forward. (Click here and here and here for other adventures with Briscoe)

After the first section of narrows the canyon opened up to a sandy flat wash. We continued up canyon to a second section of narrows and riparian area. Fighting through thick thorny brush for a few minutes we gave up and turned around heading back down canyon the way we came. Retracing our steps with Briscoe in the lead we walked past where we parked the car and continued down canyon to the warm springs. I didn’t have the highest hopes for the pool but it turned out to be just warm enough to enjoy in the brisk late afternoon air. The temperature of the water was around 95 degrees. Briscoe made an island out of David and we all relaxed in a Zen-like state of calm.



3 Responses

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  1. Steve Schwartz said, on January 26, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Kaiser Warm Springs sounds more like my normal hike – no rapelling. No hot springs in this part of the country though (except Berkeley Springs in WV, but that’s really no longer public – unless you pay).

  2. garrett said, on February 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I thought the warm spring was to the west of Hwy 93, down toward Burro Creek?

    You say you went UP the canyon and that would mean you went East into the narrow, high walls area and not down toward Burro Creek.

    Unless there is another spring up the East side of the canyon??

    • canyoneering said, on February 21, 2011 at 9:12 pm

      As the blog post says we went up canyon from Hwy 93 to explore the narrows then turned around went under Hwy 93 down canyon to the warm springs.

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