A Hike in Temporal Canyon

One of the most beautiful areas to explore on the outskirts of Patagonia is Temporal Canyon which lies to the north between the town and the approach to Mount Wrightson. Take 1st Avenue off Highway 82 just west of the High School. This well-graded dirt road will take you about seven miles through stunning mountain scenery and desert landscape to a small carpark as you enter Temporal Canyon itself.

From there on we suggest hiking in as the road crosses several rocky creek beds, although a small truck or a vehicle with good clearance could manage easily. Here dramatic rock formations tower above the path in some places, often covered with vivid green lichen at the top. Giant sycamore trees as well as cottonwoods, junipers and other desert trees and plants give shade and greenery in every direction. When the creeks are running after the summer rains, there are places to paddle or even swim.

About half a mile beyond the carpark there is an open area to the right which leads into a steep narrow canyon up over the strange eroded shapes of the canyon walls and if there is any water in the lower pools, there may be small frogs there enjoying themselves. Sometimes you may find cattle grazing in the area but they are shy and will not trouble you. More ambitious hikers may wish to connect up with the section of the Arizona Trail which begins further on. For more detailed information and maps, call the Regional Visitor Center at 299 McKeown Ave. – 520-394-0067. It is possible to camp in Temporal Canyon, but, again, check with the Visitor Center. Drivers are required to stay on numbered roads.

If you are looking for beauty and tranquility, you will certainly enjoy Temporal Canyon, where wildlife and birds abound and the scenery provide endless inspiration for artists and natures lovers of all ages.