Resident Concierge, Johnny Fenton, answers a popular question from travelers to Arizona during the summer… “Where to hike through streams in Arizona” and “Where can we wet our whistle?” Here is the answer…
Hikers and drinkers might disagree on the phrasing of Ben Franklin’s observation that “In wine there is wisdom…In beer there is freedom… and in water there is bacteria!” With a hop, skip and a splash, you can be in a cool hiking paradise anywhere in Arizona. Just bring along your wet shoes. And save the imbibing for later.
Where to hike through streams in Arizona
Northern Central Arizona’s wet hikes sometimes go unheralded. The headwaters of West Clear Creek are a moderate hike with multiple watery trails near Strawberry, but has deep waters. It is a bigger commitment than the others mentioned in this article but this is its prime season for a dip into West Clear Creek. Another spot has various levels of difficulty with an easy 3-mile hike along the creek. Lots of shade and petroglyphs and clear pools for wading await these trail hikers. But beware as this is a canyon with steep descents and can be dangerous if wet.(Be careful.) Take Hwy 7 through Strawberry, then left on Hwy 200, right on Forest Rd. 144, left on Forest Rd. 149, right on Forest Rd. 142, Left on 142 E. and the trail is at the end of the road. If you’re in Payson you can get your happy on during Happy Hour at the popular Fargo’s Steakhouse Monday through Friday 3-6 p.m. in a quiet booth or join the sociables at the bar in this restaurant with a definite ski chalet atmosphere in the pines (928) 474-7455. A side note: their martini list has bragging rights in the area. This place is always busy, so enjoy the scenery and the courtyard.
Seven Springs is an easy daytrip north of Phoenix in Central Arizona just 20 miles north of Carefree located along the ankle-deep waters of Cave Creek,framed with giant Sycamore and Cottonwood trees offering respite to wildlife and hikers alike. There isn’t enough water here for swimming unless you’re an Arizona Chub fish. Take Cave Creek north 24 miles, with the last stretch as dirt road. An easy hike! Two landmark watering holes in the area I recommend include: the Tortilla Flats Superstition Saloon east of Phoenix where Weaver’s Needle hikers can kick the dust off their boots, straddle a saddle barstool and hoist a tall cool beer ordering up some ribs and even take in a gunfight on the weekends at this former 1904 stagecoach stop (480) 984-1776; and for the shiny-shoes cocktail crowd The Blue Martini Lounge an upscale enclave with live music nightly northeast of Phoenix enshrines its famed drink of the same name while a variety of bands reward fans of Country, Alternative, Top 40’s, R & B or Latin sounds nightly. Order their popular lamb chops or baked Brie bar fare. (480) 638-2583.
On a hike in Southern Arizona you hear the rushing water from a hidden waterfall deep in a canyon. No it’s not the Seven Falls Trail in Sabino Canyon (probably the most popular hiking spot and swimming hole in the area)—it’s a hidden waterfall deep in Madera Canyon where birding is lush on the north face of the Coronado National Forest. To find it, take I-19 south from Tucson toward Nogales for 20 miles. Take exit 63 at Continental Road in Green Valley turning left. In one mile, turn right onto Whitehouse Canyon Road, then keep right for Madera Canyon Road. Park at the first entry station. And walk 200 feet down the Proctor Trail pave path to an unpaved trail to the right. Follow that to a stream of water and the hidden waterfall. Taps across the State worked overtime during Arizona Beer Week this Spring which gave me a chance to try some craft beer in Tucson. I’m a big fan of Tucson’s downtown vibe and Tap & Bottle (520) 344-8999 has some of the most knowledgeable and gracious staff with a well-curated list of some 20 taps and 1 cask. The demographic is kinda hipster and 30-40 something. They are always hosting clever events including a Beer Mile and Beer Brunch! No food here on a regular basis but food trucks everywhere. Chef Emily Peterson, owns Beer Geek Bakery. Her specialty is making flavorful treats, things like mini-pies, cookie sandwiches and citrus bars, using beer from the breweries in which she’s selling. (520) 661-7861.
Yes! Where the trail meets the river and the beer, wine and the margueritas meet your lips Arizona has an enticing array of ways to take a walk on the wild and wet side!