Hassayampa River to Fools Canyon

By Jeep Experts

A very long time in the past in Arizona, the Indians stumbled on a river that flowed above floor solely when it needed to. The remainder of the time the river would solely peek above floor somewhat right here and somewhat there. The remainder of the river selected to move underground, giving the looks of being solely a dried out riverbed. For this cause the Indians named the river the Hassayampa, which implies “the upside-down river”.

On April 8, 2000, I used to be lucky sufficient to go along with six different off-road automobiles (Jeeps outnumbered the others 3:1) for a terrific day of journey close to Wickenburg, Arizona.  We had been exploring the Hassayampa River upstream of Wickenburg, AZ.  The plan was to go up the river to Fools Canyon, which lies a number of hours up the river.  The different trivia truth of this little off-road journey was that the entire grownup contributors had been ham radio operators.  Don’t ask me to repeat any name indicators (OK, Tom, I can keep in mind yours on account of realizing you for a number of years).   Heck, I used to be fortunate to make it to the top of the day and never get everybody’s title all tousled!

We headed northwest out of Wickenburg, turning off on Rincon Road.  A few miles down the street and we left the asphalt behind.   This was an excellent place to cease and air down.

Donna snapped an image of a few of us airing down

We stopped by the river to take a bunch picture of all of the mighty adventurer’s.  Donna being the Girl Scout chief that she is, observed some smoke about 100 yards away, throughout the river.  After the image, we drove over to examine and positive sufficient, a camp hearth was nonetheless smoldering.  I grabbed the small utility shovel from the again of Lady (you do carry one, proper?) and Donna took a trash bag down to the river to get some water.  Several luggage of water and a goodly quantity of dust and issues had been in a a lot better standing.  Although not sure, it was more than likely the left over bon hearth from the earlier night time’s beer celebration…..or, some very sloppy campers.


Spring being spring, and Donna being herself, she snapped a number of pictures of the native flora at one in every of our stops.  The desert actually has quite a lot of vegetation in it and within the March and April time-frame, you possibly can see quite a lot of them in bloom.

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Hassayampa River to Fools Canyon

We overshot the doorway to Fools Canyon a bit and located ourselves additional up the river.  Actually, the little path that leads off into Fools Canyon is just not the simplest to discover and had it not been for the USGS topos and laptop computer I had at the back of the Jeep, I’m not positive we’d have discovered it.  (What, you don’t go off-roading with a 333 Mhz laptop computer?)

What makes Fools Canyon distinctive is the path that goes by means of it would finally (if you will get by means of) take you to Wagoner.  From there, you possibly can go to Minnehaha after which on to the Senator Highway, simply north of the place it runs into Crown King.  So, we backtracked a bit and eventually discovered the path that lead off to Fools Canyon.

Fools Canyon is remarkably completely different than the river mattress we had been operating.   Through the day, we had been out and in of the water always.  The water move within the Hassayampa River had been about 3 to 5 inches deep and about 10′ vast….generally extra, generally much less by means of out the day.  We stopped a number of instances to cool off and the youngsters (and adults) discovered some deeper swimming pools within the shade and loved it lots.

Once into Fools Canyon, every little thing will get a bit drier.  The brush is just not the brilliant inexperienced it was alongside the river, and you’re as soon as once more reminded simply how harmful it may be ought to you end up right here with out water.  Luckily, we’re all seasoned desert vacationers and there was loads of water introduced alongside.

We made good time in Fools Canyon, driving alongside the sandy wash that you simply first encounter after leaving the river.  We zigzagged backwards and forwards by means of the wash whereas it started to slim and the dust banks grew to become rock partitions.  Oh yeah, we’re moving into the true canyon for positive! 

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We rounded a nook and located ourselves confronted with some giant boulders scattered by means of a a lot narrower part of the canyon.  We stopped for lunch and make use of what little shade the rock partitions provided.  One automobile went on forward to see what lay past.

fter lunch, I maneuvered over the boulders (bounced the skid plate a couple of times) and acquired by means of with out an excessive amount of hassle.  The automobiles that had been nonetheless behind had been going to have a troublesome time getting over the rocks.  It was actually attainable to do, however tow straps on the extra inventory automobiles would have been a necessities for positive.   There would have been the opportunity of rocker panel injury on the unlifted automobiles, and it was already mid-day.  So we determined the the rest of Fools Canyon can be left for one more day and with extra succesful automobiles.


I took a few photos of Lady taking part in alongside the wash after she had gone by means of the boulders.  There was truly a cause for this one.  I had by no means actually checked to see if my Canyon City rear rack was going to lower my departure angle.  As it’s now, my bumper will hit earlier than the tire does, so that’s wonderful for now.

Another rock and one other pose for the digital camera.  This one flexed the suspension fairly properly.  The passenger entrance is sort of at full droop and the rear is at full compression.  On the driving force’s aspect, the rear is sort of prolonged, and the entrance is pretty properly compressed.

Here is identical pose with a view from the entrance.

We headed again to the river by backtracking out of Fools Canyon (I’m wondering why they name it that?).  After we regained the river, we headed out on one other path that lastly related us up to Constellation Road.  We headed again in direction of Wickenburg.

Hassayampa River to Fools Canyon

A humorous factor occurred to me on the best way again to Wickenburg.  As we had been driving alongside, we had been passing a terrific trying hill that was simply calling my title….it was superb….”Stu, convey Lady and climb this hill….Stu, you should have enjoyable…”.  Not wishing to go up this chance, I introduced on the radio that I used to be stopping to play. 

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After strolling to prime of the hill (truly, that could be a lie….about 1/2 manner up, I resorted to utilizing my palms and crawling the final couple dozen yards), I made positive there was sufficient room to flip round.  I slid down the hill and jumped into the driving force’s seat, with Donna using alongside as co-pilot.  I made it a couple of 1/4 of the best way up and that was it.  All 4 MTs had been turning properly….the Detroits had been doing a terrific job….I simply stopped making headway up the hill.  I backed down the hill to attempt once more.  Before doing so, it was recommended that I drop my tire strain a bit extra.  Sure, why not!  There wasn’t actually any clearance issues to fear about, and I actually was hurting within the traction division.  I’ve been operating my tires proper at round 15~16 lbs through the previous a number of path runs.  This has completed very properly for me, and appears to be a contented compromise between traction and clearance.   But, what had been working for me was not working now. 

I dropped all of the tires to 12 lbs and gave it one other attempt.

That did it!  Lady climbed proper to the highest on the primary try with little or no wheel spin and the engine turning about 1700 RPMs….gradual, regular, and no traction issues!


I need to admit that I’ve not put quite a lot of miles on the MTs but, and this was a studying expertise for me.  I made a number of different journeys up the hill, all with no drawback.  If you had instructed me that the distinction between success and failure was 4 lbs. of air strain, I might have laughed in your face.   Well, not any extra.  It made all of the distinction on the earth!

A shot from the highest of the hill.  The earlier photos trying up the hill makes it look a bit smaller than it truly is.  

After taking part in on the hill for some time, we continued on into city and hit one of many native burger stands for dinner.  It was a good time for Donna and I.  We met a complete group of recent associates, and look ahead to exploring some extra trails with them sooner or later.   Remember, the worst day 4-wheelin’ is best than the most effective day at work!   


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