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Workman Creek - Sierra Ancha Wilderness, Tonto National Forest

Summary: A pleasant and wet loop hike through the upper reaches of Workman Creek in the Sierra Anchas. Wading and swimming is required to complete this hike. Be aware that the rock in the canyon is very slick.
Directions: From Phoenix drive east on Highway 60 almost to Globe. Turn left (north) on Highway 188 (also listed as 88 on maps) and drive 14.4 miles to Highway 288. Turn right on 288 which is paved at first and after a short distance crosses the Salt River on a single lane bridge. After 12.2 miles you will come to an intersection with left branching A Cross Road. Continue straight on Highway 288 for another 15 miles to the sign and turn off on the left for Reynolds Trailhead and camp.
Road Conditions: Passenger Car
Navigation: Easy
Length: 10 miles
Date Hiked: June 2008
Weather Conditions: Warm and Sunny
Required Skills:
Hike Description: From the trailhead parking area, walk through the stile in the fence and begin following the wide dirt trail up hill (the trail at this point looks as if this used to be an old road). About 100 ft in you will come to a sign for the Hells Hole Trail (284) 6 miles, Boyer Trail (148) 2 miles. Note: Based on my walk time I do not believe either of these mileages to be terribly accurate, I'm guessing the Boyer Trail is 2.5 miles away & Hells Hole 5 miles. The trail tops out at a shoulder then begins descending moderately through a ponderosa pine forest interspersed with manzanita, alligator juniper, agave & emory oak. At Armer Ranch the trail bends right, paralleling the drainage of Workman Creek for a short distance before dropping down into it. Leave the trail at this point and simply follow the creek downstream. Don't bother trying to keep you feet dry, you'll be walking in water much of the time. Soon the creek enters a very nice box canyon composed of pink granite polished smooth and rounded by the water. There are a few spots in this section where you'll have to determine the best way around an obstacle or down a small falls. A possible deep wade or short swim may also be required. After a bit of hiking you'll reach a junction with Reynolds Creek which enters from the right. This drainage is wider than Workman and not as interesting. Continue downstream through a very pleasant canyon climbing, wading, rock hopping and swimming where necessary. After several hours of hiking the canyon will begin to get more brushy. When this occurs, keep your eyes open for the lower end of the Hells Hole Trail and camp sites which will be on the left hand side of the creek. Pick up this distinct path as it begins climbing steeply up and out of the canyon on the south side of Workman Creek. The trail ascends through oak chaparral, manzanita and pine to eventually top out on a flat juniper dotted mesa. Walk across the mesa and continue straight, passing the junction with the right branching Boyer Trail. The path then descends into upper Workman Creek where you left the trail earlier in the day. Retrace your footsteps the remainder of the way to Reynolds Camp and your vehicle.
Rating (1-5 stars):
The author and two friends completed this hike in 5.5 hours. Not knowing what to expect we brought rope and technical gear. We didn't need it, but the hike was quite nice all the same.
Map: Click here for a map of the hike.
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.

Typical views in Workman Creek.