Hike the Monument (HTM) 2019

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Date(s) - 11/09/2019
7:30 am - 3:00 pm

Ironwood Forest National Monument

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Friends of Ironwood Forest invites you to join us for Hike the Monument (HTM) on Saturday, November 9th.  Come and experience first-hand the wonders of the Ironwood Forest National Monument.  This is a very popular annual event and a unique opportunity to learn more about our the Monument and how Friends of the Ironwood Forest (FIF) works to protect it.

All hikes will meet at the Marana Regional Airport at 11700 W Avra Valley Road. The Marana Airport is located 5 miles WEST of the I-10 and Avra Valley Road, exit 242.

Schedule of Events
7:30 –- sign-in at the airport
8:00 – hike briefing
8:30 – car pools form up and depart

Expect that hikes will complete by 2pm and return to the airport by 3pm. Restrooms are available in the Marana Airport Operations building. 

List of Hikes:
* 1. Cocoraque Butte Archaeological District Hike.  Cocoraque Butte is one of the sites offering abundant rock art and other archaeological objects of scientific interest within the Monument. At least 150 sites from the prehistoric Hohokam period (ca. A.D. 650-1450) are recorded in the area. Expect unusual petroglyphs that you may not have seen before and bring your camera and/or binoculars. Also, expect moderate rocky terrain on this hike. The trek from the parking area to the petroglyph sites is a relatively flat and easy hike. Getting up to the petroglyphs is challenging for some hikers because you need to scramble up and around boulders and bedrock on a 120-foot-high butte to see many of the petroglyphs. You must be in good physical condition to go on the hike. Pack water (one to two quarts), snacks, lunch and sunscreen. Don’t forget your hat and camera. 

* 2. Waterman Mountain Elephant Tree Botanical Hike.  This is an adventurous and fun, moderate to difficult, hike that covers about 3.5 miles round trip, walking on loose rocks in steep terrain. Accumulated elevation gain is about 650 ft. High-clearance vehicles are needed for this hike and carpooling is available. Bill Peachey who has an extensive geology and botany background will be with us on this hike to help us understand what we are seeing. We hike an old steep mining road in the Waterman Mountains to find the Elephant Trees and endangered Nichols Turks Head Cactus. The Waterman’s are a rare limestone uplift in the Sonoran Desert. There are lots of great plants to discuss along the way, as well as opportunities to view the unique geology of the mountains. You will also see evidence of the mining conducted in the Waterman’s. Pack water, snacks, lunch and sunscreen. Don’t forget your hat and camera and/or binoculars.

3. Nature Hike.  An easy paced 3 mile (or so) hike. Learn the natural wonders of the Sonoran Desert and about the geologic and topographic variability that contributes to the area’s high biological diversity. Walk along with naturalist and botanist Ries Lindley and co-leaders Bill Thornton (the cacti know him by name),  and Rachel Feuerbach, U of A geologist. This is a family oriented nature hike, children are welcome. High clearance vehicles are not required for this hike. The Nature Hike generally ends well before 2pm, you will likely be back to the airport between noon and 1pm. Pack water (1 to 2 quarts), snacks, lunch and sunscreen. Don’t forget your hat and camera. There is no limit to what you may learn, how much fun you can have learning it or the number of hikers!!
To sign up for a hike send an email message to [email protected] or leave a message at 520-628-2092. This is an unattended number but be sure to leave a message. We will get back to you!.

  • The number of participants for Cocoraque Butte and the Waterman Elephant Tree Hikes ARE LIMITED. Sign up early!

Please specify which hike you would like to sign up for, the number of folks with you, and whether or not you have a high-clearance vehicle and are willing to drive to the hike starting point.

All hikes will meet up at the Marana Airport on Avra Valley Road at 7:30am on Saturday, November 9th. We expect to be done hiking no later than 2 pm and to return to the airport by 3 pm.

Please remember to dress in layers, appropriate for the weather, wear sturdy shoes, hat, sunscreen, water, snacks, lunch, and your camera. There are no restrooms or other facilities within the Monument. Some roads may not be maintained.