Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Goldfield Oven Hike

Our daughter decided to join us for a short hike near the lower Salt River. The river flow is controlled by the Steward Mountain Dam and flows are generally managed for agricultural needs. This time of the year the pools have water but the flow is very minimal making it easy to walk across the river in the shallow spots.

 There were lots of very nice mature saguaro along our route.
When you spot this one part way up the wash, you know you're on the right track. I don't think I've ever seen a saguaro as twisted as this one!

We parked at the east end of the Blue Point Bridge and then hiked about a half mile down stream on river right to intersect a large wash, and then headed up the wash. We've stopped at the mouth of the wash lots of times when we were kayaking the lower Salt, but I'd never walked up the wash.

Once you past the lichen covered cliffs on the west side of the wash, look to the right for what looks like the mouth of an adit.

In the back of that opening it becomes obvious that it wasn't dug as a potential mine. Part of the wall is natural, part is bricked up.

Up above, the chimney is also brick lined. I couldn't find any firm information about it, but the assumption is that it was a small lime kiln for processing lime for mortar. The wash was used for many years as part of the trail between the valley and the high country. Twice a year, large herds of sheep would be trailed through here. I wonder if the kiln was related to construction of the first "sheep bridge" that crossed the river near here.

It was very clear that the wash had seen lots of water this year. The sand in the center of this picture is the mouth of the wash. Normally there is a deep hole in the river right there. It will be interesting to see how much of the beach survives when the river starts flowing again next spring.

The hike can be done as destination (less than 3 miles) or as part of a loop hike - about 8 miles.


  1. I enjoy your photos so much. You almost always show me something that I've never seen anywhere else.

    As always, thanks!

  2. Good info, John! I bookmarked the link. Can't wait to get back into the sunshine....hope we can do more hiking this year.

    1. This hike might be right up your alley. There's another hike in the area to some petroglyphs above Stuart Mountain dam.

  3. Looks like you had a gorgeous day for it! Sounds like nice loop potential.

    1. I want to go back and do the loop. Also want to check out the petroglyphs. This hike is about half way between McDowell Mtn Park and Lost Dutchman SP.