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Name: Chiva Falls Pools Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (Moderate 4WD)
Time: 1 - 3 hours Region: SE Arizona
Length: 0.9 miles (one way) Elevation gain/loss/change: +56 / -1 ft / +55 ft (one way)
Type: Out and back Avg Elevation: 3800 ft
Best time to go: The day after a big monsoon rain, summer, fall, spring, winter Fees: NA
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Low Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: August, 2010
Short Description: A short spur trail off the main Chiva Falls loop that leads to a great summer swimming hole
Geocaches: Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just a few.Chiva Falls for the Fearless; Chivo Falls; Redington Rocks;King of the Hill
References / Contact Information: For Chiva Falls: Arizona Highways, May, 2006; Guide to Arizona Backroads & 4-wheel Drive Trails, Wells, page 241; Expeditions West Chivo Falls Adventure
Points of interest: Beautiful and fun pools. Small waterfalls. A fun trail through a rocky wash.
Special Considerations: Although this is a great trail to do after a big summer rain, it is also the most dangerous time to be on this trail. Its route is mainly through a wash in which I’ve seen evidence of 10-15 foot flash floods come through. If you are in the wash during a flash flood, it can sweep you and your vehicle away, resulting in serious injury or death. Also, although I’ve jumped off the cliffs in the pool, there are rocks along the sides and bottom. Check to see if it’s deep enough. Conditions change. Be careful.
How to get there: Take Tanque Verde road east, past the turnoff to Mt. Lemmon (Catalina Highway) for 8 miles, until it turns to dirt and starts climbing up through Redington Pass. The road is now called Redington Rd. You will pass a parking lot for Lower Tanque Verde falls (at 1.4 miles) on your left and then another parking area (on the side of the road) for Upper Tanque Verde falls up a little further. Tanque Verde falls is awesome and you should take a day to explore them. Redington Rd has green mile markers, pay attention to them, but don’t count on them being correct. Approximately 8 miles from where the Tanque Verde road turns to dirt is the trailhead (waypoint 001 and Forest Road 4417). There is a parking lot on the right. This is a good place to put it into 4wd, air down, drink some soda, etc. Click here for directions. Follow the Chiva Falls trail until you reach Waypoint 001 (Waypoint 008 on the Chiva Falls trail)

Trail Description

This short spur is off the Chiva Falls trail (see Chiva Falls Adventure for more information). In the summer months, I enjoy going to the pools more than Chiva Falls. The pools are a series of three large (by southern Arizona standards) pools feed by a series of small waterfalls. After a summer monsoon, these pools are a great place for a cool swim. If you are brave enough, you can also do some cliff jumping into the largest pool from heights of 10 to about 25 feet.

General Information and History

The Pools are approximately a two-mile (total—out and back) detour from the Chiva trail which follows a rocky wash. This part of the trail is not marked and not as well traveled as the Chiva trail. After a heavy rain, some of the trail may be washed away and vehicles may have to ford crossings up to 18-inches deep or more. Caution: be very careful during heavy rains. I have seen branches and grass from flash floods in trees 15 feet above floor of the wash. Rains in the mountains can cause these flash floods. It doesn’t have to be raining where you are. NOTE: August, 2010 was one of the largest flash floods in recent history. Six inches of rain fell near here in a few hours. The water was 15 feet deep and dramatically changed the wash and this road. Many of the trees along the wash were uprooted and washed away. A huge boulder fell into one of the pools. We went out there the day after the rain and for the first time in almost 30 years, I wasn’t able to get through the wash and make it to either the pools or Chiva. We tried again the following weekend and were amazed by the damage and power of the flood.

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The Trail

From Waypoint 008 (see Chiva Falls trail for directions to this point), take a left instead of heading down into the wash. Continue on the trail for about ¼ miles until you reach Waypoint 012. Enter a large wash and take a left (the trail that goes straight is the Lower Loop trail). Follow the Pools trail along the wash for 0.7 miles and you’re there (Waypoint 013). Walk up to the pools and enjoy a nice swim. The are a few smaller falls up along the wash for another 1/3 mile or so. Hike along this if you have time.

After enjoying the pools, retrace your path back to the Chiva Fall trail.

Have fun and be safe.

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