San Rafael Valley
Santa Cruz County, Arizona
April 25, 2004


A day after our Mt. Wrightson hike, Beth and I decided to head south and explore the San Rafael Valley of far-south Arizona. We were here based on a tip from a friend of mine, who said we would not be disappointed. It was a beautiful drive!

From Patagonia, we followed the road south toward Lochiel. Pavement ended after a few miles, then it was a wonderful drive up and down hills and canyons as we passed by a few ghost towns along the way, including Harshaw where we stopped to explore the cemetery, and Duquesne, where we met a friendly Border Patrol agent doing his rounds. Finally, the hills gave way to a beautiful, grass-covered milieu of rolling hills, plains and far-off peaks and mountains. Stunning countryside... so much so Hollywood has filmed a few movies here, including "Oklahoma!".

We drove to Lochiel, a tiny town that was once a functioning border crossing checkpoint. We then drove east and up through Parker Canyon Lake and out back to the highway in Sonoita. The loop was close to 100 miles and worth every minute.

Photos (Click to Enlarge)

Beth in the crook of a massive tree near Harshaw.

Cemetery, Harshaw.

The Fray Marcos de Niza memorial, Lochiel.

Peering into Mexico at the Lochiel Crossing, which closed in 1978.

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(c) 2004 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.