Little Dry Creek/Sacaton Creek Waterfalls

April 7-8, 2024

Chasing an an eclipse wasn't in the cards for us this year (why did it have to be in TEXAS?!!) But we still wanted to mark the occasion in some way. So we set out to hike one of the many streamside trails on the west side of the Mogollon Mountains that we thought we hadn't hiked before.

start of the trail, view of snow-capped mountains

Patches of snow on West Baldy and Sacaton Mountains. As we trudged up the rocky old road and then dropped into the canyon on the left side of the creek, it began to feel very familiar.

crossing the roaring stream

Turns out we HAD hiked it before, and only one year ago! That's okay, it was a beautiful day, and there's no better place on a fine spring day.

checkerspot butterfly on milkweed

A checkerspot butterfly, maybe on some type of milkweed. We saw hundreds of them in the canyon, all going after these flowers!

stepping across slipperly rocks in the stream

Little Dry Creek was neither little, nor dry. It was gushing with snowmelt from recent storms! photographing the waterfall

That last half mile to the waterfall is a tangle of deadfall and large boulders, but we made it. And this time there was good light on the waterfall.

campsite on a ridge

We tucked in for the night at a fine camping spot on the nose of a ridge. There was a great horned owl concerts overnight, and a flock of wild turkeys early the next morning.

view of snow-capped mountains from our campsite

View from our campsite.

Dennis admiring the big waterfall on Sacaton Creek

Since we were in the area, we thought we'd try to find the famous waterfall below the dam on Sacaton Creek. We tried hiking cross-country a half-mile south of the dam, but even there the canyon walls were much too steep. Instead, we crossed the river and started down the east side. From there, we had at least a partial view of the falls, but between us and the falls was a very steep slope, covered in loose pine needles and ending a tangle of deadfall. Against our better judgment, we skidded down the slope on our butts, then used the downed trees like monkey bars to finish dropping into the streambed.

close-up of the waterfall

From the base of the falls, the stream roars through a series of sculpted pools, and disappears.

view from above an even taller waterfall

Working our way along the edge of the canyon, we found an overlook where we could see that a short distance downstream there is an even larger waterfall, accessible only with some serious climbing gear.

partial eclipse photo

And that's where we were when the eclipse reached its local maximum, around 12:30 pm. If we somehow survive until the next one in 2044, we'll still have great memories of the total eclipse of 2024!