When walking down to visit the Nature Conservancy's Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve for birdwatching twice during our time here in Patagonia, AZ, we passed a Nature Conservancy hiking trail outside the gates of the preserve. Although there is a fee to enter the gated part of the preserve, this 3.8-mile loop, named after Arizona naturalist Geoffrey Platts, is free to hike. So, after our week's pass to the preserve expired, we knew we'd have to head down to hike this trail.
We measured the distance of the road down to the trailhead from where we're staying in town, and it's 2.3 miles round-trip. So by walking there and back, we'd end up with a nice 6.1 mile hike.
Before arriving at the trail, we saw a couple of mule deer in the trees right by the side of Blue Heaven Road. Barry managed to get a photo of one checking us out before they scampered away.
The Platts trail is moderate in difficulty with a few short climbs and some loose scree and talus when going up and down the ridge. We wished we'd brought our hiking poles for a bit of assistance, especially when picking our way downhill on the rocky terrain, which can get slippery.
Although we'd hoped to do some bird-watching, the trail climbs up into a barer, more desert-like area, so birds were few and far between. We saw many more birds while walking on Blue Haven Road with its varied trees and shrubs on the way to and from the trail.
Birds may have been lacking, but views certainly were not. Once we'd climbed up high on the ridge, we could see the beautiful Patagonia mountains on all sides. We also had great views looking down on the town of Patagonia, and see the tops of the huge cottonwoods that are now completely leafed out in spring green all over the valley. Stunning!
We had the trail almost to ourselves. There was a solo photographer up high on the ridge, and we passed a group of four hikers doing the loop in the opposite direction, but that was it. If you're in the Patagonia area, don't miss this beautiful hike!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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