Backpack Trips to Hannah Hot Springs

Blue Primitive Area Arizona


Neil F. and I were looking for a destination for a backpack trip in August of 2005. After skimming through the book "Touring Arizona Hot Springs", we decided to see if we could find Hannah Hot Springs, in the Blue Primitive Area, along the Arizona New Mexico border.

The author described the trip as a 12 mile drive on a dirt road followed by a cross country hike of seven miles to the springs. With the temperature of the springs rated at over 130 degrees it alll sounded like a very interesting adventure.

As the author noted, we started from Alma New Mexico and drove to the end of the road at a fence on the AZ-NM border. We found the rancher's cabin in from the fence line about a mile and then took off cross country trying to follow a gps line to the springs. The travel was across bouldery hillsides through groves of Juniper trees. In several miles we came to an spot with a wide open view to the west. We just happened to stumble onto a trail and found our way down into the valley and located a great camping area on the edge of Hannah Canyon. We tried hiking down Hannah Canyon, but the going was very slow! There was just too much water and the canyon really meandered--it was also the monsoon season and we were concerned about being in the canyon and a flood coming along. So we hiked up out of the canyon and returned along its rim back to camp. The next day we were able to follow a trail all the way back to the rancher's shack which saved a tremendous amount of time. It had been a disappointment not reaching Hannah Hot Springs, but the scenery in the canyon had been great and all in all had been an enjoyable trip anyway.

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In November of 2005, we returned for a second go at getting to Hannah Hot Springs. We thought that the walk to our orginal campsite was going to be a piece of cake but I misjudged the location of the trail from the rancher's shack and we ended up wandering around much like we had on our first trip. But we eventually ended up on the trail and made our way back to the camp site. The next day we bushwhacked across country up to a long ridge that we were able to follow to its end at Hannah Canyon just below the Hot Springs. At that point we intercepted a trail coming in from the side that led us to the springs. After soaking our feet we headed out on the trail to see where it led. We eventually made it to White Rock Cabin. A visitor's log book in the cabin indicated that there is a series of cabins in the Primitive Area that mule riders travel between. From the cabin, we retraced the trail back to the ridge leading to our campsite, getting in just before dark. We spent the night and hiked out the next day. This was a very good trip, but probably our last time hiking to Hannah Hot Springs via our cross country route!