This was my second trip to Jordan Hot Springs. The last time was in 2010. This is a fantastic area to backpack into. We went in from the TJ Corral trailhead up the Little Bear Trail to the Middle Fork of the Gila River. This route to Jordan Hot Springs begins with 750 foot climb over two miles (give or take) climb before topping out. From there we begin a gentle decent into Little Bear Canyon. This is one my favorite sections on the entire hike. Towards the end of Little Bear Trail the canyon narrows rapidly and becomes a slot canyon with a spring that feeds the Gila.
We got to the Middle Fork of the Gila about 9:30am and we took a short rest before pushing off for the hot springs upstream to our campsite and lunch. From here on in, it's a water hike. You will get your feet wet. This is where the trip differs from the last time. Sometime in the last couple of years a massive flood came down the canyon and washed out most of the established trail. So it was walking on the rocks and sand for the next two miles. Kind of a pain to tell the truth of it. I don't know about you but sand is the worst. Next is steep climbs. Ugh. But I digress, back to the trip itself.
Once we reached the hot springs we found the east side of the canyon to have had a lot of camping spots at the lower end washed out. Being higher up the side of the hill, the hot pool is basically unchanged since my last trip. The west side of the canyon was basically unchanged since my last trip. Which is good considering that most of the camping sites are here. For the rest of Saturday most of us alternated between the pool and napping. A very pleasant afternoon indeed.
We were up and breaking camp fairly early as we had a five and half hour hike ahead of us and then. An additional six plus hour drive home that afternoon/evening. Hiking out we backtracked the two miles we walked upstream the day before to the junction with the Little Bear Canyon trail. The difference here we continue downstream instead of going back up Little Bear. The remaining six or seven miles trail down stream on the Middle Fork of the Gila was washed out or covered with sand making the walk out a quite a bit more work. Honestly, taking my time and carefully placing my feet on the rocks was a lot easier than the frigging sand. Other than that, it's just as beautiful as before. Glad
I went and I look forward to other trips on other routes into the Gila Wilderness.