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Dusty Trails and Desert Tales: The Big Shipp Canyon Excursion

April 6 @ 7:30 am - 6:00 pm


Embark on a unique day-long journey through the remote and rugged beauty of Big Shipp Canyon, which cuts deep into a basalt lava flow. This off-trail escapade promises encounters with perennial water sources in the Sonoran Desert, ancient rock art, untouched vistas, and a fascinating geologic history.


– Guided off-trail hike through a sinuous desert canyon with cattle-free sections
– Exploration of perennial water sources and a hidden desert spring
– Encounters with an ancient civilization rich in historical significance
– Unparalleled views of the remote and rugged desert landscape

Off the Beaten Path
Join NHI’s Jennie Tutone and Bob Ellis as they guide you through this remote and rugged terrain, ensuring an undisturbed experience in the desert wilderness where Mogollon Highlands’ water meets the Sonoran Desert. You will venture beyond the well-trodden trails and immerse yourself in the isolation of a remote desert landscape, with sections of the canyon free from cattle.

Perennial Waters and Desert Springs
Discover the allure of perennial water sources in a secluded desert canyon that provides a refuge for a diverse assemblage of life. As you traverse the twisting canyon, witness the resilience of life sustained by these oases, creating a stark contrast against the rugged desert backdrop.

Ancient Rock Art UnveiledConsider the mysteries of an ancient civilization as you encounter captivating rock art, pottery shards, and lithics. These enigmatic creations tell tales of a bygone era, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the journey.

Ecological Wonders
Immerse yourself in the isolation of a remote desert landscape, with sections of the canyon free from cattle. This exclusive experience offers a genuine connection with the essence of the desert, ensuring an undisturbed exploration of the headwaters of the Santa Maria River.

Cost: $75 (Van Transportation Included)
Time: Depart from Prescott, AZ, at the Natural History Institute at 7:30am and return 6:00pm
Difficulty: This full-day adventure is a 7-mile hike, with most hiking on 4 WD roads but a significant section that requires scrambling, negotiating slippery surfaces, avoiding sun exposure and thorny bushes, and a couple of fairly steep climbs and descents on unstable surfaces. Wet feet are a possibility.
Food and Water: Bring your own lunch, water, and snacks for a full-day excursion.

Register Here


April 6
7:30 am - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Natural History Institute


Natural History Institute
126 N Marina St
Prescott, AZ 86301
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