Before heavy equipment made road-building easy, wide desert washes served as semi-reliable substitutes in the Sonoran Desert. Ranchers, miners, and travelers of all sorts used the smooth sandy bottoms to traverse the rugged landscape. Morgan City Wash is named for a small mining community near Pikes Peak, one of the many mines and towns that sprung up in the mid and late 1800s in the Hieroglyphic Mountains only to quickly disappeared back into the landscape. The wash was the only thoroughfare to the tiny community. Today the offroad community still uses the wash to travel deep into this rough and beautiful area. The southern part of the trail follows the meandering sandy bottom of the broad wash. Summer monsoon floods continually reshape the trail. Springs create lush riparian areas populated with coveys of Gambel quail that flush noisily when you approach. Classic cactus-laden desert landscapes rule above the rim of the canyon. The jagged peaks of the Hieroglyphic Mountains dominate the horizon. A narrow rocky section of the wash between high walls of granite makes for fun wheeling. Several springs and seeps normally keep this section wet. Thus the sand is well-packed. The trail exits the wash after about nine miles. From there, it rides along the crest of a winding ridge offering fantastic 360-degree views. Pikes Peak looms to the east, Garfias Mountain rising to the north, both in the seldom visited Hells Canyon Wilderness. The Horse Creek Trailhead and Garfias Wash offer intrepid hikers an opportunity to delve deep into this remote wilderness. Pack a lunch. Bring the kids. Air down. Enjoy the Morgan City Wash.
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