Sierra Ancha Mountains Vista at Conner Canyon
One of the finest views of the Sierra Ancha Mountains can be seen from this roadside overlook and its side trail along the last major pull off in the western foothills before the Young Highway becomes shaded by towering pine trees as it crosses into the mountains. This spot marks the last view of the Salt River Valley as you're heading north and also begins a continuous stretch of pine forest from here on north. From here you can see in the distant valley below the last views of a desert landscape and its transition to juniper grasslands, but the real focus point of this scene is the Upper North and South Forks of Parker Canyon as it drops steeply from the abruptly tall Sierra Ancha Mountains with their towering red cliffs and rock slide slopes of scree resembling tear drops descending from the mountain tops. The highest elevations visible, Carr Mountain, appear like a wall of green forest with rocky smaller and closer mountains before it. A layer of white rock cliffs on top of red gives them a particularly scenic quality similar to Sedona. The mountains aren't a single wall as several deep canyons have been carved out of them. Grantham Peak can be seen when looking towards the southeast with Armer Mountain in the opposite direction as seen looking past Conner Canyon. Armer Mountain also has reddish cliff formations high up near its peak.
Climbing the trail to a rise will eventually take you to a spot where you can look out towards a red rock formation rising out of Conner Canyon and will give you a slightly better view of the Sierra Ancha Mountains in the opposite direction.
The view here is best in the evening and shortly before sunset as the angled light brings out the character of these mountains as the building shadows separates each canyon and mountain giving the scene a sense of depth.
Following the trail up the ridge rewards you with not only a somewhat better view of the Sierra Ancha Mountains but also a range of beautiful and interesting Upper Sonoran Desert plants.
The May 2016 "Juniper Fire" drastically altered the scenery of the Sierra Ancha Mountains from this location as the green lush slopes of Carr Mountain have been replaced by a barren brown color in places, and the solid green band of conifers on top of the mountain is now compromised by scorched openings. It'll take many years, if not decades, for the forested slopes to regenerate to their former glory.
The trail leading up the ridge isn't marked well.
How to Access
Going north on Route 288 the large pull off will appear on your left approximately 1.1 miles after crossing Parker Creek. Following a rise in elevation the road will make an abrupt turn to the right at the location of the pull off. Look for a larger marker sign.
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The lush green forest and vegetation on Carr Mountain and the high mesas before it have been severely damaged by a recent forest fire since I first photographed these mountains. The landscape is almost barren looking now and the uninterrupted green forest on Carr Mountain is scarred by dead trees as a result.
Sierra Ancha Mountains Vista at Conner Canyon is located in Arizona.