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Cibeque Creek - White Mountain Apache Reservation

Summary: Two hikes are described here.
Hike #1: A short out and back hike through a nice canyon to a waterfall. This is a hike you could take the whole family on, but be prepared to get your feet wet. Note: a permit from the Apache Tribe is required for this hike.
Hike #2: A technical through trip down Tank Canyon to Cibeque. A permit and Apache guide are required. Contact information is provided below.
Directions: From Phoenix, head east on highway 60 to Globe. Turn north (left) on highway 60/77 ~20 miles to where the highway drops down and crosses the Salt River. Just past the bridge on the right hand side is a small store where you can obtain your permit ($10 per person for Hike #1, $15 per person for Hike #2). 
Hike #1: Drive across the road and follow the well graded dirt road 4 miles to the trailhead. Note: about 100 yards before the trailhead you will have to drive across Cibeque Creek. If the water level is high you may want to park and walk across.
Hike #2: You will need to arrange a meeting location with your guide; this is most likely going to be the same small store where you purchase your permit. 
Road Conditions: Hike #1: Passenger Car - well graded dirt road the last 4 miles (be careful if you are driving across the stream).
Hike #2: Four Wheel Drive
Navigation: Easy
Length: Hike #1: 3 miles (1.5 miles each way)
Hike #2: ~7 miles
Date Hiked: Sept & Oct 2001 
Weather Conditions: Warm
Required Skills:
Hike Description: Hike #1: From the parking lot, simply walk up stream. This is a frequently visited canyon, so a use trail has developed on one side of the stream or the other. You will have to cross the creek several times, so don't bother trying to keep your feet dry. The lower parts of the canyon are mainly composed of volcanic rock. It is rather wide at first, but becomes more narrow and picturesque as you head upstream. After ~20min you will pass a gauging station, another 40 minutes will bring you to a large waterfall and a couple dripping grottos. Unfortunately, this is your turn around point. The Apache Tribe does not allow anyone to proceed beyond this falls without an Apache guide. Return the way you came. 
Hike #2: A rough drive is required to get to the head of Tank Canyon. You will have to drive your own car, however, the guide will provide drivers to bring your car around to the bottom of Cibeque Canyon so that it is waiting for you at the end of your trip. From the head of Tank Canyon, you simply walk down stream. The upper part of this canyon is wide and not terribly interesting. After a few hours the canyon eventually cuts deeply into the sandstone, forming some nice sections of narrows. The last mile before you reach Cibeque you run into the technical section which requires 4-5 rappels of 40-115 ft and a few short pot hole swims (your guide will help rig this section). Tank Canyon dumps you out into a very pretty section of Cibeque (just below the 3rd falls). Heading down stream, the canyon widens, then narrows to the second falls. You could climb around this obstacle on canyon left, however, the guide can rig a guided rappel which makes for a much more interesting way down through the falls itself. On the other side of the falls a short swim is required through a very narrow section of canyon, then it's more hiking and wading to the first falls (your turn around point for Hike #1) and your last rappel. An hours walk down stream brings you to the exit point and your waiting car. 
Rating (1-5 stars): Hike #1
It took the author and his wife about 1 hour each way to complete this hike. We hiked it as part of a canyoneering class, practicing rappel and anchor techniques at the falls. Due to a recent rain storm the water was heavily silted and brown (supposedly it is a beautiful blue/green color during dryer weather).  
Hike #2
The author and his wife completed this hike as part of a group of 8. The lower section of Tank Canyon and the trip through Cibeque were very scenic and fun. A smaller group would probably eliminate some of the clogging at rappel points. Eight hours of walking was required to complete this trip. 
You can contact Greg (a licensed Apache guide) at the following numbers.
          White Mountain Apache Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation Division: 928-338-4385
          Greg: 928-242-0029, wmaguide@yahoo.com
Books: Canyoneering Arizona', Tyler Williams
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
A typical view on the way to the 
waterfall in lower Cibeque.
The 1'st waterfall.