Because of its close proximity to the city, this area may not be as attractive for the hiker, and suffers from many of the same problems I've written about regarding the west side of the Dona Anas and the east side of the Robledos. Trash, heavy vehicle use( at times on popular, but illegal trails) and the virtually non-stop firing of weapons are all present here. And yes, once again, I know it is legal to fire your gun out here. Littering, however, in the form of shotgun shells, bullet casings, clay targets and the accompanying bottles, boxes and cans at these sites, is not. In addition, this area is still an active grazing allotment( you know all that that brings), which, to my mind flies in the face of it being a designated recreation area.
On the positive side there is wonderful scenery and geology here: multi-hued cliffs, interesting erosional forms,an extensive array of volcanic rock types, active springs, and a beautiful isolated mountain( Picacho Peak). There is also history.The Butterfield Stage Route ran right up this canyon.
We parked at a pullout before reaching the canyon bottom, and proceeded downstream. We ran into some kids( teens) around a little campfire. I usually don't like fires using our scarce desert wood but they were burning invasive salt cedar- so I approved. We continued on. The canyon is pretty wide here, the most boxy section being upstream from where we started closer to the dam. A short ways past a huge upright boulder that stood like a sentry,we turned around. We got out of the canyon bottom for little while on the way back, hiking on the southern ridges. Coming back down, I saw that the teens were gone, their fire out and buried.
Near the car, I took some in-situ photos of a very odd rock type that I had been seeing rocks and boulders of in the canyon. It looks liked silly sand or leftover mess from a concrete project. I'll have to do some research to find out exactly what it is.