This was a surprisingly varied and beautiful introduction to the desert.
Besides the geologic features you expect in a mountainous desert environment, the hike featured (at least at this time of year) a number of streams, pools and springs. The wildlife was of course congegrated at this features, and the sudden blazes of green vegetation made for a startling feature in the volcanic rock and sand. That said, the spring rains had also brought a thin carpet of green wildflowers that lightly coated the entire desert (except where the numerous rocks jutted) although I was about a week early to see them bloom.
The geologic features are striking, from eroded pinnacles of volcanic plugs (called needles) to deep arroyos and hills comprised of hundred foot high waves of boulders. The clarity along this hike is misleading, what looks to be an impossible distance away is actually the next turn in the hike only two or three miles distant.
The hike is slightly strenuous, and even in spring a 7 am start time ended up with high temperatures by the noon completion. I started the southern direction, then headed north into the higher hills and mountains. The climb is easy, except for a steep bit at the last 2 miles, its the sheer length that makes this a good hard day hike. Good quality trail, but still primitive. The end of the trail brought a few miles along a knee deep seasonal stream before heading over the steep ridges, and the sight of that much water in the arid Southwest volcanic desert was a beautiful contrast Bring a map, compass and water (water sources are seasonal and of unreliable quality). The map and compass are more useful to identify the many mountain features, green areas and volcanic needles, rather than being required for trail finding.
You will be surprised, pleased and leave this hike with a new apprecation for the desert and put this trail on par with the more traditional forest/waterfall hiking of the Rockies or Sierra Nevada.