Porcupine Wash/Ruby Lee Mill Site Trail Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"With topo map in hand, you will enjoy this moderate hike. Although the directions make it sound extremely complex, this is a very straightforward hike. The troad is fairly visible; moreover, the ridge to the east and the Hexie Mountains to the south are permanent markers, so you won't lose your bearings. The granite formations here are imaginative. Porcupine Wash is especially artistic with its smoke trees and water-sculpted boulders. The small S-curve canyon midway down the wash displays the power of water in this arid environment. The variety of desert topography and vegetation is especially striking. The boulder-strewn sloping alluvial fan of the first half of the hike displays the vegetation typical of the Colorado Desert. Cholla cactus and creosote dominate the landscape. Curving through the foothills of the Hexie Range and dropping to the wash you enter a new habitat, an active wash. The scouring action of flash flooding promotes the growth of smoke trees. The seeds require the grinding sands of floods to remove their protective covering in order to germinate, so instead of finding a water-swept wasteland you find a smoke tree paradise in the wash. A moderate hike at the eastern edge of the Hexie Mountains in the south-central area of the park."