WORKMAN CREEK ROCK CLIMBING
 IN GILA COUNTY, ARIZONA

Workman falls sits just west of the Sierra Auncha Wilderness and to the north of Roosevelt Lake. The rock near the falls is bullet hard quarizite of sorts that forms a westward facing horseshoe.

 

Most of the rock is on the south side and faces north, making it a great summer area.

Access Points

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

The road to the waterfall, located in the Salome Wilderness, is gravel. It’s called Forest Service Road 487, also known as Workman Creek Road. The trail is well traveled but unpaved. The difficult section starts after the waterfalls, going to 7,748 feet at Aztec Peak lookout. Anyways, should not be attempted without a high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle. Forest Service Road 487 to the waterfall is 3.2 miles long, starting off the Arizona 288-Globe Young Highway. The drive up to the top of the falls is 2WD (in good weather), but after the bottom falls recreation area (Waypoint 005), it gets steep, narrow and scary for those afraid of heights. The unpaved sections of the road can be impassable when wet. After rain, sections of road can become decidedly hazardous when fast-flowing creek crossings and slippery mud can cause road closures. The area contains naturally occurring uranium and radium-266. There’s a danger of low level radiation poisoning. DO NOT enter any of the mines in the area. Many of these mines have radiation levels that would be enough to recommend that you "evacuate" the area.


This is a maintained road where a high clearance 2WD vehicle is able to travel safely at low speeds on long dry straight-of-ways, without losing control due to wash boarding, ruts, or dips. The spur road to the Workman Creek Falls and the trailhead can be steep and a little rocky in segments. Once on FR 487, you pass a well-established youth campground on your left and continuing up this FR you pass three “camping areas”, called appropriately Creekside, Cascades, and finally Falls. 

Rock Climbing

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

From the pull off at the head of the falls there is a good view point back down the road a short distance at an obvious rock outcropping which looks down into the large bowl that the falls plunges into. Be very careful when climbing on the rocks in the area though, they are smooth and slick, particularly if they get wet. You can also walk down the road a little further to a scree slope where the road makes a bend. From there it is possible to climb down the slope and walk around the base of the falls.


There are likely several options for those wishing to rappel the falls. The author rigged 2 ropes (one on either side of the falls for photos). Tow clips on my vehicle were used as the anchor point. The best rappel is to bring the rope from the clips of your car, across the stream bed, wind it around the base of the juniper tree at the head of the falls 3 times and rappel from there (note: its best to walk up stream a short distance when crossing the stream since the bank is less steep). The rappel is approximately 180 feet with 120 feet being free hanging.

Rock Climbing Workman Creek

Copyright: boglekevin - All Rights Reserved