Jhus (Whos) Canyon in the Chiricahua Mountains

Jhus canyon, pronounced WHOS, is located off the road into Whitetail canyon in the northern Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona.  Jhus canyon is a mid elevation hike on the north side of a ridge making it an ideal late winter/spring day hike. Sixteen members of the Portal Rodeo Hiking Club met up at the intersection of Foothills and Portal Road for a trip up Jhus canyon.  Upon driving up the access road a parcel of private land is reached and visitors must sign in and out when crossing private property.  A short distance beyond is parking at a gate onto public lands.

The trip started with a short detour to the grave site of Frank C. Caldwell.  A rough sandstone slab marks the grave which has offerings of pottery shards from a nearby Mogollon village and the inscription reads "Frank C. Cauldwell murdered July 26, 1903".  According to A Portal to Paradise Frank and another fellow, one-armed Jim Gould, were interested in the same women.  Frank had a prospect in Jhus canyon and frequently spent days at a time in Jhus.  One summer evening in 1903 Frank was exiting the canyon when he was shot in the back.  Jim eventually confessed to the killing and was tried for murder but claimed self defense.  He was convicted and sentenced to the territorial prison in Yuma.  After serving only 5 years he was released.  This odd occurrence was the result of the closing of the territorial prison in Yuma and moving it to Florence.  But Jim's sentence was specifically to Yuma so he was released, moving back to the San Simon valley. 

Next it was up the canyon.  Following the old road which parallels the stream bed the group headed up hill first stopping at the waterfall.  Perhaps 20-30' in height a dam below the falls was used to collect and pipe the water downstream, all now abandoned and silted in.  Continuing up the old track a large empty pool by an old homestead was encountered.  Varying in depth from about 3' to about 10' this "pool" may have also served as a water supply for either irrigation or household use as evidenced by several pipes leading out of the "pool".  Continuing up the stream bed/old road an old tailings pile was encountered.  Evidence of workings from sometime in the past.  Copper ore and pyrite were in evidence in the adit tailings.  Pushing on the group soon arrived at a second adit along the stream bed and the group adjourned for lunch along the stream bed.  The group then divided into 2 with half continuing to the ridge summit while the remaining members headed back down the canyon.  An easy 7 mile round trip it made for a nice late winter hike.  The map for this hike may be found in the sidebar or here

frank caldwell gravesite
Grave of Frank C. Caldwell at the mouth of Jhus canyon

waterfalls in southeastern arizona
Jhus canyon waterfall

southeastern arizona mineral resources
Copper ore in Jhus canyon mine tailings


  1. This is always a nice hike did it a year or so back, sorry I missed it. Nice seeing the waterfall with the snow melt.

  2. I'm sure there will be a return trip. Several folks took a look at another route which should be fun.