Little Rincon Mountains

Above, a panoramic view of the southern end of the Little Rincons, taken August 31, 2008 from the upper bajada of the Whetstone Mountains looking northward across the Mescal Pass (toward the left). The blue massif rising behind the complex at far left are the Rincon Mountains, while the faint, sunlit escarpment in the far distance at far right are the Galiuro Mountains. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Below, the southeastern end of the Little Rincons as viewed from the northern edge of Mescal town on December 23, 2008:

Raised up as part of the geological "Mid-Tertiary Orogeny" between 30 and 20 Million years ago, these mountains expose rather chaotic mixes of geological formations. The highest point visible in the image above, roughly in the center of that image, is Star Peak at an elevation of 6,041 feet. Here below you see it, again from the upper bajada of the Whetstones, as the sharp cone at top middle-right, taken on the same day as our initial banner photo.

The area in the immediate vicinity of Star Peak, shown below in a sharpened image to intensify contrast, exposes the following array of formations: Proterozoic Pinal Schist (dominantly metasedimentary in type), Middle Proterozoic Oracle/Ruin mylonitic granite suite, Paleozoic metamorphosed strata, and Middle Eocene Wilderness Two-mica granite. Much of the Little Rincons display a similar melange of formations. See Dickinson et al. in S-J Geology Credits.

Returning to our original view of the Rincons-Little Rincons linkage, the low hills in shadow at the center of the image below hide Happy Valley, the sunlit space lying behind them. This broad, meadow-like expanse lying beneath Rincon Peak is the culmination of a pair of San Pedro River Valley corridors -- Paige Canyon to the north and Ash Creek Canyon to the south. The community of Mescal lies in the middle distance in this image.

Below, a map showing details of the separation between the Rincons and the Little Rincons, with Happy Valley lying between them:

For more detailed views of Happy Valley and the Paige Canyon corridor, see this link: Paige Canyon - Happy Valley Corridor; here we pursue further details of the Little Rincons themselves. Below, in a photo taken from the southerly slopes of Happy Valley on March 20, 2009, the western flanks of the Little Rincons form a roughly south-north-running line:

Below, a closer view of western flanks of the mountain viewed from a location near the lip of the inter-mountain saddle:

Note the Apache Highlands Grasslands vegetation in the foreground and the evergreen oaks at mid-distance. Below, an even closer view showing some of the characteristic rock formations of this part of the mountains.

As you can see from all three of these images, these western flanks display evergreen oak woodland all the way to their tops. This is not surprising since the highest elevation of the Little Rincons is barely 6,000 feet in elevation.