I wasnt sure how this hike would pan out. It turned out to be a very rewarding and well-rounded destination that will definitely be revisited some day. I've been familiar with the area between Bloody Basin and the Verde River (Sheep Crossing) for many years. Red Creek has always been a personal favorite, however lower Tangle Creek and Tangle Peak have been in the back of my mind for some time now. Being able to combine the two in one hike just seemed like a no-brainer. The segment of Tangle Creek that I hiked down into was simply gorgeous. I really love a lush perennial stream. What a way to start the hike.
After leaving the creek, the hike works it's way up a somewhat undefined ridgeline that becomes more and more obvious as you follow it. Eventually I reached the high upper ridgeline overlooking the Verde River that leads to Tangle Peak. The route along the ridgeline gives you a nice break and provides some great views of the remote Mazatzal Wilderness. The final push to the summit is a little over 1/4 mile and involves about 500 vertical feet of ascent with loose rubble rock.
The summit of Tangle Peak was much better then expected. It ended up having nice steep bluffs on all but one side and offered a sweet river bend view. To my surprise, I found a perfect rock bench overlooking the river. I settled into my newfound natural chair, put up my feet, and proceeded to do absolutely nothing for over an hour. With views like I had, it's hard to leave.
During that time I watched a few bush planes fly up and down the river below me. The public remote airstrip along the Verde River at Red Creek has always been a popular destination for Arizona pilots and is visible from the summit of Tangle Peak. It's a unique place with a table for enjoying a picnic lunch. The airstrip is solely maintained by those that visit the location and typically requires yearly maintenance from monsoon storms that dig ruts across the landing area. Skilled Bush pilots with high performance tundra-tire planes make it look so easy. If the unpredictable ruts weren't enough, the runway also slopes uphill for the landing. It's not an airstrip for rookies.
I finally made my way back and stopped off at the creek one more time for a refreshing cool down. A great day, beautiful scenery, wildlife, entertainment, and remote solitude. I really love this stuff!