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Bulldog Cyn to Salt River, AZ

Guide 21 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
  3.5 of 5 
no permit
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Shuttle 8.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,026 feet
Elevation Gain -643 feet
Accumulated Gain 561 feet
Avg Time Hiking 4.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.17
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes
feature photo
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Bulldog Canyon-Steward Dam-Goldfield Ovens
Page 1,  2
Author OhOh7
author avatar Guides 15
Routes 2
Photos 1,591
Trips 81 map ( 435 miles )
Age 85 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Dec, Feb, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:17am - 7:39pm
Official Route
4 Alternative

Sudden Wilderness
by OhOh7

This Goldfields hike is very interesting with many great vistas. There is a forest service road FS 10 that goes from Apache Junction (Dome Mountain Trailhead) generally north to the Bush Highway where the trailhead is called Blue Point. The route is about 9 miles and there are several ways to traverse the Goldfields through Bulldog Canyon. There are some excellent views up several side canyons that really do beckon for more exploration. Of course the Superstitions are rugged but do not underestimate the Goldfields. To the east of your general route is Dome Mountain and there is an access basically unmarked trail to the top. It looks quite challenging.

Bulldog Canyon is fairly easy to follow even though there are a number of offshoots of trails and jeep roads along the route. You can simply try to follow the FS 10 as it winds its way north but you can also follow the creek bed in places and we even did about a half mile of bushwhack to get back to the FS 10 when we strayed off course. One positive thing about directions is that it would be hard to get lost. Apache Junction is behind you and the Salt River is north. The canyon is really quite well defined through the mountainous area.

This is a shuttle hike, being dropped off at Dome Mountain trailhead and picked up at Blue point trailhead. Of course you could start at Blue Point and go south. The hike is well worth it as the many views of the Goldfield and the fierce looking canyons that run off of Bulldog Canyon will amaze you. Above Saguaro Lake you will see Sky island and some extremely steep cliffs. You see some of them when you drive the Bush highway.

FS 10 follows Bulldog Canyon and there are a number of ups and downs. There are some places where you have the choice to follow the road bed or a trail or even the creek bed.. Just keep headed generally north and you are OK. The gates at either end of FS 10 are locked but as hikers we don't care. By the looks of the creek bed any downpour would cause water to really fall down the mountains and the creek would be roaring in short order. Once you reach the north side of the Goldfield mountains and into the Salt River Valley the trail/road somewhat levels out and winds its way to the Bluepoint trailhead.

Doing this on a weekday we avoided most of the 4wd rigs and ATVs. A couple came past us and stopped where we chatted a bit. Be sure you know that 4wd and high clearance is quite necessary on this route. There are a number of places where traction is necessary and high centering is very possible. I always seem to have to mention the trash problem when I hike jeep roads. There was not a lot but a few cans and bottles here and there is very disappointing in such a beautiful area. There was even a bit of waste paper.

One startling fact about this hike is that less than a half hour from Dome Mountain trailhead you are suddenly in total wilderness. No one would guess that the populated area was so close. You could be miles from nowhere. The hike is classified as easy but be aware that it is 9 miles and there are many quite rocky stretches. I have included more pictures than usual because the area is worth a look.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2007-11-23 OhOh7
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Info is below 'Directions to trail'

    To hike
    From Apache Junction, north on Idaho Road to McKellips. Right on McKellips to Wolverine Pass, left on Wolverine Pass to Tonto drive. Right on Tonto Drive(pavement ends) to Cactus (sign hard to read), Left turn on Cactus (north), east on McDowell and follow it to the trailhead where FS 10 is blocked by a locked iron gate.
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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