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Walkin' Jim Trail at Cottonwood Creek, AZ

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Guide 71 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NW
3.4 of 5 by 25
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,787 feet
Elevation Gain 500 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.5
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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8  2019-01-13
Hieroglyphics - 3465 Pikes Mill peaks
9  2019-01-13
Hieroglyphics - 3465 Pikes Mill peaks
11  2018-03-24 ThirstyLizard
15  2018-03-08
Peak 3465 - Hieroglyphic Mountains
7  2018-01-07
Little Jim Trail
9  2017-12-16
Hieroglyphics - 3465 Pikes & Mill
22  2017-12-13
Peak 3465 - Hieroglyphic Mountains
15  2017-04-09 DarthStiller
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Author bobhike
author avatar Guides 2
Routes 4
Photos 6
Trips 0 map ( 0 miles )
Age 75 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr → 9 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:17am - 6:28pm
Official Route
11 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Almost heaven
by bobhike

Bees buzzing in cottonwoods and the screams of redtail hawks will greet hikers in the spring along this trail, but keep your eyes and ears pealed for diamondback rattlesnakes. Though drought has had a major impact on wildlife you may still encounter javelina, deer, gila monster, skunk, antelope ground squirel, collared lizard, feral burro, and a variety of birds. Octotillo burst into life after a summer rain, and barrel cactus have a healthy reddish glow. The Hieroglyphic mountains loom on the near horizon as you wend your way through a variety of classic sonoran desert terrain.

From the trailhead hike west along a well worn path and cross over Cottonwood Creek (CC). Follow the trail up the embankment and onto a plateau. Shortly the trail forks - bear right to follow the main trail or bear left and take a scenic side trip(see below). Either way you'll end up on the same trail heading west toward the Hells Canyon Wilderness. After bearing right at the fork hike past ancient mesquite trees until the trail meets up with the sidetrip trail - then bear right(west). From this point follow a single track west crossing numerous washes along the way. At about 2.5 miles cross a little used ranch road and enter the Hells Canyon Wilderness. The trail will take you very close to the base of the high peak which dominates the western horizon - a great opportunity for peak baggers.

This trail winds its way up, down, and all around on its way to God's country so you'll have to pay attention while hiking it. My grandson calls it the zigzag trail, but there is a tread most of the way and where it fades cairns mark the way.

The scenic sidetrip trail - bear left at the fork and cross over CC wash. As you head west along the south side of CC wash search for indian rock art on your right. A large boulder with geometric design can be seen from the trail, but other petroglyphs, including very faint bighorn sheep figures, must be searched for. Pass by a grove of cottonwoods and a small frog pond then look across CC wash and see the trail climbing up a redrock embankment. Stay on this trail. The main trail will intersect it within 200 yards.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2008-02-10 bobhike
    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.

    Most recent of 31 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Walkin' Jim Trail at Cottonwood Creek
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    It was Horace Greeley who once said "Go west young man"! With that in mind, Tracie, my intrepid hiking partner, and I decided to venture to the West Valley and hike up to Peak 3465.

    We followed the Walkin' Jim Trail in a counterclockwise direction, and we took the Big Jim Trail to and from the summit of Peak 3465. The hike was mostly through typical desert vegetation, and the views at the top were pretty cool. The trails were mostly easy to follow, but I was glad that I had downloaded the GPS track for the official route.

    At the top I signed the log book, and noticed that hikerdw had signed it about 3 weeks prior.

    On the hike we saw 6 wild burros, one rabbit, and no humans -- that ratio was pretty good imho!

    I was hoping to see some wildflowers, but there were none, save for some flowering ocotillos
    Walkin' Jim Trail at Cottonwood Creek
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    My buddy Curt joined for an impromptu trip up to Lake Pleasant to take a spin round the Walkin' Jim trail. I was hoping to see some burros today, but they were well hidden. We did spot a bunny rabbit and a rattle snake that made well aware of his presence. Also, the barrage of gun fire from nearby Morgan City Wash was our constant companion today. We completed the loop in a counter clockwise direction today. The northern half out to the Big Jim split is easy enough to follow. We got lost fewer times on the return than my last time round. 64 degrees for our 7:30 start and low 80's at our 11:30 return to the Jeep. Delicious cheese burgers at the Wild Horse West afterwards!

    Spectacular greens, yellows, and oranges
    Walkin' Jim Trail at Cottonwood Creek
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    Have a shoulder issue, so decided a more hikey, no scramble hike was in order.

    Besides keeping an eye out for burros (none spotted) and petroglyphs (found the plotted ones), the other highlight of this hike is the incredible diversity of mosses & lichens on many of the rocks, particularly the small hill about a 1/3 of a mile west of Little Jim, on the northern half of the loop. There were lots of singing birds. :-)

    After a beer break at the Big Jim intersection, I headed back. Despite having been out here five times — hiking Walkin’ Jim four times, and Peak 3465 the other — this was the first time I actually completed the southern half of the loop. Boy, it sure seems to drag on forever.

    Any idea why the range is called the Hieroglyphic Mountains and not the Petroglyphic Mountains?

    Hike Video: [ youtube video ]

    Amazing lush grasses, and even some healthy patches of weeds, but only scattered mostly microscopic flowers.
    Walkin' Jim Trail at Cottonwood Creek
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    I scouted out this trail for my son's Boy Scout troop for an overnight backpacking trip - and found it to be perfect. There are many open areas on the northern portion of this loop trail. Some even had developed fire rings. To get the most out of this trail for backpacking, definitely walk this loop trail clockwise. The southern portion of the loop is a bit more rocky and hilly than its northern portion, but nothing too terribly difficult. Lots of wildlife, surprising. Saw a herd of donkeys, road runners, various birds including Harris Hawks, and a very unhappy tarantula about the size of my fist, that was really cool to see! Overall very nice trail and in easy reach of west Phoenix.

    Lots of desert grasses and cactus blooms from the recent rains.
    Walkin' Jim Trail at Cottonwood Creek
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    It started out as a beautiful morning but the humidity seem to rise quickly. I only planned on doing Walking Jim and Little Jim and that's what I did. Now if the humidity would have been lower, well I might have just kept going not sure where but this is such a beautiful and peaceful piece of paradise.
    I heard the Donkeys but never saw one and I never saw anyone :y: . There were two cars at the trailhead when I arrived and they were still there when I finish my hike and my beers.
    I am going to look at this area a little harder and find me some more areas to explore with Rowdy as he is my copilot.
    Walkin' Jim Trail at Cottonwood Creek
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    Nice hike with both Ryan and Lauren. The target was peak 3465 but we came up a little short so it gives us a good reason to return. On the way back down just past the saddle we ran into lindaagm and hikingwhit, nice to meet you both :) We were hoping to see some burro's which we did, 11 in all. Nice and toasty on the return back to the trailhead.
    Walkin' Jim Trail at Cottonwood Creek
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    Looked like a great day for a little solo hike. I've had 3465 in my sights for a while now. Set off fairly early (for me any way). Saw three hikers on the way in and only one on the way out. These trails don't get much traffic which is nice.

    Wasn't sure what to expect once I turned north and headed up. The trail is faint in a lot of places, but there are a few strategically placed cairns to help. Having the track loaded in my GPS as a back up was comforting.

    No real problems getting to the summit. I moved cautiously since the Gecko had reported some bees around the summit cairn. There were a few buzzing around but nothing too threatening. Signed the summit log in a small corner under Mr. J. Cleghorn's bold signature. A new summit log would be nice, but unfortunately I didn't have anything suitable with me. Took some time to enjoy the fantastic views and have a snack. Even had cell phone reception for a check in with Headquarters.

    The trip down is challenging in spots with all the loose scree on the trail. I brought my trusty staff and put it to good use.

    Unfortunately didn't see any burros today. Did hear the echoes of one braying down in the canyon while up at the summit.

    Really enjoyed this hike. Love the profile of this peak. Now I can point it out when driving past and say, "yep did that one back in '16."

    A few ocotillo blooms and scattered globe mallow. Will be a nice spring out here.
    Walkin' Jim Trail at Cottonwood Creek
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    This was our low desert alternative for the weekend since we had turned chilly! The Earthiest and I had plans of a west Sedona camp and hike, but with the temps getting low last week this provided itself as a good cool weather alternative. We put down some tents on the northwest side of Lake Pleasant for later, and started hiking about 11 a.m. Great weather all day, sunny and not too hot. The Walkin' Jim is a nice steady trail, just rolling hills over to the Big Jim turnoff. We made it about a quarter mile up the spur and the Earthiest decided to take a little siesta while I knocked out the peak. Fun mountain to climb, but the trail disappears almost completely after the saddle. There are some cairns to guide the way, but no worries just finding the path of least resistance. Took a quick break up top and headed back down to meet my compatriot. We continued on in our CCW direction to complete the loop. Lost the trail quite a few times on this section, while some areas are heavily cairned this part was not. This is better described as a cairned cross country route than a defined trail for long stretches, I almost felt like it would have just been easier to follow the wash than to try and follow a track. I probably looked at my gps on this hike more so than most any other recently. Made it back to the truck right before sunset, and then headed back to camp. Started up a fire so we could cook dinner and cracked a few cold ones, camping started out perfect. We were sitting around the fire about 9:30 finishing off a beer and getting drowsy when 3 trucks full of teenagers pulled up about 100 yards from our camp. They started yelling back and forth, f-bomb just about every other word, and then proceeded to start chopping down some mesquites to make a 20' bonfire. At 10 p.m. When one of them fired up a quad qt 10:30 to go tearing around that settled it, we packed up camp and killed the fire in about 10 minutes and were on the road back to the Earthiest's pad for one more beer and the couch. Definitely a grumpy old man moment, but it was pretty hard thinking about going to sleep knowing these jack :pk: 'es would not be stopping anytime soon. Lesson learned, last time I try to get in a camp at an accessible place near town. Hike was great, and camp was good too except the end of the night shenanigans.
    Walkin' Jim Trail at Cottonwood Creek
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    while this might be a better winter hike, we had a perfectly cool day in may for it
    another west side peak that's been on my wish list
    followed the eagle's route, going counterclockwise on the walkin' jim loop
    saw one burro from a distance and another one close up
    trail was in good condition and quite well cairned
    not much elevation change until the big jim intersection
    big jim goes up to a saddle and there a decent use trail to the peak
    the final push was fun, with some scrambling and a little bit of route finding with an occasional cairn
    more on rock than through sticker bushes and cactus, but with tall grasses and foxtails
    great 360 views from the top and we spent at least 30 minutes snacking, looking around and just enjoying the nice day
    the summit register jar is sad shape
    the lid has a hole in the top and as others have said, the papers are quite fragile
    i brought a new notebook and pen, but didn't read bruce's comment about needing a new container, too
    put my items into a double ziplock and then under the original glass jar
    as i went to rebuild the cairn...
    john: were all those bugs up here earlier?
    me: uh, those are bees :o
    apparently there is a hive just over the dropoff and something had disturbed it
    we vacated the premises and started down
    took the long way back, completing the walkin' jim trail
    some pools of water in most of the washes
    heard before we saw two sets of burros on the way down 8)
    seven in some trees about halfway down, and three in a wash closer to the end
    finished just after noon
    still serving breakfast at the brass rail :) - thanks, john
    enjoyed this hike and getting out on the west side
    good company, too ;)
    Walkin' Jim Trail at Cottonwood Creek
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I chose this trail to take a colleague on a nice "not in the city" hike. As usual, everyone for whom I take out here just loves it. This is the real deal, no people, no crowds, plenty of wildlife and picturesque scenery. The Burros were active today and we saw 4 of them, in addition to Red Tailed Hawk, Coopers Hawk, and a boat load of birds, both locals and vagrants. We hiked to the Big Jim junction and had our lunch. At this point we went about a mile up the trail and contemplated doing the Peak 3465, but it was almost noon, getting warm and we were on our last bottles of water and Power aid, so we decided to try it another day, smart choice.

    The blooms are becoming spectacular, especially the Orange Globe Mallow and Brittle Brush :kf: There were also a lot of Mexican Poppies, Blue Dicks, Paintbrush, some Mariposa Lilly, Desert Gold, rough Menodora, Desert Star, Lupine, Spike Broomrape(I have never seen these before), and all the flowering cacti! ;) Yes I looked all these up

    Now to a more serious issue :scared: We had a 3 ft Western Diamondback strike at my friend, with no warning! I really thought he was hit. My friend Joe crapped his shorts and stroked out at the same time, while jumping 3 ft in the air :stretch: .

    QUESTION for whom ever is reading this - How come rattle snakes are no longer warning us? This is the third one that I've encountered that never even raised their rattle, eventhough it was right along the trail. Is this normal behavior?

    The blooms are becoming spectacular, especially the Orange Globe Mallow and Brittle Brush There were also a lot of Mexican Poppies, Blue Dicks, Paintbrush, Lupine, some Mariposa Lilly, Desert Gold, rough Menodora, Desert Star, Spike Broomrape and all the flowering cacti! ;)

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Phoenix, take I-17 north to the Carefree Highway (SR 74). Turn left on Carefree highway and drive west to Castle Hot Springs Rd (Lake Pleasant exit). Turn north and drive for approximately 5 miles to a large pull off on the left side of the road. Careful of deep sand in the parking area. The hike begins at the northwest corner of the parking lot on the other side of a fallen barbed-wire fence.
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