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Rincon Spring Trail #331, AZ

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Guide 8 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Safford
2.5 of 5 by 2
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,027 feet
Elevation Gain 600 feet
Accumulated Gain 609 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 9.05
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Ruins, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
14  2011-12-03 SkyIslander18
11  2011-04-04 SkyIslander18
15  2008-02-18 PrestonSands
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 149
Photos 5,534
Trips 1,317 map ( 6,690 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Feb → Early
Seasons   Early Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:07am - 6:16pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
A tough trail to nowhere
by PrestonSands

This old trail doesn't have a name, but Rincon Spring is its terminus, so the name seems fitting. The trail rolls along the lower slopes of the Pinaleno Mountains between Marijilda Creek on the south, and a steep walled basin or "rincon" below Deadman Peak on the north. Periods of wet weather or spring snowmelt are the best times to hike this trail, as the small seasonal waterfalls near Rincon Spring are likely to be flowing.

The Rincon Spring Trail may have been a decent trail at one time, but today it exists only as a cairned route, due to lack of maintenance. Even with numerous cairns scattered along the route, it is extremely easy to lose the trail in the tall grasses and boulders of the area. If you choose to hike this trail, definitely bring a topographical map and/or a gps unit, and allow yourself more time than you think you will need.

The hike begins where forest road 57 crosses perennial Marijilda Creek. The crossing is washed out, and will probably always be. Park at the end of the road, and cross Marijilda Creek. Forest road 57 continues north, and immediately crosses an irrigation ditch. There is a 3 way road fork here, take the middle fork and go uphill.

Starting at 0.15 miles, there are some ruins on the right side of the road. First up is a single room of Ancestral Puebloan origin, behind it are a few more rooms scattered among the mesquites. Only low, collapsed walls and a few pottery sherds remain. A little ways further down the road, just before it bends to the left, are some low rock walls that are visible about a hundred feet to the right of the road. The walls make up a single room. Rusted artifacts seem to identify this as a historical, rather than a prehistorical structure.

The road now turns southwest to head up Marijilda Canyon. At 0.65 miles, turn right on a short side road to a corral. Walk about 75 feet past the corral (to the southwest). The Rincon Spring Trail begins here (32.70529 N, 109.78354 W), and is marked by a cairn. The trail heads up the hillside above the corral as a deeply worn trench. This is as defined as the Rincon Spring Trail gets. It soon crests the hilltop, then begins a gentle descent to the north.

At the one mile point (from Marijilda Creek crossing), the trail briefly curves to the west to cross a nameless creek. Once across, the trail turns north again and enters a rugged, boulder covered landscape, below a small peak.

Around 1.6 miles, the trail turns west and reaches the top of a rise, where the jagged cliffs of Deadman Peak come into view. The trail has now entered the watershed of Rincon Creek, whose endless series of side drainages will test your route finding ability. The cairns continue though, as the trail works its way northwest toward Deadman Peak.

Finally, at about the 3 mile point, the trail arrives (32.72354 N, 109.79396 W) at the creek that flows out of the rincon below Deadman Peak. A few hundred feet upstream is Rincon Spring. A couple of hundred feet downstream are several cascades or waterfalls, that drop through the dark, convoluted, precambrian gneiss. The largest one drops about 30 feet, at perhaps a 60 degree angle. Safford and the Gila Valley are spread out in the distance. Deadman Peak keeps watch over all, some 3000 feet above you.

Return the same way, and keep a sharp eye out for cairns!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2008-02-20 PrestonSands
    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 Triplog Reviews
    Rincon Spring Trail #331
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    My 5th trip into the Rincon, 1st time for Addie.
    This trail is always a little challenging to follow in & out, but that's what makes it so much fun!
    Full sunshine with blue skies & gentle breezes all day.
    Snow capped mountains, upper & lower Deadman Peak and the Gila Valley below was the scenery.
    Good snow melt flow down the Rincon and over the gneiss was a most awesome finale to the trail.
    White-tail doe, a couple of hawks above & a very talented cardinal were the wildlife enjoyed today.
    After our hike (and a sworn oath), I took Addie down the road to an undisclosed location :-$ and gave her a tour of the Marijilda Pueblo ruins.
    There is still so much more coolness to see in this area, I shall return ..... I always do!
    Rincon Spring Trail #331
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    My first attempt to bag Deadman Peak. Took the Rincon Spring trail to the base of Deadman only to realize that this little off-trail climb up to the top is going to take more time & effort then expected. With the day getting short and big wind gusts blowing in, I decided to turn around and come back another day. The Rincon trail as always was a challenge to follow, but that's what makes it so fun to hike!
    Rincon Spring Trail #331
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Scouting trip into the Rincon to check out the Deadman Peaks higher up. Parked at the corrals and traveled through the awesome boulder area (worth the hike alone) and over & through the washes before arriving at the slabs & spring. Made a final spotting scope assessment of the peaks before returning back. Upper Deadman - not doable, Lower Deadman - doable. Will return on a cooler day to bag lower deadman. I also thought today would be a good time to see the first rattlesnake or gila monster of the year, but encountered none. I did see a lot of butterflies, bees, wasps, frogs and a few good patches of poppies!
    Rincon Spring Trail #331
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    My last visit to the Rincon was on a warm, cloudless & dry April day and with the upper mountains being socked in with snow & rain for the second straight day, I thought today would be a good time to revisit this area. I had no problem following this trail on my last visit, but today has me going in circles a few times looking for cairns. The trail itself is in pretty good shape and has well over 100 cairns leading to the spring, it is quite a challenge following them but a lot of fun (especially through the boulder section)! It took me awhile, but I made it down to the gneiss slabs & spring only to find them almost dry.....WTF? 2 days of snow & rain that have all the mountain creeks now roaring, but no water in the Rincon? Oh well, I made my way back out off-trailing to a few overlooks then stopping at the historic & prehistoric ruins along the road back and over Marijilda creek as late evening snow starting falling (4000 ft).

    Fun hike and winter is definitely the time of the year to visit this area! The drive in & out on forest road 57 was also the 180 of this trip, the road in seemed a lot rockier then my last visit, but the Marijilda creek crossing has been redone and can now be crossed in a car. :o
    Rincon Spring Trail #331
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    After reading the discription on this hike for years, I have avoided it thinking it would be difficult to follow and boring. Decided today to finally check it out and what I found is that this trail was in pretty good shape. I'm guessing that some work may have been done to it since the 2008 discription as I had little trouble following it. The whole trail is one of the most cairned trails I have ever been on and I also found it very scenic! The boulder area alone was worth the trip. The only bummer of the hike was that there was hardly any water running down the slabs below the spring. Highlight of the trip was seeing a gila monster while crossing one of the dry washes!
    Rincon Spring Trail #331
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    With all of southern AZ's sky islands caked in snow, I figured I should do a desert hike. This was a hike to check out the mystery trail to Rincon Spring, and to try and find the Marijilda Pueblo. Didn't find the pueblo, but I did make it to Rincon Spring and back. I lost the "trail" once on the way in, and again on the way out.
    Thanks to whoever built all the cairns! I added some more, too. The trail traverses some pretty country, it's just time consuming.

    Permit $$

    Coronado Forest
    MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
    Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Safford, head south on U.S. highway 191. Turn west onto state highway 366 (Swift Trail). Follow highway 366 for approximately 3.3 miles to milepost 117. Turn right onto forest road 57 at milepost 117. Follow forest road 57 for about 2.6 miles, to where it effectively ends at a washed out creek crossing. There is room to turn around here, and space for several vehicles. The hike continues north on forest road 57, past the washed out creek crossing (see hike description).
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