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JF Trail #106, AZ

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813 81 4
Guide 81 Triplogs  4 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
3.1 of 5 by 20
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance One Way 9.75 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,136 feet
Elevation Gain 1,369 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,626 feet
Avg Time One Way 6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 18.5
Interest Historic, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
20  2019-05-17
Fraser - Randolph Loop
14  2019-04-13
JF Trail to Tortilla Pass
8  2019-04-13
JF Trail to Tortilla Pass
35  2019-04-12
12  2019-03-25
JF Trail
18  2019-02-25
Hoolie Bacon Trail Partial
13  2019-01-20
Rogers Canyon - JF Trail Loop
4  2019-01-20
Rogers Canyon - JF Trail Loop
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 7
Author AZLOT69
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 247
Photos 7,293
Trips 1,818 map ( 15,596 miles )
Age 68 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 7 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:09am - 6:30pm
Official Route
15 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
A Legendary Superstition Crossing
by AZLOT69

With a suitable off road vehicle and a cooperative logistical effort and planning the JF trail can be accomplished as a day hike making it the shortest distance trans-superstition option available. It can also be part of a more aggressive multi day back pack as some major east west routes intersect with the JF. This north south route separates east from west in the Superstitions offering panoramic views in either direction from the high points several times during the trek giving a different take on many familiar points of reference.

Do not approach this wilderness trip lightly. Sufficient planning and preparation is a must and consideration given to what if something goes wrong. Make sure to have enough food and water and you have left your itinerary posted or with a friend. There is little chance of finding water or any substantial shade on this hike.

John "Jack" Fraser, who owned the JF Ranch in Fraser Canyon took over the Reavis Ranch property after Elisha Reavis died in 1896. Fraser was a rancher and as such used the JF brand on his cattle. In some old stories his name is mixed up with Jack Frazier, who owned a store in Roosevelt, Az. The confusion over spelling of names is a common problem in sorting out historical facts.

The hike can be accomplished in either direction but is described here from north to south. From the inner trailhead at the end of FR 213 there is a turn around at the fence line. The trail starts at this unmarked fence line. In a hundred yards there is a Superstition Wilderness sign. You are on the JF trail # 106. The trail starts its gentle but steady grade up thru another fence line. A faint trail leads off to the left here for those interested in a side trip to the Miller Mines area (not much left). JF continues straight however and at about .8 mile from the beginning meets a signed intersection with the Hoolie-Bacon Trail. Hoolie continues straight, JF goes left towards the southeast. The grade continues now with the trail being fairly rocky. At times you can detect a double track as though this was used as a wagon or jeep road for a distance. The use of cairns is generous as the trail is encroached by grasses and sometimes is elusive.

At 2.05 miles in a large healthy juniper is on your left. A scratch and sniff reveals a wonderful aroma. Off to your right here is the Lost Dutchman Mine Jr. It's a bushwhack to get to. Read up on the details (there's an app for that on HAZ) before attempting to visit. Reaching the saddle a few moments later offers a nice panoramic view and some sitting rocks on your left. Moving again there is a nice camping spot at 2.33 miles. Look around and you'll notice there are no saguaros. Lots of sotol and century plants but no saguaro. The trail descends into a wash now and as it comes out of the wash seems to fade away. When you lose the trail it is generally above you as it contours around the hillside towards the next wash. At 3.0 miles there is another fine camp site. At 3.3 miles the first of many Manzanita to come appears. And at 3.39 there is another fine camp site. This is near Clover Spring where there was some water even in the dry season. There was also some pieces of tin roof in this area which begs to be explored. The views are exceptional now. The entire Superstition Ridgeline is visible as well as the "Valley Of The Sun", and Fountain Hills. At 4.07 you hit a ridgeline with panoramic views opening off to the northeast. Castle Dome, and Mound Mountain are just a few of the landmarks you can spot from here. The trail now passes on the northeast side of the next two hills. There is more vegetation on these northern slopes and you will find yourself fighting thru some cat claw but the major enemy here is the small leaf holly. Scenic hoodoos with many openings are next and a good spot for a rest. From here you top out with excellent views all around and begin a steep rapid descent thru more, you guessed it, small leaf holly, which towers over and protects the trail from trespassers. Its like a jungle scene from "Romancing The Stone", and a machete would come in handy. The geology is impressive along this trail with large amounts of quartz, crystal and about midpoint on the trail you will find geodes.

Ahead now far in the distance is a natural arch silhouetted by the southern sky. The trail continues to be elusive and you must pay attention thru the next wash as the trail turns more easterly on its way to Tortilla Pass. Soon after meeting more small leaf holly up close you will see stone and barbed wire fencing ahead. Civilization you might think. Well maybe at one time, but at least it means you are close to the intersection with Rogers Canyon Trail at Tortilla Pass. The intersection is marked, with the JF turning right here. There are awesome views of the Queen Valley area to the south towards Superior. A good place for a rest before the long descent. Its about 1.7 miles down to Randolph Canyon from here losing about 800 ft of elevation. Its all loose footing and throw in an abundant supply of cat claw to keep you entertained. An occasional moo from a wandering cow may catch you off guard as you re-enter the world of saguaros. Off to your right a considerable distance is a mountain with no less than four natural arches. Your arrival at Randolph Canyon means one more grade and the trail becomes more distinct and smooth. Its home free from here as you cross a wash and come to the end of the wilderness. A windmill looms ahead. Turn right at the windmill and follow the old road bearing right at the Woodbury trail and continue to the gate and trailhead known as Woodbury.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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.

2010-11-06 AZLOT69

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    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 36 deeper Triplog Reviews
    JF Trail #106
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    Went out to check JF Trail and Peters Trail, biked to the TH :o No -- we pushed the bike half way there :sweat: Hitched the bikes to the hitching post and hiked up to and past the Hoolie Bacon Trl. Met Perry, he was spending 3 or 4 nites wandering around the area, he had parked over at Peralta TH. Backed down and went over to Peters, Lots of water coming thru Peters. Went up around the house boulders and had a snack and relaxed along the creek--- peaceful :)
    JF Trail #106
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    Woodbury Coffee and Red Bacon with JF
    Most high clearance 2wd vehicles should be able to make the drive. Several water crossings. The only likely issue is for those timid with a gas pedal crossing Queen Creek.

    Woodbury Trail #114
    Hiked this to scratch if off a list.

    Coffee Flat Trail #108
    The cow patties get your attention when it's dry. It's a slice of heaven when the creeks are flowing. Really nice saguaros either way.

    Red Tanks #107
    Five years after our first hike on the eastern side we returned. It didn't ring a bell. A little rough. This trail has four distinct personalities: La Barge Creek, Upper La Barge Box, North of Red Tanks Divide, Red Tanks Canyon. I like 'em all. It's not a trail for flip flops and shorts, come prepared.

    Hoolie Bacon # 111
    The best part of this trail is Bacon in the name. Horse Ridge saddle is a fine lunch stop with great 360 views. 4143 is better, please keep that a secret.

    JF Trail #106
    I've jigsawed this in the past, mainly Tule to Peralta. I do not care for either end. The 2.3 mile middle segment from 4597 to Tortilla Pass is worthy. It has a Reavis spirit of intrigue that I find relaxes the mind.

    Bruce suggested JefF out-n-back. Meh... do I know you? He came back with this loop and it was game on! We had perfect temps with all the creeks in taper down flow. I didn't blink at 22+ miles. Boy howdy, 12 hours sucker punched my body.
    Hurts so good, great hike!

    carried 3.5 quarts, consumed 2.5

    a few sprigs of paintbrush was the main attraction, several dozen blue dicks scattered throughout our loop, two poppies... yeah not much

    lots of wiry lotus, which is like getting excited over dollar store cookies
    JF Trail #106
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    Woodbury Coffee and Red Bacon with JF
    The drive in on 172/172A was uneventful. Queen Creek had a decent flow, but nothing a vehicle that would be driving these roads couldn't handle. Close to our TH, we saw a large Ford Transit panel van coming down 172A.

    Woodbury Trail #114
    There was one truck at the TH when we got there.
    This trail down to the Woodbury TH appears to be and old road.
    Probably a one and done

    Coffee Flat Trail #108
    This eastern stretch of the Coffee Flat Trail to Red Tanks was new for me. It was an easy stroll through Fraser Canyon. Very pleasant with the green and water everywhere. This would make a nice loop with other canyons in the area.

    Red Tanks #107
    I'd done this section before but did not remember much of it. It's quite scenic with the views of the surrounding areas and all the flowing water.

    Hoolie Bacon # 111
    Hoolie Bacon for me, is just a way to get to other places in the Supes. We had lunch at Horse Saddle and it did have some great views. The only hikers we saw all day, were at this saddle. One dayhiker, one backpacker and us just happened to all meet at the same time there. The hike down from Horse Saddle to the North is steep, rough and loose. Once down in the lower sections the trail is much nicer. You easily cross the flowing Tortilla Creek numerous times.

    JF Trail #106
    The northwestern portions of this trail is just OK. There are BIG views of the surrounding areas that help a bunch.
    The trail finally starts to get interesting in the mid section around unnamed Peak 4597. [ photo ] . It seemed to take forever to get to Tortilla Pass. Dropping down JF from Tortilla Pass, there is also some steep, loose washed out areas. Towards the bottom we hit sunset and donned our headlamps.

    The 1.2 mile 500'+ climb out on Woodbury to the truck, could not end quick enough.
    It was a full day in the Supes.
    You couldn't ask for better hiking weather.

    With this this loop I'm getting closer to hitting all the trails in the Supes (37 of 39 done).
    I Just have the 2 shortest left, with just 1.1 Total miles to go!
    JF Trail #106
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    With the forecast of rain we headed out, and if the weather allowed the plan was to attempt a loop hike that I had drafted. Just past Clover Spring the rain started and looking back it looked pretty dark so we made the decision to have a quick snack then make the trek back to the truck. JF Trail is in what I would call "great wilderness shape", meaning easy to follow but you might get a scratch or poke, or, my kind of trail :) The rain picked up when we hit the JF - Hoolie Bacon junction, and continued as we walked out on FR213. Let it rain.

    Planned hike, to be continued :D
    JF Trail #106
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    Central Supes Loop
    Me and Alex headed to the Superstitions to tackle some new areas we haven't visited before. I wanted hit as much new stuff as possible, and I think I did well clocking in at about 75% new trail vs 25% already visited.

    I liked Bluff Springs, western end of Peters Trail, JF Trail, and Rogers Canyon. Tortilla Pass to Rogers Trough was the highlight for both of us. Probably won't be visiting Peters Mesa, Woodbury, or Coffee Flats again anytime soon. Alex had similar opinions. We both felt this route was mostly drab and little flash, I probably wouldn't do this route again as it is plotted, I would take the parts I like and combine them with something else.

    We checked out the Peralta Map and Rogers Canyon Ruins. Both were well worth the small side trips. Probably the 2 easiest ruins to "find" in the Supes, but still exciting and has us craving more.

    The biggest surprise for both of us was how long these fall colors are holding on. Probably another week of good color.

    We were fighting against the limited amount daylight the entire trip. Comfortable 20+ mile days this time of year, for me personally, is probably a little too optimistic. 10 hours of daylight, 2 mph, hard to get up early because its cold. You do the math. 15-17 mile per-day would probably be more enjoyable.

    Water was not plentiful but the reliable sources are going strong after the rain. Bluff Springs to Kane Spring is pretty wet. Kane Spring to Clove Spring is dry. Pools near Clove Spring. Clove Spring to Reavis Ranch JCT is dry as a bone. Reavis Ranch JCT to Rogers Trough had the most water out of any drainage. Intermittent, varying sized pools along Coffee Flat Trail.

    Trail Conditions
    Peters Trail generally easy to follow, a couple of hiccups on top of the Mesa and near Tortilla Creek. A few spots of dodging prickly pear and agave on the Mesa, but mostly clean trail.

    JF Trail Great trail from Tortilla Creek TH to Hoolie Bacon JCT. Several hiccups along ridge between Clove Spring and Tortilla Pass. Wear long pants.

    Rogers Canyon Immaculate from Tortilla Pass to Angel Basin. A little brushy, and a couple hiccups between Roger Canyon Ruins and Reavis Ranch Trail JCT.

    Woodbury Trail A couple of hiccups, vague tread at times. Lots of cattle activity...

    Coffee Flat Several hiccups, usually just best to follow the wash. Lots of cattle activity...

    Nice colors at the lowest elevations, near La Barge and along Coffee Flat.
    JF Trail #106
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    This area has eluded me for one reason or another over the past couple of months. I woke up this morning and decided today was the day I would get my feet wet in the central Supes. I had a couple of other hikes I was considering, all much more beefy than this one, but I was mostly interested in something new. I came across the La Barge Mountain hike on here last year, and it piqued my interests, so I thought I would give it a shot.

    I downloaded the route, and off I went down Hewitt Canyon road.

    JF Trail starts out along the closed road from Woodbury TH to some water tanks and troughs. One of the troughs was full of water, and that was the only water I saw for the entire day. I got suckered into a cattle trail at the tanks, heading northeast for a minute, but corrected once it started heading away from Randolph Canyon, instead of into it. That was the only navigational hiccup I had on JF, otherwise, from Woodbury TH to Tortilla Pass the trail is easy to follow and in pretty good shape.

    About half way up the pass, I had an encounter with some Javelina. All but one ran away once they saw me. I wasn't sure if the one was frozen because it was afraid or if it meant business. I made some loud noises, and eventually it ran off.

    At the pass, I didn't stop and immediately got started right into the off-trail portion of the hike. The route I was on started with sporadic use or game trails, with no cairns. I stayed near the fence heading up the first hill. The brush can be thick in a few places if you don't choose wisely. If you have the patience, it probably isn't that bad for most. I didn't today, and was pretty disheartened when I reached the top of the first hill to see much more brush along the hill sides where I thought the route was taking me. To be honest, I was expecting a use-trail with cairns like a lot of the other "off trail" hikes listed on HAZ. This one doesn't see much traffic, don't expect much. I wandered around the open areas for a minute before turning around, defeated for today, but I will be back. :)

    I contemplated if I would have enough time to loop back around via Rogers Canyon, and a road-walk from Rogers Trough to Woodbury, but it wasn't going to work today. I hit a small high point along the ridge before finishing my back track to JF Trail. Then, before returning the way I came, I took a quick look up the Rogers Canyon Trail.

    I really liked this area and plan on returning soon, but not just to finish the peak. I can see how you could easily get sucked into wandering around here.

    I didn't see a single person on trail all day, which made this place feel much more remote. Given how close I still was to the Woodbury TH, I'm going to assume this was probably because it was a weekday.

    The temps were mild today, and the light breeze on top of Tortilla Pass kept the sweat off my forehead. Peak bagged or not, it was a well spent day in the Supes, on my 25th Birthday.
    JF Trail #106
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    Time for a campout, since we have been hiking the Tortilla TH area, we thought this could make for a great shuttle hike over to First Water TH. Reviewed all the options to First Water, and came up with a route that would give us about equal distance to our campsite and then finish at First Water TH. Turn out great, 11 miles to Charlebois Springs and 11 miles to First Water TH. Once we reached Horse Ridge on Hoolie Bacon it was mostly downhill from there, I did forget how Red Tanks has a lot of very short up and downs. Everything was fine coming down Red Tanks until we crossed off the trail and into the wash, very over grown, someone has been working the trail and once we got back on track, looking back, the trail hugs the left side of the wash as you head down. Was at this spot Rick got stung by a BEE or WASP ??? Needed some doctoring when he returned :( Spent the night at Charlebois got up early and hit the Trail. Now that I am getting introduced to some ultralight backpacking, ( :thanx: Rick ) I can't wait to see what the next camping trip brings .... :DANCE:
    JF Trail #106
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    Went back out to the Tortilla TH to do the Hoolie Bacon - Peters Trail Loop ( Thanks hikerdw for the guidance of your GPS Route ) Really does give you a sense of what this area has to offer. A Million Words of Caution ----- Wear long Pants, Long sleeves, get your suntan on a different hike, because you will encounter the dreaded Jungle of Cats--Claw !!!! from the lower part of Hoolie Bacon all across to the Peters Trail.... Didn't see much Wild life, but Rick spotted a couple of deer down in the wash, managed one picture worth keeping :oops: Met only one soul heading up to Peter's Pass as we were heading down. Came across 3 hikers as we were heading back to 88 about 2 miles in,, stopped and visited for awhile, noticed only one had water in a small camelbak, asked if they had enough water ---- Yes, are you sure ?? advised them to be careful and not go to far, I think some don't really get it :SB: Be Prepared when you go out and know your limits !!!
    JF Trail #106
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    Claire & I had a three day weekend for President’s Day and FOTG wanted to return to Upper Fish Creek. The long weekend & warm temps gave us the perfect chance to explore the area.

    We left Tempe on Saturday morning and made the drive to Woodbury Trailhead. The road is bumpy and annoying but in good shape overall. We started hiking the JF Trail around 11am and saw Toddak by the Windmill. He was doing a large day hike from the Tortilla Trailhead. After chatting up with him we made the climb to Tortilla Pass which took some effort with the hot sun beating down and the heavy pack. Once over the pass we cruised down to Angel’s Basin and connected onto the Frog Tanks Trail. We arrived at our camp within the hour. We settled into camp and gathered an obnoxious amount of firewood. The evening was spent making dinner and enjoying the fire.

    Our day two started slowly. We planned on day hiking down Fish Creek and knew we had a swimmer within the first half mile. We wanted the sunlight for warmth. We left camp around 9:30am and made the half mile hike to the swimmer. Once there we scoped out the bypass on left. FOTG looked for a bypass on the right and checked out a possible ruin site that yielded some shards but nothing significant. The right bypass was a no go and he returned back to us at the swimmer. While away the girls and I talked and were not too excited about making the cold swim. The left bypass looked sketchy & I was thinking about other options for the day. FOTG came back to us and immediately tossed his boots across the pool and then jumped in and swam across. He reached the other side and didn’t say anything for a long moment. I knew it had to be a cold swim. He got back in the water and hugged the wall where I passed him our packs. I was up next. I slid into the water and felt all the air get sucked out of me! The water was freezing and I quickly swam to the other side where I immediately got into the sunlight to warm up. The girls were up next and were able to hug the wall and with FOTG’s help they were able to keep their upper half out of the pool. Finally we were all across!

    From there we went about two miles down Fish Creek. Our going was slow as we rock hopped & crossed back and forth across the creek. We kept dry & took a break near Goat Canyon & decided to turn around and head back for the swimmer. The return flew by and we found ourselves back at the swimmer. I went first and swam across holding my day pack above the water. The water was really cold but doable. Next up was FOTG and then Jackie and finally Claire. It took some work to get Claire’s pack across dry. FOTG stepped up and assisted with Claire’s pack. Thanks Lee I owe you one! Once back across all of us returned to camp.

    It was mid-afternoon at this point so we all decided to do a short hike north up Frog Tanks. We hiked a little over a mile and took a break in the creek and then returned to camp. We gathered more firewood and settled in for night two. All of us were tired from the day and turned in relatively early.

    On day three we pretty much woke up and tore down camp and started the hike out. The going was much easier with lighter packs. We topped off water at Angel’s Basin and made a couple of short stops to water the dogs. Overall it was an uneventful hike out and were back to the FOTG’s truck around 1:30pm.

    This was another fun trip with a great group. I enjoyed Fish Creek but will never hike it again as an out & back. I’d like to check out the lower section near the bridge at some point later this year. It would be ideal during the fall when the leaves are turning. Thanks Lee for organizing and getting us across the swimmer. Wet canyoneering is not my favorite during February!
    JF Trail #106
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    I'm calling this the "other" Tortilla Superloop, or maybe the super-duper loop. Clockwise from the Tortilla trailhead: south on JF > west on Woodbury and Coffee Flat > north on Red Tanks and Hoolie Bacon. Trails are all in pretty decent shape. Mountain biked between Hwy 88 and the trailhead.

    Ran into the FOTG backpacking crew of six (4 bipeds and 2 quadrupeds) as they were headed north on JF. Later on Hoolie I ran into another backpacking group, one of whom was a gal I worked with a few years ago. Small world.

    Water conditions going clockwise:
    JF is dry until it crosses the creek in Randolph Canyon near the southern end. Pretty good flow.
    CF going down (west) in Fraser Canyon - increasing intermittent trickles to good flow.
    RT has plenty of water in the lower (south) canyon, decreasing as you go north.
    HB has lots of water where it crosses Tortilla Creek.
    There are isolated pools in many places, mostly scuzzy.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To hike
    From Apache Junction head out on SR88. For reference the First Water Trailhead turnoff is just after mile marker 201. You need continue out past Canyon Lake and past Tortilla Flats to the end of the pavement. Continue on the dirt road about 0.8 miles to mile marker 221. There's a good size sign with an arrow for Tortilla Trailhead. This is FS 213, the outside trailhead. Park here if you don't have a capable vehicle which will make the hike an extra 3 + miles onto the stated distance. If you do have a capable vehicle take FR 213 a little over 3 miles to the inside trailhead at the wilderness fence. There's no signs at the inside trailhead. There's a turnaround in front of a fence. Signs on the fence indicate no motorized vehicles beyond this point.
    page created by AZLOT69 on Nov 06 2010 9:17 am
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