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Devil's Bathtub Trail - Coronado NF, AZ

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Guide 19 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson
3.8 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 1.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,578 feet
Elevation Gain 118 feet
Accumulated Gain 174 feet
Avg Time One Way 45 minutes
Kokopelli Seeds 1.68
Interest Perennial Waterfall & Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes
Dogs not allowed
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
35  2019-04-05
Rincon Backpack
22  2019-04-02
Turkey Creek & Misc Trails
9  2017-05-12
Turkey Creek Trail #34
15  2016-09-19
Manning Camp via the Tub to Turkey Creek TH
27  2016-09-17
Rincon Manning Camp Turkey Creek
2  2015-11-14 mdfabbrini
28  2015-03-24
Rincon Loop
6  2013-06-01
Manning Camp Death March
Page 1,  2
Author Jeffshadows
author avatar Guides 28
Routes 20
Photos 672
Trips 169 map ( 1,088 miles )
Age 41 Male Gender
Location Old Pueblo
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Sep, Aug, Oct → Any
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:07am - 6:26pm
Official Route
7 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Satan would love it...
by Jeffshadows

Likely In-Season!
Devil's Bathtub Trail is a backcountry connector trail that comprises part of the Mica Mountain Complex of trails. Although only 1.2 miles long, it boasts some of the most spectacular views in the Rincons and a unique, unspoiled natural water park. This description will assume departure from the junction at Four Corners.

After leaving the junction, the trail winds its way around to the west behind a minor peak that essentially obstructs views to the south. This takes little away from the trail, whose course winds through a calm and scenic pine forest lined on both sides by mixed scrub and occasional cactus. After seven-tenths of a mile, the head of Madrona Canyon opens to the west and the trail meets Devil's Bathtub Spring.

Below the spring to the west along the Madrona stream course lies a rocky outcropping boasting a 15-20 meter waterfall with numerous pools and a small sandy beach in the canyon below. The views from the outcropping of Madrona Canyon and points west are stunning. The beach and pools can be accessed by way of an unofficial trail located about two-tenths of a mile further along the Devil's Bathtub trail.

After leaving Madrona Canyon, the trail follows a course along a pine and oak-clad ridgeline while gaining and losing little in terms of elevation. The next major attraction is a rocky vista that provides a great view west; otherwise, the views along this stretch disappear and reappear as pinyon and scrub do the same. After one-half mile, the trail encounters the Manning Camp trail in the middle of a small valley below a canopy of pine that comprises the head of Chimenea Canyon. Water is probably present here in wetter months.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2010-11-02 Jeffshadows
  • Rincon HAZ Map
    area related
    Rincon HAZ Map
  • Rincon Mountain Distric East
    area related
    Rincon Mountain Distric East
  • Tucson Mountain District West
    area related
    Tucson Mountain District West
  • SNP Cactus Forest Map
    area related
    SNP Cactus Forest Map
  • nps related
  • sub-region related

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 Triplog Reviews
Devil's Bathtub Trail - Coronado NF
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Headed over to Happy Valley on Christmas Eve to get up in the high country ahead of the big weather system that was predicted to dump a bunch of snow. No cars at Miller Creek, perfect clear cold weather. Miller Creek trail in good condition, a little confusing in a spot or two as it crosses some drainages. Headed up Heartbreak Ridge, my first time on that trail - wasn't sure what to expect as I figured it didn't get much traffic. Trail in excellent condition, surprised to see tons of steps build on a trail so far in the backcountry - a total contrast to the brushy thrash-fests on all the trails on the "back side" of the Santa Catalinas (like Samaniego Ridge or CDO). I guess the National Parks have a much larger budget for trail maintenance... Lots of water along the way to Devil's Bathtub, which I had never visited, which was also flowing strong. Headed up to Manning Cabin, nobody there either except for a few deer, think I had the whole mountain to myself. (Plenty of water at Manning, as always...)

Ran up to Spud Rock, and the weather started changing fast, was suddenly in a windy cloud with the temps dropping fast and smoky wisps of fog blowing through the forest. Put on some layers (tights, windshirt, buff), ran up to the summit and didn't even stop, and bailed down the Bonita trail, and by the time I hit Heartbreak, I was beneath the cloud ceiling that was enveloping Micah and back in the sun, but the temp kept dropping. Crazy wind along the ridge, literally pushed me off the trail a few times, lots of birds flitting around, couldn't figure out how they don't get blown off the mountain. Made time to run up to the Lookout on the way out, another first - incredible views of Rincon and San Pedro Valley, worth the side trip.

Tried to keep a strong pace coming down Miller, but that is one steep, boulder-filled descent. Returned to the truck in a total time a bit under six hours for 23mi and 6400aev, and cracked a beer just as the sky went black and that huge weather system hit, exciting drive back to Tucson rocking down the freeway in the old 4x4 truck with high winds, sideways precip, and wrecks here and there...
Devil's Bathtub Trail - Coronado NF
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Manning Camp via the Tub to Turkey Creek TH
After a nice evening and morning we now had to go back. Kind of sad to leave this place. The question is which way do we want to go back, the way we came or via the Tub? I wanted to see the Tub but it would add about 1 1/2 to our journey and it would be warm as we got toward the bottom of the mountain. K&K assured the trail was nice (cuz after yesterday's North Slope adventure I wasn't in the mood for working too hard again, ha!). I couldn't make up my mind so Wendy said we would do the Tub; which turned out to be the right choice and that way, I got to see one of the "must do" when you come up to Manning Camp.

And wow was that a downhill to get to the Tub. So glad we didn't come up that way which was one of the options we were originally going to do. The hike down thru here is really pretty thru the forest and with occasional views to the far valley and mountains. There were a couple areas with water which is always a nice treat in the desert. The Devil's Bathtub wasn't draining very much but it was still a pretty cool site. We actually spent a little time here hanging around so that was nice and then it was off toward Spud Rock Campground Junction on part of the East Slope Trail.

Once again you had off and on views to the valleys as you hike off and on thru the forest. It's very entertaining hiking up here as the terrain changes quite a bit. We followed some more running water as we continued on part of the East Slope Trail to what we dubbed The Park. It was a clear forest floor with large trees sprouting to the sky. Down the Switchback Trail we went to the ferned meadow of Spud Rock Campground Junction. From there our next stop would be Deer Head Spring. However, there is one part of the trail just above the spring that is a bit difficult to decipher but we made it down though I don't know if it was the right way. We hung at the Spring for a bit. We were trying to take advantage of the shade as much as we could.

The next part of the trail was probably the worst as we headed down to Mud Hole Spring which would be our last shaded stop. The trail is a little gully as you hike down and then you encounter the rock n roll rocky sections. You go thru manzanita sections and more foresty sections though the size of the trees is smaller now. I was having a little trouble getting my pack comfortable so that was not fun. I was disappointed because on my trip up; my pack didn't give me any issues. I packed it like Wendy did; at least I thot so, but it wasn't fitting quite right.

At Mud Hole Spring we hung out and Karl showed me the spring. It didn't have much water in it but enough to filter fairly nicely. We still had quite a bit of down to go but at least on this part, there would be steps that really helped - although I despised them on the way up as I'd rather hike up on the less stable ground than have to lift my body up those steps. Kathy, on the other hand, loves steps on the way up. The trail that didn't have the steps, once again, was in pretty shabby shape. It was also starting to get warmer now but every once in awhile we would get a breeze. We were sure glad to get to the saddle though as from here on out, the trail conditions would be much better.

Karl agreed to one more stop for what little shade there was at the Park Boundary. This was actually kind of nice because we could look back at where we had been. Filtered light was now coming in as the residual from the hurricane was making its way north. This was indeed welcomed even though the humidity came with it. From here it's the hills and ridgeline hike back to the TH. K&K took off and we made our way thru the grassy hillsides and cowsh...t (they're eating well ;) ) to join them. Thx for the beer and gatorade.

I didn't take any video after the Switchback Trail intersection as I was holding on to the mountain so I couldn't really hike and film. I doubt I even took that many pictures once we started heading down. It's too bad really cuz once the filtered light came in, it was good viewing. But by that time, I was just too tired.

Thx Wendy for getting me up and down this mountain and still being my friend after all this and other times. I still don't know how you get me to do those things :-k that are out of my comfort zone and at the edge of my capability. Karl, thx for keeping that fire going on Sunday nite. K&K, Thx for the beer and gatorade and chips.

It was absolutely great! well except for the hard parts :lol:

2-15-2017 finally the two part video:
Part 1 from Manning Camp to Devil's Bathtub [ youtube video ]
Part 2 from Devil's Bathtub toward Turkey Creek Trailhead [ youtube video ]
Devil's Bathtub Trail - Coronado NF
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A day hike to and from our camp at Spud Rock Spring to get water and to explore the area. The overall backpack trip is described at [ triplog ] .

Coming out of the Spud Rock Spring campsite, we weren't clear on whether to head back towards Deer Head Spring or up the Switchback Trail to catch the trail to Devil's Bathtub. It ended up we took the "wrong trail" or the Deer Head Spring Trail, causing us to drop about 500 feet. This trail, like the Turkey Trail, hasn't got much use or maintenance. But it was pretty, and at the end of the day, created a loop for us. We met the Heartbreak Ridge Trail, headed north for .5 miles until we got to Four Corners, then headed 20 minutes west to Devils Bathtub.

Water was plentiful here. After lunching and napping for an hour and a half, we headed back to Spud Rock Spring via the Devil's Bathtub, East Slope, and Switchback Trails.
Devil's Bathtub Trail - Coronado NF
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Rincon Loop
Wanting to return to the Rincons since last fall, today was to be a great hike in the main body of the range, though without the Mica MT area. I was really pleased that my car got me to the four wheel drive trailhead, as I took it up the 2 track and started from there, instead of lower down. This gave me more time higher up, and I was able to visit Manning Camp, as a result. The 4WD road was less about clearance, than actual 4WD, and beefy tires would make a difference. However, a fictional AWD civic never would have made it.

The hike was better than expected and I was up in the pines in under 3 hours. I really just hiked through the Deer Head fire area and was less impressed with it than I hoped. This is no central Gila Wilderness. Most of the affects seem to be top killing brush and oaks, and needle cast consumption, but there was less grass than hoped for. I did hike up a ridge (not GPSed) and look at some old growth pines, still with some grass under them. I found the area around Manning Camp to be highly reminiscent of some of the low spots in the WOR, specifically around the nice camping spot with the massive pines. This is because it is almost all pine litter, little grass, and a dense stand of tall poles, with some larger orange barkers, but nothing characteristic of the way it would have been 120 years ago.

The Fire Loop is one of the nicer areas, and the granite domes are fun to look at, and climb on if you chose. In that regard, the Rincons have a Yosemite feel to them. Manning Camp itself is OK, but it just feels like a NPS camp area, nothing that special, save for the water and weather station. The Manning Camp trail south of the camp does have great canyons, falling water, and westward views to the Tucson Mountains. The Devil's Bathtub trail and area is really nice, and if flowing when warm might be a nice place to hangout, but I expect it is dry when warm. Heartbreak Ridge has great views, and as always looking east is fantastic.

With the current appearance of the east slopes, the species composition, and the fire affects, I would almost prefer it had not burned, since the oaks and other brush will coppice, some younger pines were killed, a lot of soil will and has eroded post fire, and it isn't going to return to pine, or mixed oaks over grass anytime soon. The grassy and pine covered areas do look better, and at least fuel loads are reduced. Still, the top of the mountain would benefit from something it will never get: mechanical thinning. The current composition of this area seems to have been influenced by (the Manning's?) grazing a lot more than Mica Mountain proper, but there appears to be slightly more soil here, too.

Overall, a great hike, my longest of the year, and with some serious AEG. It was nice down low, and cool, but tolerable while constantly switching between a sweater and t-shirt up higher. It was also breezy, but that created some lenticular clouds. I think it is still early in the higher terrain, as despite the above normal temps, it is still only late March, and there were fewer bird calls than expected. I did see some mountain quail, I think, or some other birds with flight sounds like a quail. Most of the life is still below 6,000'.
Devil's Bathtub Trail - Coronado NF
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Friends in town who wanted to hit the Rincons

Day 1) Breezy but warm. I'm out of shape at this point, trying to keep up with Lynn and Teri up the Miller Creek trail. We dropped our packs at HV camp, headed up to Rincon Peak and back down to the camp to call it a day.

Day 2) NICE day. We headed out to Manning Camp via Devil's Bathtub, took some time to rest, then headed up the Fire Loop trail/s to Spud Rock, Mica and Reef Rock. I had not been to Mica or Spud Rock before. The Spud Rock views are unbelievable. Mica Mountain, though quite pretty, doesn't offer much for views. After our stop at Reef Rock, we headed down to Spud Rock Camp to settle in. I was beat by this point, but Lynn and Teri still had energy to explore the area. We started getting spurts of rain in the early evening, and the sky opened up a few times through the night (of course it always sounds worse when you're in a tent).

Day 3) It was quite a bit colder and pretty windy with not much for sun shine. Now worried about the threat of more rain, we hurriedly packed and headed out down the Turkey Creek trail. We made it back to the car by early afternoon just before the next round of rain hit.

Permit $$

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

Saguaro National Park
2019 $20 vehicle, $15 motorcycle or $10 for any individual on foot or bicycle - the receipt is valid for 7 days Fees

Map Drive
Connector trail - Not Applicable

To hike
The trail can be reached from the Manning Camp trail or any of the trails intersecting at Four Corners Junction further east in the Rincons.
page created by Jeffshadows on Nov 02 2010 7:52 pm
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