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Chillicut Trail #132, AZ

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Statistics
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 5.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,874 feet
Elevation Gain 2,850 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,610 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 17.43
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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16  2015-03-08
Peak 4046 - Four Peaks Quad
CannondaleKid
18  2014-01-25
Baldy Canyon / Chillicut / Oak Flat Loop
joebartels
22  2014-01-25
Eastern Four Peaks Loop
The_Eagle
16  2014-01-25
Baldy Canyon / Chillicut / Oak Flat Loop
BiFrost
20  2008-05-25
Oak Flat / Chillicut Shuttle
DarthStiller
11  2008-05-25 joebartels
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 242
Routes 836
Photos 12,086
Trips 4,888 map ( 24,947 miles )
Age 51 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
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Preferred   Apr, Mar, Oct, Nov → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:36am - 7:26pm
Official Route
 
4 Alternative
 
Water
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 Three 200550.4 mi*
🔥 2020 Bush Fire193.5k
🔥 2019 Woodbury Fire123.8k
🔥 2005 Three Fire15.4k
🔥 2005 Edge Complex Fire72.3k
🔥 2004 Fox8.7 mi*
🔥 1996 Lone Fire65.1k
🔥 View All over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles


Warning the 2020 Bush Fire damaged most of the Four Peak Wilderness after almost recovering from the 1996 Lone Pine Fire.
sweating beauty
by joebartels

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Overview
Rock Creek Trailhead (2850 ft) to the southern section of the Four Peaks Trail #130 (5725 ft) on the north-northwestern flank of Buckhorn Mountain.


Hike
Rock Creek Trailhead sports some lovely oaks right by a babbling creek. It's interesting to note that Saguaros are nearby at their upper elevation limit. The trail starts as an old rocky road that quickly turns into a creek bed. The creek is seasonal. It flows better than expected after recent rains due to a large catch base. Hiking through the creek bed is the height of questionable route finding. Luckily it's easy to decipher and short-lived. The quaint setting with trees is passed up in the first few strides.

The hike enters a transitional zone of rolling hills. The area was wiped clean of vegetation by the 1996 Lone Fire. Now, twelve years later, there's barely a trace of fire. If you're on the lookout you'll spot areas that survived. The area can be quite photogenic albeit a tiresome stretch on a roller coaster of hills. Somehow the sun seems to be radiating a little stronger in the area.

I'd venture to guess few make it out of the rolling hills as it lacks visual luring hope. A small ridge is ascended at 2.0mi (3705 ft). I believe this used to be the old trailhead. According to topo, this is where the road ends, and I think we saw a Chillicut sign. Continuing, you drop down into Baldy Canyon (3380 ft). In this lower section, it's still pretty lifeless. You could make a lower loop here by following the creek back to the trailhead. Within minutes you're out of the canyon and onto another ridge in a quarter mile (4145 ft). In a short distance, you top out above the creek (4400ft). Here you make the last, short descent to the creek (4300 ft). I didn't see a sign, but my mapping indicates this is near the Four Peaks Wilderness boundary.

Enter Hope
Here up things begin to change. It's a 1400ft mad dash up Baldy Canyon. Route finding requires a little more attention through several creek crossings but is well cairned or easily deciphered. Several of the crossings consist of a 5-10 foot drop in loose footing. Within 5-10 minutes, you cross a couple of tributaries coming in from the west. Both were flowing on our trip. I should note this was an unusually wet year with rainfall in May (The driest month in Arizona beating June by a mere 0.01 hundredth of an inch based on PHX stats). The first drainage is fed by Dan Neal Spring, the second is fed by Black Bear Spring. However, I believe the flow we saw was merely runoff from the recent rainfall.

Your surroundings become more intriguing as you enter a riparian section. Here you'll find gnarly twisting sycamores. Mammoth hand-sized canyon grape leaves on climbing vines. Having just been through the roller coaster, this is a real treat. I believe this is the nicest never mentioned gem of the wilderness. The habitat includes Yellow Columbine among other wildflowers. Beware, though. Poison ivy runs rampant through the area.

Grand Finale
The pleasant 13% grade gives way to a noticeably steeper 18% grade. There's little time to complain before you're crawling off the last 33% grade to the Four Peaks Trail #130 junction. Trees populate the ascent offering shady rest options. This upper section has recently been maintained as of 2008. The end offers a rewarding view of the Four Peaks few ever see.

Summary
I enjoyed this trail probably more than most. We did it as a counter-clockwise shuttle with Oak Flat #123 & Four Peaks Trail #130, which appears to be the optimal option. You could hike up to the riparian section as an out-n-back. However, you'd miss out on the sweet Four Peaks transverse using the same amount of energy.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Note
This is a moderately difficult hike.

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

2008-05-27 joebartels

    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.

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To Rock Creek Trailhead
    From the corner of SR87 & SR188 head south on SR188 for 15.8mi to a right on 3 Bar Road. Follow 0.2mi to FR445 and continue 2.9mi to Rock Creek Trail. Left and 0.2mi to the Rock Creek Trailhead.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 90.8 mi - about 1 hour 56 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 189 mi - about 3 hours 16 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 157 mi - about 3 hours 0 mins
    page created by joebartels on May 21 2008 12:44 pm
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