Great Wall of China in AZ?
Overview: This is a collection of ranching trails in the Cave Creek area that are not maintained by the forest service.
Warning: The trails are in good shape, but very faint in sections. These trails are no longer maintained and see few visitors. I recommend you go prepared with no less than the Official GPS Route.
The China Wall trail is pretty steep on the backside, be careful out there!
History: Cave Creek has a ranching history that goes back a long ways. The Bronco Creek Trail #287 stopped being maintained by the forest service, likely after the fire. The China Wall Trail appears to have never been a part of the forest service's trail system, which is ironic because it was in great shape and requires almost no maintenance.
Hike: Descending the Bronco Trail towards Cottonwood Creek, you will find a trail intersection signpost about half a mile from the #247 trail, with only the Bronco Trail marked on the trail sign post. It tells you to take a sharp right turn. What if you didn't? Let's find out!
Go down the faint trail to the south east and drop into the wash. Welcome to Bronco Creek Trail #287! The trail will meander in and out of the creek bed and then jump onto a small ridge, which it follows until you get to a barren moonscape, with no plants, footprints, cow patties, or hardly a sign of anything. This, my friends, is the intersection of Bronco Creek Trail #287 and the China Wall Trail. Can't you see it? ;)
So the China Wall is apparently coming in from the ridge to the west, though I couldn't tell. Anyways, continue to proceed south and in short time you will come to a newly reconstructed corral. This happens to be the best looking corral I've encountered in an AZ wilderness, so take a minute to admire it!
Pass through the corral (directly through it) to get to the other side of the fencing. Now follow the trail as it proceeds uphill. In a half mile you will come to a tank with a trickle of water. If the tank weren't cracked, Jack Springs Tank would be great for cows. As it is, it is a little difficult for animals to use, though I saw ample signs they were making due.
If you continue uphill following the trail you will find the piping feeding the trough and eventually find Jack Springs itself. From here the trail is a pleasant uphill grade, free of bushes, that will lead to China Wall, an interesting geological oddity. The trail will crest at a saddle alongside the wall and descend steeply on the other side. It makes use of basically a rocky wash with surprisingly good footing. At the end it deposits you on a bare saddle with great views to the southeast. From here you can link up with the Cottonwood Basin Trail to make a loop back to Cottonwood #247 if you are backpacking. Otherwise return the way you came.
Water Sources: Jack Springs is found along the way. Due to the number of cows utilizing this source, humans may want to just pack in their water.
Camping: You can do this as a backpacking loop, being that water is a problem, most will return to Cottonwood #247 to make camp.
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.