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Sears Trail #90, AZ

Guide 25 Triplogs  0 Topics
  2.5 of 5 
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,970 feet
Elevation Gain 2,183 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,301 feet
Avg Time One Way 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 15.67
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
10  2021-03-21 mazatzal
33  2017-04-14
Copper Camp Loop II
15  2016-11-26 mazatzal
10  2016-04-17
Davenport Wash Trail #89
16  2016-02-20
Davenport / Sears Loop - Horseshoe Dam
15  2014-02-09
Davenport Peak and Wash loop
6  2014-02-09
Davenport Peak
24  2014-02-09
Davenport Peak & Wash Loop
Page 1,  2,  3
Author jacobemerick
author avatar Guides 31
Routes 74
Photos 1,147
Trips 151 map ( 1,709 miles )
Age 36 Male Gender
Location Gilbert, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Mar
Sun  5:36am - 7:30pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 Willow 2004117.2 mi*
🔥 2020 Bush Fire193.5k
🔥 2004 Willow Fire120k
🔥 2004 Willow117.2 mi*
🔥 1995 Basin Fire21.2k
🔥 View All over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles

Rolling Hills to Sheep Creek
by jacobemerick

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This trail provides a fun, exposed ride over rolling hills to a scenic location nestled deep in the western Mazatzal Wilderness. It is surprising varied, swinging around hills, dipping into sandy washes, and even giving a bit of ridgeline fun near the end. Can be used with nearby trails to make good backpacking loops (see Davenport / Sears Loop or Copper Camp Loop II as examples.

Trail sees little usage, especially in the eastern end. Route-finding may be difficult.

Reaching the western trailhead involves a 3.3 mile walk from the Horseshoe Dam spillway along 479. Unless you can get a vehicle across the Verde River, that is, and then you can just drive to the trailhead and park alongside the road.

From the posted trailhead there is a decision to make. The first option is to simply follow the posted route for 477, which crosses Davenport Wash and continues up the southern bank a short distance. Or there are cairns that leads a fox-tail path around the squat trees surrounding the wash. The cairned path does not seem to see much use. Either option will take you near the mucky Sears Trailhead Spring at .25 miles, one of the few springs along the trail.

Once on the far side of the wash a sign for 'Copper Camp Trail 87' shows up, three miles before that trailhead, and another decision is presented. Stay straight on the barely defined two-track to follow the old tread back into Davenport Wash and, eventually, up the chalk-cliff cut. Or, turn right with the gravel road to find the newer trail alignment. The new alignment is well-defined, has plenty of cairns, and is only a little annoying to follow. It swings in and out along the upper banks of Davenport Wash, climbing little ridges and dropping into little drainages, eventually coming back to the chalk-cliff cut and a hard right turn at 1.38 miles.

A well-defined two-track leads in between towering cliffs of chalk and makes a quick 150' climb onto a narrow flat. Near 2.0 miles there is a split, with the road swinging right and a cairned trail left. They join back up near the wilderness boundary. From here the way continues to be well-defined and well-cairned, leading through lush flats, over smooth rocky rises, and past a corral.

There is a drop into a sandy, grassy wash at 4.1 miles that is easy to follow. A few ginormous trees are located along the wash that could provide good resting spots. While there are springs marked on the map along this stretch, I found them to be more stinky algea than water and passed them by on my visit in mid-April. Continue within the wash (unless you feel adventurous, then there are a few remaining trail segments along the banks) to 4.7 miles, then take the left fork a few dozen yards before following some cairns up and to the right along a narrow ridge between the two forks.

The route begins to climb in earnest now up the ridge, then swinging along the side of 4032 to 5.4 miles. Here it begins to fade a bit and bend northwards across some washes and tops a saddle above Lizard Spring. Davenport Peak looks amazing from this saddle. Lizard Spring seems to be a year-round source, though reaching it does involve a nasty 200' off-trail descent. Sears Trail swings around the valley and gets close to an interesting frustron on Ridge Mountain. On the far side of this swing, past an old fence at 6.2 miles, is when route-finding becomes difficult.

For a while the trail plays on top of a ridge, with few cairns to help you with this obvious section. There are some awesome views of Cypress Ridge to the south along the ridge. Near 7.1 miles there is a eastern twist and a drop into the top of a small drainage, and then the route more-or-less aims for a saddle to east. Beyond this saddle the trail stays level, keeping above a drainage of Sheep Creek and below the hillside to the north, curving northeast to the trail junction with Sheep Creek. There is a sign here, though it may be difficult to find.

From here you can take Sheep Creek Trail either north or south. North will take you to Davenport Wash Trail and, eventually, Club Cabin. South will take you down to Round Spring and the old Sheep Creek Cabin area.

Water Sources
There are no dependable sources along the trail. Some of the seeps in the sandy wash may be running during the winter/spring months, and Lizard Spring seems to be dependable but involves some nasty off-trail venturing. Sheep Creek Cabin and Round Spring, beyond the end of Sears Trail, can provide some water relief at the end of the trail.

No obvious campsites along the route. Sheep Creek Cabin beyond the eastern end of the trail is a nice place to spend a night.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2017-05-13 jacobemerick

    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.

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    Map Drive

    To hike
    These directions assume a start from 477. The easiest way to reach this track is either via the walkway under Horseshoe Dam or fording the Verde below the dam.
    page created by mazatzal on May 13 2017 5:23 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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