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Mule Creek Point Sinkholes, AZ

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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,565 feet
Elevation Gain 300 feet
Accumulated Gain 500 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1-2 hrs
Kokopelli Seeds 6.7
Interest Off-Trail Hiking
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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13  2017-09-09
Canyon Creek / Mule Creek / Naegolin Disc
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15  2011-08-24 BEEBEE
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author avatar Guides 101
Routes 249
Photos 2,067
Trips 509 map ( 4,866 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Preferred May, Sep, Oct, Jun
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  5:36am - 7:22pm
Official Route
 
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Water
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire233.5 mi**
Nearby Area Water
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Thar be caves under them hills
by nonot

Overview
An easy stroll out to 3 large sinkholes on the rim, making partial use of old roads.

Warning
There's no water on this hike - bring some with you. There is also no shade, so bring sun protection.

History
Sinkholes are formed when voids formed below the earth collapse. The rim is rich with caves due to the karst process working on the Coconino sandstone layer. The age and size of these sinkholes suggest that the karst processes are located relatively deep in this area and likely well sealed off, considering the age of the trees growing within and the collapse volume.

Hike
From 260, either hike or drive the half-mile of FR9535J until you reach the gate. Past this is closed to vehicles. Go through the gate (close it behind you, please) and proceed hiking south along the old extension of the road. After a bit, the road starts meandering straight east. Hike south for a bit cross-country, and you may pick up an even older road. A short bit later and you can identify the first sinkhole to the west off the road, which is the smallest. Next to it, a bit to the south, is its much larger brother. Hiking further west another 5 minutes will bring you to the third and last sinkhole of significance in the Mule Creek Point area. This last sinkhole provided the much-desired shade for a rather startled mulie doe on my visit.

Searching the area, I did not locate any possible entrances to the cave system that must lurk below. Perhaps it's for the best as due to all these collapses, there might be very little left underground in this particular area.

Return the way you came or continue to explore out to Mule Creek Point itself.

Water Sources
None

Camping
Possible, though the Rodeo Chediski fire has burned down almost all the trees, so you would be at the mercy of the winds.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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.

2011-08-22 nonot
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    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
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    or
    Road
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    Take 260 E from Payson, about 11 miles east of Christopher Creek, turn south on FR 9535J. Park out of the way just off the highway or go approx 0.5 miles of high clearance road to the gate.
    page created by nonot on Aug 22 2011 8:14 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool
    helpcorrectionissue

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