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Camouflage Tanks, AZ

no permit
183 11 0
Guide 11 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
3.3 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,079 feet
Elevation Gain 900 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,800 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5+ hours
Kokopelli Seeds 15
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
12  2019-01-12
Golden Dome
14  2018-02-18
Goldfield Combo
15  2018-02-18
Goldfield Combo
10  2018-02-04 jamminaz
12  2017-02-04 hikingaz2
17  2017-01-21 hikingaz2
12  2017-01-14 hikingaz2
62  2017-01-08
Arches & Top Hat via Hackamore
Page 1,  2
Author sventre
author avatar Guides 13
Routes 67
Photos 403
Trips 61 map ( 272 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:11am - 6:30pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Not for Beginners
by sventre

New non camouflaged tanks. Same killer views.

This hike is a lonnnnng 6 miles that requires route finding skills, and perserverance through patches of catclaw. Long pants, long sleeve shirt and some garden clippers are highly recommended. Leave Fido at home because I guarantee that none of my canine partners would appreciate this hike. 3+ miles of the total distance are easily traveled along the jeep trail through Cottonwood Spring. Once you have left the trail the bushwhack begins and continues until you have descended the boulder strewn/vegetation choked waterfall of the canyon which sqeezes between the two peaks 2400' in elevation.

The route accompanying this posting DOES NOT go directly to the tanks but instead rises high up the ridge immediately southeast of the tanks. From this high point a descent down to the tanks seemed infeasible except by backtracing your steps, descending into the wash northeast of peak 2400, and then proceeding back up along the wash to the tanks.

The views from inside both canyons, along the ridge and nearly everywhere else on this hike are splendid. The Triple Arch is a short hike further northeast of the described route, but easily viewed from the least ridge before descending into the canyon. Weaver's Needle. Four Peaks, The Razorback, Razorback Knob and a host of other landmarks are all within the field of your vision.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2012-01-17 sventre
    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
    Camouflage Tanks
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Goldfield Combo
    one of the best things about haz is the ideas you get from other people
    @hikerdw, @hikingaz2, @azlot69, and @cannondalekid have all posted triplogs, photosets and gps routes for two hikes i've been wanting to do
    thought we could combine razorback knob and camouflage tanks with triple arch via black glass canyon
    doing it this way would eliminate the nasty bushwhack down the exit wash, eliminate a duplicate approach, and give us a lot of bang for the buck
    after my route manager skilz scared jj off, john and i set out around 0715 on dave's track, hooking up with a trail i belatedly realized i've been on before: rough n ready canyon
    we found the point where the off trail began, and took the path of least resistance up to the base of razorback knob
    neither of us were feeling the summit due to steep and sketchy terrain
    great views from the base
    headed off to the camo tanks, exploring the area and taking a snack break
    bigger than i pictured, some animal paths leading toward it, interesting setup
    i also had hikingaz2's route of black glass canyon, and it was a very simple matter to drop down to it
    that was the piece i was missing, so perhaps my track can help the next person connect the two
    nice to see triple arch, then continue into the canyon
    boulder hopping and a little bit of finding the best way down
    only one real drop that required a work around
    beautiful in there and a fun descent
    a few pools of water
    came out in willow springs basin, and immediately saw a couple in a jeep doing some four-wheeling
    a couple miles of walking in gravel, then took one of the horse trails back
    some gratuitous aeg on this; would try the other trail another time
    saw three groups of horseback riders along here
    the entire hike was only 10.2 miles - i had thought it would be closer to 12
    while i was a tiny bit disappointed not to summit the knob, i got to see four cool goldfield landmarks up close
    thanks for being willing to come along, john
    i always enjoy hiking and exploring with you

    Camouflage Tanks
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    good day to check out the Tanks again for CannondaleKid, sure enough the right tank is leaking, not much, but is steady drip drip drip . Also noticed all the catchments are full of dirt, making them useless :( While we were on the saddle before we dropped down to the tanks seen the biggest Ram we've ever encountered :y: Wished I would have had my camera instead of the phone. :( . Took CannondaleKid's route but did it CCW, gives you a whole new view of the Pedestal Arch :)
    Camouflage Tanks
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Planned on making it back to the Tanks today, but waited to see what the rain was planning, finally made it out and ended up a great day. Lot of water moving today, glad we applied Mink oil last week :D had to cross back and forth a lot today. Wanted to check out the Camo Tanks for CannondaleKid, ( thanks for the new route ), but after leaving late and messing around Pedestal Arch we decided to turn back and head to the Jeep leaving the Tanks for another day.
    Camouflage Tanks
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Headed up to Razorback Knob and over to the Tanks, we've been to the saddle up by Razorback Knob before, but wasn't sure the route over to the Tanks. Thanks hikerdw :app: we made it this time :) And yes we did rained on, heavy winds and rain--- covered up and stood behind a dense bush that took the brunt of the storm.
    Camouflage Tanks
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Camo Tanks via Pedestal Arch
    Although we aborted our attempt to reach the eastern Camo Tanks the hard way a few weeks ago, since Tracey had never been there she was ready for another go. So I threw together a few alternatives and without deciding on any one in particular headed out for Bulldog Wolverine gate. Once in Bulldog we drove north and east on FR1356 until we could decide which of three separate 'trail-heads' we would start from. We chose the first one, which was adjacent to FR1356 & Weeks Benchmark (Top Hat).

    We decided to take Orohai Wash and continue the most direct route, first to Pedestal Arch then on to Cottonwood Spring Catchment Camo Tanks. Surprisingly, (in reality, NOT so surprisingly) we encountered vehicle tracks along the wash as far as a mile past the glaringly obvious 'No vehicles allowed' sign at the start. While my Cherokee could have handled 95% of the route, it was quite obvious it had been two full-size rock-crawlers, not ATV's.
    [Kind of disgusting how folks feel just because it is 'public' land they have a right to ignore whatever regulation they want if it suits them, whether it destroys vegetation or not.]
    We also noted a set of motorcycle tracks on a roughly 6-mile loop following the same route as we did except the part of our hike up the drainage to Pedestal Arch and Camo Tanks.

    Enough of the vehicles... thankfully we did not encounter vehicles at all. In fact over the whole trip we saw practically nothing but beautiful scenery... no humans, and a few small critters and birds.

    Rock hopping and scrambling played a big part of our day but nothing dangerous so it was a delight. I'd have to say the worst part of the hike was the numerous encounters with Christmas Cholla. While some were out in the open and easy to avoid, most were growing in among much less threatening plants. So the, usual thing when passing by a jojoba, for instance, is not bother to avoid it as it is quite benign, no thorns. Which, today, meant we both had a few sharp encounters. (Thankfully only one drew blood)

    The ascent to Pedestal Arch seemed to go on and on but with great views every step of the way it was enjoyable. We took a short break at the arch then scanned for the best route to the Camo Tanks. Looking at satellite and topo view on Route Manager, I wasn't sure what if any would be the best approach from the arch, but thankfully I had one I had drawn out 3 or 4 years ago that worked out just right... no treacherous climbs, not even much effort. In fact, of all my trips to the tanks this is by far the most enjoyable.

    Once at the tanks we took a few minutes a check it out... yup, it's still waiting for the scheduled replacement. I showed Tracey where I filmed a rattlesnake when I was here in June 2013.

    Rattlesnake at Cottonwood Spring Catchment

    Then we took time out for our picnic lunch. Wow! We had an AWESOME view of Four Peaks...
    Yup... although I planned to take a photo of Four Peaks after eating lunch, we were already a mile away before I remembered.
    Tracey said she'd wait for me to go back... either that or I could come back on my own. Yeah, right!
    We followed a different wash for about a third of the return trip, and wouldn't you know it, the motorcycle had been through here as well. And just about a quarter mile from where we had left the wash earlier, we found the point where the rock-crawlers had to turn around where it was impassable to motor vehicles.
    Whoops... except for the motorcycle of course. I will admit, the rider had to have gotten a very thorough workout to travel through the roughest terrain. That said, I still don't like the fact that he did it at all!
    Camouflage Tanks
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    While bagging Peaks 2669 and 2700 two days earlier I took a photo in this direction and when I got home and looked at it I noticed something of interest. Using Google Earth I scrolled from Peak 2700 in the general direction of the photo until I located the objects in question. Once I knew the location it was a matter of the best way to get close. Having driven out this way last year with my Samurai I figured I'd take the Cherokee to get as close as I could before doing a loop hike on a triple-digit day.

    Due to the expected temps and my experience in the last few weeks with early am hike, rather than deal with 80° & 25% humidity early morning, I'd much rather start after 9 am when it was more like 85° & 12% humidity. Although it crossed into triple-digits before I finished, with a very stiff breeze I hardly felt the heat.

    The highlight of the hike took place just after I had taken a short break near the stock tank. From 30 feet away I spotted a brass marker looking like a benchmark so I went up to it and took a few photos. The marker included a number of interesting items:
    1. ADBSS = Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society
    2. USFS = United States Forest Service
    3. AZ G & F DEPT = Arizona Game & Fish Department
    4. Cottonwood Spring Catchment
    5. March 1996
    6. SINE AQUA MORTIS = Without Water We Die (Quite appropriate, I'd say)

    While contemplating what it all meant I heard a slight whispering sound. And when I looked up there barely two feet away was a rattlesnake slithering up out of the water tank. As it reached the top it began to buzz away and the first thing that came to mind was what a great video opportunity!

    I had already been filming some of the hike with a GoPro camera on my forehead so I turned it on while taking a few shots with my old Canon PowerShot S5-IS (my SX 260HS is being replaced for the THIRD time!) then filming as well. The logistics quickly became a challenge due to the varying capabilities of the two cameras but I think I managed it pretty well while attempting to get the rattler in a number of poses. Although I posted both videos, even at 1280 x 720 the fixed lens GoPro video wasn't near as good as the 640 x 480 with the S5.

    Be sure to check out the 640 x 480, paying special attention at the 1:35 mark. Note that when the rattler goes into the shadow it whips around, as though it thought something (a hawk?) may be swooping down. I surmised that because it had done the same thing earlier when I held my hand above it so the shadow covered it.

    After that fun it was time to head back, but instead of the way I came I decided to climb eastward up the rocky slope to the saddle then down the other side. Up at the saddle I got a little vertigo and figured maybe I should re-think this route. Steep? Check. Loose rock? Check. Almost no handholds? Check.
    But then I thought, I'm here, I'll start down and see how it goes, if it gets too bad I'll climb back up. I dropped down a whole 20' and thought, this isn't for me! Unfortunately, it was too loose to climb back up so I was committed now. But with some very slow and careful moves (required especially due to the two hiking poles being a real hindrance, just getting in the way) along with a few semi-controlled slides I made it through the treacherous spots, now to deal with the thick brush and a few drops in the drainage and I was home free!

    Overall a warm but fun hike... I'll be back soon to bag a peak I had previously thought (from the west) was beyond my capability but after some recon photos I will attempt it from the east.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    SR88 (Apache Trail) to FR1356 (Cottonwood Gate). West on 1356 until you reach the intersection with FR3512 (Packsaddle Rd). Turn north on 3512 and drive as far as your vehicle will permit. Hike begins on 3512 and north along Cottonwood Spring.
    page created by sventre on Jan 17 2012 6:15 pm
    1 TB Flash Drive... $40
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