register help
This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Deerhead Spring Trail, AZ

0 9 0
Guide 9 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson
2.6 of 5 by 5
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Distance One Way 1.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,146 feet
Elevation Gain 310 feet
Accumulated Gain 310 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 2.13
Dogs not allowed
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
35  2019-04-05
Rincon Backpack
22  2019-04-02
Turkey Creek & Misc Trails
15  2016-09-19
Manning Camp via the Tub to Turkey Creek TH
27  2016-09-17
Rincon Manning Camp Turkey Creek
35  2016-09-17
Manning Camp Hike via Turkey Creek Trail #34
2  2015-11-14
Devil's Bathtub Trail - Coronado NF
28  2015-03-24
Rincon Loop
2  2014-10-03
Heartbreak Ridge Trail
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   May, Sep, Oct, Aug
Sun  6:07am - 6:26pm
Official Route
7 Alternative

Likely In-Season!
Spud Rock - Outstanding point of bare rock in plain view from Tucson at north end of the Rincons, elevation 8,590 feet. About 24 miles east of Tucson. George F. Kitt of Tucson says: "Two Southern Pacific railroad engineers, William H. Barnett and Jim Miller, had a shack here and raised potatoes and cabbage on a little flat close to the rock. They called it Spud Rock for their major crop --spuds. Barnett fell from his horse one day coming down the trail and was killed."

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
  • Rincon HAZ Map
    area related
    Rincon HAZ Map
  • Rincon Mountain Distric East
    area related
    Rincon Mountain Distric East
  • Tucson Mountain District West
    area related
    Tucson Mountain District West
  • SNP Cactus Forest Map
    area related
    SNP Cactus Forest Map
  • nps related
  • sub-region related

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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Deerhead Spring Trail
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Manning Camp via the Tub to Turkey Creek TH
After a nice evening and morning we now had to go back. Kind of sad to leave this place. The question is which way do we want to go back, the way we came or via the Tub? I wanted to see the Tub but it would add about 1 1/2 to our journey and it would be warm as we got toward the bottom of the mountain. K&K assured the trail was nice (cuz after yesterday's North Slope adventure I wasn't in the mood for working too hard again, ha!). I couldn't make up my mind so Wendy said we would do the Tub; which turned out to be the right choice and that way, I got to see one of the "must do" when you come up to Manning Camp.

And wow was that a downhill to get to the Tub. So glad we didn't come up that way which was one of the options we were originally going to do. The hike down thru here is really pretty thru the forest and with occasional views to the far valley and mountains. There were a couple areas with water which is always a nice treat in the desert. The Devil's Bathtub wasn't draining very much but it was still a pretty cool site. We actually spent a little time here hanging around so that was nice and then it was off toward Spud Rock Campground Junction on part of the East Slope Trail.

Once again you had off and on views to the valleys as you hike off and on thru the forest. It's very entertaining hiking up here as the terrain changes quite a bit. We followed some more running water as we continued on part of the East Slope Trail to what we dubbed The Park. It was a clear forest floor with large trees sprouting to the sky. Down the Switchback Trail we went to the ferned meadow of Spud Rock Campground Junction. From there our next stop would be Deer Head Spring. However, there is one part of the trail just above the spring that is a bit difficult to decipher but we made it down though I don't know if it was the right way. We hung at the Spring for a bit. We were trying to take advantage of the shade as much as we could.

The next part of the trail was probably the worst as we headed down to Mud Hole Spring which would be our last shaded stop. The trail is a little gully as you hike down and then you encounter the rock n roll rocky sections. You go thru manzanita sections and more foresty sections though the size of the trees is smaller now. I was having a little trouble getting my pack comfortable so that was not fun. I was disappointed because on my trip up; my pack didn't give me any issues. I packed it like Wendy did; at least I thot so, but it wasn't fitting quite right.

At Mud Hole Spring we hung out and Karl showed me the spring. It didn't have much water in it but enough to filter fairly nicely. We still had quite a bit of down to go but at least on this part, there would be steps that really helped - although I despised them on the way up as I'd rather hike up on the less stable ground than have to lift my body up those steps. Kathy, on the other hand, loves steps on the way up. The trail that didn't have the steps, once again, was in pretty shabby shape. It was also starting to get warmer now but every once in awhile we would get a breeze. We were sure glad to get to the saddle though as from here on out, the trail conditions would be much better.

Karl agreed to one more stop for what little shade there was at the Park Boundary. This was actually kind of nice because we could look back at where we had been. Filtered light was now coming in as the residual from the hurricane was making its way north. This was indeed welcomed even though the humidity came with it. From here it's the hills and ridgeline hike back to the TH. K&K took off and we made our way thru the grassy hillsides and cowsh...t (they're eating well ;) ) to join them. Thx for the beer and gatorade.

I didn't take any video after the Switchback Trail intersection as I was holding on to the mountain so I couldn't really hike and film. I doubt I even took that many pictures once we started heading down. It's too bad really cuz once the filtered light came in, it was good viewing. But by that time, I was just too tired.

Thx Wendy for getting me up and down this mountain and still being my friend after all this and other times. I still don't know how you get me to do those things :-k that are out of my comfort zone and at the edge of my capability. Karl, thx for keeping that fire going on Sunday nite. K&K, Thx for the beer and gatorade and chips.

It was absolutely great! well except for the hard parts :lol:

2-15-2017 finally the two part video:
Part 1 from Manning Camp to Devil's Bathtub [ youtube video ]
Part 2 from Devil's Bathtub toward Turkey Creek Trailhead [ youtube video ]
Deerhead Spring Trail
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Manning Camp Hike via Turkey Creek Trail #34
She (that being Wendy) is crazy thinking I could hike this trail, let alone want to but nonetheless, this was our mission and who doesn't want to hang out at Manning Camp for a couple nights. So Saturday AM we loaded up the Tamale and headed for the TH. It took us about 1:45 by the time all was said and done. A big :y: to Wendy's driving skills for getting the AWD Subaru she calls Tamale all the way to the end of the 4 wheel drive road. Rambler Hill was a doozie and on the fourth go at it, Wendy grabbed the edge of the road where the grass was to get us by the spot that wouldn't let the Tamale pass. Thank goodness as that road walk would not have been pleasant at all on top of climbing the mountain. I hate to think how bad it would have been if I would have had to hike from the start of the 4-wheel drive road.

And so it begins at 8:20AM, me not being in great hiking shape with a loaded backpack (and that's after Wendy lightened up what I was going to put in it)... up and over the roller coaster ridgeline we went. Each time we went down I whined cuz I know the objective is UP for a very long time (in fact that would be 5 Shaw Buttes in 5 miles). It's beautiful out there right now as everything is so green. When you looked at our objective it really seemed nearly impossible that we would be on top of that, hopefully in time for Happy Hour (I did carry a can of huckleberry beer left over from my birthday party last year).

Once you finish the ridgeline you head southwest along the side of one of the taller hills to the Park Boundary and then arrive at the TH register, seemingly in the middle of nowhere on the saddle. Wendy signed us in as we started our nearly endless "UP" of this mountain. The first part has some beautiful steps and grading but that soon ends as the trail has taken a real beating from all of the rain. And occasionally my new Z-poles (their maiden voyage) would flip out of hold until Wendy pointed out that I hadn't snapped them in :doh: . We would find ourselves stopping quite a bit to check out the flora including this great lemon smelling plant and giant banana yucca fruit. We would also stop and look for Karl and Kathy (K&K) as they would be joining us for our adventure.

We finally made it to Mud Hole Spring (not quite 4 miles, 1351 elev gain with most of that in the last 2 1/2 miles at noon), though we didn't see the spring (didn't look too hard either). We took a break here in the shade as there isn't much until this point. A short way past here I realized I had left my head band and Wendy offered to go back for it. While waiting for her I thot I heard other voices which I did. We stopped about 1/2 hour or so later for lunch once we found some more shade. The trail here is just not good with narrow gullies in the middle of the trail and lots of loose rock. While we were having lunch I heard the voices again and this time it was K&K.

We still had a pretty decent climb, I mean hike, up to Deer Head Spring (5 1/2 miles at 7192 feet) and a couple times it was difficult discerning where the trail was. We did stop a couple times to take in the different views too. The Little Rincons are sure pretty. Karl filtered up some water here and we eventually made it up to Spud Rock Campground intersection (6 miles at 7434 feet) through a very lush fern-filled meadow. K&K went to check out the campground, Wendy went to find the spring, I rested my laurels.

Next would be the Switchback Trail which was really full of flora as well and it sure made some of that UP less painful. Alas, there was still a little over 1/2 of Shaw Butte to go and 2 miles. We topped out at around 8250 (I was thinking 8000 since that's where the camp is but ](*,) ). I was sure pretty tired by this time however everyone was very patient as I whined about the "almosts". We sat on some rocks for a bit before continuing on where we checked out a drainage crossing to see a great view of Wrightson. Yep, I've been there.

As we got closer, we crossed another creek area and you could see the storms had caused a rush of water to come through due to all the debris. Yeah we finally made it to Manning Camp and the smile returned to my face.... that is until we had to go get water after setting up our tents. Thankfully there is a beautiful waterfall that flows into a large pool to enjoy before having to walk back up the hill to camp and now I can sit and drink my beer, CHEERS! and WTG Wendy, you got me UP another Sky Island. We got the fire going fairly quickly as it started to get nippy once that sun starts to go down. It really made a difference too.

Surprisingly, I didn't even go through one battery on my camera which means I didn't take the normal amount of video and pictures as I was obviously hanging onto the mountain for the most part ;) . After finishing off my piece of pizza and some good chatter around the fire, it was time to crawl into my sleeping bag. I made it up into the Rincons :) (with a little help from my friends).

to Park Boundary ... TaIk
to Mud Hole Spring ... 8MeI
to Spud Rock Campground Jct ... gMkg
Switchback Trail to Manning Camp ... dT88

there was some flora off and on but not of the autumn kind other than the ferns turning.
Deerhead Spring Trail
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
A day hike to and from our camp at Spud Rock Spring to get water and to explore the area. The overall backpack trip is described at [ triplog ] .

Coming out of the Spud Rock Spring campsite, we weren't clear on whether to head back towards Deer Head Spring or up the Switchback Trail to catch the trail to Devil's Bathtub. It ended up we took the "wrong trail" or the Deer Head Spring Trail, causing us to drop about 500 feet. This trail, like the Turkey Trail, hasn't got much use or maintenance. But it was pretty, and at the end of the day, created a loop for us. We met the Heartbreak Ridge Trail, headed north for .5 miles until we got to Four Corners, then headed 20 minutes west to Devils Bathtub.

Water was plentiful here. After lunching and napping for an hour and a half, we headed back to Spud Rock Spring via the Devil's Bathtub, East Slope, and Switchback Trails.
Deerhead Spring Trail
rating optionrating optionrating optionrating optionrated 1
Rincon Mountains
Day 1: Parked at Turkey Creek TH (not at the actual TH, just where the road gets bad), walked to Miller Creek TH, hiked up to Happy Valley, dropped our heavy stuff, and headed up Rincon Peak.

Day 2: HBR trail up to Spud Rock Campground via the Deerhead Spring Trail, again dropped stuff off, then waddled up the rest of the way to see Mica Mtn, Spud Rock, Manning Camp, and all sorts of other goodies I hadn't seen before. Everything up there was amazing and well worth the schlep...

Day 3: Down Turkey Creek Trail. It was a much nicer trail than I was expecting, but it's not something I would want to do during typical May weather given how exposed it is.

No issues aside from a few scary looking clouds the second afternoon and lots of very excited (but non-threatening) bees on the Heartbreak Ridge Trail on the way up to Happy Valley Lookout. The Manzanitas were blossoming and there was a constantly disconcerting buzz the entire time... :scared: Otherwise it's a fantastic trail.
Deerhead Spring Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Rincon Loop
Wanting to return to the Rincons since last fall, today was to be a great hike in the main body of the range, though without the Mica MT area. I was really pleased that my car got me to the four wheel drive trailhead, as I took it up the 2 track and started from there, instead of lower down. This gave me more time higher up, and I was able to visit Manning Camp, as a result. The 4WD road was less about clearance, than actual 4WD, and beefy tires would make a difference. However, a fictional AWD civic never would have made it.

The hike was better than expected and I was up in the pines in under 3 hours. I really just hiked through the Deer Head fire area and was less impressed with it than I hoped. This is no central Gila Wilderness. Most of the affects seem to be top killing brush and oaks, and needle cast consumption, but there was less grass than hoped for. I did hike up a ridge (not GPSed) and look at some old growth pines, still with some grass under them. I found the area around Manning Camp to be highly reminiscent of some of the low spots in the WOR, specifically around the nice camping spot with the massive pines. This is because it is almost all pine litter, little grass, and a dense stand of tall poles, with some larger orange barkers, but nothing characteristic of the way it would have been 120 years ago.

The Fire Loop is one of the nicer areas, and the granite domes are fun to look at, and climb on if you chose. In that regard, the Rincons have a Yosemite feel to them. Manning Camp itself is OK, but it just feels like a NPS camp area, nothing that special, save for the water and weather station. The Manning Camp trail south of the camp does have great canyons, falling water, and westward views to the Tucson Mountains. The Devil's Bathtub trail and area is really nice, and if flowing when warm might be a nice place to hangout, but I expect it is dry when warm. Heartbreak Ridge has great views, and as always looking east is fantastic.

With the current appearance of the east slopes, the species composition, and the fire affects, I would almost prefer it had not burned, since the oaks and other brush will coppice, some younger pines were killed, a lot of soil will and has eroded post fire, and it isn't going to return to pine, or mixed oaks over grass anytime soon. The grassy and pine covered areas do look better, and at least fuel loads are reduced. Still, the top of the mountain would benefit from something it will never get: mechanical thinning. The current composition of this area seems to have been influenced by (the Manning's?) grazing a lot more than Mica Mountain proper, but there appears to be slightly more soil here, too.

Overall, a great hike, my longest of the year, and with some serious AEG. It was nice down low, and cool, but tolerable while constantly switching between a sweater and t-shirt up higher. It was also breezy, but that created some lenticular clouds. I think it is still early in the higher terrain, as despite the above normal temps, it is still only late March, and there were fewer bird calls than expected. I did see some mountain quail, I think, or some other birds with flight sounds like a quail. Most of the life is still below 6,000'.
Deerhead Spring Trail
rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
Had a day off and was passing by Mescal, so I whipped it over to Happy Valley for a Rincon Mountain traverse. Not much to report, but with zero negative issues, it was as perfect as this day could get. Headed up the Turkey Creek trail, hit Spud Rock campsite, took the East Slope to Heartbreak Ridge, over to Happy Valley campsite, down the Miller Creek trail and back to the Exploder. Pretty much a sunup to sundown stroll :)

Permit $$

Coronado Forest
MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

Saguaro National Park
2019 $20 vehicle, $15 motorcycle or $10 for any individual on foot or bicycle - the receipt is valid for 7 days Fees

Map Drive

To hike
page created by joebartels on May 29 2012 9:51 am
$17 3L Hydration Bladder
help comment issue

end of page marker