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Little Wolf Creek Trail #304, AZ

Guide 14 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 3.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,247 feet
Elevation Gain 1,617 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,753 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 9.44
Interest Historic & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes
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13  2020-09-17
Big Bug Mesa Rd 103 and Trail 9434
23  2019-06-22
Little Wolf - Pine Creek - Grapevine Loop
13  2019-06-22
Little Wolf - Pine Creek - Grapevine Loop
14  2019-06-22
Little Wolf - Pine Creek - Grapevine Loop
15  2013-09-14
BB Mesa-L Wolf Crk-Pine Crk-Grapevine Lp
12  2013-09-14
Little Wolf - Pine Creek - Grapevine Loop
22  2013-09-14
BB Mesa-L Wolf Crk-Pine Crk-Grapevine Lp
17  2013-08-28
Grape Taft Bush Push
Page 1,  2
Author JoelHazelton
author avatar Guides 16
Routes 10
Photos 967
Trips 406 map ( 1,969 miles )
Age 35 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov → 9 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:17am - 7:44pm
Official Route
4 Alternative

A taste of Big Bug
by JoelHazelton

I've been very curious about the Big Bug Mesa area lately for a couple reasons. First of all, I've found very little info on hiking in the area. Any trail write-ups I've come across were limited to Grapevine Spring and a small, vague description of this hike. Second of all, and more importantly, it seems to be the quickest access to ponderosa pines from the west side of Phoenix. This, of course, may be incorrect, but I know roundtrip I used significantly less than half of a tank of gas coming from the Glendale area. I can't complain about that!

The hike begins on a jeep track and passes several nice campsites in the first short stretch in the shade of huge pine trees. After about 0.25 mile you may spot a sign on the left (west) side of the creek that says "9345". Ignore the sign and continue straight on the trail on the right side of the creek. Soon the trail leaves the cool creekbed and climbs over some small hills and in and out of a couple washes as it passes the mouth of Pipeline Canyon. At mile 1.1 you enter the shade of some tall pines and encounter an old corral. This is a good cool down spot if you decided to hike on a 90+ degree day as we did. Soon the trail leaves the shade, but re-enters at mile 1.35. This short stretch in the bottom of the canyon is very enjoyable. The pines are tall and the shade is cool, and the crunch of pine needles under your feet is relaxing. Enjoy, because you will quickly exit the shade and commence fighting through overgrown scrub oak and manzanita as the trail deteriorates. The are small cairns at many of the creek crossings, red flagging on the trees, and eventually a barbed wire fence on your right to help keep you on the trail.

At mile 2.9 you will run into another corral and an unsigned trail junction. I built a cairn at the junction. To your right you can follow red flagging off trail to the top of Little Mesa. We opted to go left. Follow the trail left, still along the left side of the fence. Cairns and yellow flags lead you to a steep drainage that takes you up the side of Big Bug Mesa. It is 0.5 miles and 650 feet up the side of the mesa before you reach the top. The views on the way up include Mayer, Highway 69, the Black Hills, the Bradshaws, and the Mazatzals in the far distance. A large cairn in the trail confirms you are at the top, and you are welcomed with a cool forest of mixed conifers and several flat campsites. The views from the trail on the top are non-existent, as they are blocked by trees, but an off-trail jaunt to the edge of the mesa would probably provide some great views. The trail continues, but at this point we took a nap at one of the many great primitive camp spots and then headed back.

We did not encounter a single person on this hike on a Saturday afternoon. Awesome! I would certainly recommend this hike for solitude, a decent workout, a variety of terrain, decent views, and proximity to Phoenix. It would probably be perfect when the creek is running... Just be aware, it is very warm during the summer.

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2008-06-29 JoelHazelton

    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.

    Permit $$

    Prescott Forest
    Prescott National Forest Pass

    Only trailheads with six "amenities" have fees. Amenities are picnic tables, trash, toilet, parking, interpretive signing and security.

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Phoenix, take I-17 north to Cordes Junction. Take Highway 69 west from Cordes Junction to Mayer. Exit highway 69 southwest onto Main St. in Mayer. You will immediately hit a "T" intersection- turn right. Drive this road slowly (speed limit 25) for a couple miles until you come up on a blue sign that reads "Prescott National Forest" with an arrow pointing left. For reference, this sign will be two streets after you pass the Double D Bar on the left side of Main St. Follow the arrow left. You will quickly come across another similar sign, also directing you left. This should be Jefferson St. Follow this sign as well. From here just continue on Jefferson St. past several houses and into Prescott National Forest.

    I didn't record the actual mileage on FR67 before the trailhead is reached, but I'm guessing it's close to 8 or 9 miles. The trailhead is very easy to find. The road winds through high desert scenery until it drops steeply into the Wolf Creek drainage, which is the first, and only instance of Ponderosas during the drive in. As soon as the road reaches the bottom of the canyon, it crosses the typically dry Little Wolf Creek, with a large campsite on the left and a narrow jeep road on the right, signed "9344". The road on the right is the beginning of the trail. I drove a couple hundred feet on that road and parked under a tree.
    page created by JoelHazelton on Jun 29 2008 11:53 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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