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Willow Spring Trail #244 - Mazatzal, AZ

no permit
94 4 0
Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
3 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 0.36 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,873 feet
Elevation Gain -268 feet
Accumulated Gain 15 feet
Avg Time One Way 0.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 0.41
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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30  2018-06-09
Sheep Bridge / Mountain Spring Loop
40  2017-12-27
Willow Springs Trail via Sheep Bridge
24  2017-03-04
Sheep Bridge / Mountain Spring Loop
Author jacobemerick
author avatar Guides 31
Routes 71
Photos 795
Trips 96 map ( 1,037 miles )
Age 34 Male Gender
Location Gilbert, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Nov, Dec
Sun  6:08am - 6:36pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Named place Nearby
Spur Trail to a Mazatzal Paradise
by jacobemerick

Short spur trail that drops off the main Willow Springs #223 to a dependable spring in the western Mazatzal Wilderness.

The start of this trail is 6.8 miles from the western end of Willow Springs #223, on a shallow saddle right before a hefty climb. Junction is marked with an old sign and cairn, though the post may be knocked over. It heads southeast along the side of a ridge for a short distance, passing through brush and a few short trees.

At 0.2 miles it reaches the end of the ridge, switching back and forth a few times as it drops 200' and crosses a shallow drainage on the way to Horse Creek. Two appealing campsites show up above the creek and then the foliage around Willow Spring shows up, narrowing the route to a narrow path between lush grass with branches hanging low. This is effectively the end of the trail - once you're done with the spring and/or camp areas, return back up the hill to continue on your larger adventure.

Water Sources
Willow Spring is the cleaner of two water sources along Horse Creek and Willow Springs #223, making this spur trail well worth the mild elevation drop needed to get to it.

At least two campsites are located on the bank of Horse Creek above the spring, one along the trail and exposed to the open air and the other a bit more tucked under the trees.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2018-07-25 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.

    Most recent Triplog Review
    Willow Spring Trail #244 - Mazatzal
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I could not make up my mind this weekend on something to do and was all over the place when this backpacking idea popped into my conscience, as a lighter alternative to the Midnight Mesa Loop, which had been on my to do list for a long time. I got some last minute details from Joe, which included a good review of Dutchman Grave Trail, and an assurance that I could not go wrong with the Western Mazzies this time of year.

    Joe was definitely right, the western Mazzies are a special place right now. One could get away with charging admission to the Dutchman Grave Trail right now; perhaps the desert at its finest and with the rugged ridgeline of the Mazzies as a backdrop, hard to beat. Similarly, the trail itself was in pretty good shape too. There are some faint areas and a few areas where a second look may be necessary, however, it is generally pretty easy to follow and marked well with some very tall and well constructed cairns. The final stretch into Mountain Spring is a little strenuous, but very scenic, maybe one of the nicer stretches of trail in the entire wilderness in my opinion. The strenuous part was the 670 feet climb from mile 11-12 that just seems to come out of nowhere, just when you think you are almost to Mountain Spring, oh if only we hiked in the manner the crow flied, sigh. Mountain Spring was an excellent spot to camp and there was plenty of water in the cement trough and adjacent creek bed. I enjoyed a nice fire and a perfect night for sleeping.

    The hike out on Sunday went pretty quick and I was back to the TH in less than five hours. I made a detour down Willow Springs Trail #244 to Willow Spring on the way out and was very impressed by the area. It may be one of the nicest destinations in the Mazzies right now. The creek is flowing nicely through there right now and there are a few nice cascades and swimming holes in the spring area. The trailhead area was bustling when I got there, but I saw nobody on the trails all weekend. A really awesome area and I left feeling very satisfied with my hastily planned venture into the western Mazzies. In fact, I would not mind returning for a multiple day and night trip to do some more exploring of those trails and areas in the interior I still need to get to, one of my more memorable Mazatzal destinations. Thanks for the last minute beta and good call @joebartels.

    More significant on the drive in, as large swaths of yellow have taken over many of the hills on the way to the TH, but some pretty good action along some sections of Willow Springs Trail too...

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To Sheep Bridge Trailhead
    Take Cave Creek road east and follow the directions to Seven Springs - Cave Creek Road turns into FR24. Take FR24 35 miles until it ends at FR269. Take FR269 another 12 miles to the southeast until it ends at Sheep Bridge. NOTE: the last 8 miles or so of FR269 is unmaintained! While it may be passable by car - I would urge something with more clearance and designed suspension.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 105mi 3h 38m
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 182mi 4h 50m
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 119mi 3h 44m
    page created by joebartels on Jul 25 2018 8:47 pm
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