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Deadman Trail #25, AZ

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance One Way 5.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,739 feet
Elevation Gain -1,630 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,600 feet
Avg Time One Way 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.13
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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33  2017-09-01
Club Cabin
author avatar Guides 33
Routes 78
Photos 1,293
Trips 193 map ( 2,221 miles )
Age 37 Male Gender
Location Gilbert, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov
Sun  5:48am - 7:13pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 Willow 2004117.2 mi*
🔥 2004 Willow Fire120k
🔥 2004 Willow117.2 mi*
🔥 View (All) - over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles

Rim to Rim on Deadman Creek
by jacobemerick

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Deadman Creek drains much of the central-western Mazatzal Wilderness. Its forks stretch from Bear Spring to Maverick Basin and cut deep valleys that make the rough, hilly terrain even harder to traverse. This trail is one of the few routes to cross Deadman Creek, connecting Mountain Spring to Club Cabin, and can be combined with other trails to make some lengthy backpacking loops through a remote area.

An intact trail sign along Willow Spring Trail points to a well-defined tread, complete with visible cairns, making a promising northern trailhead for Deadman Trail. It heads downhill to cross a lush Horse Creek (the same flow that Mountain Spring drains into) and then promptly disappears. Pick a path of least resistance on the southern bank, hop over the old fence on the far side, and then continue south up the low hill. There is another fence on the crest to hop over, and then a well-defined path picks up on the far side at 0.5-miles.

The next mile or so of the trail is a fun game of winding in and out of drainages. You never lose or pick up much elevation on the route. Some areas are rocky, some are grassy, and the tread is easy to follow the whole way. The drainages all flow off a series of hills (5510', 5412', etc.) that sit directly to the east of the trail. At 1.2-miles, a small saddle marks the end of this game and opens up a big view of Deadman Creek below. Time to lose some elevation.

The trail drops down the other side of the saddle a short bit before swinging westward, working parallel to the creek, and using some switchbacks on steeper downhill sections. Before heading into the creek valley proper, Deadman Trail first aims for a low part on the northern rim, losing over five hundred feet along the way. There is another fence to hop over at the low part and some tricky route-finding - continue west further than you think you should to stay on track.

At 1.9-miles, the trail finally bends south and gets serious about descending into the creek valley. It isn't steep enough to warrant switchbacks, instead merely carving a reasonable slope into the side of a drainage much of the way. In fact, there are some sections that may even appear to be fairly level. The drainage opens up, and the trail wanders onto a flat between two rocky washes, dropping into the western one right before Deadman Creek. A few cairns lead over to the creek at 3.1 miles.

Directly across the creek from here is an old corral - the trail continues a few hundred yards upstream from this. The bank here may be overgrown, pick a path that works for you. Once past the thicker stuff, try to pick up the cairns, which are sparsely placed through the grassy lands, and do your best at following the tread. It is not as well-defined on this side of the creek, though the vegetation is not the worst to bushwhack through. Continue uphill and cross multiple drainages on a southeast diagonal before summiting the southern rim at 4.7-miles. The southern views are phenomenal.

The final leg is a drop to meet up with Davenport Trail. For a while, the path sticks to the west side of a drainage. Then slides onto a narrow ridge between the drainage and the next one over, before swinging back to the original drainage for the last bit. Some areas of the leg are easy to follow. Some will require a bit of searching. The southern end of the trail is barely discernible. From here, one could head east less than a mile to Club Cabin for a water refill or head west either following Davenport Trail out of the wilderness or connecting with Sheep Creek Trail for more fun in the western Mazzies.

Water Sources
Deadman Creek at the trail crossing appears to be dependable. Mountain Spring, and Club Spring, near opposite trailheads are very dependable.

Club Cabin and Mountain Spring are well-known and built-up campsites (relative to the Mazatzals) with adequate water. One could camp along Deadman Creek near the corral, though there was no sign of a fire ring or flat for convenience.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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2017-10-01 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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Connector trail - Not Applicable

    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 Oct 01 2017 4:29 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    prehydrate & stay hydrated

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