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Fig Trail #92 - Tonto NF, AZ

no permit
30 2 0
Guide 2 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
4 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance One Way 4.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,906 feet
Elevation Gain 333 feet
Accumulated Gain 620 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.17
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
15  2018-02-11
Fig Trail and a Kayak
15  2013-01-19 topohiker
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   Jan, Dec, Feb, Mar
Sun  6:10am - 6:32pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
One-Way Trip to Fig Cabin
by jacobemerick

Short and barely-used trail above the Verde River that leads to an old cabin along Sheep Creek. It is difficult to access and offers few loop options, although the final destination is well worth the venture.

Fig Spring Cabin was built by Joe Martin in the 1940s and is still in great shape. He also planted the first fig tree near the Fig Spring.

Reaching the trailhead is, as with many of the western Mazatzal trails, the first challenge. It is located along FR477 on the east side of the Verde River, which is only a road in the most liberal of definitions. The quickest way to get to the trailhead is by crossing the Verde River at the end of FR2109 (by FR42), although one could do a dry crossing at Horseshoe Dam and cross-country from KA Ranch south. Either way, look for a twisted stump next to the road near the coordinates to start the trail.

From the start just head east, following a wide tread left over from an old track, crossing one small wash along the way before dropping into a larger cut at 0.7 miles. This second cut has an unnamed spring HAZ calls Fig Trail Spring at the bottom that may be trickling water. Tracking a way up the opposite bank may be difficult, as it appears that the old trail was washed out, so just pick a route up and worry about finding the tread on top.

The trail continues east / southeast, crossing a few small washes along the way. Cairns are few and far between, though the tread is defined enough to follow. At 1.9 miles the trail sticks to the south bank of a wash for some time, only breaking away to follow a small tributary to the right, and then hauls uphill to crest on a barren moonscape of a ridge. Follow the obvious path left (it is tempting to go right) and keep to the tread.

At 2.7 miles there is a fork. The best route is to the left, which continues to follow the hills up and around several deep gullies and will loop back down to a grassy saddle at 3.4 miles. An alternate route would be to go right and follow one of the ridges down, and then dealing with one or two steep crossings. From the grassy saddle Sheep Creek finally comes into view.

Trotting down the red sandy wash is easy, which flows right into the main creek. Follow the creek downstream (which is pretty overgrown) for a few hundred yards. Both Fig Spring and the cabin will be on the south bank, in that order. Once at the cabin one could either backtrack to FR477 or continue down Sheep Creek to the Verde River, or maybe embark on some more adventurous off-trail option.

Water Sources
The unnamed spring 0.7 miles into the trail may be flowing. Otherwise, both Fig Spring and Sheep Creek are reliable at the end of the trail.

The cabin area looks like it'd make a great campsite - please treat it with respect. It's (probably) older than you.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2018-02-23 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
    Fig Trail #92 - Tonto NF
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    What a day! This was our second attempt to reach the Fig Spring cabin. We started at Horseshoe dam and hiked to the KA Ranch. We went about a half mile past the ranch on FR479 and crossed the Davenport wash. Then we climbed up an unnamed mountain and bushwhacked over where FR477 meets the gauging station by the Verde River. We saw that a vehicle recently forded the Verde by the gauging station. I roamed for a little bit looking for the Cable Crossing, but didn't find it. We took a break by the Verde.

    Next we located the Fig Trail #92. The only indication of a junction is a burnt out piece of wood sticking out of the ground. Once you're on the trail you can almost make out an old road. The road gets a little better. We were following horse prints down the road. About 3/4 a mile down the road, the trail hits drainage.

    :scared: *DISCLAIMER* Past this point you need a GPS track (or a very detailed map) of the trail and be very comfortable with route finding and bushwhacking. There is NO TRAIL past this point. If there was one, it hasn't been used in years or decades. *DISCLAIMER* :scared:

    We lost the horse prints in the drainage. This time we used the GPS track as a guideline for where to go. Last time we tried to stay on the track and that go us no-where fast. I would see what direction the track was going, then look for a nice open path in the desert and go for it. I would check the GPS every 10 minutes to make sure we were still on-track. I tried to stay with 100~200 feet of the GPS track. This made the bushwhacking easier, because we zigzagged around vegetation. Every so often we would 'see' trail, but who knows if it was just a game path.

    We had to cross numerous drainages. This was time and energy consuming. Sometimes we had to go a 1/4 mile out of the way to find a viable crossing. When we were about 1 mile from the cabin, we entered a wash and saw a cairn! Then we saw a second cairn when we turned down a second wash! We both agreed that if you got this far, you didn't need cairns. Then we climbed to a ridgeline and saw a path clear of rocks going the opposite of the GPS track. The GPS track made a semi-circle to the Sheep Creek, but the clear rock path went straight for it. We gambled and took the ridgeline path. The path got us about 1/3 mile from the cabin and it ended in a drainage. It was 1:10 now. There was butte blocking our way to the sheep creek ](*,) . We veered towards the GPS track and had to go through a couple of scree fields with drop offs into the drainage.

    We hit the track/trail and dropped into a nice wash. Soon after I could see trees! The Sheep Creek was close! Then we hit a fence line going across the wash. I didn't see any openings in the fence, so crawled army style under the fence. There was heavy vegetation and shade by the creek :FG: .
    Finding the cabin was a challenge. We found another fence line on higher ground and tried to follow that. Then I remembered that Outlander mentioned the cabin was next to the Fig Spring. We found the spring and another fence line closer to the creek. We followed this fence line for about 300 feet to the cabin! :y: Mission accomplished! :y: The Cabin has seen better days. My GPS showed the cabin at N 33 55.6310, W111 37.8709. It was 2:00. It took us 50 minutes to travel that last 1/3 mile! We took a much needed break and lunch.

    On the way back we followed the GPS track back to the ridgeline. This avoided the scree fields. Then we deviated from the GPS track when it showed the trail going down a steep ravine and climbing out the other side. We detoured by going around on a ridgeline to the other side.
    The hike back seamed harder because we tried to stay close the hike in. Crossing the drainages seemed harder on the way back. We got to the Fig Trail / FR477 junction at 5PM. The GPS track is 3.5 miles long, but both Fan's and my GPS showed we hiked 5 miles one way!

    We decided to take FR477 back instead of bushwhacking across to the ranch. We knew it was longer, but with darkness coming, it was the safer option. As we got closer to the Davenport wash, it got colder and colder yet by the Verde River. I was concerned about crossing the Davenport wash at night, but we followed some Jeep tracks across without issue.

    It was a fun but a tiring hike. I don't recommend doing this in a single day, unless you start very early or ford the Verde to reduce the mileage. I don't think you can do this hike twice the same way! Even on the way back, we took a slightly different way back.

    It was great being back in the Mazzies!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Bartlett Dam Road, turn north onto Horseshoe Dam Road (405). Continue for 6.4 miles and park on the side of the road near the unmarked FR42 turnoff. This is a good spot to start if the plan is to ford the Verde to reach FR477.
    page created by joebartels on Feb 23 2018 8:48 pm
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