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Gold Ridge Trail #47, AZ

Guide 49 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
  3.5 of 5 
no permit
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 5.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,400 feet
Elevation Gain 2,700 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,820 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 14.9
Backpack Possible & Connecting
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14  2021-04-03
South Fork - Gold Ridge Loop
9  2021-02-14 KBKB
17  2020-11-09 skillpore
13  2020-04-24
Deer Creek - Peeley - Gold Ridge
11  2020-04-21 rayhuston
30  2020-03-30
South Fork - Gold Ridge Loop
3  2020-03-27
Saddle Mountain - AZT #22
32  2020-03-25
South Fork - Gold Ridge Loop
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author jacobemerick
author avatar Guides 31
Routes 74
Photos 1,147
Trips 151 map ( 1,709 miles )
Age 36 Male Gender
Location Gilbert, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov
Sun  5:32am - 7:31pm
Official Route
16 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 Willow 2004117.2 mi*
🔥 2020 Bush Fire193.5k
🔥 2004 Willow Fire120k
🔥 2004 Willow117.2 mi*
🔥 View All over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles

Quick Climb to Mazatzal Heights
by jacobemerick

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Of the three trails that start from Deer Creek Trailhead, Gold Ridge Trail is the only one that stays out of a heavily vegetated (and often difficult to follow) creek and does not cross into the Mazatzal Wilderness. This trail is mostly on an exposed ridge, follows an old road for part of the way, and isn't technically closed to wheeled / motorized traffic, making it one of the more passable routes in the area. It can be combined with South Fork Trail for a solid loop or Deer Creek Trail for longer adventures.

From Deer Creek Trailhead, head down South Fork Trail about 0.4 miles to the start of Gold Ridge Trail. There is a trail sign here, plus a well-trod path and helpful cairns to guide you through a grassy pasture. Good chance there'll be some cattle roaming around here as well. At 1.0 miles there is a gate to pass through - please make sure to close it behind you - and then the climb begins.

Over the next mile and a half the ridge gains 1400', with few switchbacks or breaks to ease the way. There are some sections of loose rock, too, to up the difficulty a bit. Vegetation is mostly low manzanita that does little to block the sun yet does provide some good views to distract from the climb. At the top of this section there is a morale-boosting view back down to the trailhead.

There is still elevation to gain, though now it is done in a more gentle manner. The trail winds around some hills and crosses some saddles and slowly gains ground. At 3.0 miles the trail takes advantage of an old road and becomes much easier to walk on. More views began to open up, including some great angles of the Mazatzal Mountains in the north and a few brief glimpses of Mt Ord / Four Peaks / Roosevelt Lake to the south. Eventually the trail swings up a small hill and ends on FR 3348. Turn right on the road to connect with FR 201 and other trails along it.

Water Sources
None on the trail. Pigeon Spring is the closest, over on South Fork.

There is a fantastic car-camp site at the top of Gold Ridge Trail, as well as some additional flats along FR 3348.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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

2017-10-03 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
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    To Deer Creek Trailhead:

    Take AZ-87 to Deer Creek Trailhead, which is located directly across from AZ-88 intersection. Trailhead is a basic lasso structure, just park along the side where there is space. Cattle may be grazing nearby / on the dirt lot.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 70mi 1h 10m
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 170mi 2h 40m
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 110mi 2h 10m
    page created by joebartels on Oct 03 2017 3:53 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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