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Saulsbury Trail #263, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Douglas
2 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 5 of 5
Distance One Way 5.01 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,201 feet
Elevation Gain 3,059 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,133 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 15.45
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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11  2018-10-19
Mormon Ridge Trail #269
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
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Preferred   May, Sep, Aug, Jul
Sun  6:05am - 6:16pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Flora Nearby

Likely In-Season!
Mormon Ridge Trail #269, Mormon Canyon Trail #352 & Saulsbury Trail #263 lead from the road up West Turkey Creek (FR 41) to the Crest Trail in the vicinity of Chiricahua and Flys Peak. Since their trailheads are all located fairly close together they offer a number of possibilities for loop routes into the Chiricahua Wilderness high country.

Saulsbury Trail leads up the canyon of the same name to the north and east, then climbs up and out of the canyon and over Little Bull. Mountain to its junction with the Crest Trail. This route offers good views of West Turkey Creek Canyon, Rock Creek Canyon and the Sulphur Springs Valley. It can be hot if you traverse it during midday.

Mormon Ridge and Mormon Canyon Trails are both located south of Saulsbury and are aimed almost directly at Chiricahua Peak. Mormon Ridge is quite steep and many choose to follow it down, rather than up, if they use the trails to form a loop. Since it clings to the south-facing slope of Mormon Canyon, it can also be quite hot. These trails cross near the head of Mormon Canyon. From that junction, Mormon Ridge goes north toward Cima Park and Mormon Canyon goes south to Chiricahua Saddle. Both are points along the Crest Trail #270. These trails traverse a wide range of biologic zones. Starting out among plants characteristic of the Upper Sonoran Desert such as Schott's yucca and silverleaf oak, the trails climb into a forest of Engelmann spruce, a species found as far north as British Columbia. Mormon Canyon Trail passes through a picturesque riparian area that includes a number of Rocky Mountain maples. Those who visit in autumn will want to pass this way and enjoy the fall colors.

High country loops, Canyon and mountain views, Biological diversity, Riparian area, Fall colors. Saulsbury Trail is 4.4 miles long (4 miles in Chiricahua Wilderness); Mormon Ridge Trail is 4.5 miles long (3 in Wilderness); Mormon Canyon Trail is 3.4 miles (2.7 in Wilderness). All three of these trails connect to the Crest Trail #270. USGS Maps: Chiricahua Peak, Rustler Park

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a difficult hike. Arrive fit and prepared or this could get ugly.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
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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 Reviews
Saulsbury Trail #263
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This was the first part of what was to be a multi day trip in the Chiricahua mountains. After meeting Johnny Ringo I drove past the trail head on the main access road twice before noticing it. I parked my car on a pull out section, wasn't sure if I could but this was the best I could find. Hard to find is a recurring theme.

The Mormon Ridge trail is currently clear of any downed trees, but it is rugged and not marked well. It is also very faint in many places. Quite often I found myself double checking to make sure I was still on. It is pretty much straight up with only a few sections of switch backs. Really nice views as you get closer to the top. As you get closer to the top some older trails maps and trip logs say the trail veers right. I found and the Green Trails map I had confirmed it would veer left in a long switchback that eventually comes and meets the Crest Trail #270, the Chiricahua Peak trail and very close to the Anita Park/Spring trail. Some trail signs are on the ground,some very worn, so I was glad I had maps and GPS to assist with navigation once I reached that section.

Again, nice views, and you are definitely earning them with this straight up climb.

Additionally Anita Spring trail is marked but faint, and you will do some tree hopping to get to the spring.It was trickling,full of water, cold and refreshing. A tree fell right next to it to make for a nice seat while you enjoy.

The other trails I hiked ranged from good to terrible. The Crest trail was clear and easy to follow with signs at many junctions. However, take that with grain of salt and check your headings, I found myself not trusting them that much.

I spent the night near Ojo Aqua Frio spring but never looked for it as I had plenty of water from Anita Spring. There is a lot of dead fall in the area but there is also a wonderful site to camp on that is east of the Crest trail and looks directly west. Tent and hammock friendly.

Unfortunately,for me the weather turned bad that night. High winds, rain and the clouds just sat on me all day. After half a day it wasn't clearing I headed back down. Trying my luck I went via the Saulsbury Trail. This is just a bad trail until you get way down in the canyon and even then it meanders and is hard to follow. The lower portion has some orange flagging tape but eventually that person got lost too and stopped marking it. :) At the top, it went from obvious, to faint, to is this a game trail to where did it go? Using map, compass and GPS I ended up doing a bit of bushwhacking (the rain and fog did not make following this any easier). I even found remnants of other hikers as well, a fleece jacket stuck on some thorns. All told I went over, under or around 103 trees from top to bottom.

I understand the whole area is much like this due to the past forest fires and weather events. It was hard, and if looking for a challenge, these are your trails. Eventually, I will try to get back to finish the rest of my trip.

Saulsbury Trail #263
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First trip to Turkey Creek TH. Looking for a longer loop, so hiked up Saulsbury to Crest, and spent the night at Anita Park. Next day took the Crest to Morse and down the latter to the campsites near the TH along the creek and spent a blissful night listening to the waterfalls.

Wildlife: Black-tailed rattler on Saulsberry, awoke to two black bears crashing through the trees at Anita, lots of wild turkeys and deer along Turkey Creek.

Saulsberry looks like it is mostly used by horses. The trail gets quite faint, but is reasonably well cairned. Had to backtrack a few feet, but no real issues. Crest had lots of deadfall and overgrowth after Raspberry Peak. Morse was in great shape, love that trail.

Water: trickling at Anita Spring. Tried to find Aqua Fria and HQ springs. The trail to the latter was so covered in deadfall it made passage nearly impossible and I gave up. Agua Fria was not as impassable, but the trail became too faint to follow and with great chagrin I discovered I did not have the GPS coordinates of the springs loaded :-( I'll make a more earnest effort next time.

This was a very pleasant 20 mile loop, easily done in 24 hours (noon to noon). Next time I'll try my luck with one of the Mormon trails, as I liked the look of the camping area right after Mormon hits the Crest (I'm a hammock guy, need trees!!)

The only humans I saw were in a camper along Turkey Creek. Gotta like that!

Nice Lupine bloom along the Crest

Permit $$
no fees or permits reported

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Coronado Forest
MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

Map Drive

To hike
From Tucson, take I-10 east for 72 miles to US 191. Turn south 21 miles to AZ 181 and drive 12 miles east to the Turkey Creek turnoff (FR 41). Follow this road 8 miles east to the Saulsbury Trailhead, located on FR 632 off of FR 41. The Mormon Ridge and Mormon Canyon Trailhead is located at Sycamore Campground on FR 41. These roads are rough and dusty and may be muddy and slick when wet. There is a flash flood danger at water crossings following summer and winter storms.
page created by joebartels on Dec 07 2012 10:18 pm
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