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Rattlesnake Trail #285, AZ

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Guide 7 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Safford
3.5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Distance One Way 4.75 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,358 feet
Elevation Gain 1,867 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,067 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 11.64
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20  2018-11-10
Galiuro Fallin'
20  2018-11-10
Galiuro Fallin'
44  2017-11-11
Holdout Spring and Sunset Peak
41  2015-10-12
Powers Garden
15  2015-03-28 whereveriroam
Author whereveriroam
author avatar Guides 8
Routes 0
Photos 48
Trips 57 map ( 501 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Apache Junction, AZ
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov
Sun  6:09am - 6:18pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Named place Nearby
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After a long 5 years I decided a return to the Galiuros was long overdue. On my prior trips the destination had been either Powers Garden or the Ash Creek/Bassett Peak areas. This time it was time for something new! After recently seeing the documentary "Powers War" I decided on a return to "Shootout Cabin" aka "Powers Cabin". The route we hiked to Powers Cabin utilized High Creek #290, East Divide #287, Rattlesnake #285, Powers Garden #96 and the West Divide #289 trails.

Accessing either end of this trail is a hike by itself. You'll be better off doing this trail as part of a backpacking trip and that will give you time to explore the interesting interior of the Galiuros. I posted this trip on the BCH Meetup groups site and only got two others to join me (Fan & Gary H.). Although there are numerous trails you can use to gain access to the Powers Cabins this one MAY provide the easiest access, passes through unburned forest (for now) and also passes a neat spring named Holdout (seasonal) that's located in a cave. In June of 2014 a fire burned the NE portion of this wilderness, the fire didn't reach this far south.

We started this trail at its high point at the JCT with the East Divide trail #287 (7200')and descended it to its other end at the JCT with the Powers Garden trail #96 (5300'). We also hiked back up this trail since this backpack was an out and back. For those looking to make the journey to the Powers cabins; "Powers Garden" is 3.5 miles down (North) the Powers Garden trail #96 from the JCT with the Rattlesnake trail #285. The other Powers Cabin "Shootout Cabin" is 1.5 miles away in the other direction (South)from the JCT.

As you approach the Rattlesnake trail #285/East Divide trail #287 JCT you'll have an impressive view off to the west of the Catalina's, Rincons, Santa Rita's and Whetstones. You'll also get a memorable view of the southern half of the Galiuros and be at the head of Rattlesnake Creek, this creek eventually ties into Aravaipa. You may notice a trail below you that clings to a slope, it's more then 500' below you. SORRY but that's where you're heading!

This trail drops 1900' over its 4.9 mile course but I'd say 2/3's of that is in the first two miles. The trail pretty much plunges from the JCT of #287 with few switchbacks. Even though there's a good amount of oaks, pinyons, juniper and manzanita this trail offers very little shade along this stretch. You'll come to the first of three saddles just prior to the part of the trail that could be seen from above. Past this saddle the trail is narrow and covered in scree as it passes on the north side of a hilltop. A slip here would result in a nasty plunge that you'd probably survive, AFTER the 100' roll. I found two abandoned shovels hidden here in the manzanita. I left one and took the other with the intention of leaving it at Holdout Spring (left it in cave). Soon you'll come to a second saddle and pass on the south side of another hilltop. The plunge will still continue but now you'll have some tree cover. In a short time you'll encounter a few switchbacks that will lead you to an undercover third saddle. From this saddle you'll plunge down a feeder drainage and into Rattlesnake Creek.

Now you'll enter hiking paradise. The Galiuros are a little strange, its an upside down mountain. Lower elevation trees can be found up in the higher terrain along with pines but down in the low canyons you'll find a lot of BIG pines. The remainder of this trail will be a gradual decent crossing the dry creek numerous times in a pine forest. There are plenty of places to camp but you'll want to spend the night near Holdout spring/cave. Its about a 20-30 minute walk along the Creek to the signed JCT of the Holdout Spring trail #285A. The JCT is 3.3 miles from the East Divide #287 JCT and 1.6 miles to the Powers Garden #96 JCT. The spur to the spring is .3 mile and climbs about 75'. There's a cleaned up fire ring and although the area isn't flat you can set up about a dozen tents in the area. The spring and cave are about a 2 minute walk from the fire ring.

The remaining 1.6 miles of trail continue to gradually descend to the JCT of the Powers Garden #96 trail. There are a number of intriguing holes in the ground of the same depth and size along the way. They almost look like craters from artillery and although there was mining in the area I don't think they are prospecting holes. You'll pass a mine on north side of the creek near the end of the trail and an old wooden structure with no roof. We missed the wooden structure on our hike down the trail so I'd say its not obvious. At the JCT of the Powers Garden #96 trail there is a modern horse trough (galvanized tub). It was empty and my guess is the plastic tubing needed repair. Although most of the creek was dry we found water by the trail JCT, this would be a great spot to camp because of the nearby mining relics.

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2015-03-31 whereveriroam

    Coronado FS Details
    Rattlesnake Trail is so named because it’s located in the upper reaches of Rattlesnake Canyon, not necessarily because it’s home to an unusual abundance of the West’s most famous trail hazard. Then again, there has to be a reason the canyon got that name in the first place, so it’s probably a good idea to watch where you step and where you put your hands while you’re passing through. Many people confuse this trail with the Powers Garden Trail #96, which is also in Rattlesnake Canyon. Trail #96, however, winds its way through the lower reaches of the canyon from the bottom of Powers Hill to the point where it joins the Rattlesnake Trail roughly in mid-canyon. Rattlesnake Trail branches off the East Divide Trail #287 a short distance north of the point where the High Creek Trail #290 provides access to the East Divide from Forest Road 159. Because the High Creek Trail is only 1.7 miles long, this route (High Creek, East Divide, Rattlesnake) provides the shortest access into the history-rich area once homesteaded by the Power family (see the Power Cabin page of the History section of this guide). As the trail drops from conifer-clad high country to canyon bottom, it passes through vegetation that varies with aspect and exposure from pine forest to oak juniper woodland to riparian zone. A short spur trail, #285A, leads to Holdout Spring.

    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
    Rattlesnake Trail #285
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Its hard to imagine a three day backpack turning out this well after it was chosen as a somewhat last minute alternative to a cancelled LCR trip, but simply put it turned out to be nearly perfect. The landscape was rugged, the views were extraordinary, the company was great and the attractions in the area well worth it.

    We made the long drive to the Galiuros Friday night. We agreed on knocking out the southern portion of our loop for our approach to Powers on Saturday with a stop at Kennedy Peak along the way.

    The route to the cabin on Saturday was the best of times and the worst of times. The best of times consisted of: our fun group, the copious amounts of water spewing out of the mountain, a fun summit and some great scenery. The worst of times consisted of: the complete absence of a trail in spots, the thickest wildflowers any human has ever traveled through, concealed ankle breakers, not so concealed New Mexican Locust, grass as tall as one's eyes and trail obliterating washouts and landslides.

    The trail conditions were much nicer day two and the hiking more rewarding. After the obligatory stop at the shootout site, we headed for some "fun" in the mine. The mine was very extensive inside and contained several remnants of its operational days. The more adventourous spent a considerable amount of time exploring the several passages and I completed a pretty dicey descent down an old ladder to explore a very deep vertical shaft. However, as my support team began to express their disaproval in the venture, I decided to call it quits. There was still probably a solid 30-40 more feet to drop, but I was starting to lose my faith in the old ladder, as the distance between rungs grew to a precarious 3 feet in spots and the bottom was still not clearly visible; that and I was not crazy about the wire holding some rungs on in replacement of nails.

    After the mine and cabin, some headed for the garden, others headed for the ridgeline. John and I followed up on a a lead I had discovered while looking over some topo maps of the area. As it turned out, my lead turned out to be quite the rewarding little find. We came across presumably a prehistoric dwelling that had been recycled and certainly utilized in more contemporary times. The cave and its scenic surroundings were very interesting and the trail there was great with flowing water nearly the entire distance, modest cascades and the discovery of the classic wooden Galiuros Wilderness sign along the way. Inside the cave there was a man made cistern inside catching water from a seep and and a little loft area that was reachable by a ladder complete with some modern pictographs. After the cool little find, it was back to camp for the standard good times around the fire.

    Day three offered some of the nicest views of the trip. A challenging little climb out, but some great creek side hiking due to the recent rains and some small waterfalls worth leaving the trail for a closer look. The trail was in better shape than our Saturday route in, however, it could certainly use a little TLC. Fast times out and fun times at the trailhead!

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    Map Drive

    To hike
    The Rattlesnake Trail is accessible only via other trails including the East Divide Trail #287 and the Powers Garden Trail #96.
    page created by joebartels on Dec 27 2012 1:32 am
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