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Black Ridge Loop - Mazatzal, AZ

no permit
143 16 0
Guide 16 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
4 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Distance Round Trip 7.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,700 feet
Elevation Gain 1,244 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,001 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 17.61
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Creek & Peak
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11  2018-08-12 KBKB
6  2018-04-01 KBKB
9  2018-03-10 hikerdw
20  2017-12-02 Nightstalker
27  2017-04-09 KBKB
7  2017-03-11 hikerdw
8  2017-02-23 GeeEss
20  2016-03-05 hikerdw
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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
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov
Sun  6:10am - 6:30pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
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    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
    Black Ridge Loop - Mazatzal
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    For my Sunday hike, I was looking for a hike with a fair amount of solitude, but which was also fairly close to home as I got a late start. The Black Ridge Loop in the Mazatzals satisfied these criteria.

    As for solitude, I saw no one else during my hike - perfect.

    The first three miles or so - up to Brunson Tank - were enjoyable. The trail seems to have gotten more use and, for the most part, the path was pretty well beaten in. I had no trouble following it and didn't need to refer to the GPS track. Of course, it helped that I had done it a few times already.

    Brunson Tank was totally dry. The center of the tank was churned up, possibly by animals hoping to find water there. In both 2016 and 2017, Brunson Tank had a lot of water; on both occasions I had to skirt the edge to avoid getting my feet muddy.

    Things went downhill, both literally and figuratively after Brunson Tank. The path was still easy to follow, but the way down to Sheep Creek looked like cattle had been driven down to the creek. There were multiple paths in this area and it was just as loose as it had always been. However, at least this time, I found the trail on my first try - though it was pretty easy since it had been so heavily traveled. In hindsight, I guess the conditions that I found were better than the alternative of being so grown over to require lots of bushwhacking.

    When I got to the creek - which was dry - I took what appeared to be a good path which led me well away from where I wanted to be. I backtracked until I got back to the correct path. It may have eventually led to the trail that would have led me back up to LSM, but I didn't pursue it long enough to find out.

    Things improved somewhat on the way back up from Sheep Creek to the Little Saddle Mountain Trail, though it still seemed to me that there were more paths than necessary. Perhaps more cattle had been here?

    It appears that Little Saddle Mountain Trail has seen some work. It seemed less rocky than I remember. I also found new sections of trail just a few feet from an older rockier section. I think it's likely that rain will erode these new sections making them just as rocky as the older sections, but they made hiking easier for now. There were some sections too where steps appear to have been added. I also saw a new Wilderness Area sign as well as a new sign at the intersection of the Little Saddle Mountain Trail and the Sunflower Trail.

    After perhaps a mile of hiking down Little Saddle Mountain Trail from the intersection with ranching trails of the Black Ridge Loop, I noticed periodic water in the drainage next to the trail. (Does it have a name? - I can't find it on any map that I've looked at.) I think the water in this area is provided by springs. There's definitely enough here to filter, if needed.

    Despite finding some water alongside LSM Trail, the entire area was quite a lot drier than I've ever seen it. I saw a single flowering Indian Paintbrush plant and only a few other tiny flowers. Usually at this time of year, I would easily lose count of the number of flowers seen.

    Indian Paintbrush
    Black Ridge Loop - Mazatzal
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Our annual Black Ridge hike. We expanded on the longer loop we did last year and for the most part stayed on a faint horse trail most the time. We lost the trail on the decent down to Upper Sheep Creek and at one spot as we were hiking along the creek bench where cattle trails overwhelmed the faint horse trail. Great area in the Mazatzal's.

    Like everywhere else the area is super dry with the exception of running water in Upper Sheep Creek.
    Black Ridge Loop - Mazatzal
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I, my wife, and two friends hiked the Black Ridge Loop on Sunday. I've hike portions of the loop a number of times and the entire loop just once before. Having done it before, I found route finding a lot easier this time around.

    Up to Brunson Tank, I found the route to be easier to follow than in the past. Recent horse traffic seems to have beaten the path in somewhat. Just past Brunson Tank, however, the trail starts out as well defined and then quickly peters out. Also, there are a number of cow paths here that are better defined than the provided GPS track.

    Staying (nearly precisely) on the GPS track, however, yields good results, especially when finding the descent which begins about 1/2 mile after Brunson Tank.

    When we got to the Arizona Trail (Little Saddle Mountain Trail), we found water flowing in the creek in some places and standing pools of water in other places.
    Black Ridge Loop - Mazatzal
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I really like this loop hike. We extended the official route some which added in some new area. The route we took up to the ridge probably wasn't the best but it worked. Hit a few areas with thick vegetation that forced us either higher or lower than we wanted but no biggie. Both the Brunson and Sparks Tanks were full and nice flow along the section of Sheep Creek we hiked. Much better temps than in the valley :)
    Black Ridge Loop - Mazatzal
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I really enjoyed this hike and loved the area :y: I can only imagine how it looked pre fire. We did add a little extra to the loop, hiking out to Sparks Tank, and then to the high point of Black Ridge where we had lunch and enjoyed the fantastic views. Thanks Richard for the pointers on the hike and the area, greatly appreciated!
    Black Ridge Loop - Mazatzal
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    The GPS track is a must for hiking this route. Even with the track, we - five of us did this loop - got off track a couple of times beyond Brunson Tank. All of us had fun on this route; it made for a nice change from hiking out and back on either the Little Saddle Mountain Trail or the Sunflower Trail.

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    Map Drive

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    page created by mazatzal on Mar 10 2014 2:56 pm
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