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Wildcat Canyon - Tonto NF, AZ

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Guide 17 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Queen V NE
3 of 5 by 8
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 2.81 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,425 feet
Elevation Gain 595 feet
Accumulated Gain 703 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 5.15
Interest Historic
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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15  2018-12-13
West Pinto Cuff Button Wildcat
25  2018-04-14
Wildcat - Pinto - Campaign Loop
12  2018-04-14
Wildcat - Pinto - Campaign Loop
10  2018-03-31
Cuff Button Trail #276
19  2018-03-03
Cuff Button Loop
6  2017-12-03
Cuff Button Trail #276
4  2017-10-14 RickVincent
20  2017-02-25
Cuff Button Trail #276
Page 1,  2
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   Mar, Nov, Feb, Apr
Sun  6:09am - 6:28pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
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This hike is featured in Jack Carlson's and Elizabeth Stewart's Superstition Wilderness Trails East. Wildcat Canyon connects Miles TH to the seldom traveled Cuff Button Trail. The trail through Wildcat Canyon is surprisingly well maintained, relatively easy to follow with a route and scenic in spots. Cuff Button Trail offers the most logical looping option back to Miles TH, however, the trail becomes very overgrown and hard to follow in spots. Most will prefer an approximately 8 mile out and back hike utilizing the same route allow for about 6-7 hours to complete.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    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 of 11 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Wildcat Canyon - Tonto NF
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Wildcat - Pinto - Campaign Loop
    Bruce gleaned this 3 county route from Lee stating that he'd hiked it 3 times. He studied up on it too. It was cool to have a tour guide.

    Apparently I liked Wildcat a smidge more than the three timer. The old Pinto #213 leg was interesting. The catclaw ending robbed brownie points. Pants sufficed. Nowhere near the top ten list of bad catclaw, Wave Cavers would probably consider it a nightmare.

    Campaign to Fireline is in the best shape I recall. We lunched under the pines near the junction. Up to the saddle SW of Pinto Peak is brushy. Down to West Pinto Creek is steep but the views are top notch.

    Enjoyed #212 just shy of Oak Flat to square one more than anticipated.

    tenth mile stretch with medium to small poppies was an unexpected treat being so dry this year
    Wildcat Canyon - Tonto NF
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Wildcat - Pinto - Campaign Loop
    Wildcat Canyon has been on my radar for quite some time. The Miles Trailhead is just a tad over 100 miles from my house, so I like to make it worth the trip and find some other new areas to hit while out there. The decommissioned Pinto Peak #213 fit the bill for a loop. FOTG had already done this loop a few times so I didn't even need to draw up a track.

    A 7:15a 40ish degree start started us past the ranch building and a guy curled up next to a fire.

    Wildcat Canyon Trail
    To the first saddle, the trail is pretty straight forward. From this saddle, down to the wash area has a few areas that are thin and prickly, but quite doable. In the canyon travel is easy. we missed one of the bypasses that horse travel took, leaving the creek, when we dealt with getting around an exploring bovine. Staying in the creek bed was NP.

    On the Cuff Button #276 for 2.5 miles is mainly old FR 305.

    Decommissioned Pinto Peak Trail #213 follows a 2 track to the Wilderness boundary. It's an easy walk through some interesting territory. The Mormon Corral had all sorts of water. There were 3 full troughs and a 200-300 gallon metal tank that was 2/3rds full. After the Wilderness boundary,the trail gets thinner in some spots, but does come back if you have the GPS track. As FOTG mentioned the only catclaw section, is in the last 1/2 mile or so before reaching Campaign.

    The Campaign Trail #256 is cleared and 6' wide in spots all the way south to the Fireline trail. After here, there is less than a mile section that needs some love. The rest of the trail down to West Pinto, is decent with some nice views, We even saw some poppies.

    On the roller coaster of the West Pinto #212, just 2.5 miles back to the TH.

    Weather was just about perfect on this one.

    Saw some small poppies, lupine.
    Wildcat Canyon - Tonto NF
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    This started to be an out and back but once I was half way along the loop it was better to continue on to Wildcat Canyon for the return. The Cuff Button trail is in good shape. There are new trail signs and there is a visible trail all the way to the Burro Spring turn off. Wildcat Canyon was decent but I lost the trail on the final climb out of the Canyon. I knew the direction so I just hiked until I picked up the trail again. There were no other hikers, some mandatory off trail (of course) and a band of coati encountered in Wildcat Canyon. The temperature was nice and didn't warm up too bad by my exit time of 1 pm.
    Wildcat Canyon - Tonto NF
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Cuff Button Loop
    This may be my favorite loop hike in the Superstition Wilderness.

    Brisk morning but it warmed up quickly, trail head was empty when we arrived. The hike up Trail 193 to the west gate at the saddle was the toughest part of the hike and really wasn't bad at all. We stayed high enough on the left side to avoid the ravine up/downs. Once at the west gate we continued down Trail 193 to Wildcat Canyon, which is very easy hiking, and made our way to the Cuff Button Trail junction and then over to the corral where we had lunch. From the corral to the West Pinto Trail was all new area for us. Really enjoyed this area as there was lots to see and the trail conditions were excellent. Spooked up one white-tail deer along the way. Crossed paths with only one backpacker on West Pinto who was heading out to camp on Cuff Button.

    Did I mention I really enjoyed this hike :D
    Wildcat Canyon - Tonto NF
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Got together with the group and headed out to the eastern Supes and started hiking from the Miles Ranch TH. I’ve done a handful of trails from this area but haven’t hit Wildcat Canyon and Cuff Button. Today was the day. We started with Wildcat Canyon and headed in. For the most part there is a good trail to follow with a mixture of cat claw. It took some work getting through but wasn’t horrible. The worst part is about a mile in where there are a variety of use / game trails. They mostly lead the same way with some heavy brush mixed in. Some route finding required through here. After a bit we reached Cuff Button and headed west. We knew some sections of this trail were cleared recently but expected heavy bushwhacking in the middle two miles. We continued hiking and found the trail completely clear to our delight! We topped out on a pass and then started down the western half that leads to the West Pinto Trail. This section was a bit hairy with cat claw and other brush to fight through as you descend a steep trail. We eventually hit the West Pinto Trail and took our lunch break in West Pinto Creek where some standing water was found for the dogs. From there it was less than an hour back to the TH.

    This turned out to be a great day hiking! We expected heavy brush but found very little. This kept us moving along and we finished at least an hour sooner than expected. For anyone wanting to hike Wildcat Canyon and Cuff Button now is the time! Go before mother nature reclaims these trails. Thanks Lee for driving!

    Wildcat Canyon - Tonto NF
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    It looks like I will have to go back and amend my 2013 hike description for Cuff Button, it is no longer the nasty experience it once was. We hiked nearly all of Cuff Button today in a nice little rugged loop utilizing Wildcat Canyon from Miles trailhead.

    We were expecting some major bushwhacking today, but Cuff Button is now pretty clear for most of its length. There is a little section of acacia in the middle that seems to have been missed, but the majority of the trail has now been cleared and cleared well in some areas. With the clearing of Bull Basin and now Cuff Button, Miles trailhead is becoming and even more attractive destination in my opinion.

    The Wildcat Canyon portion was good in spots and a little overgrown in others but we cleared it pretty quickly and Cuff Button was a breaze as mentioned above. We found some water on West Pinto and ate a late lunch not too far from the trailhead. A good day out overall and I was happy to help a couple HAZers knock some Eastern Supes trails off their completion lists.
    Wildcat Canyon - Tonto NF
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    Let me start by saying, "There is nothing about this trail that I would consider 'well-maintained." The trail to Wildcat Canyon is overgrown with catclaw among other plants. I'm glad I brought my hiking stick. I used the stick often to push catclaw and branches out of the way. Still, by the end of the day, my arms looked like they were on the losing end of a cat fight. Other than being a little warm, my decision to wear long pants paid off.

    I left Miles Trailhead around 7:30am with the intent to find Wildcat Canyon and then veer off-trail towards peak 4576 to look at a hilltop fort ruin. Great 360 degree views (and 4g cell coverage) from the top of 4576. The ruin wall looked smaller than I had expected. I had previously located this site while poking around on Google Earth. Anyone camped out on this hilltop would have had a clear line of sight towards the Pinto Peak ruins, Circlestone and the high point of the Supes, Mound Mountain.

    I kept my eyes peeled for artifacts, pottery, arrowheads, etc. Did not find any. I took a few pics at the top, ate an apple, then made my way back down.

    This off-trail venture mixed with the sun exposure, and less than adequate nutrition and water supply, really ended up kicking the :pk: pumpkin out of me. I was happy to finally reach my vehicle, only to find the front driver side tire completely flat. I was wiped out. I took a few moments to rest, and drink some water from my backup jug (I always keep a 3 gallon jug of water in my Tahoe). I changed the tire and was on my way home. Made a quick stop for a sub sandwich at DeMarco's in Superior. Good call. The pizza and pasta looked delicious as well. I wanted to order one of everything, but settled for the sub.
    Wildcat Canyon - Tonto NF
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Cuff Button was the only trail I had not hiked in the Superstition Wilderness Area. The plan was to hike out Cuff Button trail return via Wildcat Canyon. The creek crossings along West Pinto trail were a little challenging but we stayed dry. Cuff Button trail started out nice and had a nice climb in the middle. The trail was mildly overgrown but that went to moderately then where is the trail for a while. We hiked the old road to the end of the GPS track and then returned to Wildcat Canyon. Wildcat is more of a trail and the washes on this side of the hills were very low. The hike was more enjoyable than anticipated.
    Wildcat Canyon - Tonto NF
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    Water is certainly something to be celebrated in the Supes and today was my turn to go play in the water. I was very envious of all the HAZers who made it out yesterday while I spent all day cramped inside a gym coaching. I decided to head to Miles TH to avoid the groups of 15 that are plaguing the Western Supes ;) My modest plans included checking out the falls on Rock Creek that are pictured in the Hikers Guide to the Eastern Supes and check out some pour over areas in Wildcat Canyon that I thought might look pretty cool with some water going over them. Chumley was initially a go for the trip, but when I could not promise him 100 foot water falls, or give him exact mileage and aeg he canceled :roll:

    I could hear the West Fork of Pinto Peak raging the moment I turned off my car at Miles and Rock Creek was flowing pretty strong where it runs into West Pinto at the turn off for Bull Basin so I felt my chances were pretty good that I would at least see some nice cascades along the trail. It was kind of slow going at first the trail is a tad over grown in spots, a little acacia in along the benches. I got pretty soaked from swimming through branches hanging over the trail. The Falls or perhaps more appropriately large cascade were pretty cool, I was satisfied, on to Wildcat Canyon.

    I just thought some areas in Wildcat Canyon would be pretty cool with some water running through them. It turns out I was right, there was lots of water running through Wildcat Canyon and it had really transformed the area into something pretty scenic. I stopped for a photo shoot with the pups at a pretty cool pour over section and had a quick snack before heading back to TH.

    Paradise Trail was a dud. That trail can be a real treat with running water, but no such luck this time. In fact, it was very dry with only some puddles near Paradise Spring.
    Wildcat Canyon - Tonto NF
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    I was just trying to be creative with an Eastern Supes loop and this was what I came up with. I went in Miles TH then took the Wildcat Canyon route to Cuff Button, some road walking then reentering the Supes via the decommissioned Pinto Peak Trail to Campaign Trail over the divide back down to W. Pinto Trail and the TH.

    I finally completed the Wildcat Canyon route to Cuff Button a hike that can be found in the Eastern edition of the Carlson and Stewart guide and a hike that was recently completed by hikerdw. In fact, he shared his route with me, something I was missing on my first attempt. I did get to the W. Gate the first time, but was unsure of route from there. This time it was pretty straight forward and once you hit Wildcat Canyon the trail becomes a highway by Eastern Supes standards, it might be better than many of the "maintained" trails in that area. The trail through Wildcat Canyon appears to get a lot of hunter traffic or ranching traffic, either way someone has kept the trail pretty clear and it has a heavy tread in most spots. It was probably the highlight of the day too bad it was only a little over three of my miles for the day.

    I took the decommissioned Pinto Peak Trail past Mormon Corral and the now pretty much defunct Mountain Spring which seems to have fallen victim to someone's poor repair or improvement project. The person who had a camera trap there for six months last year is most likely responsible I assume. Regardless, the once relatively robust and reliable spring is now barely dripping.

    I kept a pretty leisurely pace most of the day and limited my poking around for rock piles. Cup came along on this one and did not want to beat her up as bad as I did on my Tule loop, but she did just fine, no issues with the longer distance or rougher trails. We did not take many breaks due to the fact that we never really saw the sun until it set, if that makes sense. Tons of bear scat and other indicators to hint that they are really active in the wooded pine sections of upper Campaign. Saw a large pack of coati in Wildcat Canyon and several deer, no shortage of water out there, but a little less then I anticipated. I am going to clean up route through Wildcat Canyon and post to public, definitely worth the trip, nice little canyon.

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    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To Miles Ranch Trailhead
    From Superior head out east on US 60. Pass through the Queen Creek Tunnel and continue 10 miles to mile marker 239.4 Turn left onto this paved road that enters the Pinto Mine. Follow the paved road 2.8 miles and turn left onto FS 287. Go slow at the numerous intersections. Your goal is to figure out which are mine roads and which are public access. Public access signs are posted on most of the intersections. Some aren't exactly clear which way they are pointing. You will leave the private land of the Pinto Mine and crossover onto forest land. At about seven miles you turn left onto 287A. Follow FS 287A to the end. It's called Kennedy Ranch on maps, but the trailhead is called Miles Ranch.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 88.0 mi - about 1 hour 53 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 121 mi - about 2 hours 43 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 232 mi - about 3 hours 56 mins
    page created by friendofThundergod on Dec 07 2014 8:20 pm
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