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Grapevine Trail #135 - Sierra Ancha, AZ

no permit
220 14 1
Guide 14 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Young S
3.3 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Distance Round Trip 8.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,309 feet
Elevation Gain 698 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,400 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 20.6
Interest Historic & Seasonal Creek
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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18  2016-11-13
Grapevine Trail to Deep Creek Trail
13  2016-11-12
Grapevine Trl to Sorrel Horse Mine
15  2015-03-15 DarthStiller
18  2014-05-03
Sierra Ancha
25  2014-03-22
Cherry Creek Road FR 203
8  2014-03-17
Exploring Above Black Brush Uranium Mines
18  2014-03-15
Grapevine Trail Indian Ruins - Sierra Ancha
22  2014-03-15
Grapevine Trail Indian Ruins - Sierra Ancha
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   Apr, Mar, Nov, Oct
Sun  6:08am - 6:28pm
Official Route
8 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Overview: Ninety(90%) percent of this now "very" overgrown trail with some deadfall trees to negotiate was once an old Jeep road for Uranium mining access which contours under the high and scenic bluffs of the Sierra Ancha Wilderness north to south, generally paralleling "out of hearing range & sight" Cherry Creek Road(FR203); This 4.3ml "one way" trail ends at the intersection of the Sierra Ancha- Lucky Strike Trail#144 (cairned but not signed as of this posting at waypoint: N33 51.863 W110 53.655);

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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

2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
    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
    Grapevine Trail #135 - Sierra Ancha
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    Lucky Strike - Grapevine Trail - FS203 Loop
    Up Lucky Strike #144 to Grapevine #135. Down #135 to FS203 and followed 203 back to start.

    The purpose of the hike was to tackle Grapevine #135. The upper 0.75 mile is in good condition. It is also the location of a grow site that appears abandoned a good year ago. The lower 1 mile, basically used as access to the old mines, is in pretty good condition.

    About 2.25 miles in between is a bush-push. Typically 7 foot manzanita on one side greeting mountain mahogany or such from the other side. Some was entangled. More often just good solid momentum pushing and turning did the trick. Only a hint of locust and catclaw. We did this descending. Ascending without momentum against the grain would likely be miserable. For reference the manzanita was uncharacteristically slender and forgiving.

    It has the potential to be a great trail if cleared. Trees canopy many sections. Great views when the canopy opens up. Two? of the four major drainages we crossed were flowing good.

    Alex tried to get us all sick. We got him healthy instead. Chris searched for sanity in the sea of suburban drama. Wally ( the charcoal bandit ) still claims the Disney trips are for his daughter. Best of times.

    wallflowers, indian paintbrush

    a few hills on the drive in were covered in poppies
    Grapevine Trail #135 - Sierra Ancha
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    Exploring Above Black Brush Uranium Mines
    This was day five of six of our Sierra Ancha vehicle camping/hiking trip. This day hike in-a-row #4 was expected to be another typical off-trail bushwhack with a new area to explore.

    Oregon Hiker and I had previously discussed a couple of new area hike options for this last full day hike, and we both agreed that the Grapevine Trail #135 back to explore above the Black Brush Uranium Mines had more exciting rewards to offer us :) .

    From past experience, our Sierra Ancha Wilderness can be very non-forgiving (brutal) for those who sometimes take its off-trail exploration for granted. Normally we spend a considerable amount of at home pre-planning time for new area explorations with high probability drawn and then downloaded/uploaded GPS Planning Routes to follow before just taking off into the wild.

    Today was our exception to the rules, and we both paid dearly :lol: ..

    ..but guaranteed we will return for more with a better plan next visit ;)
    Grapevine Trail #135 - Sierra Ancha
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    Grapevine Trail Indian Ruins - Sierra Ancha
    Since my first "out and back" hike in March'09 to complete this entire seldom hiked, overgrown, route finding :sweat: 8.6 mile round trip Grapevine Trail #135, I had then stated that I believed ancient Salado Cliff Dwellings resided within some of the more dominant butte alcove cliffs off this trail.

    Others have since confirmed this and now finally five years later to the month, Oregon Hiker and I were able to plan a personal visit to see for ourselves (known as Site C:1:67).

    Two sites visited this day (a larger 6-8 room site and a smaller site located along a cliff wall 150ft further down). Both of these sites are very unique in that both have various design, vivid colored PICTOGRAPHS (vivid reds, whites, yellows and orange colors). We had never witnessed pictographs at any other Sierra Ancha Salado Cliff Dwelling Sites visited to date.

    It was a very interesting and rewarding day and one I will always treasure :D
    Grapevine Trail #135 - Sierra Ancha
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    Black Brush Uranium Mines - Sierra Ancha
    My thanks to Oregon Hiker for doing most all the route and historic pre-planning for this most interesting and scenic Sierra Ancha 1950s active Uranium Mines hike.

    My guess is that no one had been up to these "Black Brush Uranium Mine Adits" since HAZ- Nighthiker's visit a number of years ago :) (see Nighthiker's post-comment below)..

    9:34 am
    Think this was where I found a couple of sticks of dynamite.. Placed them in a tackle box underneath the bench seat in the pickup camper. Forgot all about it, dad found them a couple weeks later while fishing at Apache Lake. He had a chat with me when he came back.

    It was a real test of endurance and perseverance to so slowly plow our way through and up the dense overgrowth of Manzanita and Scrub Oak to reach these Black Brush Uranium Mine Adits, but well worth the effort as doing so has opened-up some additional exploration areas of interest along with having had a most rewarding visit this day to these historic 1950 Uranium Mines.

    I always enjoy the remote area scenery around these old mining areas as much if not more than the history. For those history buffs, see Larry's most interesting, detailed trip log - :next:
    Grapevine Trail #135 - Sierra Ancha
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    Simply put-
    I second what our HAZ mnlumberJACK stated in his 11/13 triplog.

    For me, a most enjoyable five Kokopelli rated 40.4 mile road tour with stellar near and distant views within our historic, rugged, and scenic inner Sierra Ancha Wilderness.. very 8)
    Grapevine Trail #135 - Sierra Ancha
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    I had not visited this scenic section of our Sierra Ancha Wilderness off upper Cherry Creek Rd (FR203) since March'09.. . It was nice to be back :D

    In October'13 Oregon Hiker and I had completed some extensive trip planning for a planned mid Nov'13 "three night/four day" vehicle camping/mostly off trail hiking trip to this area. By October end we had completed all our planned new exploration hiking which also included a few stops off upper Hwy 288.

    On Halloween night :o I managed to slip and take a very bad fall in my bathtub shower and did some damage to my right shoulder, enough damage to justify a quick visit (thank you trishness!) to an orthopedic surgeon for needed x-rays. Fortunately, nothing broken and I'm now much better but a slow healing process which would not allow me to wear my heavy day pack again until this ~Dec'13.

    I suggested to Larry that we change our mid Nov'13 camping plans to do a scenic one day driving and scouting trip with some minimal exploratory hiking planned since I knew that I would be "good to go" in Larry's FJ with a fanny pack and my camera. This day trip would also allow for us to invite our favorite HAZ- mnlumberJACK to join us :) .

    Regarding our Grapevine Trail #135 hike: In my last March'09 visit and hike (8.6mls R/T), this seldom used trail was very overgrown and I don't believe that any trail maintenance has taken place since 2009 to date. After ~.75 mile in this trail in now basically an overgrown route for hunters, bears, and a few other wild critters, but seldom hiked. Larry and I just needed to confirm a few key WP take-off points along this TR#135 for some future exploration, so we only needed to hike in for 1.1 miles to confirm if the historic Uranium mining road intersection for the Black Brush Mining Claim to the Sorrel Horse Mining claim still existed. We were able to confirm that it still exists, but it is very overgrown with heavy manzanita, scrub oak, and more..

    I included this old Uranium mining roads connection detail to TR#135 on my posted HAZ GPS Route in hopes that a few of our HAZ "advanced hikers with masochistic tendencies" might try this one to "blaze the way" before Larry and I get around to it :lol:

    Our planned day scouting trip and short hike down TR#135 was well worth the effort.
    Grapevine Trail #135 - Sierra Ancha
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    Northern Sierra Ancha Ruins
    While planning our next hike somewhere in the Sierra Ancha area I ran across a photo Grasshopper took on a hike back in early 2009 that he described as very likely to have Salado Indian ruins and that's all it took to provide a destination. After a little research and scanning of topo maps I drew out a few tracks to waypoints of where the most likely spot would be and loaded it onto my GPS.

    Anticipating a long day of searching we packed everything the night before and set out early, spending 3-1/2 hours on the road and arriving at our planned start location at 9:15 am. After a few minutes to put on our packs we set out, climbing the moment we left the car. Initially the terrain wasn't too bad as it was part of another trail, but once we turned off to follow the route I drew toward the first possible location it immediately turned into a tough slog through Manzanita and thorny brush, which quickly brought back memories of a few of my days searching for GPS Joe on Mt Peeley. The only thing different was the weather... thankfully no freezing rain this time. But just as determined as I was on Peeley, we had set out to find something worthy of our slog through whatever terrain we encountered and we weren't about to give up without it.

    Once we hit the base of the mountain it was a bit easier as long as we stayed against the wall. Tracey kept asking me how much farther, how much farther.... just like a little kid, are we there yet? are we there yet? I wondered how long I'd have to put up with that!

    When we got within a few hundred feet of my first waypoint I began to think it would just be a hike through a bunch of brush with no reward. But just when I pulled out the GPS to recheck our location Tracey let out a gasp, and me thinking she saw a rattler my snake hook was already in my hand. Then she exclaimed that she saw ruins. At first I thought she was just giving me a line, but then I saw them for myself and in a moment, all the slogging through the brush was nothing compared to such a find. Surprisingly they were within 50 feet of the waypoint I arbitrarly set the night before as our first and most likely ruin location.

    While very few walls were still intact there was plenty to see. Tracey spent most of the time taking photos while I took a number of videos and a few photos. There weren't many pottery shards to be found but there was a nice mano & metate for grinding grains & seeds. As I was filming I noticed some small pieces of rock art and as I swung the camera around, more and more art appeared in the viewfinder. Man! This was truly worthy of the efforst we made to get here. Once we felt we had documented it well enough we headed on toward my second waypoint.

    This time we found antother set of ruins a good hundred yards before my second waypoint, which was good, because the terrain did not look good past that point. This set was much smaller and there wasn't as much to hold out interest for long so we set out for our return to the car. For the return trip we followed the track which had been my second option for the day. Most of the return we tried to stay in the largest ravine to avoid much of the worst of the heavy brush. It was easier albeit a bit longer.

    After returning to the car, as we looked south I noticed the distinct outline of the northe face of the mountain that Pueblo Canyon Ruins were on the opposite side. With it that close we figured we'd simply continue along the 4x4 road and see how close we could get. Ultimately we were able to continue all the way through and headed on past Pueblo Canyon, Cold Spring Canyon, Devil's Chasm. With a short stop just after Devil's Chasm we headed down to Cherry Creek itself where we took a short hike along the creek. After that we continued past the Ellison Ranch, following Cherry Creek Road back out to AZ 288. Then it was a long drive home. By time we got home it was a 15-1/2 hour day, but well worhty of the time and effort.

    I've only had time to post 20 photos here on HAZ, but you can view a larger set here on my web site:

    I also have a 2-1/2 minute YouTube video of the ruins here:

    This adventure has simply whetted our appetite for more off-trail excursions to locate more ruins.
    Grapevine Trail #135 - Sierra Ancha
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    On 6/24/06 I did my very first hike in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness. Topohiker and I hiked in from Workman's Creek Rd to the Carr TH to hike part-of Parker Creek TR#150 and Rim TR#139.

    Today, 2 years and 9 months later, now having completed this Grapevine Trail, I can now say that I have completed ALL the official, published trails (13 total) in this Tonto Natl Forest- Sierra Ancha Wilderness :DANCE: . This day is definitely a day of reflection with so many very special & challenging moments in this remote & rugged wilderness area, many long day and nights day hiking and arriving back home late at night and also due to the driving distances from the Phoenix area, a lot of $20. bills+ expended for gas money. Some of these 13 trails required as many as 3 seperate trips to access & complete the entire trail lengths.

    This last Grapevine Trail was a tough one to schedule since it is a very long drive to reach from the Phoenix area(4hrs one way) and is situated such that there is a narrow window for finding the best time to hike it. It is located in the upper north end of the wilderness area 9 rough miles down 4x4 Cherry Creek RD's(FR203) north end. Depending on the time of year, the TH access is either too cold(with ice & snow on FR203 access at Board Tree Saddle 5900'elev.) or just too hot the seasonal temps to hike. This trail also sees very little hiking activity and thus "the trail" (80-90% old mining road access) is now very overgrown with nasty manzanita, some catclaw, lots of scrub oak, with some needed route finding and downed trees to negotiate. It is also a trail that probably offers as much scenic enjoyment by just driving the parallel distance on Cherry Creek Road. I feel my picture set of this hike offered more enjoyment than did the actual hike. The good company Ken and I had join us with HAZ- Natalie Robb and her two friendly pups-Dakota and Hector helped make the long day more worthwhile. Fitting I guess that this last trail should have been the very last one for me to have completed hiking in this Sierra Ancha Wilderness, but yet still another amAZing day! ;)

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To hike
    From Phoenix: Take Hwy 60E to Globe; In Globe turn Left on Hwy 188; Continue on 188 to intersection of Young Hwy 288; Turn Right on 288 and continue for 36 miles to MP294.9 at Board Tree Saddle/FR203(signed) at 5900'elev and waypoint: N33 58.108 W110 57.116; Turn Right on FR203(upper end of Cherry Creek Rd.) and continue for 8.9 rough-downhill 4x4 road miles to TH Start of Grapevine Trail#135(signed on Right) at waypoint: N33 54.144 W110 54.365; Parking is 300ft past TH on Left side of FR203;
    page created by Grasshopper on Mar 22 2009 3:31 pm
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