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Fish Creek via Lost Dutch, AZ

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Guide 13 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
3.2 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 1.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,131 feet
Elevation Gain 628 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.89
Interest Off Trail Hiking
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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30  2015-11-14
Fish Creek Ridge - Fish Creek Canyon Loop
20  2014-03-22
Fish Creek Upper Bridge Loop
15  2013-04-20 hikerdw
1  2012-06-24
Fish Creek Canyon - Upper Bridge
45  2010-12-04
Fish Creek Cyn - Bridge to Roger's Canyon
5  2010-05-10 joebartels
10  2010-05-10 johnlp
13  2009-04-13 AZLOT69
Author AZLOT69
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 247
Photos 7,293
Trips 1,818 map ( 15,596 miles )
Age 68 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Apr → 7 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Summer
Sun  6:10am - 6:29pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
This Is No Waltz In The Park
by AZLOT69

Overview: This trail provides access to Fish Creek at approximately the half way point between Rogers Canyon and Highway 88 at the Fish Creek bridge. This route offers an escape route from Fish Creek as well as several options for combining other trails and making loops out of them for multi day adventures.

History: A hike description in the Superstitions would not be complete without relating its importance as related to the legend of the Lost Dutchman. The Tortilla trailhead is important as one location to access trails to cross the wilderness to the south side of the Superstitions. It was home to the Miller Mines. The drift located by Estee Conaster documented in her book The Sterling Legend and documented in the HAZ hike entitled, Lost Dutchman Mine accessed here. It was also home of Tortilla Ranch. The last outbuilding of the ranch was eliminated in the 1970s and you will pass by the concrete foundations on your way to the trailhead.

Hike: To access the trail you will start on the JF trail #106 at the fence line. In a few hundred feet you will pass a Superstition Wilderness sign. The next fence line is just about fifty feet. Turn left absent a trail and keep the fence on your right. This is an old access road for the Miller Mines but has been reclaimed by nature. Follow the natural flow of the land around obstacles for one half mile keeping the fence on your right. At the top of a knoll there is an opening where a gate once stood. It is marked by four nine foot railroad ties standing in the ground. Pass thru the gate and head down the ravine for about two hundred feet. Then make a sweeping turn to the east and watch for cairns. It is very important to locate the actual trail at this point and not attempt to bushwhack your way down to Fish Creek. A bushwhack would be brutal.

Once you have located the trail you will have to focus on staying with it. It is well cairned but tall grasses hide them. Generally just scan ahead for the next cairn without getting in too big a hurry. If you go more than one hundred feet without seeing a cairn you have lost the trail and I suggest backtrack to reestablish it. The trail is faint. If you lose it it's very hard to relocate. The trail continues to bear left and eventually follows the contour of the sheer cliffs ahead. The views of Fish Creek Canyon to the north and to the east are awesome and continue to get better. As the descent gets steeper you may hear the flow of water in the creek. Experience tells me that if the water is flowing at this point in the creek you better be prepared for some water recreation if you continue either direction in Fish Creek. Don't underestimate the time it will take you to continue from this point without being prepared to spend the night. Travel is slow and full of obstacles in either direction. For a comfortable day trip return the way you came. Use and knowledge of a GPS and the associated track will be an huge asset on this hike. Keep in mind if you lack a 4 x 4 and had to start at the highway 88 parking area this trip is 6.4 miles one way.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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

2009-04-13 AZLOT69

    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
    Fish Creek via Lost Dutch
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    Fish Creek Ridge - Fish Creek Canyon Loop
    I'd always wanted to hit up the Fish Creek area. We though we might be a little early for some color, but the Temps were gonna be perfect.

    We were the first to park at the Fish Creek Bridge area and headed up the Apache Trail towards our turn off, across from the Comfort Station. We hit up the Fliver mark and made our way across Ridge. We had things we wanted to get to and travel across the top was slower than anticipated, so after 2.5 miles of travel we hit up FR213 to make up some time..

    Next past the old ranch area, we found our way to the old cairned route of Fish Creek via Lost Dutch. This trail is still there, but easy to loose if you don't pay attention. Down in Fish Creek, the first goal here was to find the Fish Creek Cave. [ photo ] Without knowing it's location, you'll walk right past it.

    We had some lunch outside the cave and started the trip back down Fish Creek.

    Smaller rocks turn into bigger rocks turn into boulders, turn into houses. You pick up more and more pools of water and the the superstitions turn into a jungle in spots. I kept getting mad at the scenery as I'd already taken way too many photos.

    The last 1.5 miles is the slowest and demands you have to pick the correct route up, over, under, through boulder mazes. Joe called it a Ninja training ground and that pretty much sums this portion up.

    What a special area and fun time.
    Fish Creek via Lost Dutch
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    Fish Creek Upper Bridge Loop
    Claire read about a loop in some Supes book, and I'd never done Fish Creek, so I did a quick glance at some tracks on HAZ, and it looked reasonable, so we headed out.

    The creek/canyon is beautiful, but very slow going for the first 2 miles or so. As it opens up a bit, the pace increases. We filtered some water where the hike leaves the creek, in anticipation for the long, warm hike back around and down to the bridge.

    Plenty of cairns going up the hill make it pretty easy to follow, but the spring grasses make it tough in some spots. A steady eye is necessary for those without a GPS-track to follow (like me).

    Once back on FS213, you wonder how somebody in a Jeep can't get out there :whistle: . It's an easy and relatively flat hike back to the 88. The hike down Fish Creek Hill is great too, save for the dust from the occasional passing car. It was late enough in the day that traffic was light. I helped push a truck out of a ditch. Walking down FCH is also nicer than driving because you can stop and look over the edge more. There are no fewer than 8 vehicles that met their demise on this stretch of road, left to rust on the hillside hundreds of feet below. And at least one boat.

    The gem of this hike is the first couple of miles of creek, but the rest of the loop makes it a solid hiking day.
    Fish Creek via Lost Dutch
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    I have been wanting to check out Fish Creek and Lost Dutch Canyons and with the weather starting to warm up I figured now would be a good time, so someday was today. The off trail hike over to the canyon junctions, although somewhat over grown, really wasn't that bad. I was expecting some cat claw, even brought the clippers, but there was none. Lost Dutch was dry but there was a nice flow in Fish Creek. The boulder hoping slowed us down a little but we easily made our way over to the cave to check it out. We continued a little further past the cave then found a nice spot in some shade to relax and take in the beauty of the area (not hard to do on this trip). We returned the same way back to the TH, had lunch, and then made the walk out FS213 to the truck. Someday I will have a vehicle that can make that drive; is "that" someday today? :D I only wish.
    Fish Creek via Lost Dutch
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    We started the hike at the end of FR213 at the JF trail #106 and made the easy trek down to Fish Creek. From the creek we made a left and continued downstream (dry) for a short distance and then the real fun began. We encountered several areas in which we cliffed out and had to search for some "not so safe" alternative routes to continue our journey towards the bridge. The creek bed was very dry until we were approximately .3 miles from the end our journey in which there were large pools that required more "scouting" to navigate our way without swimming. This was a ton of fun but would not recommend this if you are not familiar with hiking in creek beds because this one can eat you up.
    Fish Creek via Lost Dutch
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    Well this is where it all started... the JF trail #106. WE opted to drive in on FR 213 to reduce the miles since we were unsure of how long this was going to take us to complete our trip. Our destination was to go down Fish Creek and exit at the bridge (shuttle). We made quick work getting down to the creek bed but sure enough, that was soon a thing of the past. The "scrambling, squeezing, crawling and walking on slick ledges" began. This is one of them hikes that is truly worth doing, even it's only once. As you get deep into the canyon you are literally looking up 1000 ft. sheer cliffs. It's really quite spectacular. At times you have to stop just to listen to the birds sing as you tend to fall out of reality and become overwhelmed in the majestic beauty this canyon has to offer. A very nice hike it was. :y:
    Fish Creek via Lost Dutch
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    Rare cool May hike in the desert with John and Owen. John explored some high alcoves while Owen and I napped at the creek. Actually got chills and had to move into the sun.

    Pretty Dodder scattered about on the hike is invading various plant life. New Mexican Thistle is blooming from their tall stalks. White Ratany is mixed in with the dominate Fairy Duster. Rattlesnake Weed covers sections as the Brittlebush takes it's last gasp of life.

    We wanted a jhodlof experience so we hit up the authentic Mickey D's. Mickey tried to lock us in but we sweet talked our way out.

    Another 4WD road bites the dust to a 2WD Toyota :)
    Fish Creek via Lost Dutch
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    Veni, Vidi, Vici, ( I came I saw, I conquered ), of course, the famous words written by Adolph Ruth in 1931 in his quest for the Lost Dutchmans Mine. What a feeling he must have had as he wrote those words. When I completed this loop I searched for words to describe. These three words, and the associated pictures, perhaps can help the reader to appreciate the beauty and difficulty in successfully traversing the Fish Creek. You will need all your skills, knowledge and abilities to complete this difficult, seldom completed loop.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To Tortilla Trailhead
    From the junction of Idaho Road & SR-88 follow SR-88 23.0 miles east to FR-213.

    If you do not have 4x4 you will need to park here and hike 3.4 miles to the trailhead. Otherwise drive in. The first 0.25 mile section is the most difficult.

    The trailhead is not well defined. If you are hiking out on Peter's Trail #105 steer right(west) at the end to the old windmill and water tower. If you are hiking out on JF Trail #106 or Hoolie Bacon Trail #111 continue straight/right to the fence. JF Trail #106 takes off immediately. Hoolie #111 is 0.8 miles off of #106.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 60.7 mi - about 1 hour 50 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 154 mi - about 3 hours
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 205 mi - about 4 hours
    page created by AZLOT69 on Apr 13 2009 4:55 pm
    3 pack - loud whistle
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