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Kane Spring - Superstition Wilderness, AZ

Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 1.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,119 feet
Elevation Gain 353 feet
Accumulated Gain 721 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 4.3
Interest Historic & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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15  2018-01-30 Steph_and_Blake
15  2011-10-10
Tortilla Peak 4918
Author Steph_and_Blake
author avatar Guides 100
Routes 61
Photos 2,522
Trips 176 map ( 751 miles )
Age 72 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Apr → Any
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Summer
Sun  5:37am - 7:26pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2019 Woodbury Fire123.8k
🔥 2011 Tortilla Fire10.5 mi*
🔥 View All over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles

Warning the 2019 Woodbury Fire & 2020 Sawtooth Fire damaged a majority of the Superstition Wilderness.
Rough road. Easy hike. Small surprise.
by Steph_and_Blake

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After enduring a rather rough 3-mile drive to the trailhead, this is an enjoyable hike along and through a stretch of Tortilla Creek to a small, clear spring.

The drive from Apache Trail (Route 88) to the trailhead requires a HIGH clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle. It's our opinion that it shouldn't be attempted in a stock high clearance vehicle. There are three spots in the first 1/4-mile that could do some severe damage if you don't have a lift kit and skid plates. It took us about 45 minutes to cover the 3 miles. The other option is to leave your vehicle at the parking area right at the junction of Apache Trail and FR213 and hike in.

According to Carlson and Stewart's "Superstition Wilderness Trails West... Tortilla Ranch was considered part of the Reavis Ranch operation...The land at the headquarters ' site was never homesteaded and remains in federal ownership today." About a half-mile from the trailhead is a corral, the concrete slab upon which the barn once stood, and what looks like very beefy clothesline poles (T-shaped). These poles were used to hold up the fabric to make shade. At the trailhead stands a shot-up water tank (this IS Arizona!), a cement trough, and parts of a broken windmill are on the ground.

Two trailheads are leading from the parking area. One is to the east - JF Trail (106). The other, Peters Trail (105), is to the west. This hike uses Peters Trail, which begins very near the water tank and downed windmill. From the Peters Trail sign, follow the worn footpath along Tortilla Creek. Along the way, you'll see scrub oak, manzanita, juniper, prickly pear, some cholla, enormous agaves, and sycamore trees. There are numerous crossings of Tortilla Creek with pretty good "cairn-age" to guide you from one side to the other.

After about 3/4 of a mile, you'll leave Tortilla Creek and follow a side drainage to Kane Spring. Tortilla Mountain is seen on your right. The gradual ascent up the drainage to the north of the peak looked to be the best approach if it weren't for the very dense and (likely) thorny vegetation. If you're not keen on leaving behind lots of fabric and skin, it might be possible to approach the top from the east, but it looked like an extremely steep, perhaps dangerous, climb.

At about 1.5 miles in, you'll start to feel as if you're gaining in elevation, but nothing strenuous. Here there are two other springs you can search for - Indian Spring Number One (on your left) and Indian Spring (on your right). We'd read that they were dry and didn't bother to locate them. After ten more minutes, you'll see a side-path on your left with a large cairn. Take the path down to Kane Spring. It's not big, perhaps 2.5 feet in diameter, but the water's clear and a pretty sight for a desert hike. To the left of the spring are some large rocks that would make for a nice lunch spot.

We think this would be an excellent hike for folks of all ages, incredibly fun for kids when there's water, and even more scenic in the fall.

The small surprise came when we were making our way back to Apache Trail. While driving through an open gate (which has a wooden "structure" above it (similar to the entryway to many ranches - I don't know what it's called), we spotted a half-hidden jar to the right. Remembering that we'd seen a similar jar someplace, we'd been a year or so ago, I jumped out of the truck to check it out. Inside was a register with numerous entries. I paged back and found our first notation from December 2016. It brought a smile to our face and solved the mystery of where we'd seen that jar!

We didn't notice any particularly good camping spots along the trail, but folks have camped at the trailhead.

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.

2018-02-01 Steph_and_Blake

    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.

    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 Steph_and_Blake on Feb 01 2018 2:49 pm
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