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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Cold Water Trail #27, AZ

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Guide 9 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Camp Verde > Dugas
2.7 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Distance One Way 5.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,283 feet
Elevation Gain -2,513 feet
Accumulated Gain 288 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 6.36
Interest Historic & Seasonal Creek
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
1  2019-05-16
Oxbow - Cold Springs - Tule Rim Loop
2  2015-03-09 tarp
16  2014-12-06 Orange
16  2014-04-29
Oxbow / Cold Water Loop
13  2013-01-04
Gap Creek to Verde River
20  2012-09-22
Cold Water-Tule-Oxbow Loop
15  2012-09-22
ColdWater 27 / Tule 162 / Oxbow 163 Loop
8  2009-08-10 ssk44
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
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, May, Apr, Sep
Sun  6:12am - 6:31pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby

Likely In-Season!

Author Full Detail Guide
Overview: The Cold Water Trail #27 is a seldom visited, remote backcountry destination along the backdrop of the rugged Verde Rim with healthy mixed vegetation and unique geology. The trail was originally used by army troops traveling from Fort McDowell to Camp Verde.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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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
Cold Water Trail #27
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Oxbow / Cold Water Loop
This was my first time in the Pine / Cedar Bench wilderness(s). The drive in was pretty easy. Dugas road was recently graded. There was one interesting sign stating that it is illegal to drive on the road when it’s wet. That’s one way to keep the road in good condition

My original plan was to a big loop with the Verde Rim trail. When I got to the parking spot and got out, the wind was so fierce that it closed my jeep road for me. The wind was bitter cold. I didn't want to spend the day fighting the wind. I went to a plan B, hike down Pine mountain to the Verde River.

I parked 2 miles from the Oxtail TH. The road starts to get rocky after this point. The wind was brutal along Dugas road. I had to wear a wool hat and gloves under I dropped under 4,500 feet!

The Oxtail trail

The trail starts right off of Dugas road by a tank. You enter a gate and take a hard turn to the left. The trail drops fast down to drainage. I lost the trail for a couple of minutes in the drainage. The trail was well cairned and very easy to follow. There was a cairn almost every 15 feet. Sometimes there were to many cairns. This is a very old trail and there’s been recent trail maintenance done to it. The views on the trail very great. I saw snow on Humphreys. My only gripes is the amount of rocks and drops off. There are a lot of rocks on the trail, sometimes it’s almost like scree. There are sections with drops. Sometimes you would get both. Scree rocks with drop-offs! This made for a very slow moving hike. The trail ended at the Brown Spring TH. I took the Towel trail to the Verde. The Towel trail is an old road that follows and crisscrosses the Towel creek. The Towel trail crosses the Verde and continues to Fossil Creek RD. This was an great place to explore, but I had a big climb ahead of me so I didn’t stay long.

Cold Water trail

The Cold Water trail is an old jeep road that doesn’t believe in switch backs! The trail has some great views of the Verde valley. After the Cedar Bench the road turns into trail. The cold water trail is also very easy to follow. There’s been recent maintenance done to this trail as well. Shortly after the Tule Rim intersection, the Cold Water trail takes a sharp turn to the right and climbs up to Dugas road. This was the monster climb of the day. The trail gained 1,000 feet (5,200 to 6,200) in a little more than a half mile. I felt like I should have had a climbing rope! Half way up, the wind started to blow. The Cold water trail ends about a quarter mile from the Verde Rim trail. Once on top, the wind died down.

I went a little down the Verde Rim trail just to see what I pasted up for the day. Once I got on the trail section, I was not impressed. It started out right as a cairn hunting exercise. I liked the Cedar Bench trails better.
It was a fun hike. The Cedar Bench wilderness is a cool area. The trails are cleaned up and the views are great. The cold wind was a bit much. I’ll return on a warmer day.

This was my first hike with HAZ tracks. It was cool to get hiking stats as you hike. The only down side is that the HAZ lady reminds me how slow I am at climbing :(
Cold Water Trail #27
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Cold Water-Tule-Oxbow Loop
This hike is not for 98% of you out there.
It's not because of the views, they were expansive.
It's not because of the potential to see wildlife, there was sign of Bear, Deer and Elk everywhere. It was not because there was nothing to discover, the Cold Water Spring Area was sweet as was the Gap Creek water fall area.

It was the torture this jaunt put you through. For you 2% out there that are masochists, highly recommended! The trails are faint at best, non-existent in MANY areas. They are steep , rocky, loose, overgrown, blood robbing, clothes ripping, and patience testing. A copy of the GPS track I published for this loop will keep you from getting lost.

It's sad that although I could rate these trails close to a 4 in spots, for the views, the work you have to put in just does not justify the effort.

Other than wildlife, this area has not seen any traffic in years. All in All, I'm glad I did it, it was my first time back in this area to the end of Salt Mine Road.

Another word to the wise, when you are driving in, and get to the area where you have to go through a gate with a sign that says "No turn around" Park right there. If you don't believe the sign (Like me), you will reach a locked gate for the Brown Springs Ranch. From this point you will have to back down a steep loose gravel road. We parked above the warning sign before the gate to the ranch and had a note on my truck saying I was parked on private property. There were no signs indicating that.
Cold Water Trail #27
rating optionrating optionrating optionrating optionrated 1
ColdWater 27 / Tule 162 / Oxbow 163 Loop
Cold Water Trail #27
Steep at the bottom with loose footing. Junipers dominate. Good distant views. Not difficult to follow if you pay attention. We didn't and paid dearly. Foxtails are a hearty nuisance.

Tule Rim Trail #162
Cold Water Spring area is a surprising oasis. Turn around and save your sanity. The rest of the trail is a bushwhack and difficult to follow. Non existent in areas. Excellent views. Pants required.

Oxbow Trail #163
The top has a cool area at a tributary to the origin of Gap Creek. Great views. Majority of "trail" is a cairn hunt through cow pastures.

Chalk Tank Trail #506
"looked" semi promising, may take a few years to forget and forgive this area for a looksee

Cold Water oasis is sweet. Lunch views rocked. Top of Gap Creek is intriguing. The rest is hellish. Understand why it's rarely visited due to lack of use and maintenance. Distant views are good to excellent throughout. I just couldn't recommend to anyone. Nice to see a new area. Happy to have experienced, no desire to return.

Permit $$

Prescott Forest
Prescott National Forest Pass

Only trailheads with six "amenities" have fees. Amenities are picnic tables, trash, toilet, parking, interpretive signing and security.

Map Drive
Strictly 4x4

To hike
(Upper TH as posted)
From Phoenix take I17 north to "Exit 268" (Dugas). Exit 268 is north of Cordes Junction. From exit 268, drive approximately 8 miles southeast along County Road 171 to Dugas. Continue driving southeast from Dugas along FR68 for approximately 6 miles. From this point, FR68 becomes FR68G. FR68G will begin to climb northeast towards Tule Mesa. FR68G is the main route up onto Tule Mesa heading towards the trailhead. From this point on, FR68G will progressively deteriorate to the point of becoming a high-clearance 4x4 road. Once on Tule Mesa it is approximately 2 "rough and slow" miles to the trailhead. (Caution) FR68 and FR68G from Dugas are impassible when wet. High-clearance four-wheel drive is recommended to reach the trailhead. Stock 4x4 vehicles with "LT" rated tires should not have any problems.

(Lower TH)
Access to lower trailhead is from Camp Verde, via County Road 163 and FR574 to Brown Springs Ranch.
page created by ssk44 on Jul 21 2009 9:26 pm
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