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Owl Creek Campground and Trail, AZ

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Trailhead Elevation 3,448 feet
Interest Historic, Seasonal Creek & Perennial Creek
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
9  2020-12-05 chumley
Author chumley
author avatar Guides 80
Routes 687
Photos 15,428
Trips 1,579 map ( 11,750 miles )
Age 47 Male Gender
Location Tempe, AZ
Historical Weather
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Preferred   Nov, Feb, Mar, Jan → Any
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Winter
Sun  5:48am - 6:47pm
Official Route
 
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Water


It's a hoot!
by chumley

The Owl Creek Campground is one of two developed campgrounds in the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area. Owl Creek is located at the far eastern boundary of the RNCA along the Black Hills National Back Country Byway where it crosses the Gila River. The seven sites each feature a fire ring, BBQ grill, picnic table, and small ramada to provide relief from the hot desert sun.

A short trail has been built that leads from the campground down to the Gila River bridge, river put-in, and day-use picnic areas.

Starting between the self-pay station and the restroom, the trail is easy to find and leads across the desert and down a little drainage toward the river. At the time of this writing, the trail was well maintained, raked/swept by hand, and lined with rocks on both sides. I'm guessing this was a seasonal camp host project, but I don't know.

It's about a quarter-mile down to the historic Old Safford Bridge (officially the Jose M. Subia Memorial Bridge) crossing the river, and you'll pass through a lovely chain-link gate before reaching the road. Depending on the river's water flow, you may wade across the Gila under the bridge to visit the two day-use picnic areas on each bank, or you can admire the 1918 construction and cross the bridge on foot. Keep an eye out for vehicles. (Though the speed limit is 15-mph, somebody might drive by a bit faster!)

After enjoying the shade and water, head back up to camp. It shouldn't take more than 10 minutes!

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

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 car camp trip to support this local community.

2020-12-30 chumley
    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 $$
    Special Use

    Special
    The hike is free, but there is a fee for camping and a self-serve pay station. The BLM website doesn't seem to have this fee defined as of this writing, but in 2020 it was a very reasonable $5 per site with a $2 additional vehicle fee. BLM rangers are plentiful in the Gila Box, and you are sure to encounter one if you spend a day at this campground.


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To car camp trip
    From Safford
    Take US-70 east 10 miles. Turn left onto US-191 North and drive 23.5 miles to the four-way stop at Three Way. Turn left, staying on US-191 North, and go 5.5 miles. Turn left onto the dirt Black Hills Byway. Follow the Black Hills Byway for 3.5 miles to the campground.

    If coming from Clifton, the Black Hills Byway is 3.5 miles south of Clifton on US-191.
    page created by chumley on Dec 29 2020 11:07 pm
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