register help

Snowshed Basin Trail, AZ

Guide 2 Triplogs  0 Topics
  0 of 5 
10 2 0
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,616 feet
Elevation Gain 270 feet
Accumulated Gain 334 feet
Avg Time One Way 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 3.11
Interest Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
12  2021-06-28
Snowshed Herb Martyr Loop
10  2020-09-17 markthurman53
Author markthurman53
author avatar Guides 187
Routes 720
Photos 8,033
Trips 544 map ( 4,972 miles )
Age 68 Male Gender
Location Tucson, Arizona
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Oct, Nov, Mar, Apr → Any
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:34am - 7:11pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
πŸ”₯ 2011 Horseshoe 2 Fire158.9 mi*
πŸ”₯ 1994 Rattlesnake Fire50.4 mi*
πŸ”₯ View All over Official Route πŸ”₯
*perimeter length in miles

Cave Creek Dams
by markthurman53

remove free decal offer
The Chiricahua Mountains are located in far southeast Arizona on the New Mexico and Mexico border. This mountain is probably the remotest of the over 9000 feet high sky island ranges. The closest towns are Wilcox, 40 miles to the north, and Douglas, about the same to the south. No paved roads enter this range except a short portion on the east side of the range near Portal, Arizona, and there isn’t any easy way to get there. One dirt road traverses the range from the west side near the Chiricahua Monument and ends at Portal. The remoteness makes for great hiking if you prefer solitude. With a few exceptions, many of the trails are in poor condition, ravaged by the Rattlesnake fire in 1994 and the Horseshoe 2 fire of 2011. If you are into route finding, then this is the place to hike.


You will not see a Forest Service reference to this trail or a trail number, I have found no maps that show this trail, but it is there nonetheless. There is a sign along the trail that references it as the Snowshed Basin Trail because it links the Snowshed Trail #246 with the Basin Trail #600. Access to this trail from the east is from the Snowshed Trail, spur trails along the trail from the Chrystal Cave parking area and John Hands Campground, on the west side at the Herb Martyr Trail near the Herb Martyr Campground. This is a relatively flat 2-mile trail and traverses the south side of the Cave Creek Basin. The trail passes through wooded areas of Oak, pine, and juniper. On the west end are some great views up Cave Creek Canyon and Cima Canyon up to the Chiricahua Crest. If you are camped in the area, this makes for great day hikes visiting Herb Martyr and John Hands Falls.

Access to the trail's east end is 1 mile in along the Snowshed Trail #246. At the signed intersection, the Snowshed trail continues in a northeast-southwest direction, and the Snowshed Basin Trail heads off to the northwest. There are not a lot of views along this section as you are in a Juniper grassland forest. Occasional, a few views look back to the northeast across Cave Canyon of Mount Sceloporus and Silver Peak. About 0.5 miles in is the signed junction with a spur trail leading to the Chrystal Cave parking area along FR42A (Herb Martyr Road). Near this parking area is the only sign I saw that references the Snowshed Basin Trail. This .3 mile spur offers an access point to the Snowshed Basin trail along its eastern side. The trail continues on west from this junction following through pine, oak, and juniper forest.

The next 1.5 miles, the trail gradually climbs 350 feet, still making this a relatively flat trail. At 0.9 miles in the John Hands Falls is off to the right along Cave Creek. This is actually a dam in the creek to make a reservoir that has since been filled in with sand, leaving a 10-foot waterfall. This is worth the 0.1 mile side trip to see. This is also another access point to the Snowshed Basin Trail from FR42A (Herb Martyr Road). Along this section of the trail are some good views to the west of Centella Point up on the Chiricahua crest. The trail continues along the south side of Cave Creek for the next mile but set back in the forest a few 100 yards. At 1.8 miles in is Herb Martyr Falls, this is another dam that has been backfilled, creating a 20-foot waterfall. The trail is now about 80 feet above the falls, so access to the falls is not as easy as the John Hands Falls was. Good views of the falls from here, but access to the falls is best done by continuing 0.2 more miles to the Herb Martyr Trail and following that 0.2 miles down to the falls. There are some good views of upper Cave Creek and Cima Creek along the last half mile of the Snowshed Basin Trail. Winn falls is not visible from this trail, but there are some great views of where it is approximately. The only view of the falls is along Greenhouse Trail #248.

This trail follows the Cave Creek camping areas, so the wildlife, especially deer, is plentiful and used to human activity, at least when it’s not hunting season. This trail also lends itself to loop hikes involving the Snowshed Trail #246 and the Herb Martyr Trail #247.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2021-06-26 markthurman53

    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
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    East entrance
    From Tucson, take I-10 east 139 miles to US 80 (you will cross the New Mexico border to get to this intersection). Turn right (south) and drive 28 miles, then turn right (west) on the road to Portal, 7 miles. Drive west on FR 42 approximately 4 miles to the trailhead along FR42. 1.3 miles past the intersection with FR42E. All paved roads

    West entrance
    From Tucson, take I-10 east to Willcox. From Willcox, head south on AZ Highway 186 for 33 miles. Turn left (east) on AZ Highway 181 toward Chiricahua National Monument and drive 3 miles, then turn right (south) on FR 42 (Pinery Canyon Road). Continue up Pinery Canyon on FR 42 for 19 miles to the trailhead. 0.6 miles past the intersection with FR42A. Dirt road up to FR42A.

    Forest Roads 42 and 42D are gravel roads suitable for passenger vehicles. Open from April through November, they are not plowed and are usually closed following early or late season snowstorms. These roads are rough and dusty and may be muddy and slick after rain.

    page created by markthurman53 on Jun 26 2021 11:48 am
    90+Β° 8am - 6pm kills
    prehydrate & stay hydrated
    help comment issue

    end of page marker