Holly Guano Methane Batman!
I questioned the wisdom of posting this trail as when I hiked it I thought I was in the wrong place. As it turns out I was in exactly the right place.
This trail can be accessed from two different places. You can reach a trailhead off Fossil Springs Road and make it a 14-mile hike, or you can reach the trailhead via Gap Creek trail from Camp Verde. We chose Camp Verde as that makes it a fairly easy 6-mile out and back trail.
The area is beautiful, lush and fairly easy to get to. We started out on a nice sunny and windy morning from Phoenix and drove up to Camp Verde. The driving directions I've included are exact. From the parking area at the D-Tail ranch, you follow the Gap Creek Trail down to the Verde River. You haven't actually reached the Towel Creek trail, but if you look across the Verde at a confluence between two red cliffs and the draw that cuts between them, that's Towel Creek. To reach the actual trail #67, you have to bushwhack a bit upstream, then cross the Verde. It's not hard to do, and we didn't cross the river just yet. We walked roughly a half-mile upstream first. If you can find a place to ford the river, do so at any time. The coordinates for where the trailhead is roughly 33 35.81N 112 14.86W. This reading was taken while standing across the river from the trailhead. The Verde is deep in places along here and so we just walked upstream till we found a place to cross, then walked back downstream the to trailhead. A cairn marks it. The trail goes straight up to a fence line. You then follow the fence line to a gate. Go through the gate and follow the Cairns and the beaten path. Sometimes the trail is hard to find but as long as you look for Cairns, you'll be okay.
After about 2.5 miles the trail dips down to Towel Creek. Follow the creek in lieu of a trail. I only went a little ways before I tripped and fell and hurt my knee. My hiking companion went a little further and found and old cowboy shack. From here, there is no trail to the ruins and I determined we were still a half a mile from the ruins. The GPS coordinates for the ruins are 34 24.45N 111 45.16W. We were about .45 miles from the ruins at the Cowboy shed. We never did find them.
Follow the same trail back. When you cross the Verde, it's a good idea to have Tevas or something to cross in, as the bottom is rocky. My hiking partner didn't tie her shoes tight enough to her pack and so they ker-plunked into the river, but floated downstream aways and came to rest on the shore where we retrieved them. That was lucky.
If you chose this trail, let me know if you ever find the ruins. Then you can take me there!
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.
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.