Black River Views
Good views of the Black River drainage and San Carlos Indian Reservation provide a scenic send-off for this trail into the Bear Wallow Wilderness. From the trailhead, views stretch all the way to Mount Graham in the Pinaleno Range 80 miles to the southwest. This striking panorama accompanies you a good portion of the way of down the steep switchbacks that begins the trail's descent into a side drainage of Bear Wallow Creek and eventually to the canyon floor. Gobbler Point is the steepest trail leading into the wilderness. It also provides the shortest route to the creek's downstream reaches, which could be important to those interested in fishing the stream's pools and riffles for the population of native Apache trout that have been stocked there.
In addition to panoramic views, a mixed stand of conifers, ponderosa pine, and aspen provides a scenic setting for the trail's upper reaches. Those tall upland species gradually give way to clumps of Gambel oak, red-osier dogwood, and bracken fern as the trail looses altitude. At the junction with Bear Wallow Trail on the canyon floor, the trail is set in a park-like community of ponderosa pines and canyon hardwoods, including Arizona ash, alder, and box elder. A sprinkling of wildflowers usually adds a splash of color.
The humble fence that marks the boundary of the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation is just a half mile downstream from the point where the Gobbler Point Trail meets Bear Wallow Trail. Bear Wallow Creek flows into the Black River another one and a half miles downstream from that. If you'd like to complete your tour of Bear Wallow Creek and take a look at this remote section of the Black River, be sure to get a permit in advance from the San Carlos Apache Tribe. Notes:
No motorized or mechanized vehicles (including mountain bikes) are permitted in Wilderness. The trail is steep, exposed to direct sun, and drops 2,100 feet in 2.7 miles. Be sure to carry enough water. A special use permit from the tribe is required for entry onto the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation.
0.0 The trail heads west from the parking lot at the end of Gobbler Point Road (Forest Road 8154)
0.9 Drop into drainage and continue descent to Bear Wallow Creek and Trail.
2.7 Junction with Bear Wallow Trail #63.
USGS Maps: Hoodoo Knoll
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This hike is listed as One-Way.
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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.
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