Bonanza Bill Trail #23, AZ | HikeArizona
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Bonanza Bill Trail #23, AZ

Guide 10 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3 of 5 
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Distance One Way 12.45 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,587 feet
Elevation Gain 1,253 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,699 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 21.44
 Backpack Possible & Connecting
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21  2021-08-02 00blackout
10  2021-04-09 AugustWest
8  2020-07-18 FOTG
28  2016-05-27
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51  2016-05-27
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19  2015-07-18 FOTG
Page 1,  2
author avatar Guides 16,879
Routes 17,276
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 26 Male Gender
Location HAZ, TrailDEX
Associated Areas
list map done
Alpine Region
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
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Preferred Sep, Aug, Jun, Jul
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  7:13am - 5:46pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2020 Cow Canyon Fire34.4k
🔥 2011 Wallow Fire29
🔥 1995 WS Fire11.1 mi*
🔥 1995 W/s Fire2.9k
🔥 1994 S Canyon Fire11.1 mi*
🔥 1982 Franz Fire3.5 mi*
🔥 View (All) - over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles

Bonanza Bill Trail is one of the main trails offering access to the remote eastern reaches of the Blue Primitive Area. In addition to traversing a good portion of this country on its own, Bonanza Bill serves as a connector between several other trails leading into this beautiful, wild country. The trail is named for Bonanza Bill Point, which stands out as one of the more prominent features along the route. This easy-to-follow pathway snakes along a divide that separates the canyons of the Blue and San Francisco Rivers. It sets a course through ponderosa pine stands so open and clear of undergrowth that in places, someone from the brushy forests of the east might swear crews of meticulous gardeners maintain it. Of course, that's not true. Openness is a natural characteristic of a ponderosa pine forest, especially one as dry as this. That openness also makes the surrounding scenery easier to see from the trail. Views include overlooks of Steeple and Tige canyons as well as the larger canyons of the Blue and San Francisco rivers.

This trail also roughly follows the boundary between Arizona and New Mexico. In one place, the trail crosses that line for a two-and-a-half-mile visit to Arizona's eastern neighbor. In this vicinity, you'll get some good views of Devil's Monument, a prominent landform in New Mexico. Another interesting area along the trail called Hell's Hole is quite a bit closer to the trailhead. Here dwarfed and deformed ponderosas hold to a precarious existence among exposed layers of white rock.

Watch for evidence of black bears in this remote area. As a matter of fact, the sign marking the trailhead usually has teeth, and claw marks put there by resident bruins. No one knows for sure why these shy brutes chew on signs, but the conventional wisdom is that their unnatural shape makes them stand out from their natural surroundings enough to serve as excellent bulletin boards for bears to mark their territorial boundaries. Trailside signs that have been splintered or even ripped apart certainly make the point that bears live in the area, and you should take special care with food and garbage.

Steeple Canyon has pools of water except during the dry seasons of the year.
Hinkle Springs, located one-quarter mile down the adjoining Hinkle Trail, is a dependable spring.
WS Lake provides water for stock except during the dry season.
Keep a clean camp so as not to create problem bears (or trash the area).
No mechanized vehicles (including mountain bikes) are permitted within the Primitive Area.

Trail Log:
0.0 Trailhead on Pueblo Park Road.
0.9 Junction with Tige Rim Trail #90. Bonanza Bill takes a sharp right at this point.
3.7 Junction with Hinkle Spring Trail, Hell's Hole.
5.9 Junction with Cow Flat Trail, #55.
6.2 Bonanza Bill Point on the right.
8.3 View of Devils Monument to east.
8.5 Trail goes through a gate in New Mexico State Line fence.
11.1 Trail crosses back into Arizona.
12.1 Junction with Franz Spring Trail.

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.

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

2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    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.

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    To hike
    Drive 3 miles east of Alpine on US 180 to Forest Road 281 (Blue River Road). Turn south and follow this scenic back road 20.7 miles to Pueblo Park Road (Forest Road 232). The Bonanza Bill Trailhead is 4.7 miles east on this dirt road just before it crosses the New Mexico state line. A wood-fenced corral serves as a landmark.

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