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Algonquin Trail #225, AZ

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Guide 40 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Black Canyon
3.6 of 5 by 10
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,383 feet
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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4  2017-04-27
Big Dipper - Castle Creek Wilderness
11  2016-10-16 extremehikerbabe
8  2016-03-19
Dipper - Horsethief - Recreation - Algonquin
8  2016-03-19
Dipper - Horsethief - Recreation - Algonquin
10  2016-03-01
Big Dipper - Castle Creek Wilderness
40  2015-09-06
Big Dipper - Castle Creek Wilderness
22  2014-09-20
Algonquin - Horsethief Cyn - Twin Peaks Loop
30  2011-05-14
Algonquin / Horsethief / 201 Loop
Page 1,  2,  3
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → 10 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:14am - 6:33pm
Official Route
7 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Dialect of Bradshaws
by HAZ_Hikebot

Likely In-Season!
Algonquin Trail #225 lies within the Castle Creek Wilderness and offers panoramic views of this area. The name was acquired from the Algonquin mine established in the early 1900s near Hell's Hole. The trail passes the mine location. It is located in the southern end of the Bradshaw Mountains, so-named for an early area miner.

The Bradshaw Mountain Range is walled by dark metamorphic rock over 1.8 billion years old, intruded by younger igneous granites (tan in color). The igneous granites have eroded into the huge boulders typical of the area.

From the south trailhead at 6,800 feet, the trail begins a gradual descent. At mile 0.75 there is a campsite ideal for about 8 people and 4 horses. The trail from there continues downhill through Ponderosa pine, soon changing to chaparral. Two abandoned cabins can be seen from the trail; just beyond them is a campsite suitable for 4-5 persons and 2 horses. The trail from here to Algonquin mine is not maintained, and hikers need to be particularly cautious. Algonquin Trail #225 intersects Horsethief Canyon Trail #30 in Horsethief Canyon where there is a seasonal stream. The Algonquin mine at 4,600 feet is just 0.5 miles away. The trail continues within the canyon for 0.5 miles, past the headwaters of Poland Creek. It then begins the final ascent for 2.5 miles to the north trailhead on FR 259 up a steep switchback grade. This portion of the trail was originally used to haul ore on pack animals. As you approach the north trailhead, the broad vistas of the Verde Valley to the northeast, and Pine Mountain to the east come into view. At 5 miles long, with a total elevation change of about 2,500 feet, this trail may be considered of moderate difficulty.

Triplogs indicate overwhelming catclaw...

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2003-04-01 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.

    Most recent of 11 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Algonquin Trail #225
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    Dipper - Horsethief - Recreation - Algonquin
    Check out Bruce's triplog loaded with details!

    Still love this loop. We last hiked the exact loop five years ago.

    Wore pants on a whim. It would have been brutal without. There is a little catsclaw, not really the issue. The killer brush is shin height, more of a low lying gauntlet of swords. It jabs right through thin pants that ward off catsclaw.
    Algonquin Trail #225
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    Dipper - Horsethief - Recreation - Algonquin
    Big Dipper
    Finally hit the Big Dipper for the first time. Easy to get there with only minor rock hopping. Kept dry easily.
    Such a pretty area. The mSD Card in my phone self destructed, so I have no pictures. Hopefully Joe got some.
    I can see why this place is popular. We got there early enough in the day that noone was there.

    Horsethief Canyon Trail #30
    This is a favorite of mine in the area. The creek has been flowing every time I've been there. This trail in the past has seen very little traffic, but it seems to be getting a bit more now.

    Recreation Trail #201
    I'd remembered this one as being hard to follow. The last time all we had to follow was a trace from the TOPO maps Those are notoriously inaccurate. This trail actually is not all that bad to follow, when you are on it... The track that I posted is spot on for all but the first 100 yards on the east end. I adjusted out our "exploration" and used RM/Satellite predict where it actually starts on the east. It may in fact start a little farther South than I show it.

    Senator Highway #52
    We had a 2 mile road walk on this to get to the Algonquin Trailhead.
    Kind of a busy day with 4x4's, ORV's, and Motorcycles.

    Algonquin Trail #225
    The start of this one is all but impossible to find without a track. I'm sure the fire took out the old TH sign. This one needs some love. There are numerous downfalls across the trail. Joe and I put a dent it it by clearing the ones we could and adding some appropriate Cairns. There are some real nice views from this one. I saw a red headed wood pecker on this trail.... without a body. :o

    Back down by Horsthief Creek we were mostly in the shade w/ a light breeze. Perfect.
    4 or 5 other groups had signed in after us, but we saw no one the whole day.

    Another very enjoyable day in the Castle Creek Wilderness!
    Algonquin Trail #225
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    Algonquin - Horsethief Cyn - Twin Peaks Loop
    Joe and I are in a small group that are hooked on discovering what the Bradshaws have to offer.

    We have a few more trails to discover out there. Today was to find out if the section of trail between the Horsethief Canyon Trail #30, going east, still existed.

    For this hike, long pants and a GPS track is helpful. The route is cairned throughout, but gets sketchy at some of the many creek crossings. If you are hiking just the Algonquin to and through the Horsethief Canyon, you will have water opportunities the entire way. For the route we took, we were next to water probably 70% of the time.

    Down the Algonquin #225 from the road to Crown King. All of the entries provided warnings to go back and get your long pants. The majority of the hike included knee high grasses/weeds interspersed with catclaw, locust and other things that liked to cling to you. With long pants on all you had too worry about, was the crap that clung to your socks.

    You pass the old Algonquin Mine building along the way. This is quite an interesting area. Someone spent a lot of time shoring up the walls that created the road to the mine. Just past here, the Algonquin Trail veers off to the west and the Horsethief Canyon Trail #30, continues to the south. The Horsethief Canyon walls are steep and close to you, adding to the wow factor on this hike. The climb out of the canyon is a steep one. Just south of leaving the Wilderness area, you'll hit the western start of your next trail.

    The Twin Peaks #240 Trail was flagged to be cleared by the forest Service, maybe 2 years ago. These flags made it possible to follow this trail. The brush was not too thick except for one section where we lost the flags. I hope they do come back to clear it. Along the way on this trail we found the burned remains of trail sign, indicating trails 800 and 801? (could not read the names) There were cairns going off to the Northeast. I've never heard of these, or seen them on any Topo maps. Sounds like another trip to this area.

    On the way down from the Twin Peaks area, I finally checked out and named an unmarked pond, that's had my curiosity the last few times out there.

    To round out the first time experience, we went in through the Turney Gulch CG area to pick up the southern end of the Horsefthief Canyon Trail #30. It follows an abandoned FR52F, past the old Rec Hall Ruins? and the old Sewage plant ruins, before finally turning into trail.

    Another fun day in the Bradshaws!!

    Video :next:

    Some trees are starting to turn yellow
    Algonquin Trail #225
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    Algonquin - Horsethief Cyn - Twin Peaks Loop
    We headed out with a pleasant 75° forecast into terrain known to be a winner. The drive in showed lush tall green grass blanketing the mountains.

    6:55am trailhead
    Despite many visits this trail would be difficult to find without the carsonite post hinting the way. Recent record rains have turned this transitional zone into a jungle. Three entries in the register offered a suggestion to wear pants. Bruce advertised the event as "17+ miles and some blood" so luckily I came armed with pants.

    The first and last four miles of our lasso loop hike had some unpleasantries. In addition to random catclaw there was miracle grow grass nose high in areas. Three species seemed to dominate. The shorter variety was seeding out. Not itchy just made Italians envy your legs. The minor annoyance was one of the tall hay bundle wannabes. Seeds plumed out in passing. The worst of the worst was a half mile stretch through wet sugar type sticky vegetation.

    75° was probably the low, perhaps the forecast should have read 75% humidity...

    enough of the negative
    The rewards out weighed all the above. Ivy is out of control. Wildflowers had me thinking it was spring. Vertical terrain is the star of the show. Each hike out on the Horsethief Canyon Trail #30, especially heading back, leaves me in awe. It's friggen awesome. I love it, I love it, I love it! Due to the trail condition most will despise this gem never looking up from their feet.

    fear no evil
    We finished off the western end of the Twin Peak Trail #240. Albeit 75% evil end to end there is a gift for the persistent hiker. The fire didn't plow the tall pines down. It reminded me of Ballantine above Rock Tank in the southern Mazzies.

    Bruce showed me where Denny used to take dance lessons. We yodeled in his honor, square danced with butterflies and headed home.

    Box Elders in a pocket up near Turney are getting a two day jump start on Autumn.

    Smaller white and purple daisy varieties are out in mass. Other ground cover and such varieties I'm clueless on identifying.
    Algonquin Trail #225
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    Did Joe and Bruce's lasso hike - pretty cool, especially if you like route finding challenges. Horsethief Canyon had isolated trickle flows between reasonably clean pools. If you want to visit this rugged stretch of the Bradshaws you should do it soon, as nature is hard at work erasing some of these little-used trails.
    Algonquin Trail #225
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    Algonquin / Horsethief / 201 Loop
    The Algonquin Trail #225 has been on my "To Do" list for quite some time now. I kept putting it off because I thought the entire trail looked like the Southern TH. I had nightmares of head high Cats Claw and climbing over 100's of burned fallen trees. Today was the day and decided to make it a loop and pull in a couple of other little traveled trails up there (Horse Thief Canyon #30 & Recreation Trail #201).

    First of all, the road to Crown King was in the best shape I have ever seen it. This made the 25 miles of driving off of I-17 much more pleasant than in the past. We hit the TH at a smidge after 7am and were the first car there. I'd always read the stories of how painful the drop down the Algonquin Trail to Poland Creek was (More importantly, the trek back up). It was not as bad as expected. Poland creek was running nicely and surprisingly, Horse Thief creek was even nicer. There were a few spots on the way to the Horse Thief / Algonquin intersection, where the trail was thin, but following the trail and Cats Claw was not bad at all. The trip up Horse Thief as well was not bad, but finding the Recreation 201 trail would be near impossible with out GPS. If you are doing it with out GPS, hang a right up the hill at the Castle Creek wilderness sign and follow the fence line. That will get you close and you should cross the faint trail in spots. It's only a short 1.6 miles on this until you reach FR52.

    From this point you have a 2.2 mile road slog. Something to cover your mouth would be handy on this section because of the smattering of car, quad, and motorcycle traffic. The road is quite dusty.

    Now you turn on the Algonquin Trail again to start the hike back. This section is 6 miles and drops from 6,900' to 4,400' into Poland Creek. This part of the hike reminds me of the Wilderness of Rocks trail down in Tucson.

    If you do this loop, it is suggested to do it Clockwise. The Algonquin Trail drops about 2,000' in 2 miles and is steep and loose in spots. I would not want to climb up this.

    On the feared climb out of Poland Creek to the trailhead we saw a Black-tailed buzzworm sunning himself in the middle of the trail. We waited a bit and talked to another hiker that had just come back from the Big Dipper. The hike up was nothing like what I'd feared. It really was not bad at all.

    I'm glad to have this one knocked off my list. The Creeks and the Cabin area were way cool, as well as the ruggedness of this little traveled area. This is a very nice hike, in temps 25 degrees cooler than the valley. Thanks to Joe for joining me on this one. Whine factor today was in full force.
    Algonquin Trail #225
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    Algonquin / Horsethief / 201 Loop
    Bruce threw together this loop and I was excited to see some new terrain in the Bradshaws. While at the same time expecting horrid catclaw based on our Twin Peaks loop last June, in addition to what others have reported.

    This turned out to be a nice loop. The worst overgrowth is from Poland Creek for a mile or so to a tributary of Horsethief where #30 ascends out of the creek. To be honest it really isn't that bad. I didn't come home blood nor scratched up. Being the jewel views of the hike your attention is diverted anyhow.

    The cabin area was cool. We looked around for the mine without success. Did find some mining equipment. While Bruce went for another look I realized sitting by the cabin it may be more of a workshop. The door on the end has a huge pipe making it a sliding door. The construction is metal too. Gotta check up on the history. Very cool that spring seeps out under the tree next to the structure.

    I was surprised to see Horsethief Creek flowing mid May in this dryer than normal year. Such a cool area that nobody seems to checkout. Heading up on #30 we lucked out as it was flagged maybe a year ago for a good portion going up and cairned along the way. While the fire damage is sad, it still offers great views. This is a true rugged mountain loop with very apparent mountain grades. It must have been phenomenal before the fire. The trail is trenching in steep parts due to uncontrolled runoff, yet I've seen worse in the Phoenix Preserves.

    With only one hour sleep due to some unknown site outage issue I was dragging big time once we hit trail #201. 201 is pretty much gone and would not have been possible without Bruce's GPS route. Our loop had a little road walk in the middle that I looked forward to relaxing. Of course it was all up

    Shortly onto the upper Algonquin Trail Bruce found a shady spot for lunch. I was beat and desperately needing the break and food. Refueled, finally heading down and the ibuprofen circulating I started feeling better. Once again the views are awesome. This trail wasn't a bad bushwhack either. It does head straight down without switchbacks on unsure footing. Sections have survived the fire giving you hints of yesteryears.

    We finished this one up with some nice shady stretches. The dreaded climb out lacked the pain we feared most and this hike turned out much better than I anticipated. Thanks Bruce!

    Wildflowers where moderate throughout with some substantial areas. Not large flowers that photograph well with point and shoot cameras. Beautiful to view in person.

    Looking back it's been just over 10 years since I hiked from this Algonquin trailhead to the Big Dipper. Until I read over my notes just now I forgot all about a bad experience. The Big Dipper page is titled "Mean Fall". I didn't fully explain out of pride or something. On that trip I was jumping boulder to boulder and slipped backwards falling on my hip and hitting my head to unconsciousness. Not sure how long I was out. Seems like it was around a half hour. Then I woke up dazed and in an odd position partially submerged. Apparently luck was on my side that day!
    Algonquin Trail #225
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    Hiked this trail from the north as far as the Algonquin Mine with a side trip to the Big Dipper. The trail down as far as Poland Creek was good, steep but good. From the creek on to the Algonquin was overgrown with catclaw. It follows an abandoned road hewn out of the side to the mountain to service the Algonquin. Some of the old mine building remain, though in disrepair. Various pieces of abandoned mining equipment can be found as well.

    My intent on this hike was to place a geocache near the Algonquin. Below is the write up that accompanied the hide.

    In 1902 a new hotel opened in Manhattan. The Algonquin quickly became New York City’s unofficial literary center. Famed writers and actors including Gertrude Stein, Sinclair Lewis, Helen Hayes, and William Faulkner frequented the bar for decades. The Algonquin Round Table was a group, mostly newspaper writers, novelists, and the occasional actor/actress, that lunched daily. Their wit and conversations filtered into the nation’s newspapers. Essentially they set the country’s literary discourse. The hotel remains open today and is a designated national landmark. It is said that if you visit, are in the right mood, and have a cocktail or two you can hear ghostly excerpts of those long gone conversations emanating from the walls.

    Further west in the early 1900s a mine began operating in the Bradshaw Mountains near the tiny mining town of Crown King. The Algonquin Mine was an ambitious project. Hardy men cut a road by hand slightly over 2 miles long from the Crown King Road into the rugged landscape down to Poland Creek and then into Hell’s Hole. The remnants of that road now form the first few miles of the Algonquin Trail. You can still see some of the rock retaining walls that held the road to the steep sided canyon. Today, the remaining buildings of the mining project are in ruin, sitting high above the creek.

    While literary dandies drank and had wildly entertaining conversations in the Algonquin of the east, hard men now long forgotten labored in a mine called the Algonquin out west. They undoubtedly had their own conversations over drinks inside the two story building near the mine on their rare days off. Both groups built and moved America, but in far different ways.

    If you ever find the remains of the old Algonquin mine, sit by the spring just north of the ruins and listen to the stream trickling below. Open your mind and you just might hear the echoes of hammer and pick against hard stone. And if you are lucky enough the timeless desert breeze just might bring you the faint murmurs of a conversation at the Algonquin.

    This log is late. I wasn't logging my hikes on HAZ back then. Correcting as many as I can remember now.
    Algonquin Trail #225
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    Now out of the Recreational brush and on an actual trail, I decided to keep going until nightfall and find a good camp spot hopefully near water. The trail looked well traveled and semi-recently maintained- cut back and wide enough for two. It was also cairned heavily along the way. The old topo and the posted route would have kept me off of this easy path and in the thickets higher up.
    I made it to the first unnamed creek in no time and found it trickling and still holding some nice pools. I contemplated camping here but thought with the light left and the trail so hospitable, I would press my luck at the next creek over. Unfortunately the trail began petering out as it continued up and along the ridge. By keeping my feet in the high grass I was sometimes able to make out the overgrown trail but the further along I went, the more it disappeared. At the point where route, map, and path all dictated a downward commitment, it was just following drainage courses down the steep hillside. A scramble would be too nice of a word for what ensued. I was trying to keep on the stable rocks but many turned on me trying to goad me into following them on what they touted as a faster path. I gave up persisting in the correct path, even as random cairns appeared and I skied down random old waterways. I can't imagine attempting an upward assault on this side of the hill. The light was fading fast but I could see the water steadily growing closer. I paused a few times to reassure my mind I was just overexerted and not panicking. I finally made it down on my own terms and well off any map lines that entered downstream. The good thing was I had spotted a great pool that looked like it had a small beach on the way down, so I hiked a hair upstream further to check it out. With a little rock rooting, I made a great bed in the soft silt two feet off the water and still had room for a small fire ring. I gathered a little dry wood from the immediate area in the almost dark, and lit up my accommodations to begin dinner and to ward off the early animals visitors. A private party creek dip after dinner and I was ready for the moon to see me to sleep.
    The next morning I woke to the buzzing of yellow jackets quite interested in the leaves of the tree next to me. I stayed brave in my bag for as long as I could but then figured it was morning enough to begin breakfast on the other side of my pool. I got going again shortly after and decided to stay in the creek for as long as I could, giving up on the route completely. Still no animals but a fair amount of tracks including bear in the soft soil.
    After rock hopping a ways, I came to the confluence (I really like saying this word for some reason- really, it's on my fun list of words I try to insert it all the time into everyday conversations) at the real Horsethief Canyon and found a decent waterfall that told my backpacked self that I shall not pass, so I had to back track a smidge and get up the hill and around.
    More ghost cairns appeared in drainage shoots down the other side until I got to the creek and what the old topo iconed as the Algonquin Trail beginning. With a little searching I found a trail and cairns popped up everywhere as I walked in the tall grass between the creek beds. Near an old pen fence I lost it and moved towards the main creek where I gave up again trying to regain it. I headed downstream admiring the much prettier surroundings and better waterflow and pools. I saw that the mapped route climbed out again before the next...confluence and figured it was probably due to another unnavigable fall, so I refilled my water and looked and found the way out. The detour switchbacks weren't bad and were quite short and in no time I was close to the creek again and next to the old mining cabin. The creek pools got larger and deeper below as I made my way onto the old road along side. I was excited to see the road in the distance thinking my footsteps would be easier until I was actually on it and the catclaw began to thorn rape my legs. Halfway through the unshaded and unseasonably hot "trail," I joked out loud, "Well, Michael, maybe we should turn around and go back," and that was when the only other hiker of the trip, relaxing on the creek below heard and hailed up to me and my hiking partner. I thought about shouting ahead, "What? No you keep going I'm going to talk to this guy and then catch up," but the many times being caught talking to myself on seemingly empty grocery isles has weaned me (us) of that prideful behavior.
    We shouted for awhile, about where I had come from, and then him telling me he had tried the Algonquin with his wife from the top only to lose the trail, have to set up camp and then give in and hike back out. He mentioned some catclaw but the ones still holding me in their embrace all the while during our discussion assured me this man had no idea what real catclaw love was.
    I struggled free and plodded on and was refreshed to see Poland Creek coming into view. The last part of the old road that hovers over Poland seems immune to overgrowth and a nice flat camp spot can be found. I hiked down, took off my heavy pack and rolled my tattered pad out under a rock outcrop for some napping. I woke to find I still had 3hrs before I should see my Big Dipper companions so I left a note and my large pack and small packed it down to the confluence and large pool I had passed above. Poland was almost completely fry until this feed hit but the deeper pools still held strong. I got into the water found a nice submerged seat and continued my read in All The Pretty Horses (man as macho as that book can be that title seems uber-gay out loud) for a few hours until I heard the brother-in-law's voice on the ziplocked 2-way.
    He made it to me and I found out everyone had canceled except his mentor kid (Mentee). It was still ok since neither of them had been to the Dipper before so I led them on down without too much frustration.
    The long swim had turned into what we called the poop channel ("All poop, All the time") and we were able to wade through it. The stinky mud wanted our shoes as souvenirs, especially the part towards the end that had no water but still sunk you in a good foot. Black and sloppy, our slippery steps continued the rest of the short way to the now just trickling fall. To my great surprise, the Dipper was only down maybe 6 inches which is nothing to for the depth that lies beneath. The water wasn't as cold as it was in April but it was still chilly out of the sun. We stayed for a goodish amount of time and then hiked back so that we could make it to the climb out before 6:30 so we weren't rock hopping by flashlight. I was saddened to see that even the trail to the creek here was thorny, of course I didn't care at this point because my damage was already done. We made it up in 50 minutes with lights on the last half, then drove down the hill for home and In and Out.
    Algonquin Trail #225
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    very fun backpack up Poland Creek to a campsite on bench left - about 2.5 miles from the Algonquin t/h. led a group of 8 into this seldom (and I mean seldom) visitied area just east of Crown King. rock hopping and scramblin thru pools, pourovers, falls and some scrappy vegetation. this is a "soft water effect" photog's dream. there had to be 100 small waterfalls and cascades. to be so close to a popular road, we heard no vehicles but were interupted by a service helicopter for a few minutes. had great food, including tenderloin grilled steak and asparagus. Sarae, Dave, Roger, Kevin, Chris, Tim, Jim, Wendy and myself. campsite i remembered from 4 years ago still there, but slightly eroded from fire damage. good hike.

    Permit $$

    Prescott Forest
    Prescott National Forest Pass

    Only trailheads with six "amenities" have fees. Amenities are picnic tables, trash, toilet, parking, interpretive signing and security.

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    Take 1-17 north out of Phoenix. Pass Black Canyon City up to the Bumble Bee Exit just after mile marker 248. Follow FR259 25.3 miles to the turnout on the left. The turnout is located between mile markers 24 & 25. Closer to 25. There's room for a half dozen cars. There is no visible trail signage. Look over the edge and you'll see the trail heading down. Trail signs are within the first quarter mile or so of the hike.
    $17 3L Hydration Bladder
    help comment issue

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