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Verde River Trail #11, AZ

no permit
238 33 4
Guide 33 Triplogs  4 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
3.6 of 5 by 8
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Difficulty 5 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance One Way 28.25 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,067 feet
Elevation Gain 3,788 feet
Accumulated Gain 5,850 feet
Avg Time One Way 12-16 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 47.75
Backpack Yes
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Collective Slideshow
7  2018-12-08
51  2018-12-05
Upper Mazatzal Loop
29  2018-11-11
Red Crk - Wet Btm - Highwater - Verde 11
6  2017-12-09
Sheep Bridge
15  2017-11-05
Verde River / Red Creek
20  2017-06-24
Verde River / Deadman Mesa
18  2017-04-15
Horseshoe Dam to Sheepbridge
13  2016-12-10
Deadman and Frustum #29
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Mar, Nov, Oct → Early
Sun  7:24am - 5:18pm
Route Scout App
Official Route
9 Alternative
Nearby Area Water
Sheep Bridge / Mountain Spring Loop
Sheep Bridge / Mountain Spring Loop
0.0 mi away
22.6 mi
4,505 ft
Midnight Mesa Loop - Mazatzal
Midnight Mesa Loop - Mazatzal
0.1 mi away
36.0 mi
7,800 ft
Willow Springs Trail #223 - Mazatzal
Willow Springs Trail #223 - Mazatzal
0.2 mi away
16.6 mi
5,260 ft
Dutchman Grave Trail #22 - Mazatzal
Dutchman Grave Trail #22 - Mazatzal
0.2 mi away
11.3 mi
3,800 ft
Tangle Peak
Tangle Peak
2.1 mi away
2.8 mi
1,325 ft
Horse Mountain 2976 - Mazatzal
4.2 mi away
3.5 mi
600 ft
Sunset Mountain
5.4 mi away
4.5 mi
2,598 ft
Wet Bottom Trail #269
Wet Bottom Trail #269
6.0 mi away
10.0 mi
3,038 ft
Red Creek
Red Creek
6.0 mi away
8.3 mi
870 ft
Willow Spring Trail #244 - Mazatzal
Willow Spring Trail #244 - Mazatzal
6.1 mi away
0.4 mi
15 ft
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Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
In the beginning
by bryanmertz

Notice: The following only mentions getting started. A full description for this page is needed.

The Verde River Trail (Trail #11 on the Tonto Map) is one of three trails that culminate from Sheep's Crossing/ Sheep Bridge area on the Verde River. Feeding both Horseshoe and Bartlett reservoirs - the Verde has a moderate perennial flow.

The trip to the TH is an adventure in itself. You have to drive about 45 miles of forest road; the last 8 of which are un-maintained; and there are several rocky parts. However, due to the remoteness - this area of the Tonto Forest offers plenty of solitude.

This trail heads north into the Mazatzal Wilderness and offers great views of the Verde River/ Cypress Butte and Mazatzal Peak. This is a through trail that goes up to the Strawberry area. I only did the first 3 1/2 miles or so, until the trail left the river! The first mile or so of the trail was easy to follow - however, once you cross into the Mazatzal Wilderness, it seems to be used much less, and at times the trail was difficult to follow.

The TH is around 2100ft. and the trail itself does not have a lot of elevation change (the southern part anyway,) but there is diverse plant and animal life due to the proximity of the river.

There is also a Hot Spring near Sheep Bridge which was surprisingly clean. Someone built a small cement tub and drain, so the water gets recycled. I imagine due to the remoteness of the area, this spring is not used as much as some of the others in Arizona. There was some spray paint on the rocks along the river - but for the most part this area was clean. This would be a great area to set up a base camp on the beach along the river and set out for some day trips to explore further.

There is also another route to get to the TH. This requires crossing the river south of Horseshoe Dam and taking FR479 north. I assume this is shorter - but I have not seen the river at a point where I felt comfortable crossing.

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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
FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

To Sheep Bridge Trailhead
Take Cave Creek road east and follow the directions to Seven Springs - Cave Creek Road turns into FR24. Take FR24 35 miles until it ends at FR269. Take FR269 another 12 miles to the southeast until it ends at Sheep Bridge. NOTE: the last 8 miles or so of FR269 is unmaintained! While it may be passable by car - I would urge something with more clearance and designed suspension.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 105mi 3h 38m
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 182mi 4h 50m
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 119mi 3h 44m
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