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Agua Escondido, AZ

no permit
9 8 0
Guide 8 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
2 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,867 feet
Elevation Gain -70 feet
Accumulated Gain 231 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.66
Interest Off Trail Hiking
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
8  2011-12-16
Sheep Mountain 3567 & 3397 - Salt River
3  2011-12-16
Sheep Mountain 3567 & 3397 - Salt River
6  2011-12-16
Sheep Mountain 3567 & 3397 - Salt River
9  2004-09-23 joebartels
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
Trips 4,256 map ( 21,429 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Mar → 8 AM
Seasons   Early Winter to Early Spring
Sun  6:10am - 6:30pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Killer Oasis
by joebartels

Whether any of the following is true or not could take fifty pages of writing. Therefore here's the assumed history. Jacob Waltz shot and killed his nephew because he was going to publicly record the mine. They were on their way back to Phoenix via Fort McDowell and camped at Agua Escondido. The argument broke out the next morning. Waltz buried his nephew in soft dirt under a ledge.

Agua Escondido is spanish for hidden water. Appropriately enough this is a hike to Hidden Water Spring. The hike is simple. You can start anywhere around Cottonwood Camp and hike down the creek. Personally I take FR401 to the point where it really turns into 4x4 as mentioned in the directions below. If you don't have a truck good in sand you will need to add on 0.5-1.0 miles to the hike. Okay, head south down Cottonwood Creek. The creek is a wide sandy base that's extremely popular with ATVs. Hike about 2 miles to the confluence with Cane Spring Canyon. If you weren't looking for the confluence you might miss it as it does slip in at an extreme angle.

Enter the tributary and soon the pace slows down. The canyon gets dense with trees and prickly bushes. It's barely a quarter mile into the spring. Return as you came. Interesting to note, this tributary to Cottonwood Creek spans way up towards the Four Peaks and has several tributaries of its own. It must flow high at times. I imagine it would be a real site from above with it's twisty turns at the end.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2004-09-23 joebartels
    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 Triplog Reviews
    Agua Escondido
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Bob told me I needed to expand my horizons and learn new traits from experienced individuals. I had no idea what he was talking about but said let's do it. Got pretty lucky and finally got to meet the legend Mazatzal Kokopelli!

    We headed back to Sheep Mtn just two weeks after round one. This time via Cottonwood Creek then up Cane Spring Canyon(CSC) passing the Hidden Water oasis.

    8:13am - Richard stopped when the road got smooth due to lame advice and off we went
    8:51am - after 1.66mi and dropping 150ft we turned into CSC
    8:58am - we were greeted by the magical mid Dec Autumn Foliage of the Hidden Water oasis
    9:10am - the dreaded duck, twist and scratch bushwhack was over, it wasn't too bad either
    9:12am - Bob added Tina Turner to his "list" of neighbors and said he bagged groceries for Ike once. Another nod and smile moment...
    10:20am - 3.02mi we headed out of CSC and up to a ridge that would deliver us to Sheep Mtn. Amy said it was steep. I slipped down about ten feet mid way up to put the sausage grinder effect onto my right shin, declaring this as an official "fun" hike. Sometime I plan in haste drawing routes that look quick. Admittingly, it was a snowman nail bitter.
    10:36am - After a 520ft (almost half a Squaw) ascent in 0.16mi we arrived at a saddle. We thought it was windy in the canyon. On the saddle Gale forced us to believe it was a hurricane.
    10:52am - After a breather we were on our way again. You know how Bob always waits for the team to regroup before moving on... Bob who?
    12:01pm - after a 900ft brute force climb we centered out on Sheep Mtn. Amy and I took a catclaw rock scramble straight up. This was not as enjoyable as my route two weeks ago but it panned out.
    12:39pm - we headed over to 3567 to check Richard and Amy into the official peak log
    12:48pm - after logging in we decided to hit up 3397 and headed over. Richard started down to the sandstone ledges to meet us up on the return
    1:12pm - 3397 ended up being among the easiest stroll out of CSC. The views down into the Salt River are stunning. It was so windy though it was difficult to enjoy. The views atop Skeleton Cave are better too.
    2:02pm - I picked a horrible route back. It really slowed Amy and me down but we got in some good girl talk as Juliachaos calls it, wait a minute...
    2:40pm - somehow we didn't take the short cut back and proceeded to head down to CSC in nearly the same steep spot
    3:00pm - back on solid ground. The wind finally started to die off and the hike out was Chamber of Commerce
    4:30pm - back at Hidden Water I took the man route while everyone else opted for the girl scout route. I should'a known I'm more of a girl scout and kinna paid the price dearly too. Mid way through I went to leap off a four foot drop. It was all good in theory. However a vine trapped my feet so there was no lifting off the launch pad. Instead I face planted like the wile e coyote. Aside from full body trauma I felt pretty lucky to be in one piece and not visually bleeding anywhere. It did zap the energy out of me a little.
    5:32pm - the adventure came to a close

    Traits gleaned: Richard taught me to smoke or you never get breaks with Bob. Kat tried to teach me this last year but I didn't catch on. Amy taught me to consume alcohol in large quantities fast after hikes with Bob to blur (think she meant ease, but it was difficult to understand with her slur) pain.

    Thanks everyone, I had a great time!
    Agua Escondido
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    It's kind of amazing the little oasis is just around the corner. I've hiked by it a couple times even knowing a spring was nearby but never imagined it was so lush.

    A couple forewarnings
    1) The majority of the hike is in sand and it's 100% sun exposure!
    2) The lush canyon entrance is cool but it ain't no park, you gotta work through it!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To Cottonwood Camp Trailhead
    From Scottsdale follow Shea Blvd East to its terminus at SR87. Turn Left onto SR87. Follow SR87(this is the Beeline) to the Four Peaks Turnoff which is FR143. FR143 is well marked. Follow FR143 to FR 401. Hang a right onto FR401 and follow past Cottonwood Camp. Park anywhere, behind the corral is more concealed.

    Several of the hikes posted from this trailhead go south. You can continue 0.5 miles south to where FR401 ascends out of Cottonwood Creek up the side of a mountain. It's absolute 4WD beyond. You will know as it turns from sand to cobblestone sized rocks. Getting here is only doable in high clearance, dry conditions and it's slightly risky depending on current conditions.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 46.4 mi - about 1 hour 20 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 144 mi - about 2 hours 47 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 173 mi - about 3 hours 21 mins
    128 GB Flash Drive... $14
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