Fall Color wonderland
Glenn Reynolds built the first house on this creek. For many years he was a prominent Gila County cattleman. In 1888 he was elected sheriff of Gila County. On November 2nd 1889 he was escorting Apache prisoners and killed by the Apache Kid.
Stay to the left at the parking area, and ignore the the road/trail that continues on to the right. If you have not crossed the split-log bridge in the first minute or two of your hike, you are on the wrong trail!
For the past few months I had been planning to get around to hiking Reynolds Creek, but after seeing it as the "Hike of the Month" in a recent Arizona Highways that was the final straw. Now I HAD to go.
This hike starts out at the terminus of FR 410 off HWY 288. At 6000+ft in elevation and being in a nicely shaded canyon, the ponderosas are plentiful and big. I started out at about 7:45 and after about 5 minutes of hiking, heard some rustling in the brush down below and saw 3 black bears, a mother and her cubs, much to my surprise. They immediately headed to the other side of the canyon and into the woods. Needless to say, I treaded a bit more cautiously after that just to make sure I didn't literally run into any more bears.
The trail heads east along the north face of the canyon, passing Reynolds Creek Falls. It was no more that a trickle when I was there, but they are about 50 feet in height and would be quite impressive after a snow melt or heavy rain. Eventually, the trail crosses the creek and heads southeast towards Aztec Peak. At about the 2.5 mile mark, you encounter a beautiful aspen covered area called Knolls Hole. Let me tell you, the falls colors were in abundance. The pictures can attest!
The trail travels about 1/3 of a mile through Knolls Hole before leveling out at a saddle at about 7500 feet. You've gone almost 3 miles at this point. Also at this point, the trail forks. You can continue straight and head eastward and downward on the official Reynolds Creek Trail eventually meeting up with FR 487a near Murphy's Ranch, but I did not go that far. The trail kind of petered out, so I turned around and took the fork that headed right (south) and eventually ran in to the Abbey's Way #151 trail ( at this section, it appeard to be an old mining or logging road). If you follow TR 151 in a south/southwest direction, it leads you to a nice over look where you can see Aztec Peak and Peterson Ranch down below. At this point, I turned around and headed back to the trailhead. All in all it was about 8 miles round trip.
As a side note, after getting back to HWY 288, I headed back south about 2 miles and headed up FS 487 towards Workman Creek Falls. If you go past the falls about a 1/2 mile you will encounter the Abbey's Way trailhead that you can follow for about a 1/4 mile north from the road and it will lead you into the basin where Peterson Ranch is located. The ranch is long gone, but a nice field and an apple orchard still remain. I took plenty of them home!
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.