Megan's destiny unfolds
This simple loop starts off from the Mud Springs Trailhead on the Soldier Camp Trail. Immediately you cross the ravine which is home to Mud Springs. The creek was only a trickle on this outting. Trees canopy the area in refreshing fashion. However, it's short lived and soon you're back into typical Brushy Basin foliage. Which is occasional bushes and in May lot's of irritating dry grass foxtails. This hike would likely be most enjoyable in March.
Soon you'll cross Cottonwood Creek. On this outting it was running slow, but three to four times as good as Mud Spring. The hike continues away and up from Cottonwood Creek. Stop at 0.5 miles and go off-trail back/left to Cottonwood Creek. It's pretty easy, but if you're unsure I'd recommend downloading my GPS route.
There's a slanted 12 to 15 foot waterfall in the granite. I wouldn't say I was impressed but I was flat out stunned to say the least. Granted we just expiernced one of the wettest winters on record, but I believe the last round of showers was over two months ago! It must have been phenominal here in March!
Follow Cottonwood Creek a little over a quarter mile back down to Soldier Camp Trail. You'll have to be slightly acrobatic to make it down the creek. The rewards are slim with two somewhat notable waterfalls and one granite-etched swrilling cascade. Depending on the route you choose you may have to climb/descend some walls and shimmy across slabs of granite with drop-off exposure. The largest pool is barely large enough for a one-man bath.
I only rate this hike a 2 out of 5, just don't expect much. This loop is just outside the Four Peaks Wilderness boundary so feel free to mountain bike it in large groups.
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.