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Snowshed & Greenhouse Loop, AZ

28 12 1
Guide 12 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Douglas
0 of 5 by 0
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Difficulty 5 of 5
Route Finding 5 of 5
Distance Round Trip 14.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,825 feet
Elevation Gain 3,745 feet
Accumulated Gain 4,546 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 10 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 37.23
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
7  2010-09-19
Crest Trail #270 - Jct Saddle to Sentinel Peak
5  2008-04-05
Basin Trail #600
5  2007-10-28
Chiricahua Peak from Rustler Park TH
18  2006-02-08 gpsjoe
10  2006-02-03 SUN_HIKER
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, Aug, May, Jul → 7 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:43am - 5:19pm
Route Scout App
Official Route
0 Linked
Nearby Area Water
Ash Spring Trail #247A
0.0 mi away
2.0 mi
400 ft
Herb Martyr #247
0.1 mi away
2.7 mi
2,234 ft
Greenhouse Trail #248
Greenhouse Trail #248
1.2 mi away
3.4 mi
2,394 ft
Basin Trail #600
Basin Trail #600
1.9 mi away
4.5 mi
1,004 ft
Snowshed Trail #246
2.1 mi away
7.9 mi
4,250 ft
Horseshoe Pass
2.7 mi away
9.5 mi
1,900 ft
South Fork of Cave Creek #243
South Fork of Cave Creek #243
2.8 mi away
6.5 mi
3,711 ft
Bear Wallow Trail #333
2.9 mi away
0.8 mi
148 ft
Booger Spring Trail #374
2.9 mi away
0.3 mi
82 ft
Centella Trail # 334
3.1 mi away
1.4 mi
349 ft
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Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
High mountain adventure
by gpsjoe

The Snowshed and Greenhouse trails are on the east side of the Chiricahua Mountains very near the border of Arizona and New Mexico. The trailhead is in the Herb Martyr campground some 7 miles past Portal, Arizona

Clearly this hike is not for everybody. It's a fairly grueling 15 mile loop with a total of 4,300 feet cumulative elevation. For 1.5 of the 15 miles, the trail is almost non-existent or buried under fallen trees and debris from fires several years ago. This 1.5 mile section is on the Snowshed trail as it approaches Snowshed Saddle. Navigating to the saddle requires use of maps and/or GPS or both with adequate preparation in advance.

So I have rated this hike 5 for difficulty and 5 for trail finding. The 5 for trail finding applies to the 1.5 mile section noted above. Trail finding on the other 13.5 miles of the loop is at a 2 level. These trails are clearly defined and any difficulty comes from there being so many trails and signs near the top of the Chiricahuas that picking the right trail itself is challenging. But we had good GPS waypoints pre-loaded for this hike and the right choice for us was clear.

The hike starts at the trailhead in the beautiful Herb Martyr campground about 3 miles past Portal on Cave Creek road (FS 42a). We start by going south on the Basin trail which is signed as trail 146. This is also the trail number for the Snowshed trail and they both can't have the same number. On the Coronado National Forest website, this trail is listed as the Herb Martyr trail 247. But the sign on the trail says Basin trail 246, so go figure. We followed this heavily treed trail for 3 miles while climbing 2,000 feet to its end and intersection with the Snowshed trail. Along the way we caught some great views of the Chiricahua Mountains ahead. We turned right and hiked up another 1,500 feet in 3.1 miles to the Snowshed saddle. The first half of this trail was easy to follow. Then we arrived at the burned out part, the last 1.5 miles to the saddle. The downed trees and debris from past fires combined with a number of rain storms in between has almost wiped out this trail. We would rediscover something that looked like a trail, take a few steps and lose it again. All the time we hiked over, under or around many fallen trees. One of Sun_Hiker's able hiking friends tried this trail a number of years ago and turned back before reaching the saddle. We pushed through to the saddle but it took about 2 1/2 hours to do the 1.5 miles. We had planned on going up to Snowshed peak, only 0.6 miles from the saddle but we decided not to risk coming out in the dark. So on we went.

We continued on Snowshed trail 0.4 miles to its intersection with the Crest trail turning right and following it passing the Chiricahua peak and Anita Park and onto Cima Park and the intersection with the Greenhouse trail for a total of 2.7 miles of hiking on good trail from Snowshed saddle. From the Crest trail there are many panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys below. We then followed the Greenhouse trail east for 4.1 miles to its intersection with a 4WD dirt road. Greenhouse is a very impressive trail with no fire damage. It follows Cima creek that has water with some good flow in spots although you may need an ice pick to get at it at this time. We crossed Cima creek several times and had to dance on the ice on 3 of those crossings. We passed a couple of cabins on Cima creek including one cluster of 3 buildings in excellent shape that is reserved for use by Forest Service personnel.

Cima creek feeds Winn Falls, a 365 foot high spectacular waterfall. There is one signed viewpoint for Winn Falls on the Greenhouse trail. At this time, the view was frozen over.

We then followed the 4WD dirt road to its intersection with Cave Creek road which we followed back to the car. Having stayed in the area the night before, we started hiking at 7:40 AM and finished at 5:45 PM. We arrived back in the Phoenix area at 11:30 PM.

    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 $$

    Coronado Forest
    MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
    Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To Herb Martyr Campground Trailhead
    From Tucson, take I-10 east 139 miles to US 80 (you will cross the New Mexico border to get to this intersection). Turn right (south) and drive 28 miles, then turn right (west) on the road to Portal, 7 miles. Drive west on FR 42 approximately 4 miles, turn left (west) on FR 42A and continue 2 miles to the Herb Martyr campground and trailhead. All roads are paved and suitable for passenger vehicles.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 293 mi - about 4 hours 40 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 183 mi - about 3 hours 5 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 436 mi - about 6 hours 46 mins
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