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Lower Lime Creek Trail, AZ
mini location map2014-12-07
19 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Lower Lime Creek Trail, AZ 
Lower Lime Creek Trail, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 07 2014
Hiking7.60 Miles 797 AEG
Hiking7.60 Miles   6 Hrs   38 Mns   1.15 mph
797 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
1st trip
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My goal for this hike was to confirm the location of an old pack trail that follows Lime Creek up the canyon from the Verde River (Horseshoe Reservoir). Entries in the Lime Creek Cabin visitor log indicated that people on horseback had followed this trail to the cabin from Horseshoe Reservoir. I suspect this old pack trail may have been established for mining access to the upper canyon where a small smelter is located or it may have been an old ranching trail. I had seen evidence of this trail along the sides of the creek on a hike in Feb. 2014 to the fish dam and also on Google Earth.

I started the hike early to give some time for exploring and arrived at the Horseshoe Reservoir overlook as the rising sun was starting to light up the mountains on the west side of the reservoir. The early light gave a reddish glow to the mountain tops and wisps of fog were rising from the Verde River. I spotted three water fowl hunters who had waded across the river near the boat ramp and were stealthily working their way across the lake bottom to the pond sized impoundment behind the dam. I drove down the 4WD trail that went from the top of the boat ramp to the high-water shoreline and then up the dry creek bed until I reached a point where I decided it was better to start hiking than risk serious injury to the bottom side of the FJ. This ended up shortening the round trip hiking distance by 3.8 miles from the closest point accessible by lower clearance vehicles.

The hike started out following the stream bed with the usual rock hopping but no bouldering. The stream was flowing for the entire length of this lower section of the canyon except for about the first half mile of the hike where it had been absorbed into the sandy creek bottom. No deep wading was required and I was able to keep my feet dry with my mid-height gortex boots left over from living in Oregon. There is no visible trail along the creek bottom but short sections can be spotted by keeping an eye on the shore in areas where the bank is wide. Some of these trails are marked by faded ribbons in the trees or by rock cairns. I had also been able to see some of the trail creek-bottom bypasses on Google Earth and had a planning track for these on my GPS. The trail sections had been excavated out of the hillside with considerable effort in some places. This leads me to think its original use was as a mining pack trail. At about mile 3 on my gps track the trail leaves the canyon bottom to avoid a slot section of the canyon and stays up on the hillside well past the smelter location. It may be possible to continue up the creek bottom through the slot but the trail is a much quicker and easier route. I turned around when I reached a trail section where I had been on a previous trip going down canyon from the Lime Creek Cabin
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