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Ash Creek Trail #307
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mini location map2015-05-09
22 by photographer avatarfriendofThundergod
photographer avatar
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Ash Creek Trail #307Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 09 2015
friendofThundergod
Backpack20.50 Miles 5,814 AEG
Backpack20.50 Miles
5,814 ft AEG
 
I was able to twist Chumley's arm and drag him to Ash Creek for the weekend with promises of fresh trout for dinner and waterfalls. I was able to deliver on one of those promises.

Earlier in the week I asked Chumley if he could throw together a loop utilizing Ash Creek and Shingle Mill Trail. He found a way to connect the two trails so we made that our itenerary. We car camped near the trailhead Friday night in a prime location along Ash Creek complete with a couple of nice cascades and a considerable amount of rushing water.

We were in no real rush Saturday morning so we enjoyed the nice campsite and ate a quick campfire breakfast before moving to our starting point at the pond. Ash Creek trail is a bit of a climb, but even with my lolly gagging and late start we were able to make camp in decent time. We saw our only hikers of the weekend while setting up camp, nice infantry squad size family from Thatcher who gave Blanco and Cup their 15 minutes of fame before moving on. Chumley and I then headed up stream in search of trout and the base of Ash Creek Falls. The trout were a no go and so was reaching the base of the falls. However, the two 50 to 75 foot falls we came across on our way up stream more than made up for the lack of fish and ability to get to the base of the falls. The creek gains 800 feet of elevation in a little over four tenths of a mile on the way to the falls, I stopped at the best pool to fish while unhindered by the dogs, Chumley went a little further up stream by climbing around the first 50 foot fall, which led him to another set of falls and the end of the line for him about a quarter mile from main falls I believe.

Our campsite was superb. A very nice setting next to a little section of slick rock and some small cascades, with established areas for tents and a nice fire ring that we improved. We chatted it up, ate some dinner, enjoyed a mountain house and were grateful for the nearly perfect camping conditions. I checked out pretty early, but Chumley stayed up late enough to burn an additional cord of wood.

The hike out consisted of a detour to the falls overlook and an exit off the mountain via Shingle Mill Trail and an off trail azimuth back to the pond. Shingle Mill was the best of times and the worst of times. The upper stretches had some redeeming qualities despite a few over-grown sections, the left over machinery from the tram was interesting and the water flowing in most of the major drainages was pleasant. However, then the trail degrades into a rocky quad trail and very typical Arizona jeep trail. The scenery along this section is particularly bland and the footing annoying. The trail might really only be worth visiting from the top in my opinion and ending before the trail becomes road or after reaching the tram ruins.

Chumley's cross country connector route worked beautifully and we were partying it up with Safford's finest at Pond Three in no time. I tried my luck fishing, Chumley got one cast off and the dogs slept after cooling off in the lake.

In the end a very cool little over-nighter, low on miles, but big on aeg, good times and awesome scenery. I just don't think you can go too wrong with this area; I have not even put in a dent with what I want to see and do out there.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Ash Creek Falls Heavy flow Heavy flow
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