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Rock Creek Trail Mazatzal Divide North, AZ
mini location map2017-04-04
21 by photographer avatarmarkthurman53
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Rock Creek Trail Mazatzal Divide North, AZ 
Rock Creek Trail Mazatzal Divide North, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 04 2017
markthurman53
Hiking14.60 Miles 4,860 AEG
Hiking14.60 Miles   9 Hrs   49 Mns   1.87 mph
4,860 ft AEG   2 Hrs    Break20 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Had no problem getting to the trail head, parked at the one parking spot on west side of road just after crossing Center creek. Followed center Creek up for 1.2 miles, trail was pretty easy to follow as long as you look for rock cairns at creek crossings. Now is where the grueling part begins. This trail is relentless in its 3.4 mile uphill climb of 2800 feet. The trail was in good condition and appeared to be maintained recently, at least up to the 6200 foot level where it crosses the side stream of Rock Creek. Beautiful pools here and filled my canteen here on the way back. This side Canyon needs further exploring; I counted about 8 waterfalls or slides on Google Earth, but that will have to be another trip. For the next 1.3 miles (800 feet) to the saddle the trail is not very well maintained but easy to follow if you watch for rock cairns. Don’t know what the plants are but they grow in clumps with long thin branches/leaves that hang over the trail (look like upside down mop heads) and if you aren’t careful you step on them with one foot and you’re other foot goes under the long branches and you can stumble. I still managed to do it occasionally even though I have experienced this since my father took me hiking when I was a kid. Any way that was a long winded way of saying they are all over this last stretch to the saddle. Once at the Saddle though the views in all directions are great.
Well I thought it would be all downhill from here for the last .5 miles to the Divide Trail but boy was I wrong. What the steep climb up to the saddle didn’t take out of me the downhill battle with the Manzanita would. The trail down (if you want to call it that, more like a controlled fall down a rock slope) appears to of been cleared of Manzanita for the first 1/3 of the route but then ends abruptly. I spent a lot of time trying to find the trail when I finally decided to just go downhill to the Divide Trail. Once on the super highway Divide Trail I headed north toward the Park. I made it to within a mile of the Park before it was time to head back.
This trail will go down in my books as one of the harder trails I’ve hiked, not because of its length but because of its continuous steepness. This one ranks up there with Pima Canyon Trail and Window Rock Trail near Tucson. Taking 10 hours to walk 15 miles is setting an all time slow speed record and I probably only took an hour worth of breaks. That being said though, I thought the hike was worth it and will have to do it again at least up to the side canyon of Rock Creek to explore the lower canyon falls. The views of the rocks along Rock Creek are really impressive. Like they say “No pain, no gain”.
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