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Crazy Horse Loop, AZ
mini location map2018-11-25
8 by photographer avatarKBKB
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Crazy Horse Loop, AZ 
Crazy Horse Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 25 2018
Hiking13.28 Miles 2,372 AEG
Hiking13.28 Miles   6 Hrs   1 Min   2.66 mph
2,372 ft AEG   1 Hour   2 Mns Break26 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
On Sunday, I attempted to follow the Crazy Horse Loop. I used the route of that name posted by hikerdw to this site, but hikingaz2 has posted a similar route with the same name.

I didn't do especially well at following it, which is partly the reason for my mileage ending up higher than what they've posted. I also attempted to stay on the bike trails as much as possible, though in some cases, I stayed on them too long causing me to get seriously off route for a while.

Some of the trails that I hiked - when I did hike trails - can't be found (yet) on HAZ. Trailforks has them; the names that I use here will be mostly those shown on that site.

Starting from the Bulldog Canyon Trailhead, I crossed the road and took the NRA Access Trail. This was the first spot where I deviated from hikerdw's route. His route either followed the wash or some other less defined trail. I continued on the NRA Access Trail until I came to a fork. The right fork continues to be the NRA Access Trail. The left fork is called L'Alpe d'Huez. Okay, so I got confused here. I continued on the NRA Access Trail for a time and realized that I was going the wrong way. I considered going on and doing the loop in reverse, but decided that I wanted the steep and gnarly stuff out of the way early so that I wouldn't be doing it in late afternoon / early evening. I'm glad I made this choice. So...

Returning to the fork, I (correctly, this time) took the left fork which is the L'Alpe d'Huez Trail. As I proceeded up this trail, I found some rocks acting as a blocker for another trail which appeared (according to my GPS watch) to be where the route I was (sometimes) following joined L'Alpe d'Huez. I continued on L'Alpe d'Huez (which turns into the Goat Trail) until the ridge and even started over the ridge. My GPS watch told me that I was off route - I continued a bit further and discovered that I was really off route. I backtracked at that point and found another trail, this one for Peak 2972 - Usery Mountains, which is the name given by this site (HAZ).

That section of the trail leading to Peak 2972 was steeper, looser, and occasionally hard to follow. I ended up on the peak. To the south, I saw some flags on the slightly lower Peak 2959. As I backtracked off the peak, it wasn't clear to me how to continue the Crazy Horse Loop since the terrain here was quite steep. I continued to backtrack with the tentative plan to return to the intersection of Goat and L'Alpe d'Huez. But, as I backtracked, I sort of got lost doing so and ended up working my way (according to my GPS watch) back to the track for the descent for the Crazy Horse Trail. I continued working my way down the mountain and got off route again when I came across an indistinct path which led me back to the bike trail. As I continued a short ways further on this, my watch informed me that I was back on route again. As I continued on this trail, I encountered a sign which said "Upper Gidro Pass Tr No 66". Arrows pointing to the left (which was the way that I was going) were labeled "Cactus Garden" and "Hawes". The right pointing arrows were labeled "Goat" and "Alpe d'Hawez". I can't find any individual trail named "Gidro Pass" on Trailforks, though there is a loop (comprised of a bunch of trails) of that name. Also, "Alpe d'Hawez" seems like a better name than the one listed at Trailforks. In any case, I think I was on what Trailforks calls "Cactus Garden" at this point.

I stayed on Cactus Garden / Gidro Pass longer than I should have. It's a very nice and easy to follow trail. I passed the turnoff for resumption for the Crazy Horse Loop thinking that Cactus Garden / Gidro Pass might go to roughly the same place. As I continued, however, it became clear that it was taking me south when I needed to be heading WNW. I see now that taking Cactus Garden / Gidro Pass could have "worked", but it would have resulted in a much longer hike than I wanted to do on Sunday. This time, instead of backtracking, I simply headed downhill and made my way back to the track shown by my watch. This led me to a canyon with a sandy wash and some easy down-climbs. It was very pleasant.

The wash / canyon eventually led me to the Saddle Trail #51 (listed simply as the Saddle Trail on Trailforks). I took the Saddle Trail north until it ran into the Saguaro Trail. Heading east (and then north) on the Saguaro Trail brought me to an intersection with Twisted Sister. The sign at this intersection suggested that I might be able to see a mine if I continued on the Saguaro Trail, so I did this for roughly 1/4 mile which led me to the top of another hill. (Actually, it wasn't clear from the sign that this was still the Saguaro Trail. It seemed that it might have been the "Mine Trail" at that point.) The day was wearing on, so I turned around and eventually headed east and then north on Twisted Sister.

Twisted Sister intersected with Wild Horse, which I took east. I ended up taking a (slight) shortcut shown on Trailforks as Jumping Jacks Cut. This led to the NRA Access Trail, which I took back to the trailhead.

I saw only three other hikers - they were heading the other direction on Wild Horse. They told me that they had parked a car at each end so they only had to do it one way. I saw a lot of mountain bikers; they were all courteous and a few even stopped to let me pass.

I had fun on this hike - I enjoyed both the off trail and on trail portions of it. The Wild Horse Trail was better than I was expecting it to be. Also, the off-trail portions of it were good practice for learning how to use my new GPS watch.
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