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Turkey Creek & Misc Trails, AZ
mini location map2019-04-02
22 by photographer avatarmarkthurman53
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Turkey Creek & Misc Trails, AZ 
Turkey Creek & Misc Trails, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 02 2019
markthurman53
Hiking17.30 Miles 5,049 AEG
Hiking17.30 Miles   9 Hrs      2.26 mph
5,049 ft AEG   1 Hour   20 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Did a trail closer to home this time. Headed over to Happy Valley to do the Turkey Creek Trail and various other trails on the east slopes of the Rincons. I have been up in the Rincons many times from the 60's to the present but have never been on a majority of these trails I was on this time. I took the jeep road up to the trail head. This road is definitely a High clearance 4WD road. 4WD is not really required on most of this road but there is one section that definitely requires 4WD, don't know if you could just power up this anymore. Getting to the trail head cuts off 2 miles (4 miles round trip) from this hike making it only 17.3 miles instead of 21 miles and 400 feet less elevation gain.

The first 1.8 miles before the Saguaro National Park Boundary are in National Forest. Nice easy walking along a grassy and sparse juniper tree ridge. Once in the park the trail is very nicely constructed at least for the first half mile, this is to lure you in, then it becomes more like a typical trail in the Catalina and Rincon Mountains, steep and rocky. Some places along this trail the manzanita has encroached on the trail but nothing closely like the Rock Creek Trail in the Mazatzal mountains. The trail does get a little vague in places on the upper end in the pine forests but nothing that should cause a concern if you keep a sharp eye. Definitely not a heavily traveled trail and just coming out of the winter season doesn't help. Mud spring was running lightly and no mud. The sign that says 1 mile from Mud Spring to Deerhead Spring is wrong, someone scratched it out and put 1.2 but it is actually more like 1.4. But what's a couple tenths of a mile here and there, A big deal if it's all uphill.

At the junction with the Deerhead Spring Trail I headed north to the Spud Rock Campground and the East Slope Trail. Deerhead Spring had a light flow or more like an area ground seep, the stream below the creek was running slightly. Aspen trees at the campground still haven't produced leaves yet. Still had some climbing to do and took the Switchback Trail up to the Heartbreak ridge Trail. This is a short .4 mile connector trail. I have not been on the Heartbreak Ridge Trail in over 50 years and it is no longer the super highway it use to be. This use to be one of the main trails up to Manning camp when the X9 ranch was still allowing passage. I took the Heartbreak Ridge Trail to the Fireline Trail and returned on this trail to just below the Devil's Bathtub Trail (I have another hike planned to finish this trail as a loop on the Turkey and Miller Canyon Trails). Did not go to Manning camp since I have been there and done that many times before. Near the summit of the trail there are good views to the south with Rincon Peak being the obvious landmark. There are occasional views to the east from certain sections along the Heartbreak Ridge Trail. Water was still flowing in a couple of the creek crossings on the upper portion of this trail.

Devil's Bathtuib trail is yet another of the trails I have never been on. This is a fairly level trail between the Manning Camp Trail and Heartbreak Ridge Trail. In the middle is Devil's Bathtub. Light flow at the tub and falls. Took my lunch there at 5 hours in. Still a little snow in patches on the sections that don't get much sun, none on the trail. Returned the same way and headed down the East Slope Trail. This is a short .7 mile fairly level trail that will connect up with the Deerhead Springs trail at the Spud Rock Campground. From the Campground it is a long downhill trek back to the trail head.

Great hike and a real good workout. Will probably take me a couple days to recover. Probably good for another couple weeks before it gets too hot and the water stops flowing in the streams. Not sure how permanent any of the springs are.
Named place
Named place
Mud Hole Spring - Mica

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Deer Head Spring Dripping Dripping
more of a ground seep but the creek below was running at about a quart per minute.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Devils Bathtub Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Mud Hole Spring - Mica Dripping Dripping
More than a drip and less than a quart. Not muddy

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Sycamore Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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