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Reavis Gap, Fireline & Campaign Creek Loop
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mini location map2021-04-16
28 by photographer avatarkyleGChiker
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Reavis Gap, Fireline & Campaign Creek LoopGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Backpack avatar Apr 16 2021
kyleGChiker
Backpack31.68 Miles 7,338 AEG
Backpack31.68 Miles2 Days   4 Hrs   41 Mns   
7,338 ft AEG40 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Went out with my mom for another super fun three-day weekend adventure in the Superstitions! This was my first time ever to the "Eastern Superstitions" so I was super excited!!! The furthest east I had been previously was last year starting from the Woodbury TH and heading north on the JF Trail. And I suppose a day hike from Roger's Trough to the ruins near Angel Basin.

Trip Planning: Based on recent water reports, as well as historic water data going back many years here on HikeAZ, I determined that this area should have plenty of water, although I wasn't sure how the fire might have affected some of the springs (e.g. Grapevine is reportedly dry this season). Given some of the things I've read about these trails in the eastern Supes, I decided a short loop of just 17-18 miles would be good to start with. We planned the loop going clockwise so that if we made good progress, we could camp two nights at the same place near Reavis Ranch, on that 0.7 mile section between Fireline and Reavis Gap. But if progress was slow, we would have camped along Campaign creek or along Fireline (had enough water for a dry camp). Turns out there was plenty of water all throughout the area and the trails were in super good condition (except Frog Tanks...more on that later!).

The Drive: We took our trusty 2001 Chevy Suburban just in case the roads were rough getting to the Campaign TH. In our family, the standard for a "good road" is whether my brother could drive it in his Prius (he's taken that Prius a lot of places!). In this case, with dry conditions, his Prius could have made it without issues to the Campaign TH. The directions on how to get there are very simple, just take 449A and follow signs for Campaign TH. When you get to a place where you feel like you're entering someone's private residence, turn left and go through the gate with a white sign that reads "4x4 Only". The trailhead is essentially at the Reevis Mountain School/Sanctuary, so you can follow signs for that too, and that'll get you there. As a side note, the guy who runs Reevis Mountain School is more affectionately known as Peter Bigfoot, and teaches a bunch of classes out there. I haven't taken one of his classes (yet!), but we got to meet him the last day of our trip, and he was teaching a class on edible desert herbs. Looks super fun and I hope to take one of his classes soon!

Day 1: Campaign Trail and Fireline Trail

Campaign Trail: Unfortunately, the majority of this trail was burned in the Woodbury fire (possibly also the Sawtooth fire, but I didn't check that). The trail itself is in good condition, although sometimes overgrown with weeds. Thankfully, there is very little catclaw/mesquite so the skin and clothes don't get too beat up. The amazing wildflowers made for a nice contrast against the charred branches. As a side note, we saw probably 20 different species of wildflowers, throughout the trip, but mostly at the lower elevations (not so much in the Reavis Ranch area). There was water in Campaign creek for the majority of the distance to the Fireline trail. We filtered some from it and it had a taste from the algae, but not bad.

Fireline Trail: This trail departs from the Campaign trail and heads up significant elevation to reach the Reavis Ranch area. After gaining the ridgeline ~1000 feet up, you actually get into a short section of trail that was not touched by the fire. That mile or so was quite pleasant. :) We didn't have time to go to Circlestone...not sure what we missed, but probably there's some interesting history there. By late afternoon, we were heading down the final descent into Reavis Ranch, and camped toward the northern end of the camping zone in a nice grove of apple trees. The apple trees were in full bloom, which was a special treat. The sweet fragrance was almost overpowering, and the sound of the bees buzzing overhead was beautiful. It appears there are black bears in the area, as we saw plenty of bear scat, a bear den, and the next day positively identified a bear footprint in Fish Creek Canyon.

Day 2: Day hike on Frog Tanks trail to Cimeron Spring
Today, the goal was to travel light and fast and make it all the way to Angel Basin and back (where the famous ruins are). Unfortunately, at about 5 or 5.5 miles in, the catclaw got to the point where it was no longer fun to continue on the Frog Tanks trail, so we opted to return back to camp and spend the afternoon in the more pleasant apple tree groves. There was plenty of water today, I'll try to leave water reports, although the sources aren't near the official loop, so they may not show up. There was (stagnant) water in Willow Creek, large pools of clear water at Plow Saddle Springs (that quickly disappeared underground), and lots of water in Paradise Canyon / Fish Creek. The water in Fish Creek continued for about 0.5 mile downstream, and then went underground off and on for another 0.25 miles, then disappeared entirely. We went as far as Cimeron spring, which we presume was dry, because there was no surface moisture in the creek bed at that location, but we didn't climb up to the actual spring. A couple highlights this day in the wildlife arena were a coachwhip and an Arizona Black rattlesnake. The Arizona Black was under one of the apple trees at Reavis Ranch and didn't move his position for more than 16 hours. I suppose it was just content to sit there coiled up and resting. :lol:

Day 3: Hike out on Reavis Gap Trail
This was the most pleasant of all the hiking days. First, the weather was beautiful and temperatures were perfect! Second, much of this day's hike was unburned, which for obvious reasons is more fun than hiking through all the burned area. Approximately 3.5 miles follow the AZT until it takes off to the north, while our trail continued to the east. That section of trail was in very good condition and well maintained. The descent from Reavis Gap back to Campaign creek was very steep, more so than expected. It would definitely make for a challenging hike going uphill, so we were glad to be going downhill. After arriving back at the car, we explored the Tule trailhead, and then just for fun drove out on the Apache Trail (SR-88) till the closure, just to see what the hike would be like getting to the Reavis TH north. Wouldn't be too difficult, but would definitely add some miles.

We also visited the Tonto National Monument cliff dwellings before heading back to Phoenix. They were interesting, although it was disappointing the upper cliff dwellings are mostly closed off to visitors (one tour per day, three days per week, only six months per year, by reservation only in person or on the phone). We'll have to go back in November to see the upper cliff dwellings, as that would be quite interesting!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Many different species...will post photos with identifying labels if I can identify them all.

dry Brushy Spring Dry Dry
I didn't actually go to the spring, however, the creek was dry at the location where the spring "should" be. There was water in Campaign creek for a good 3 miles from the TH, however.

dry Cimeron Spring Dry Dry
Didn't go to the spring, but the main drainage was dry at this point and there was no evidence of moisture.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Paradise Canyon Light flow Light flow
I'd estimate 2 feet wide and 2-3 inches deep.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Pine Creek at Reavis Gap #117 Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Can't say it was flowing particularly...but there was a nice big pool that looked relatively clear (besides leaves floating on the surface). Downstream of the pool was dry. Didn't venture upstream.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Plow Saddle Springs Quart per minute Quart per minute
I couldn't observe the actual flow, but the spring created several large pools full of water plants (lily pads, reeds, etc.) and then shortly disappeared underground.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Reavis Creek at Fireline #118 Light flow Light flow
Maybe 2 feet wide and 2-3 inches deep.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Reavis Creek at Gap Trail #117 Light flow Light flow
Not a ton of water, but I've got nothing to compare it to, as it's my first time here. I'd estimate 2 feet wide and 2-3 inches deep.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Reevis School Springs Quart per minute Quart per minute
There was good flow in the creek, and within the first mile of hiking, we crossed several little "seeps" or "springs" flowing across the trail in this area.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Willow Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Small pools at the trail crossing
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