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Red Hills Loop, AZ
mini location map2021-12-01
13 by photographer avatarLJW
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Red Hills Loop, AZ 
Red Hills Loop, AZ
Hiking22.44 Miles 4,833 AEG
Hiking22.44 Miles   7 Hrs   57 Mns   3.35 mph
4,833 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
For my first trip to Doll Baby TH, I chose the most popular loop and destination. I looped the full length of the Red Hills AZT section with Mazatzal Divide Trail, and visited the "Spanish Ruins" along its track. I did alter the loop slightly, making the trip down to the river via the LF East Verde Shortcut Trail instead of hiking the road to Bull Spring Trail. Started at 7am and went ccw.

Should have went a week earlier for the yellow sea of cottonwoods and sycamores around Doll Baby and along Bull Spring Trail. Better luck next year. Road walked to the ruins turnoff. The trail up to the clifftop is obvious, wide, well-cairned. I'd make the trip for the cliff overlook as soon as for the ruins, though they were more interesting than I expected. Nearly 6ft tall, lots of rooms, and killer views toward Doll Baby, North Peak, and Whiterock Mesa.

More road down to the river shortcut. The shortcut trail is marked with a giant cairn and some pink ribbons. At first the tread is appalling, but once down to the river it's sandy and soft. It saved a half mile plus the climb on the road up and down around Copper Mountain.

Connected the shortcut trail with five minutes of Saddle Ridge Trail before getting onto Bull Spring Trail. Good tread and a reasonable ~3kft climb up into the Mazzies. Seems like a bummer section through-hiking south. Connected with Brush Trail which was very scenic from the top of Bullfrog Canyon to the Red Hills Trail junction. Patches of conifers delight as the trail winds through the brushy burn area. No water at Brush Spring where the AZT signage ushers passers-by, but continuing west through the campsite there was some water trickling into clear pools in the creek below the spring. Views widen as the trail climbs to Red Hills.

Red Hills is the highlight stretch of the loop. Descends to the canyon bottom through an old, orange forest of ponderosa pines as nice as I've seen in the Mazzies. Interesting geology complements the forest well. There were some pools of stagnant water of varying quality in the tanks of the creek. I opted for the overlook once reaching the Mazatzal Divide Trail and headed the wrong way up that trail toward Knob Mountain for a view back over the the course of Red Hills.

Took a short break and then descended the northern end of MDT. It is the better route up or down compared to Bull Spring. The tread is smooth, the incline gentle, with better views off into the distance. Big views toward the Sierra Ancha, Deer Creek, and Tonto Basin. The views that way were pretty smokey, and over the course of the day it worked its way up around North Peak and into City Creek. Ended just as the smoke rolled through and didn't see anyone all day.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
The very end of fall in the Northern Mazzies

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Brush Spring Dripping Dripping
S of Spring water tickling into clear pools

dry City Creek Dry Dry
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