This was a continuation of our two day car camp and hike on the Highline. We hiked east from the Tonto Creek (Hatchery) TH to Horton Spring, then down the Horton Creek trail. This was another nice hike, although it was overcast so the views weren't great. There was an initial climb and then numerous ups and downs to the spring. It was all downhill from there.
Over the past month we've completed the Highline from 260 TH to Tonto Creek TH in segments. In 2013 we completed the Highline from Washington Park to Pine as part of an Arizona Trail backpack. The remaining section between Washington Park and Tonto Creek is a tough 18.5 miles and 4,100' aeg. We are contemplating a fall 2 day backpack to do this. Any advice about reliable water sources and camping spots between 9 and 10 miles from Washington Park would be appreciated.
Hiked from the See Canyon TH on the Highline Trail to the Derrick Trail, then down it to the Horton Creek TH. This added another segment of the Highline for me. We hiked the segments before and after this over the past month. This was a nice section with some nice views. We had an early dinner at the Creekside Steakhouse and Tavern in Cristopher Creek after retrieving one of our trucks and spent the night at the Upper Tonto Creek Campground at the Horton Creek TH.
Hiked from the 260 Trailhead west to the See Canyon TH with a short hike to the See Spring at the end to add some distance and aeg for the day. The trail was in great shape. The distance was longer and the aeg less than I calculated from the existing track on HAZ. Actual was 7.4 miles and 575' aeg from TH to TH. There was minor rerouting near the See Canyon TH vs the HAZ track. The weather was great and See spring had a good flow.. It was a good but tiring day.
Whew!!! This was work. The Sterling Pass Trail starts uphill and continues sometimes steeply for 1.5 miles and over 1,000' aeg. There were some switchbacks during the top .5 mile. That's just to the top of the pass. We planned to go to Vultee Arch so that was another 1,000' downhill to the Vultee Arch Trail mostly on switchbacks which we would have to climb on the way back. The hike to the arch itself was another very steep but short climb. We planned to continue on the Vultee Arch Trail to FR152, but knowing what we had to do to get back to my car on 89A we decided to turn around and not continue to FR152.
While it was a lot a work especially for an old guy like me, the hike was very rewarding. The very interesting rock cliffs enclosed the area and were ever changing as we hiked along. I couldn't enjoy them as much as I wanted because I was focused on my footing; lots of rocks, roots, steps and drop-offs. I'd do it again if I lost 20 pounds and got in better shape.
This was a very enjoyable hike. We did it in the counter clockwise direction as in the description. It was a slow and steady climb to the Highline. It got somewhat rocky at about the 2.5 mile mark of the Derrick and the first .5 mile of the Highline. The Highline was great. Lots of shade and only a few climbs. I never saw any maples or oaks though. When we reached Horton Creek we headed down the trail. I noticed a trail off to the right but just thought it was a continuation of the Highline. It also lead to the spring which we completely missed. I guess I should pay more attention to the description and gps waypoints. The Horton Creek trail back to the trailhead was very easy hiking; wide, smooth and downhill.
I feel good about this hike. Since my foot problems effectively sidelined me for two years, I hadn’t done longer hikes with significant (for me) elevation gain. I’ve been gradually doing more challenging hikes and going further afield which I enjoy; well not the uphill so much. We’ve already planned next weeks hike.
This was my first time doing this hike and I really enjoyed it. While there was some uphill at the end of the canyon and on the Vista trail it wasn’t too taxing. The views through the trees were nice. Trailhead parking was tough so I parked at pullouts at the turn just before the TH.
Tom drove to the trailhead but will never do it again. He has a very stiffly sprung 1 T. pickup. It took us about 40 minutes to cover the 3.5 miles with a lot of bouncing around. The hike was tougher than we expected with lots of ups/downs for creek crossings after the David Miller trail junction. I quit about .25 miles from the end and waited for Tom while he went to the end and back. Many parts of the trail had debris due to recent flooding. But the area was beautiful with the red walls and cliffs and lots of shade. The steam had lots of water in it.
Did an out and back on the Clark Springs Trail part of this loop. There was a reroute near the top which added a few switchbacks between the Clark Springs area and the junction with the Little Granite Mountain Trail. I posted an unofficial track for this on the Little Granite Mountain Loop webpage with my original track. The new trail is easy to follow so no track is necessary.
The hike itself was great; clear and sunny with moderate temperatures.
The City of Phoenix opened a new trailhead yesterday at Carefree Highway and 7th Avenue to replace the side of the street parking that was previously used. It had been under development for the past year and is called the Desert Hills Trailhead. It is quite nice with bathrooms, shade and plenty of parking. I took advantage of it today and hiked the Sidewinder/Ocotillo Loop from this location.
I finally got to do the last two and newest sections of the Prescott Circle Trail. A friend who prefers longer hikes and I took two cars to Prescott and did a shuttle hike over the Badger Mountain and Sundog Trails. The weather was great - cool and sunny. The trails were in great shape and lunch at the Thai House Cafe in Prescott after the hike hit the spot. We saw a couple of mountain bikers but no other hikers.
Tom & I finally got back on the trail. We drove down from Phoenix in the morning, had lunch at the Rancho Rustico, left Tom's truck where the trail crosses Redington Rd, and drove to Gordon Hirabayachi TH to start the southbound hike. We got a late start, 3:30pm, due to the slow drive up/back on the rough and curvy Redington Rd. We also wanted to avoid the hottest part of the day. We made camp a couple of tenths of a mile north of Agua Client wash on a little knoll at about 6:30pm with about 1 hour of light left. It was a decent campsite and gave us a clear view of the starry night sky.
Got up at 5:30am and were on the trail again at 7:00am. We got to Tom's truck at 10. We can pick up the last 2.4 miles of this passage when we do Passage 9. We ate lunch at an asian buffet called Takamatsu in Tucson which was good and reasonable. The only water we saw near the trail was at The Lake, but we carried all we needed so we didn't search for other water sources.
The trip worked out well. We did a little over 7 miles each day and got most of the passage done; it only took us away from home for 2 days; we had a couple of good meals out and I got home in time to unpack and tell the family about the trip. Next up will probably be passage 2 done as a 2 day, 1 night trip also. While passages 10 and 2 could be done as day hikes, Tom and I like to camp on the trips and doing it this way we don't have to get started really early or get home to Phoenix late.
I hadn't done this hike in 6 years, and while it was vaguely familiar, it all looked fresh to me. It was hot, and the many others doing this hike obviously got an earlier start than we did. We were lucky to get a parking spot at the trailhead and so didn't have to use the overflow which would have added distance and time. All in all very enjoyable hike.
Sam and I did the loop beginning from the Granite Mountain TH using the Bootlegger and Saddlehorn trails to reach it. It a nice area with lots of plant life and views. The trail was very popular with mountain bikers and the TH was quite busy as well.
Tom & I did a loop including the Cliff Walk and Esplanade Trails. It was pretty flat so I don't know how we got 344' aeg. Must have been the bounce in my step. We closed the loop at the Carefree Highway bridge.
Sam & I hiked a lasso loop utilizing the two connector trails on the Apache Wash Trail. The first or south connector is 1.41 miles from the trailhead (TH) going CCW and 1.16 going CW and is .30 miles long. The second or north connector is 2.75 miles from the TH CCW and 2.51 going CW and is .44 miles long. These connector trails can be combined with other trials for a variety of loop hikes. See my track under alternate routes.
Hiked this new trail taking lots of notes with a plan to post a description but Widowmaker beat me to it. This was an enjoyable late winter hike offering many options due to other trails. There are also two cut off trails which allow you to hike a short, medium or full loop for variety. While there are no hills to climb the views are there because the terrain is pretty flat.
Sam and I did a shortened version of this hike. We parked at the Boat Launch Trailhead and hiked 345 to 352. We went right on 352 to its junction with 348, then left of 348 to 347. We went right on 347 to its terminus with 346 and turned right. We followed 346 to the Cayuse TH and picked up 351 on the other side of it. We took 351 to its junction with 345, turning right on 345 back to the trailhead.
Nice hike. Comfortable temperatures, little brooks flowing from the recent rains and no dust. The forest had "greened up" from the monsoon rains.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.