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Eagletail Mountains Wander - 7 members in 25 triplogs have rated this an average 4.1 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Jan 16 2021
GrangerGuy
avatar

 Guides 5
 Routes 31
 Photos 202
 Triplogs 28

65 male
 Joined Dec 26 2018
 Phoenix, AZ
Roam in the Eagletail Wilderness, AZ 
Roam in the Eagletail Wilderness, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Jan 16 2021
GrangerGuy
Backpack16.00 Miles
Backpack16.00 Miles2 Days   2 Hrs      
34 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
In mid-January 2021, I took a two-day wander in the Eagletail Mountains Wilderness. I hoped to enjoy some solitude, some stars, check out the petroglyphs, and check on the various water sources.

I parked at the Ben Avery Trailhead. The road is pretty much as described in various logs and guides. My Cherokee had no trouble getting to the trailhead. Some of the road is definitely high clearance, and the last little bit is best handled in 4WD.

Since I had two days, I didn't try to get an early start. I left my car around 10:45 am and followed the trail up toward Indian Spring. One of the main things I wanted to do was check out the various water sources in this area. I headed first for Water Tank 726, and found a highly engineered facility, with signs indicating it had been built by the AZ fish and game department to provide water for wildlife. One of the signs was even an admonition to sportsmen not to vandalize it. There was a deer there as I approached. The wildlife drinking tank was about half full. Certainly this would be a viable source of water for people as well. It really surprised me the high level of engineering within a wilderness area.

I then went on to Indian Springs. The spring was dry, but the petroglyphs are awesome. I spent a half hour up close and personal with the cliffs, taking photographs. My iPhone camera does a remarkable job of enhancing the images of the petroglyphs. There was a hawk eyeing me as I approached.

From Indian Springs, I headed up the wash to the northwest, loosely following the route of the Eagletail Mountains Wander. Eventually the route leaves the wash and follows pieces of old jeep tracks. Where the Eagletail Mountains Wander takes a sharp right up the ridge, I continued northwest, following a very discernable old jeep track for a ways. Where the jeep track heads west and away from the mountains, I followed another wash more or less north toward a small pass. This is where I discovered an interesting feature of these mountains. What appear to be game trails become very clear routes over the various passes. Some of these trails are as defined as constructed trails; they traverse to avoid steep climbs, too. They made the travel really easy. Perhaps these are human caused, but I am doubtful.

I continued northwest, sometimes crossing some very deep washes, until turning northeast toward Triple Eye Catchment. There are two more heavily engineered water features here. The catchment itself sits in a very steep watercourse, and there are about 3 constructed basins. The whole thing is surrounded by a fence, which is really nothing more than something to hang onto so you don't fall over the cliff. The Catchment was dry, but the nearby game trough had several inches of water in it. Again, if you needed water, you could get it here. There are several game cameras around the water trough. At least some of them appeared to be official.

This area was to be my resting spot for the evening, so I headed back down the hill from the water a respectful distance, and set up my tarp near a nice sitting rock, where I could watch the stars come out.

In the morning I lightened my load by getting rid of excess water. I started out with 9 liters Saturday. I used about 4, and only needed 3 to get back to the car.

Sunday morning I headed up the nearby wash on my way to the pass above Dead Deer Tank. It was cool at first, but I quickly warmed up as I walked due east into the the rising sun. The wash is easy walking. Eventually, once again, game trails become preferable to the wash as you approach the pass. I followed the trail over the pass, and down the other side, arriving at Dead Deer Tank which had a lot of water in it.

Coming down from the Tank is a little tricky. The wash is steep and choked with vegetation at points. I found the best bet was to stay to the right when the vegetation closed in, staying up against the boulders, and fighting the Manzanita, rather than the more stickery things. Eventually the canyon opens up, and travel along side the wash on game trails becomes easy.

I had flirted with the idea of heading up the next valley to the left, and over a couple more passes, but decided to save that adventure for another day. I followed the main wash down until intersecting my path of the day before, and continued southeast back in the direction of Indian Spring. I left that route, though, and stayed close to the mountains on the left, eventually picking up the nominal route of Eagletail Mountains Wander back to the parking lot.

That cross country route looks easier on the map than it is in practice. Every 1-2 minutes you end up crossing another wash at right angles. Sometimes small, sometimes very big. It gets old after a while. Also you have to cross a barbed wire fence, which took a little searching to find just the right place.

26 hours
1 deer
1 coyote
4 hawks (or one, 4 times)
1 jackrabbit
1 campfire ring
0 people
Culture
Culture
Cactuscat Pose

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Dead Deer Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full
The natural pothole had good clean water, although no flow.

dry Indian Spring Dry Dry
No water here.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Triple Eye Catchment 1-25% full 1-25% full
The catchment itself was dry, but the nearby wildlife tank was 25% full.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Water Tank 726 26-50% full 26-50% full
There was a deer here when I arrived. The wildlife tank had plenty of water in it.
2 archives
Jan 02 2021
John10s
avatar

 Routes 22
 Photos 1,347
 Triplogs 76

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Eagletail Arches and Petroglyphs, AZ 
Eagletail Arches and Petroglyphs, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 02 2021
John10s
Hiking11.97 Miles 1,134 AEG
Hiking11.97 Miles   7 Hrs   55 Mns   1.97 mph
1,134 ft AEG   1 Hour   51 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
TboneKathy
I hiked in the Eagletails for the first time six days ago and enjoyed it so much that I decided to come back for the second straight weekend, this time to visit the "touristy" area at Ben Avery Trail/Indian Spring Petroglyphs and to check out a few of the off-trail arches marked on the topo maps. We accessed the trailhead via El Paso Natural Gas Access Road again, this time from farther east. The road was rougher in that area than it is farther to the west--probably not suitable for passenger cars/low clearance vehicles from this this side. The dirt between El Paso and the trailhead was in better shape except for one rough, rocky stretch near 1731' that others have noted in trip logs...if someone managed to get a low clearance vehicle in that far, they'd probably want to park before that last stretch and walk the rest of the way.

The parking lot was empty when we arrived, and we had a nice sunrise as we started down the trail/jeep road past Courthouse Rock. We left the trail just past Courthouse and headed southeast toward the first arch. As others had noted in trip logs, there a lot of washes to cross (and part of the official trail follows one of the washes for a while) so the pace was a little slower even though it looked like a relatively flat route across open desert.

The first arch was located up along the ridgeline--it looked like it would be a fun climb up there, but we opted to view it from below and give ourselves more time to explore the area. From below the arch, we could see another natural window in a big, unique rock formation to the east that looked a little like an "okay" emoji (👌). From that point, we headed back across the washes and connected with the Ben Avery Trail toward Indian Spring.

The geology approaching Indian Spring was impressive and varied, and near the spring we found the first wall of dark rock and scattered boulders that were covered with hundreds of petroglyphs and included drawings of big horn sheep, turtles, snakes, and various symbols. We spent quite a bit of time exploring all the impressive panels spread across the walls and boulders before continuing to Indian Spring.

There were more petroglyphs on the boulders between the first set and the spring. As expected, the spring was bone dry, and we didn't initially see petroglyphs in that area, but after a closer look, they were all over the the walls and boulders on the south side of the spring--a lot more animals and symbols...and, unfortunately, some modern graffiti mixed in. In one area we noticed what looked like a small cliff dwelling wall with mortared rocks built up on a small ledge on the natural wall near some of the petroglyphs. It was only ~ 3' x 3' in size and built flush against the rock wall, so it didn't look like it was a shelter or storage, and it wasn't clear what purpose it may have served.

We wanted to make sure we had time to check out the other arch, but every time we started moving that way, we'd notice more petroglyphs and climb back up toward the walls to check them out--it was an impressive area. We finally tore ourselves away and hiked west toward the arch. As we got closer, we realized it was a double arch, and it was an easy approach up a hillside.

We stopped for lunch there and admired the fantastic landscape all around us. We could see the jagged peaks of the Kofa Mountains to the west, Eagle 3186 in front of us, and Eagletail Peak, Anvil Mountain, and the other peaks of the Eagletails to the southeast, with Indian Spring in the foreground. The arches were impressive, and there was a tiny third arch, about four inches high, off to the side on the rock formation with the larger arches. [ youtube video ]

Before we started back, I checked out a few alcoves to the west, then we made a straight shot across the washes toward Courthouse Rock to complete the loose figure-eight loop. Like our last visit, we didn't see much wildlife today, just a few large black-tailed jackrabbits on the way out. We finished with ~12 miles of hiking, and there were three or four vehicles near the trailhead when we returned, confirming that this is the "crowded" part of the Eagletails, though we still didn't see anyone during the hike. I'd hoped we might be able to try climbing 3186, but like the previous visit, we ran out of time, so I still have more reasons to come back. This was an interesting historical site with some interesting off-trail features and a nice hike to kick off 2021.
Culture
Culture
Graffiti

dry Indian Spring Dry Dry
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout
Dec 27 2020
John10s
avatar

 Routes 22
 Photos 1,347
 Triplogs 76

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Eagletail Exploration, AZ 
Eagletail Exploration, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 27 2020
John10s
Hiking12.74 Miles 1,681 AEG
Hiking12.74 Miles   7 Hrs   32 Mns   2.14 mph
1,681 ft AEG   1 Hour   34 Mns Break
 
1st trip
This was my first visit to the Eagletail Mountains, and it looked intriguing after doing some research on routes in the area and scanning through some of the trip logs. The geology looked interesting, crowds wouldn't be an issue out there, and something closer to Phoenix seemed like a good option with colder weather up north. We decided to start off of YE029 and mapped out a route of ~13 miles that would take us past Triple Eye, Triple Eye Catchment, some other natural arches, and, time permitting, up to Eagle 3186. The road conditions along YE029 were the wildcard--one of the official routes mentioned that portions of the road were washed out as of late October, so we figured we might have to tack on an extra three miles each way if the road wasn't passable.

YE029 isn't labeled on many maps and had no signage in person, but the first two miles were in pretty good shape before we hit a few washed out areas and decided to pull over and start hiking. That turned out to be a good thing, as we saw at least five natural arches within the first quarter mile hiking along the two-track. We reached the "end" of the road, which was little more than a wide open area and a few "Wilderness" signs blocking the two-track to motor vehicles, then continued following YE029.

Triple Eye soon came into view to the north, along with a few smaller arches along the ridgeline, and we considered climbing up for a closer look but decided to keep moving and give ourselves more time to explore. We checked out Triple Eye Catchment next--no water, but it was interesting to see all the structures and game cameras the BLM had put in place across multiple levels of the canyon. The two-track died out near the catchment, but we continued along the GPS route and stopped for lunch at a nice natural arch in some lighter-colored rocks, where the wind really picked up and blew through the window. [ youtube video ]

From there, we continued ascending toward 3186, and the views looking back to the northwest at the peaks along the horizon were fantastic. As we cleared another ridge on our way to 3186, yet another natural arch came into view near the summit, and we could see distant traffic on I-10 to the northeast. To reach 3186, we'd have to drop down into a canyon and climb back up the other side--it looked like it would be a fun scramble, but with the short winter days, we were quickly closing in on our turnaround time and needed to start back, which was disappointing. There was another arch and Dead Deer Tank that we'd hoped to check out, but that would have to wait for another day.

We decided to take a different route on the return and followed some drainages in the general direction we'd come from, and we saw some interesting rock formations in one canyon in particular. The route became too steep in narrow that spot, forcing us to backtrack briefly, but it looked like it would be a beautiful area with cascading waterfalls when it rains. We hiked down into another drainage and made our way back to YE029, where we stopped for a food break with Triple Eye in the background, then finished off the last ~3 miles back to our starting point, enjoying more views of various arches and caves along both sides of the road.

We finished with a little over 12.5 miles of hiking and saw 10+ natural arches over the course of the day--and no other people. We'd had interesting clouds most of the afternoon that turned into dark clouds by the time we finished, and we pulled off the natural gas access road on the way back to the interstate to get some pictures of the western peaks as the sun set through the clouds. We also checked out a sign that we'd noticed along the side of the road on the way in, and were glad we did--it had some good info about the geology and cultural heritage in the area. It was an odd place for a sign out in the middle of nowhere, not really located near any good parking areas to start a hike into the Eagletails. It's a very low-traffic area to begin with, and I'm guessing very few people ever bother stopping to read the sign.

We were both very pleased with the area, though we were a little disappointed that we didn't see more wildlife during the hike. Fortunately, on the drive back toward I-10 we saw two road runners and a coyote, so it wasn't a complete loss on the wildlife front :). I'm sure I've passed by the Eagletails many times en route to California over the years, but it wasn't until recently that I learned how much great stuff is hidden back in there. I definitely plan to return soon and climb up to 3186 and check out more of the routes in different parts of the range. It's always nice to find a new set of mountains to explore, and there's a lot to see here.
Culture
Culture
Aircraft
1 archive
Nov 07 2020
The_Eagle
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 Guides 9
 Routes 805
 Photos 10,311
 Triplogs 1,630

65 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Ben Avery - Arches - Indian Spring Petroglyphs, AZ 
Ben Avery - Arches - Indian Spring Petroglyphs, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 07 2020
The_Eagle
Hiking11.77 Miles 1,387 AEG
Hiking11.77 Miles   5 Hrs   57 Mns   2.21 mph
1,387 ft AEG      37 Mns Break13 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners partners
joebartels
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
This is another that's been on my list for awhile. With most of my hiking in the last 7 months being at elevation to escape the orb, the weather finally made a turn for the better allowing this one.

First, I would not take a passenger car on the El Paso Natural Gas Road. Sandy entry and exits from the numerous small washes will have you bottoming out your car.

A chance of rain on the day had us starting under cool blue skies. The first goal on the day was to hit up the natural arches to the south and west of the TH. We followed the Ben Avery Trail for awhile, before heading crosscountry to access the arches.
The theme of the day is navigating your way the best you can, across the MANY washes. A short climb to the Arches and we took a break in them. [ youtube video ]

Next cross country again to check out the Indian Spring Petroglyphs. There is quite an abundance of glyphs in at least 2 different areas that we saw. As others had reported, the Indian Spring Spring Box has not seen water for quite some time. The large bedrock area that others had reported holding water, was bone dry.

Back on the Ben Avery Trail for awhile, until going off trail to search out the other arch on the Topo. Navigating the washes theme was still in effect. This arch (from our viewpoint) was not as impressive. Of course in hindsight, after checking out the 2018 description, route and photos from @Metalrunner, this arch is pretty darn impressive when viewed up close.

All in all a very enjoyable day the the Eagletails
Named place
Named place
Courthouse Rock Indian Spring

dry Indian Spring Dry Dry
The springbox has not seen water in many years. The bedrock pool that others reported having water, was completely dry.
_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
Nov 07 2020
joebartels
avatar

 Guides 245
 Routes 837
 Photos 12,313
 Triplogs 4,968

51 male
 Joined Nov 20 1996
 Phoenix, AZ
Ben Avery - Arches - Indian Spring Petroglyphs, AZ 
Ben Avery - Arches - Indian Spring Petroglyphs, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 07 2020
joebartels
Hiking12.03 Miles 1,222 AEG
Hiking12.03 Miles   5 Hrs   58 Mns   2.34 mph
1,222 ft AEG      50 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
The_Eagle
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
A parliament of owls continuously moving forward in the trenched ravine was probably a once in a lifetime experience. No photographic evidence of the group so I'm skeptical myself.

As learned with BobP, sweet-talking the cholla is key for desert off-trail. No clue if verbal respect helps you focus, but it's proven.

Fantastic Sonoran exploring.
Flora
Flora
Apache Hedgehog
_____________________
- joe
Jan 25 2020
caragruey
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 Guides 4
 Routes 50
 Photos 1,235
 Triplogs 69

female
 Joined Feb 04 2017
 Sun City
Eagletail Mountains WanderSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 25 2020
caragruey
Hiking10.00 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking10.00 Miles
1,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
Nate_F
Came back for arches hunting...success. And a quick flyby on the rock art. I love this place and its Solitude!!! I guess I'll be exploring here until the heat drives me out.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
_____________________
Jan 25 2020
Nate_F
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 Routes 177
 Photos 1,084
 Triplogs 97

49 male
 Joined May 26 2017
 Phoenix, AZ
Eagletail Arch and Glyph, AZ 
Eagletail Arch and Glyph, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 25 2020
Nate_F
Hiking10.65 Miles 859 AEG
Hiking10.65 Miles   5 Hrs   16 Mns   2.07 mph
859 ft AEG      8 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
caragruey
Beautiful part of the state to explore! So much to see and solitude! The mountains out here are quite unique and rival the Superstitions in majesty. Arches, glyphs, strange peaks and pinnacles, what more can you ask for? I'll be coming back here for sure! :)
_____________________
Jan 23 2020
caragruey
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 50
 Photos 1,235
 Triplogs 69

female
 Joined Feb 04 2017
 Sun City
Ben Avery Trail - Indian Spring PetroglyphsSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 23 2020
caragruey
Hiking6.68 Miles 490 AEG
Hiking6.68 Miles
490 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
We set off for a light adventure around 9ish. Found heaps and never ending heaps of glyphs. Unfortunately we didn't get the time for the two arches. They must wait for the weekend!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
_____________________
Jan 01 2017
mazatzal
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 Routes 34
 Photos 2,417
 Triplogs 1,167

64 male
 Joined Jul 28 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Ben Avery Trail - Indian Spring PetroglyphsSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 01 2017
mazatzal
Hiking7.30 Miles 850 AEG
Hiking7.30 Miles   4 Hrs      2.04 mph
850 ft AEG      25 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked linked
Partners partners
guitar
jhelfers
Headed west hoping to avoid the rain... worked out great: no rain once we got to the Eagletails :) saw two javelina on the way. Lots of water and a few of the washes across the road were flowing but all were okay to cross.

We took the Ben Avery trail to Indian Springs and admired the petroglyphs on both sides of the hill and some more a little into the canyon. On the return we took the short detour to AZGFD water tank. Saw a mountain lion monitoring camera at the tank, Great trip to start of 2017.
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1 archive
Feb 14 2016
chumley
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 Guides 83
 Routes 692
 Photos 16,091
 Triplogs 1,616

48 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Ben Avery Trail - Indian Spring PetroglyphsSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 14 2016
chumley
Hiking7.51 Miles 561 AEG
Hiking7.51 Miles   2 Hrs   58 Mns   2.89 mph
561 ft AEG      22 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
After a day exploring the northern end of the Eagletails, I decided to hit the tourist circuit. It's an easy hike out to the historic Indian Spring area and the rock art does not disappoint. Looks like the spring box at Indian Spring has dried up permanently, but I was happy to find water in a narrow slot of bedrock in the side drainage just below the springbox. I'm sure it dries up in summer, but I think it also holds water for a surprisingly long time. It is 100% shaded.

Detoured to 726 on the way back, another AZGFD engineered wildlife watering tank. Busy day in the wilderness -- saw two other people. No sheep today. :( Great area.
Fauna
Fauna
Tick

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Indian Spring Dripping Dripping
Spring box was totally dry and appears that it is permanently out of commission. But 100 feet up the side drainage just below the springbox was a cold deep pool of water in bedrock that appears that it would hold water much of the year.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Water Tank 411 51-75% full 51-75% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Water Tank 726 76-100% full 76-100% full
Reservoir tank under the shade structure was full to the top.
_____________________
33s over 45s
Apr 19 2015
jdnevi
avatar

 Routes 1
 Triplogs 76

36 male
 Joined Nov 29 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Eagletail Mountains WanderSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 19 2015
jdnevi
Hiking4.00 Miles 100 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles
100 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Planned to hike the Ben Avery trail but the gasline road is currently impassible by sedan, high clearance looks a minimum requirement - 6 inch drop off into deep sand right at the beginning. Parked at the end of Centennial Road and wandered around the hills nearby for a couple of hours instead. Nice area, will be back!
_____________________
Dec 07 2014
Alston_Neal
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 Guides 1
 Photos 1,412
 Triplogs 102

65 male
 Joined Apr 19 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Eagletail Mountains WanderSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 07 2014
Alston_Neal
Hiking7.00 Miles 460 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles
460 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
It never fails to amaze me where one can hike one Sunday and the following Sunday hiking in a world apart. A week ago we were in a freezing hike in Washington and then a week later hiking in one of our favorite deserts. I've been wanting to do a loop in the Eagletails to check out a couple of canyons for future hikes. I found some abandoned roads on GE that we could follow into the wilderness section of the mountains. One appeared to be much older that connected with the one we were on. Definitely not Jeep wide enough. So another trip out to check out a canyon......darn!
Named place
Named place
Courthouse Rock
_____________________
Semifunctional adult


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http://www.oldterritorialshop.com
Aug 02 2014
mwiles
avatar

 Routes 11
 Photos 46
 Triplogs 49

50 male
 Joined Sep 15 2009
 Goodyear, AZ
Eagletail Mountains WanderSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 02 2014
mwiles
Hiking4.90 Miles 366 AEG
Hiking4.90 Miles   4 Hrs   2 Mns   1.93 mph
366 ft AEG   1 Hour   30 Mns Break14 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
MikaylaWiles
Took advantage of yesterday's extended monsoon cloudiness to make an early morning trek out to the Eagletail Mountains wildnerness - a vastly underestimated desert playground so close to the west valley. Instead of the usual mode - grinding out lots of miles on a well marked trail - we used this opportunity for some "desert time". Off trail exploring, wandering and generally just enjoying time away from the city.

We went in on the southeastern side of the Eagletails and then began exploring. A little bit of up and down on the mountainsides, nothing too serious. I did enjoy the site of 5 different natural arches, the best one being at +33.375146, -113.297334. It is the arch shown in the attached picture. Two more, very small arches lie less than 50 feet away. A fourth sits about 80 yards to the west. And a final fifth one is visible on the south side of the old jeep trail high on the rocks perhaps 1/4 mile to the east.

Not many miles today, but the steep, loose climbing up and down definitely have my legs talking a little bit.
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Apr 27 2014
Alston_Neal
avatar

 Guides 1
 Photos 1,412
 Triplogs 102

65 male
 Joined Apr 19 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Eagletail Mountains WanderSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 27 2014
Alston_Neal
Hiking7.50 Miles 650 AEG
Hiking7.50 Miles
650 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Ironically Sat. I was looking at the area of Salt Flats for our Sun. hike. My wife said lets go to the Eagle Tails since we haven't been there in at least a year and a half. Cool, works for me and she just knew this time the ironwoods would be in bloom. This decision to go here instead of Pine Mtn. saved us the encounter with the HAZ Militia.
Alas the ironwwoods weren't ready yet, but everything else was going full throttle.
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Oct 16 2013
airic
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 Guides 1
 Photos 151
 Triplogs 181

42 male
 Joined Feb 04 2004
 Patagonia, AZ
Eagletail Mountains WanderSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 16 2013
airic
Hiking5.00 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles
1,000 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Haven't posted to a triplog for any hike in a long time. Been coming and going in the Eagletails since the last one. Logging this one because the childhood crew was in town and got their first visit. We set up a car camp at the Horntail, built an oven, and did our thing. Hiked, listened to the new Pearl Jam, and made our own music. Brought them in the Eagletails from the south and didn't make our way to sights along Ben Avery. Let them lead the wander to what seemed interesting. No wildlife asides from avian. Crossed some mine ruins. They were hoping for another cougar in this area of course, but obviously with them in tow I wasn't going to find one. Hard enough solo.
Culture
Culture
Camp-fire Campsite
_____________________
Feb 22 2012
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 392
 Photos 6,998
 Triplogs 520

75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Eagletail Mountains WanderSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 22 2012
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking5.30 Miles 593 AEG
Hiking5.30 Miles
593 ft AEG
 
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This was my second day in the Eagletail Wilderness. Spent the night camped in the back of my FJ Cruiser in a dry wash near the Courthouse Rock trail head. Nice spot - out of the wind, not visible from the road and a great view of Courthouse Rock in the morning sun. I was tired from the previous day's 9.3 mile wander so didn't wake up until 7:30am. I started today's wander by heading southeast around the east side of Courthouse Rock following a jeep trail. The jeep trail wasn't headed where I wanted to go so took off across country to investigate what appeared to be a fenced enclosure. It was a game water hole with a concrete apron to catch the water and direct it to a concrete trough. There was also a large fiberglass water tank which required filling from a tank truck. It was empty and from the lack of tire tracks looked like it hadn't been filled in a long time - maybe since it was enclosed by the wilderness boundary in 1990. There was water in the trough - more like pea soup. There were many game trails converging from all directions on the tank site.

I continue my wander deciding to do a complete circuit of Courthouse Rock. On the southeast side of the rock I encountered fresh jeep tracks meandering at random across the desert and leaving deep ruts where it climbed out of a wash. Either this guy was lost or had a total disregard of the wilderness boundary since it was a half mile away. My guess is that it was a hunter trying to find the game water tank because his off road wandering was in that general direction. Continuing on I came across an old jeep road and decided to follow it towards the mountain southwest of CH rock. There were random bulldozed troughs along this road - maybe looking for mineral deposits. I spotted a natural arch on the skyline to the west - discovered later that it is labeled in the TOPO Zone map. I continued to the end of the road - there was a picturesque monolith to the SSW but have not been able to find a name on USGS topo maps or on Google Earth.

At this point I reversed course and struck off across country around the west side of CH Rock. It's easy to get around off trail in this country but requires dipping in and out of many washes. As I rounded the north side of CH Rock I encountered a foot trail with fresh foot prints (human) so I decided to follow it - it ended up back at the game water tank. From that point I retraced my earlier track back to my campsite in the wash. As I drove out of the wash I encountered three ladies sitting in the shade of the trail head kiosk enjoying cold drinks - they had been there for at least an hour. I asked "Aren't you supposed to be hiking?" They responded that they were doing just fine enjoying the view from the shade. Seemed like a long way to drive just to sit in the shade of the kiosk and have a chit chat.
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Feb 21 2012
Oregon_Hiker
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75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Eagletail Mountains WanderSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 21 2012
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking9.30 Miles 500 AEG
Hiking9.30 Miles
500 ft AEG
 
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Hiked to Indian Springs from the trailhead near Courthouse Rock. It's an easy trail with very little altitude change. There is a well worn trail that heads straight for Indian Springs leaving the old jeep trail which takes a jog to the north. Spent some time looking at the petroglyphs - mostly the archaic style with geometric patterns. After enjoying lunch in the shade of the petroglyph cliff I explored the area just west of the petroglyphs - Indian Spring wasn't producing any water - not sure that it ever does. Then I headed north to take a look at the natural arches - a distance of about 1.5 miles. I was tired of walking on level ground so hiked up to the arches from the west side - great views. After the arches I wandered across the desert skirting the edge of the mountains back to the trail head. Checked out some cliff alcoves for possible Indian ruins but didn't find any. The desert landscape is much more open here than I'm used to in the north Phoenix area - makes it easy to explore off the trail without getting your hide punctured by thorns and cactus spines. Back at the trailhead I drove down a jeep trail into a nearby wash to get out of the wind and camped for the night with Courthouse Rock towering above me.
Geology
Geology
Natural Arch
Named place
Named place
Courthouse Rock Eagletail Mountains
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Jan 01 2011
VVebb
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 Guides 3
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37 male
 Joined May 16 2008
 Flagstaff, AZ
Eagletail Mountains WanderSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 01 2011
VVebb
Hiking7.00 Miles 1,500 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles   5 Hrs      1.40 mph
1,500 ft AEG
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1st trip
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JoelHazelton
Note to hike author: Good call on the "Wander" classification.

Over New Year's weekend, I car-camped for two nights next to the small butte that is just outside of the Wilderness and north of Courthouse Rock. Having looked at topos in advance (but having forgotten to bring said topos with us), we knew that there was a "natural arch" west of our camp. Once we arrived to the area, we saw a natural arch west of camp, perhaps 2-3 miles away and 1,000-1,500 feel up in elevation, and we decided to hike toward it. (However, looking at the topo again, I'm not convinced that the arch on the map and the arch we hiked to were actually the same one. Also, "our" arch appeared to be at the top of an enormous tombstone-shaped crag, so it would be virtually impossible to actually reach the arch itself without climbing gear, which we lacked.)

We began our hike by going down the Ben Avery Trail(?) into the Wilderness. About 5 minutes into the Wilderness, we turned right/west and went off-trail. Looking toward the crag that contains the arch, you'll see a small watershed that slopes down and left from the crag/arch. This is roughly the path you'll want to take if you go where we went. (If we had made a beeline from our camp to the arch, we would have encountered some moderately-sized sheer cliffs going up toward the arch.) As you approach the slope, you'll likely notice a wash on your left that becomes deeper as you approach the slope. There were some small pools of water in here where wildlife could drink. Around the same time, you might also notice a little-used road that comes in from the right. (You'll see on a map that this road is parallel to and northwest of the road that you drove in on.) As you transition from flat terrain to mountainous terrain, you'll see a couple options for heading up toward the arch. I know there are at least two routes that would work, because my group momentarily split up -- they beared right, and I stayed straight/left along the wash/canyon for a little while longer, hoping to see critters.

From here, the terrain gets steep, but it's not too difficult or treacherous if you just follow the ridgeline that goes up toward the arch. Once or twice, you might look ahead and ask yourself "is this actually hikeable?" but as you press onward you'll find that it's not that bad. There are even some game trails that you can follow from time to time. When we did this hike in the mid-afternoon on a winter day, we actually reached a point where the sun went behind the crag and shined through the arch. (I think azpride got a photo of me standing in the ~6'x6' patch of light that was coming through the arch. If he had his camera in a quick-draw holster, he could have gotten a really cool shot of a small cholla illuminated by sunlight but surrounded by shade, but the sunny patch was moving pretty quickly and the opportunity vanished.) The ridgeline eventually got us up to a knifeblade-like ridge that let us look all the way back east toward our camp, or pretty far west down the next watershed. After exploring the upper portion of the next watershed, and hiking most of the way around the back of the tombstone-shaped crag containing the arch, we made this our turn-around point and headed back to camp.

One of my hiking buddies is a novice rock climber, and he said that a person with the right gear would be able to climb (at least part of the way) up the back of the crag if they wanted to reach the arch. We didn't try, so we don't know how quickly it might become sketchy, but at least initially it looks climbable.

Since the off-trail terrain isn't bad, I actually suggest a full-day hike or a backpacking trip for this area, because it seemed like the farther in we went, the niftier it became.
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"The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom. Yet to camp out at all implies some measure of this delight."

-- Theodore Roosevelt, The Publishers' Weekly, Nov. 25, 1905
Dec 19 2010
airic
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 Guides 1
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 Triplogs 181

42 male
 Joined Feb 04 2004
 Patagonia, AZ
Eagletail Mountains WanderSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 19 2010
airic
Hiking
Hiking
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Covered some more ground here. Hit up a new peak. Typical day, which is a good day. New ridges and washes. Silent animal day. Some burros at the start. Oh no, barn owl on my way out in a palo verde too. Lizards aside, I've seen barn owls on more occasions here than any other animal. Bighorns in second. Spied a new area for next time further to the west.
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Sep 15 2010
airic
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 Guides 1
 Photos 151
 Triplogs 181

42 male
 Joined Feb 04 2004
 Patagonia, AZ
Eagletail Mountains WanderSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 15 2010
airic
Hiking10.00 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking10.00 Miles
1,000 ft AEG
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Transferring missing hikes to HAZ. Tedious.
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average hiking speed 2.11 mph
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