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Alder Creek Trail #82 - 3 members in 5 triplogs have rated this an average 3.3 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Apr 25 2015
topohiker
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 112
 Photos 4,440
 Triplogs 1,945

male
 Joined Oct 29 2005
 Scottsdale, AZ
Brown's CavePhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 25 2015
topohiker
Hiking25.32 Miles 4,829 AEG
Hiking25.32 Miles   14 Hrs   40 Mns   2.43 mph
4,829 ft AEG   4 Hrs   15 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
fan3992
Fan and I went from the Cottonwood TH to Browns Cave.

Lower Soldier Trail
It took a minute to figure the start of the trail, but once we did there was cairns to lead you all the way to FR401.
Along the way to the Cane's spring TH, we stopped at the shack.

Alder Creek Trail
The trail started out as an old road and was very easy to follow. When the trail hit the Long canyon, we stayed in the canyon
until the trail pulled away. Then we bushwhacked over the trail. There been some recent trail maintenance until you hit the
Crabtree cabin. It took us a couple of minutes to figure out how to get to the cabin. There was a sign-in board at the cabin.
Fan & I were the first people to represent HAZ. There was quite a bit of Crabtree relatives visiting the cabin.
The route finding was a little more challenging past the cabin.

The Jungle aka "Brown Cave"
We lost the trail as we approached the descent into Alder Creek. We found two stone walls leading down to the creek.
Then we had to fight the jungle to get to the Creek. When got the creek Fan was done. The plan was to
go to the Cave then have lunch at the river /lake. Fan didn't want the fight anymore jungle, so I went on alone.

Beyond the jungle
I pushed through the jungle and walked right past Brown's Cave and continued on down the creek. For a stretch the water went underground.
I made to the 10 foot waterfall then stopped. The sky clouded up and the wind started to blow.
It looked like the 20% chance of rain was going to hit. I didn't have any Jedi masters to talk me into
climb down and up the waterfalls, so I turned around.

The trip back
The temps dropped fast as we headed back. This time we took the trail instead of going in Long creek.
The trail was easy to follow and mostly free of vegetation. As we started to climb out, the rain started.
It poured pretty hard for about 10 minutes, then it backed off. It rained for the last 4 hours of the hike.
We made it to the shed at Cane's Spring in time to put on the headlamps. We took FR401 all the way back to the Jeep.
Along the we saw an abandoned quad-runner. As we approached the Jeep the rain started to dump on us.

The road out
I was concerned about driving out with 4+ hours of rain. The road was slick but I didn't have any major issues getting out.
The Jeep did fishtailed in a couple of spots.


](*,) Items that are MIA in the Jungle ](*,)
- HAZ-tracks android phone (good thing it was only $29.99)
- gators
- GPS Lithium ION rechargeable battery

This is a cool area to explorer. The terrain is slow moving and you should have a GPS route to get to alder creek.
I had long pants with gators and the a couple of Foxtails still managed to get in my socks!

I want to go back to take Long canyon to the river.
_____________________
"Everywhere is walking distance...If you have the time"
-Stephen Wright
2 archives
Mar 22 2014
joebartels
avatar

 Guides 241
 Routes 830
 Photos 11,690
 Triplogs 4,544

50 male
 Joined Nov 20 1996
 Phoenix, AZ
Four Peaks Circumference, AZ 
Four Peaks Circumference, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 22 2014
joebartels
Hiking27.60 Miles 7,400 AEG
Hiking27.60 Miles   16 Hrs   28 Mns   1.78 mph
7,400 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break14 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
This loop and especially Alder Creek has intrigued me since the '90s. Karl & I started at Mud Spring TH, hiked the road to Lone Pine then took #130 out to #82 ( not to be confused with Alder "Saddle" Trail #81 ).

Alder Creek Trail #82
Nature has reclaimed the trail. Perhaps 7% exists for the 6.25 miles heading down to Brown's Cave. Of that the creek is a less painful avenue. The area is everything I envisioned as a wided eyed kid thumbing through hiking books. Water is abundant and trees offer shade on occasion. The challenges of life are defenseless against you and Alder Creek Canyon is all yours.

Once out of Alder Creek the trail over to the trailhead is just route finding. Someone has kindly re-cairned 0.5mi to 1.6mi ( west to east ). It follows quicker than in previous years and catclaw only snagged once.

Cane Spring Trail #77
Easy to follow... in the dark! Someone must do periodic maintenance. Shocking out in the middle of nowhere and it only leads to the tragic mess on #83.

Soldier Camp Trail #83
Difficult to assess as it was dark. Seemed like a nuisance cairn hunt. I'm guessing it's not so bad in daylight. Killer night view back to Phoenix heading up to Big Saddle.

Never say never, it "seems" unlikely I'll redo this loop. One thing for sure... feels GREAT to join the got 'er done club! Thanks to Karl for helping bring this dream home!

Carried 5 quarts, consumed 6.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Strawberry Hedgehog was busting out for 10-15 miles of our hike. 1 - Desert Anemone near Paint Puddles, 1 - Desert Chicory mid Alder Creek. Medium patches of Desert Phlox on south expanse. A few iron yellow varieties.

dry Adams Camp Spring Dry Dry
Immediate area was damp. Perhaps something to filter if you poke around.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Alder Creek - Four Peaks Medium flow Medium flow
Flowing about 80% through upper 5-6 miles ( majority ) of creek. Shockingly* great flow, maybe 10 gpm. Lots of three foot waterfalls along the way. No sign of cattle grazing.

* Last rain was 1-2 inches three weeks ago. Previous rain was two months prior, very dry spring around Arizona in 2014.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Alder Creek - South Swim Hole 76-100% full 76-100% full
Full, clear and creek flowing at least a gpm. Soon after the creek dried for the next mile.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Paint Spring Dripping Dripping
Enough to filter. From previous experiences you can find a slight flow to pools further down.
_____________________
- joe
Mar 22 2014
BiFrost
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 Guides 4
 Routes 348
 Photos 7,282
 Triplogs 875

50 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Four Peaks Circumference, AZ 
Four Peaks Circumference, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 22 2014
BiFrost
Hiking27.63 Miles 7,433 AEG
Hiking27.63 Miles   16 Hrs   28 Mns   1.97 mph
7,433 ft AEG   2 Hrs   25 Mns Break
 
1st trip
This hike has been on the list and Joe offered it up and worked out the route. Of course had to say yes to this oppturnity. Early start about 615am from Mud Spring TH walking up the road to Lone Pine TH. Good warm up for the real hike to come.

Once at Lone Pine TH we started down Four Peaks trail enjoying the traverse over to Black Bear Saddle. Great views along this section of Four Peaks and the lake. Black Bear Saddle is where the fun begins or pain depending on your perspective. There is a trail Alder Creek #82 but it's pretty much not there. We made several attempts to follow the trail but brush was too thick and path of least resistance was the creek. Very nice in the creek with water and pools most of the way down. So we did about 6 miles of boulder hopping down canyon to where the trail leaves it and heads over to Cane Spring TH. Alder is a great canyon...really enjoyed the numerous pools, mini-falls and scenery.

Finally made it to where Alder trail leaves the canyon and started heading over to Long Canyon. This section is also really nice...Joe pointing out some of the dramatic views, cliffs, and interesting rock. Also saw wild burro and pack of javalina's between Alder Creek and Cane Spring. Wish we had more time to explore this great area but time was not on our side.

We got to Cane Spring TH and it was getting very late in the day. Had to do much of the last 7 miles in the dark and trail conditions or non-trail in many spots made this time consuming. It was a tough stretch but finally made it over Big Saddle on the Soldier Camp Trail #83. Tough trail to follow but maybe it was due to darkness.

Thanks for putting this one together Joe :D
Fauna
Fauna
Javelina
Culture
Culture
Cag Shot
_____________________
Dec 08 2012
joebartels
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 Guides 241
 Routes 830
 Photos 11,690
 Triplogs 4,544

50 male
 Joined Nov 20 1996
 Phoenix, AZ
Painted Cliffs, AZ 
Painted Cliffs, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 08 2012
joebartels
Hiking20.40 Miles 5,160 AEG
Hiking20.40 Miles   13 Hrs      1.70 mph
5,160 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break8 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners partners
The_Eagle
20 the hard way. Dark yet blinding roller coaster route finding challenge with cholla joy. Not for the timid. Elements beg my return...
Flora
Flora
Cottonwood
Named place
Named place
Four Peaks Wilderness
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Adams Camp Spring Dripping Dripping
plenty to filter

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Cane Spring Dripping Dripping
easier to find than expected, plenty to filter in trough, nice and clear
_____________________
- joe
Dec 08 2012
The_Eagle
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 Guides 7
 Routes 796
 Photos 9,586
 Triplogs 1,214

64 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Painted Cliffs, AZ 
Painted Cliffs, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 08 2012
The_Eagle
Hiking20.77 Miles 5,279 AEG
Hiking20.77 Miles   12 Hrs   58 Mns   1.74 mph
5,279 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break10 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners partners
joebartels
Plans were to start at the Cottonwood TH, hike Lower Soldier Camp Trail, to Alder Creek Trail, down Long Canyon, to Apache Lake. Then find a route across to Alder Creek Trail, up and back to the TH.

We never saw the beginning of this trail, because we started hiking with 45 minutes in the dark and the last 2 hours of this hike were in the dark.

Lower Soldier Camp Trail was faint at best (Except the part on the road) as we became Cholla magnets in the dark. We made the saddle where the trail meets the FR at first light for spectacular views. From here is was a road walk to Cane Spring. We checked out the Spring and and started following Alder Creek Trail.

Adler Creek Trail with a GPS and good eyes for buried cairnes was find-able in spots, non existent in others. On the way in, we opted for dropping into Long Canyon to get out of the blood sucking cat claw. We made our way down to a choked out spring area and decided we had reached our turn around time.

We climbed up and out on the loose crumbly rock, for the views making the blood letting all worth it! The Painted Cliffs area. We played on the loose stuff looking for a different route that got us out of Long Canyon and on our way back. We dropped into a sweet unnamed canyon and climbed out to the Alder Creek trail.

We took lunch at Adams Camp and then did our best to follow Alder Creek trail back. The wild Burro tracks followed it for awhile, then it was lost again.

From here back to the TH was a blur.

The destination was incredible, the journey was a tough one.

JBF 4
BBF 9 (A new high)
Culture
Culture
Inscriptions
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Adams Camp Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Filterable water available among the Cattails!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cane Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Plenty of clear clean filterable water in the Concrete trough.
Tasted good also!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Long Canyon Creek-Four Peaks Quart per minute Quart per minute
Water available in pools in numerous locations.
Cottonwoods and cattails suggest perinnial source.
_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
1 archive
average hiking speed 1.92 mph

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.

90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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