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China Dam - 2 members in 6 triplogs have rated this an average 4 ( 1 to 5 best )
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May 25 2019
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 Guides 11
 Routes 2
 Photos 3,622
 Triplogs 316

45 male
 Joined Jun 09 2009
 Mesa, AZ
China Dam and Fort Tule, AZ 
China Dam and Fort Tule, AZ
 
4x4 Trip avatar May 25 2019
cw50mustTriplogs 316
4x4 Trip
4x4 Trip
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1st trip
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Headed out on 4 wheels to see the China Dam and Fort Tule. I had gone out to China Dam about a year ago and then spent hours looking for the Tule Homestead. This time I was armed with the correct directions. Last time I turned right one turn too soon.

You would certainly want 4wd to reach these destinations. China dam if closer and easier to get too of the two. Fort Tule Is further out, you need to cross Humbug Creek and the road continues to get worse the further out you go. Its an out and back so you will be coming out the same way you came in.

China Dam is impressive given when it was built. Its much larger in person than it looks in pictures. Interesting part of mining history.

The old Homestead or Fort Tule as it is referred to was pretty cool. I really wanted to check this place out. Its in decent condition which is good since so many of these are heavily vandalized or destroyed. One of the main things I wanted to check out here was that the internal parts of the walls are old cans, very interesting bit of construction. There are a few other smaller structures around the property but they are mostly just ruins at this point. There is a concrete dog grave site there too, but I forgot to look for it. From my reading the man who lived in this place was forced up when the dam went up and Lake Pleasant was created. I guess they thought it would be underwater, but those estimates were quite a bit off.

Video: [ youtube video ]
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Feb 17 2018
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 Guides 11
 Routes 2
 Photos 3,622
 Triplogs 316

45 male
 Joined Jun 09 2009
 Mesa, AZ
China DamPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 17 2018
cw50mustTriplogs 316
Hiking1.00 Miles 609 AEG
Hiking1.00 Miles
609 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I finally made it out to the China Dam. The drive out is 4wd once you turn off of Cow Creek rd. Its not too difficult, I made it just fine in my Tacoma. There are a lot of spider trails but sticking to what looks like the main road got me there just fine. I parked just above the newer concrete dam. Not much of a distance hike down to the old dam, but plenty of climbing around. A few groups of people coming and going but not over crowded, this was also a holiday weekend.
I enjoyed the structure and its was impressive. I had seen plenty of pictures and videos, but didn't realize how big it was until I saw it in person. Thinking about it being made by hand is pretty cool.

After my visit here, I drove the trail down to where is crosses Humbug creek, some cool rock formations down there. I ended up crossing the creek and decide as long as I'm out here I'll go find the Tule homestead. I never found it, but after looking at my Garmin tracks I was within a mile, oops. Next time!

[ youtube video ]
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Jan 27 2018
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 Routes 292
 Photos 6,851
 Triplogs 546

46 male
 Joined Dec 30 2007
 Avondale,Az
China DamPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
4x4 Trip avatar Jan 27 2018
StoicTriplogs 546
4x4 Trip25.00 Miles 1,500 AEG
4x4 Trip25.00 Miles   4 Hrs      6.25 mph
1,500 ft AEG
 
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A night 4x4 trip to China Damn and Tule Creek Ruins.
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Feb 25 2017
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 Photos 361
 Triplogs 8

40 male
 Joined Jan 17 2016
 anthem, az
China Dam Cow Creek, AZ 
China Dam Cow Creek, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 25 2017
eaglelocTriplogs 8
Hiking5.00 Miles
Hiking5.00 Miles   4 Hrs      1.25 mph
 no routes
1st trip
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There is an endless web of dirt roads and hiking opportunities north of Lake Pleasant, for this trip I used a combination of Jeep and Feet to go from China Dam to a cluster of petroglyphs north of china dam, but if I didn't have the jeep or younger kids with me this could have easily worked as a longer hike, following cow creek north and south.

Start: Take Castle Hot Springs road north to cow creek road, towards the coordinates listed in the description (of China Dam). Drive as far as you are comfortable in your vehicle, then hike the rest of the way. The Dam (presumably built by Chinese in late 1800s) was interesting to see from all angles, under & above, but most interesting was walking east over the dam, then south through the cave, which was the water overflow that followed miles of aqueduct that are mostly filled in with mud/rocks today, but are still supported by sizable stone walls in many places. Hiking south along this path will eventually take you all the way to Lake Pleasant a few miles south (varies by time of year).
When done exploring the aqueduct which follows the east side of cow creek, head north back to the dam and either hop back in your jeep to get closer to the petroglyph area, or just stay in the creekbed and walk north...less than a mile north of the dam when the creek bed splits, stay left/west and head another 2+ miles north before walking up the hills on the west to clusters of petroglyphs, then return the way you came.

Note that as of late Feb there was running water in the creeks but crossing it was possible in most areas.

Your hike could be longer or shorter based on your vehicle's clearance, and abilities, photos will include geo tagged for you to map your own routes as needed. Castle hot springs road and cow creek road are both dirt roads that most drive in truck, jeep, or atv, but some are able to make it in passenger cars...all other side roads are typically for off road capable vehicles only.

Also not far from this area, are the black caves, which I will include a few photos on (natural caves, also listed on topo map, as are the glyphs on the post, which is probably why only one potsherd was seen between both sites...that said the caves and glyphs were in good shape overall with almost no litter at either site; you may be the only one there, unlike china dam which will have frequent ATV visits until you head south on the aqueduct).
Culture
Culture [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Old Rusty Stuff
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
clusters of poppies around the area, especially on hills west of glyphs

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Cow Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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Feb 15 2016
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 Guides 4
 Routes 194
 Photos 7,962
 Triplogs 451

69 male
 Joined Apr 06 2005
 Phoenix, AZ
NW of Lake Pleasant, AZ 
NW of Lake Pleasant, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 15 2016
HansenazTriplogs 451
Hiking3.00 Miles
Hiking3.00 Miles
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1st trip
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Stoic
I joined Chris (HAZ guy Stoic) for a day of exploring in his home territory: the desert area NW of Lake Pleasant. Turns out he has a very capable XTerra which took us on all sorts of perilous roads getting near some destinations we'd picked out on the map.

There are two labeled "petroglyph" sites on the topo maps. The first one involved some large rocks on a rise and had quite an array of petroglyphs. On the way to the second one (located about 3 miles to the east) we stopped at China Dam, an interesting structure (built by Chinese labor according to Chris) I was surprised to see out there.

The second petroglyph site is one I had tried to find 3 years ago after a long walk. With a little more care in matching the map to the GPS we did find a few petroglyphs on smallish basalt rocks in the expected locations but there was not a lot. Made us wonder what it took to get a "petroglyph" notation on the map all those years ago.

From there we continued on to some places Chris had been before: a modern ruin and Tule Fort, a Hohokam-era lookout. Both were worth the stop.

On the rough road back we spotted a sedan up ahead. I said "Must be a rental car". A few minutes later a guy came on to the road and asked if we could help for a few minutes. His rental Nissan sedan was high centered on a big rock. We (well mainly Chris) spent about half an hour with his jack and some rocks and got him loose. No guarantee he made it back out and home to Boston but I hope so.

Thanks to Chris for the tour and stunt driving.
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Nov 24 2014
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 Routes 292
 Photos 6,851
 Triplogs 546

46 male
 Joined Dec 30 2007
 Avondale,Az
China Damn/ Tule Ruins/ Indian Mesa, AZ 
China Damn/ Tule Ruins/ Indian Mesa, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 24 2014
StoicTriplogs 546
Hiking2.60 Miles 918 AEG
Hiking2.60 Miles   3 Hrs   35 Mns   1.11 mph
918 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break
 
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I went out and played North of Lake Pleasant. I hit a couple ruins sites that I have been wanting to visit.
My first destination was the old China damn and tunnel. The damn is collecting a lot of debris behind it. I did stumble across a Geo Cache at this site. If I was to do the damn again, I would have parked off the main road and hiked the 4x4 trail in. It would add a 1/2 mile round trip. The road is rough and narrow. I hiked about .41 miles and spent 20 minutes in the area.

Next stop was the Tule Creek Fort and Creek ruins. I walked the site, looking at the house, dogs grave, and the shed. Pooch lived to be 10 years old, impressive for a dog in the 1930s. I then hiked up to Tule Fort. Its an easy off trail hike. I took my time going up and coming down. I hiked 1.15 miles and spend almost 2 hours in this area.

I then drove to Indian Mesa. This section of the road was worse than the rest. There where a couple of challenges on this section of the drive. Half way up the trail, I started hearing voices. First human contact of the day. There where two hikes from AZOTC at the top. The wind had picked up and was blowing hard. The hikers and I took shelter in one of the ruins and talked for a while. They ate their lunch and we talked about other hikes in the area. Over all I was impressed with this site. I wasn't expecting the amount of rooms here. I hiked a little over 1 mile, and spend 1hour 20 minutes here. Overall a good day. There are a couple more things I want to see in the area, so I will be back.

**All the roads from the Cow Creek Rd turn off are rough roads. Experience with 4x4s and high clearance vehicles is a must. Some parts of the road put my experience and my truck to the test.
Culture
Culture [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Grave - Identified
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1 archive
average hiking speed 1.18 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.

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