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Willow Connector Trail - 1 member in 6 triplogs has rated this an average 2 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Apr 23 2022

 Guides 1
 Routes 23
 Photos 2,451
 Triplogs 142

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Goldfield Overlook & Kissing Turtles Arches, AZ 
Goldfield Overlook & Kissing Turtles Arches, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 23 2022
John10sTriplogs 142
Hiking14.13 Miles 2,070 AEG
Hiking14.13 Miles   10 Hrs   56 Mns   1.86 mph
2,070 ft AEG   3 Hrs   20 Mns Break
1st trip
We returned to the Goldfields again this weekend, hoping to take advantage of what will likely be one of the few remaining weekends this spring with highs in the 80s. Our main destinations today were Overlook Arch and the neighboring "Kissing Turtles" Arch, with a few other landmarks along the way. We started from Willow Canyon Trailhead, which looked like a junkyard...someone left an abandoned, hollowed-out boat and a dilapidated RV in the parking lot, and the windows were shattered/shot out. I've seen a lot of trash in the Goldfields, but those are the biggest pieces yet...

A few miles into the hike, I went up to check out a cave up in a rock formation that looked fairly deep from down below, but closer inspection revealed it was just a shallow alcove. Soon after that, we came across another feature I'd hoped to see today--a rock tunnel with large quantity of grinding holes of various sizes. That was really nice spot...there there three or four deep, well-formed grinding holes and a bunch of smaller, shallower holes. That was the first sign of native activity I'd ever seen in the Goldfields.

[ youtube video ]

As we got closer to the arches, we passed through a lot of dark, volcanic rock and some interesting formations leading into a dry creek bed that we followed before heading up the slope toward the arches. I'd read some comments about the effort-to-reward ratio being a little questionable for these two arches, but the bushwhack getting up the slope wasn't too bad, at least the route we took--the ground wasn't particularly loose, and the brush was mostly free of thorns and spaced out enough that it was easy to avoid.

However, despite having the coordinates marked on the GPS, it took a little longer than expected to find the arches. Overlook is fairly wide but very short, and we didn't see it from might say it's easy to overlook? We ended up climbing up higher on the hillside than necessary, then dropped down over and around to the east side of a ridge and found Kissing Turtles Arch first, then spotted Overlook nearby. Of the two, Kissing Turtles is the more photogenic, with a larger opening than the flatter, wider Overlook Arch, but both offered some nice views of the Superstitions and Weaver's Needle to the east.

[ youtube video ]
[ youtube video ]

We ended up crawling through Overlook Arch to head down the west side where we'd initially come up. On the hike out, we spotted a few more caves off the trail. The first was relatively shallow, but there was a series of three our four concentrated in one area that were deeper, one of which extended 10-15 feet into the rock. Nearby, I found a few fairly large pieces of pottery, which was a nice surprise...I'd never seen any pot sherds in the Goldfields before today, and that was the second sign of native habitation on today's route :).

The majority of the hike was the typical Goldfield mix of informal trails, roads, and washes, and the bushwhacking section of the hike was relatively short and straightforward. We didn't see anyone until we were back within a mile of Willow Canyon TH and saw two hikers, and theirs was the only other vehicle in the lot besides the abandoned boat and RV. It turned out to be another fun day in the Goldfields...we found everything we'd set out to see, and the grinding holes, caves, and pottery were a nice bonus. It's too bad these temperatures can't stick around for a few more months...
Fauna [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Cactus Wren
Geology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Natural Arch
Meteorology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Sun Dog
1 archive
Dec 31 2020

 Photos 471
 Triplogs 133

48 male
 Joined Mar 16 2019
Goldfield Mountains Wander, AZ 
Goldfield Mountains Wander, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 31 2020
AugustWestTriplogs 133
Hiking8.80 Miles 1,004 AEG
Hiking8.80 Miles   3 Hrs   9 Mns   2.84 mph
1,004 ft AEG      3 Mns Break
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
My first real hike on this side of Apache Trail. The geological features were truly amazing. Every trail I traveled today was easy to follow, but I can see how exploring up some of the canyons and washes could be very rewarding.

Started out at Willow Springs TH at 7:30 AM with temps just above freezing. Didn't see anyone all day. Unfortunately had to walk a mile on the highway, but traffic was extremely light. So much opportunity for exploration in this area and so close to home. Will definitely be back again soon.
Wildflower seed in the sand and wind
May the four winds blow you home again
Dec 24 2020

 Guides 7
 Routes 160
 Photos 701
 Triplogs 198

39 male
 Joined Nov 30 2015
 Phoenix, AZ
Goldfield explore, AZ 
Goldfield explore, AZ
Run/Jog avatar Dec 24 2020
ShatteredArmTriplogs 198
Run/Jog8.09 Miles 1,251 AEG
Run/Jog8.09 Miles   1 Hour   36 Mns   5.06 mph
1,251 ft AEG
no photosets
1st trip
Needed something close to town, and hadn't been in the Goldfields in a couple of years, so decided to check out an area I hadn't been yet. So I headed south at the first left turn from the Willow Springs TH access. Went until I hit jeep road, and then saw another trail that headed west. This turned into what's labeled on the MTB maps as "Willow Connector", which takes you to "Frankie Goes to Hollywood". First time I had been on this trail, and it was worthwhile.

Once at Cottonwood Wash, I decided to take the shortest way back, which happened to be "Over the Hill and Down the Hatch".

Dry out there, and only saw two other humans.
1 archive
Mar 14 2020

 Guides 26
 Routes 428
 Photos 8,342
 Triplogs 628

53 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Horse with No Name TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 14 2020
DarthStillerTriplogs 628
Hiking10.10 Miles 1,145 AEG
Hiking10.10 Miles   5 Hrs   11 Mns   1.95 mph
1,145 ft AEG
Partners none no partners
Every time I come back to this area, the scenery seems even better. Certainly the recent rains and clear weather helped alot. Right now I would say a lot these trails are on par with anything in the western Superstitions.

I started from what GoogleMaps now calls the Horse Trails TH and headed in on the Javelina Mine Trail, then took that to the Willow Connector Trail and headed over to the Horse with No Name Trail. I intended to do that entire loop, but somehow short circuited it and didn't to the westernmost part of the loop. I noticed the one junction of the trail as I got back onto the main trail, but that western tip of the loop looked fainter than the shortcut I was one. I suppose the vegetation may have contributed to that. The climb up to the cliffs and the views up there were the highlight of this trail. Really incredible scenery.

On the way back I opted to take Frankie Goes to Hollywood, as it looked like the most direct route back to the Willow Connector. both HWNN and FGTH were very rocky and at times would follow sections of the washes. the rocks slowed me down, I was stuck at 2mph the whole time. A couple time I lost the trails getting out of a wash or along other parts. Having the tracks was very helpful. It's also nice with the new feature on Route Scout to have nearby tracks available on the mapping if I hadn't loaded them, which was the case with FGTH.

Lots of water throughout the hike, and very green. Still early enough in the spring that it's not so overgrown to be a bushwhack. But the thistles are starting to grow.

Only saw 2 other people in over 5 hours, horse riders. Then on the way back, there was a line of 30+ cars waiting to get into Lost Dutchman park, they stretched out to the turning lane on Rt. 88 and a ranger was directing traffic. Still nice that the hordes don't know about this gem.
Feb 19 2020

 Guides 187
 Routes 829
 Photos 9,801
 Triplogs 662

69 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Goldfield Mountains Loop, AZ 
Goldfield Mountains Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 19 2020
markthurman53Triplogs 662
Hiking13.90 Miles 2,194 AEG
Hiking13.90 Miles   8 Hrs   2 Mns   2.24 mph
2,194 ft AEG   1 Hour   49 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
1st trip
Goldfield Mountain Loop

I started this hike near the Cottonwood Canyon Trail Head at the Frankie Goes to Hollywood Trail (what kind of name is that for a trail). I then took Cottonwood Wash down to the route that takes you up into the Goldfield Mountains(Camouflage Tanks). Returned down Black Glass Canyon then to the Rough N Ready Trail then to the Willow connector back to where I started. Also did a side trip along the Anniversary Arch Trail.

The Frankie Goes to Hollywood trail follows an unnamed wash for about a quarter mile before connecting up with the Willow Connector. At this point the trail is well defined and continues on along the unnamed wash all the way to Cottonwood Wash. After heading up Cottonwood Wash for a short distance I realized I was headed in the wrong direction so I stopped, pulled my head out of my rear and continued on heading down stream this time. It is fairly easy walking in the creek, sometimes sandy sometimes rocky. After about 1.5 miles the route for the Goldfield loop exits to the west. There is no trail but finding a route isn’t difficult. The route just before the final saddle is a little slow going finding a steady footing and avoiding the cactus. I just followed the GPS route I downloaded and it lead me to all the places of interest. I thought Black Glass Canyon was the highlight of this hike. There was no water flow so the trech down was a bit easier than if there had been. There were a few pools of water along the lower canyon. I saw a couple arches along this route and other than Pedestal arch not sure what the names are.

It was an uneventful walk up Willow Springs Canyon then Cottonwood Wash on the Rough N Ready Trail (another bazaar name). Lower Cottonwood is more than just rocky it is bouldery, very large bouldery. When I got to the place where the Rough N Ready Trail leaves Cottonwood Wash I continued on up Cottonwood Wash to where I was earlier before exiting for the Goldfield Mountain Loop. Call it an OCD thing but I just couldn’t have this small half mile section of lower Cottonwood Wash that I hadn’t explored. Having rid the bee in my bonnet I headed back to the Rough and Ready Trail. Where the Quartz Crystal Arroyo Trail intersects the Rough N Ready Trail I filled my hat with water and doused my head it was close to 80 degrees and I’m sure hotter in the sun. At the junction of the Anniversary Arch Trail I took a side trip to see what this trail had to offer. Nice views looking west into Cottonwood Canyon and to the northwest of the Goldfield Mountains. The rest of the hike on the Rough N Ready and the Willow Connector was uneventful or so it seemed, maybe I was just tired and hot.

I got the Pass for the locked gates for Bull Dog Canyon Recreational area and I’m glad I did because it cut 2 to 4 miles off each days hiking, most of which was along 4WD roads. Great to be back in the Goldfields and I hope the weather cools off again before summer because there are a few more trails I want to do.
2 archives
Nov 26 2016

 Routes 165
 Photos 2,907
 Triplogs 514

63 male
 Joined Aug 16 2009
Cottonwood Spring - Goldfield MtnsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 26 2016
hikerdwTriplogs 514
Hiking7.29 Miles 1,854 AEG
Hiking7.29 Miles   3 Hrs   22 Mns   2.39 mph
1,854 ft AEG      19 Mns Break
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Kelley joined our hike today so we kept it on the shorter side, a lasso loop to Cottonwood Spring in the Goldfield's. While exploring around Cottonwood Spring we found a decapitated falcon. The body was in perfect condition but no head :o Not sure what happened there. Did manage to add in a short stretch of off trail hiking which Kelley even enjoyed. Nice overcast day today.
Named place
Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Cottonwood Spring

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cottonwood Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Tank was almost full but water was pretty nasty looking.
Expect to self rescue
average hiking speed 2.25 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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