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Bonanza Bill Trail #23 - 3 members in 7 triplogs have rated this an average 2.7 ( 1 to 5 best )
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May 27 2016
friendofThunde
avatar

 Guides 18
 Routes 280
 Photos 7,737
 Triplogs 718

37 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Bear Mtn Loop - Blue RangeAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Backpack avatar May 27 2016
friendofThundergod
Backpack40.65 Miles 7,778 AEG
Backpack40.65 Miles3 Days         
7,778 ft AEG
 
I headed back to the Blue Range for Memorial Weekend and for the first time, I brought company. We had a loose plan to cover some pretty good ground with a relatively ambitious loop that involved some must-see side trips in my opinion. The plan was enough for myself and Karl, but Chumley and John were not at ease without having everything perfectly laid out. But I assured them it was a little flexible and we had a few plan Bs and Cs worked in there and they were pretty cool with the rough plan I laid out to them.

We drove up Thursday night and despite being pulled over twice on the way (both warnings), we made great time. In fact, we were there in time to enjoy a fire and relax a little. We woke up to frozen water on the rim, but our day got noticeably warmer as we made the last part of the drive down Red Hills road to the trailhead.

We made good time up Largo, but it was a tad dry and warm to appreciate. Telephone Ridge was a bit of a big boy climb with full packs, but we all had enough energy to drop our packs for a quick trip up Bear Mountain. After Bear Mountain, we decided Bear Valley was starting to look like an ideal first night's camp. This was further confirmed when we arrived at the quaint meadow, rich with prime campsites and a trickling creek. After setting up, myself, Karl, Chumley and Blanco hiked further down the Little Blue Trail. This turned out to be an excellent hike, as the trail was in great shape, there were stretches of flowing water and it took a path through some very cool narrows before opening up to a nice section dominated by giant rock spires and monuments. After seeing what seemed to be about the best 2.5 mile section of that trail, we headed back to camp.

On day two we opted for a short trip with our big packs and then a rather large loop into New Mexico via the Tige Rim Trail. We chose Franz Spring and cabin area to camp. After setting up, we all took off for a 15 mile day hike. The Tige Rim loop was hot and dry. The views from the rim were nice and there were a few cool stretches, but the warmer temps and lack of water took away from some of the loop's normal appeal. We we got back to Franz, the worst possible scenario had played out. A group of no likely less than ten people had popped a squat next to us. I knew there was a chance we might bump into some backpackers, but I could have never imagined running into that many people out there. They ended up not being the worst neighbors and our dogs got along, but they were definitely louder than our small group and they insisted on using the outhouse for some reason. To each their own, but it was probably not designed for large backcountry groups with its three feet deep hole, no maintenance and no chemicals. Nevertheless, it was business as usual at camp and we still enjoyed the great spot and did get a chance to chat with a few from the large group. No sour grapes about sharing one of the nicer areas in the Blue Range, I was just not ready to share it with ten people and it ended up not being the nice serene spot I had described. So a small damper on the backpacking trip in my eyes.

A lot of hikers on the trail on the way out, but a quick hike with pretty good trail and very scenic along the flowing sections of Lamphier. A small disappointment on day two, but I enjoyed my three days in the the Blue. I would have liked to cover some more new ground, but it was nice to revisit some spots that I had been intrigued by before and the section of Little Blue we covered on the first day will instantly go on my list of favorites for the area. But overall great times as usual with these guys and I hope the newbies to the area were happy with the change of scenery.

.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Cashier Spring Dripping Dripping
Filterable water in area of spring, seeps in area trickling out of ground

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Dutch Oven Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Full clean trough, overflowing, strong flow from source

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Franz Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Full trough, and overflow.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Indian Canyon Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Lanphier Canyon Light flow Light flow
Light to moderate flow from Indian Springs to Blue/TH
_____________________
2 archives
May 27 2016
chumley
avatar

 Guides 75
 Routes 667
 Photos 13,238
 Triplogs 1,423

46 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Bear Mtn Loop - Blue RangeAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Backpack avatar May 27 2016
chumley
Backpack42.12 Miles 8,216 AEG
Backpack42.12 Miles2 Days   2 Hrs   1 Min   
8,216 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Lee took the lead on planning this one and it turned out to be a great introduction to the PBR. I was a little surprised to find that this area is much more like the rim country near Payson than the White Mountains as I was expecting. The Blue River valley is only 5500 feet, and while our route took us up to higher elevations, the landscape overall reminded me of the same Mogollon Rim 120 miles farther west.

The upper portion of Sawmill along Telephone Ridge was the highlight of day 1, with big views and a pleasant climb after the steep connector that climbs up from Largo. Bear Mountain is obscured by trees, and the old lookout tower isn't tall enough to see over them. Maybe that's why it's been decommissioned!

Bear Valley is a great spot. I could set up a base camp here and explore. The trip down Little Blue was a great suprise with running water and amazing geology. Huge spires loom above the canyon. I climbed up the ridge adjacent to the canyon to get a better view, but the afternoon sun made it tough to capture any photos. I tried to find trail 341 on the way back to Bear Valley, but I couldn't find even the slightest sign of old tread amongst the fire deadfall and new growth.

Saturday we made the quick trip over to Franz spring and set up camp near the old cabin before heading off to check out the Tige Rim. I had been excited to see this area, but found the reward not to be worth the rest of the hike. It's just a long, hot, dry slog to get to a couple of great view points. In retrospect, I'd skip the loop and just hike the south part of the loop to the views and head back from there.

We returned to camp to find a huge group of people camped right next to us. I'm guessing it was a meetup kind of thing. Apparently they don't backpack into the wilderness looking for peaceful solitude because it didn't occur to them to find a spot to camp that might be just out of view or earshot of others. I've encountered this before, and it is something I will never understand. Might as well have headed for Woods Canyon Lake! :-({|=

In the morning we headed down Lanphier back toward the trailhead. We passed numerous groups along the way. It was actually quite surprising even on a holiday weekend in the Blue. We figured that articles last year in Backpacker (Nov 15) and possibly AZH (July 15) contributed to the 21 cars :o in the parking lot. (We were the only car when we started).

While Lanphier is a pleasant canyon with shade and a stream, I'm not sure I'd like to use it for the ascent. It is steep in places and I could see it really taking it's toll on somebody carrying a heavy pack.

Thanks to Lee for the intro to the PBR. Sorry we didn't make it down to Ladrone. Next time!
Culture
Culture
Benchmark
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bear Valley Cabin Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Seeps provide light trickle into good pools downstream of corral.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bear Valley Spring Dripping Dripping
Visible seep, muddy water. Irrelevant due to good flow in adjacent creek.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cashier Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Lots of seeps with ample opportunities to filter from many different pools

dry Cow Flat Spring Dry Dry
Just some wet mud. Would be nearly impossible to get anything from this, and not worth the effort.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Dutch Oven Spring Dripping Dripping
Full springbox

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Franz Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Full springbox. Plenty to filter.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Indian Canyon Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Lanphier Canyon Light flow Light flow

dry Uee Spring Dry Dry
Couldn't find spring source. A couple of nasty muddy pools in the canyon.

dry Yam Canyon Dry Dry
Canyon is sandy and bouldery from flash flood damage presumably due to upstream fire.
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Profound observer
May 27 2016
John9L
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 170
 Photos 4,848
 Triplogs 1,619

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Bear Mtn Loop - Blue RangeAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Backpack avatar May 27 2016
John9L
Backpack35.50 Miles 7,100 AEG
Backpack35.50 Miles3 Days         
7,100 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
FOTG has spoken glowingly about the Primitive Blue Range and pics of the area looked intriguing. I jumped at the chance to go when he mentioned it a couple weeks ago and said he would drive. Chumley & Karl joined us and we made a loose hiking itinerary and headed out.

Our group of four, plus Blanco, left Phoenix on Thursday after work and made the long drive to the Primitive Blue Range. We car camped off Red Hill Rd at roughly 8,000ft elevation. I had a hard time sleeping that night. We woke early on Friday and drove to our trailhead and started the hike in. I wasn’t feeling too well from the lack of sleep and was partially dehydrated. Plus I was carrying a heavy pack so that didn’t make things easy.

We started off with the Largo Canyon trail and hiked in several miles and took a break by Dutch Oven Spring. From there we connected onto the Telephone Ridge Trail and headed for Bear Mountain at 8,550 elevation. The climb to the summit took its toll on me and I was glad to finally reach it. We took a break there and then headed southeast for Bear Valley where we set up camp. The others then went for a short hike while I stayed in camp to filter water, prep the fire ring & relax. I was finally feeling better when the others returned and we settled in for dinner and a nice campfire.

We woke on day two and packed up camp and headed northeast for Franz Spring & the cabin. We wanted to get there early hoping to beat other groups to the prime camping spot next to the cabin. We made good time as we climbed the trail to Campbell Flat and then continued on to Franz Spring where we arrived to a vacant camp around 9:30am. We spent the next hour setting up camp and filtering water and then headed northeast for the Tige Rim for a hardy day hike.

The lasso loop around Tige Rim was long, dry & relatively slow going. Most of this section was okay and there were some nice views on a ridge around the halfway point. The heat took its toll on us and Blanco seemed to be having a hard time as he rested in shade every chance he got. Chumley, Karl & I shared our water with him while FOTG looked on with indifference saying he’s been through worse. We continued our lass loop and finally topped out on the high point and it was relatively easy going back to camp as we headed downhill.

We arrived back to Franz Spring to find a large meetup group camped close by. They had a fire going and were very noisy and generally crappy neighbors. One of them walked through our campsite several times to use the outhouse rather than going in the woods. It was annoying but didn’t ruin the weekend for us.

All of us were up early on our third day and packed up camp and hit the trail. We headed down Lanphier Canyon and passed several groups making their way in. The Blue was busy this weekend! We arrived back to the trailhead late morning and packed up our gear. Our backpacking portion of the trip was over and we had plans to day hike & car camp that night.

The Bear Mountain loop is fantastic with great views and the trails are in good condition. I expected more solitude but wasn’t totally surprised considering it was a holiday weekend. I would definitely like to explore more of this area another time.
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1 archive
May 27 2016
BiFrost
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 338
 Photos 6,903
 Triplogs 803

49 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Bear Mtn Loop - Blue RangeAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Backpack avatar May 27 2016
BiFrost
Backpack42.49 Miles 7,974 AEG
Backpack42.49 Miles3 Days         
7,974 ft AEG
 
FOTG offered up 3 day backpacking in the Primitive Blue Range for Memorial Day Weekend so naturally I was ready to see the Blue again. I've been to this area before but always up for more as this area has always been one of my favorites.

Day 1 was the most difficult with the majority of elevation in the first 6 miles with heavy packs. We started from Lanphier TH, then up Largo Canyon to Telephone Ridge and dropped our packs 1/4 mile from Bear Mountain and then hit the summit. The summit is scenic with cabin and tower however the tower does not have great views which is blocked by trees. Guessing the trees have just grown over time and blocked the view. We enjoyed the summit and then headed back down to our packs and eventually into Bear Valley where we found a cool camp spot. Arriving camp fairly early we had time to day hike about 2.5 miles down Little Blue Creek. As mentioned in the others triplogs it's lush, with intermittent flowing creek and cool rocky spires. It was out and back so we had time to really check out the canyon before returning to camp.

Day 2 we decided to hike over to Franz Spring/Cabin and setup camp. We got to Franz early hoping to be the first and we were. Setup camp near the cabin and then packed up for a 15 mile day hike. The day hike was lasso loop over to Hinkle Spring, then Tigre Rim and loop back to Bonanza Bill trail to Franz Cabin. The loop was a bit hot and dry with only water at Hinkle Spring in 15 miles. Blanco was definitely glad for the day hike to be over. Back at camp we settled in but had to share the camp with a somewhat noisy group of 10+ that had rolled in while we were on our day hike.

Day 3 we just had a short mostly downhill 6 miles out to the TH at Lanphier so light work for this group. Very surprised to see several large groups either camping or on their way into the Blue. FOTG did some research and found that backpacker magazine had published a recent article for this exact area and also Arizona Highways had one around the same time. Having been to the Blue many times in the past 15 years I've never seen so many people at such a remote TH as Lanphier so I can only assume this was the reason. Regardless we had a great 3 days in the Blue!!
Named place
Named place
Dutch Oven Spring

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Bear Valley Cabin Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
water in the creek near the corral

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bear Valley Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
pipe dripping clear water

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Cashier Spring Dripping Dripping
lots of seeps with filter options

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Dutch Oven Spring Dripping Dripping
full tub of clear water

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Franz Spring Dripping Dripping
clear tub to filter from

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Indian Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
good spring flow into Lanphier Canyon confluence

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Lanphier Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
good flow for about 3 miles in the creek

dry Uee Spring Dry Dry

dry Yam Canyon Dry Dry
mostly dry but did see one small pool if needed water
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4 archives
Jul 18 2015
friendofThunde
avatar

 Guides 18
 Routes 280
 Photos 7,737
 Triplogs 718

37 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Bonanza Bill Trail #23Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Backpack avatar Jul 18 2015
friendofThundergod
Backpack26.37 Miles 4,519 AEG
Backpack26.37 Miles
4,519 ft AEG
 
1st trip
I really liked the setting of the Mark's Cabin/Franz Spring area that I had came across during my Bear Mountain loop the previous day. After hearing that its guest would be leaving, I decided to make it my backpack destination via the Bonanza Bill Trail #23. I moved my car camp destination from Sawmill Trail #39 to Bonanza Bill Trail #23. I stayed in the somewhat established camping area about 25 feet inside the New Mexico border.

I planned to hike into Franz Spring relatively early and then complete an afternoon day hike after some rest and getting settled in. Although the cabin was locked, the porch would provide a nice covered area in the event some torrential rain rolled through. There was also a nice Army cot on the porch and I could have totally pictured myself just sleeping on that under the porch. However, when I got there Terry was still there. We chatted for a long time and he told me several cool things about the area including the locations of some Indian ruins on the other side of the Blue. He was planning on staying there one more night and I kind of had my heart set on my own site and some solitude, so I decided to just push on and make a loop utilizing WS Lake Trail #54 and the southern section of Bonanza Bill Trail that I had yet to cover.

WS Lake Trail was in great shape, however, Bonanza Bill's southern half was downright miserable at times. There was: nearly no water, Devil's Monument was a bust and between erosion, dead fall and route finding the trail was never easy going. I kept thinking how sad it was that I added like 12 miles to my day and risked stormy weather all to avoid sharing a campsite. I did see another bear on the New Mexico side of Bonanza Bill and there were at times some breathtaking views, however, overall this was a somewhat unpleasant portion of my day and probably trip for that matter.

I camped at Hinkle Spring and decided to hike Tige Rim Trail back the next day. I set up camp very fast trying to beat a storm that never came. There was a period of lightning and thunder, but I was already in my tent. I found counting the seconds between flashes and booms to be similar to counting sheep and somewhat therapeutic. I fell asleep probably not too long after it got dark. It rained pretty hard for about a half hour during the early morning, but had stopped by the time I got out of bed and was sunny for most of the hike out. Tige Rim offered perhaps some of the best views of the trip and was generally a nice trail one that continued to get nicer as you neared its intersection with Bonanza Bill.
Fauna
Fauna
Mule Deer
Culture
Culture
Campsite
Meteorology
Meteorology
Crepuscular rays

dry Devil Spring Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Franz Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Hinkle Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Water in creek bed, not much, but light trickle can be tough to reach steep walls..

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Tige Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
A light trickle/seep near spring feeding a couple of mud puddles.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max W S Lake 1-25% full 1-25% full
Muddy water, good for dogs and livestock.
_____________________
4 archives
May 26 2013
BiFrost
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 338
 Photos 6,903
 Triplogs 803

49 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Tige Rim Bonanza Bill Loop, AZ 
Tige Rim Bonanza Bill Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 26 2013
BiFrost
Hiking12.15 Miles 2,128 AEG
Hiking12.15 Miles   7 Hrs      2.31 mph
2,128 ft AEG   1 Hour   45 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
slowandsteady
The second day hike of the road trip weekend was a loop on the Tige Rim Trail and Bonanza Bill Trail. The hike starts at the state line of Arizona and New Mexico but we soon followed the trail into New Mexico to see Tige Rim. The rim runs along the east side of the Blue Wilderness with great views of the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico. Also had the luck of seeing a bull Elk along the rim that was surprised to see us.

Eventually we made our way over to the Tige Rim and Bonanza Bill trail junction back into Arizona. About a mile down from the junction we came across some cool limestone rock formations that popped up out of nowhere. Interesting formations considering the surrounding terrain shows no signs of limestone so we hiked around awhile and checked it out.

After exploring we headed down to Hinkle Spring and a canyon narrows that was also the result of limestone. There was just enough water to pump if you are in need or camping in the area. We had a nice break at Hinkle Spring before heading back to the TH and another relaxing car camp spot :)
Fauna
Fauna
Elk

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Hinkle Spring Dripping Dripping
Small pools of water good for water pump.
_____________________
May 26 2013
slowandsteady
avatar

 Routes 67
 Photos 966
 Triplogs 694

45 female
 Joined Jan 05 2012
 Phoenix,AZ
Tige Rim Bonanza Bill Loop AZ, AZ 
Tige Rim Bonanza Bill Loop AZ, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 26 2013
slowandsteady
Hiking12.15 Miles 2,128 AEG
Hiking12.15 Miles   7 Hrs      2.31 mph
2,128 ft AEG   1 Hour   45 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
BiFrost
We did a clockwise loop headed up to Tige Rim First then down to Hinkle Spring.

We were strolling along chatting and a bull elk must have been checking out something really interesting because he didn't even flinch. Even when I was yell whispering "Karl, LOOK!" Finally, he noticed me taking pictures and off he went.

We saw a couple completing a three day backpack. They were the first hikers, and only hikers, we saw all weekend so we chatted a bit. I think they were a little embarrassed to hear we were going to day hike what had taken them three days. BUT, slow is relative!
Fauna
Fauna
Elk
_____________________
average hiking speed 2.31 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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