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Towel Creek Trail #67 - 10 members in 12 triplogs have rated this an average 2.7 ( 1 to 5 best )
12 triplogs
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Oct 21 2019
DixieFlyer
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 Guides 45
 Routes 426
 Photos 5,682
 Triplogs 386

male
 Joined Jan 07 2017
 Fountain Hills,
Towel Creek Ruins, AZ 
Towel Creek Ruins, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 21 2019
DixieFlyer
Hiking13.30 Miles 2,340 AEG
Hiking13.30 Miles   6 Hrs   48 Mns   2.53 mph
2,340 ft AEG   1 Hour   32 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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SecretMtnLover
The Towel Creek Ruins have been on my radar screen for a while, and I decided to check them out today. It was a pretty day, and I was able to persuade Tracie, my favorite and intrepid hiking partner, to join me on the hike.

We made our way to a couple of ruins -- one small one and one larger one. The larger one was pretty decent, and we enjoyed checking it out. There was plenty of bat guano on the floor, but no bats. The second ruin wasn't all that great, but it gave us a nice place in the shade to hang out for a while and enjoy some nice views of the valley below and the mountain tops out in the distance.

While the ruins were decent and are worth taking a look at, this hike wouldn't make my top 10 list. The Towel Creek Trail #67 doesn't have the greatest tread in the world: most of the time you are hiking on baseball and softball sized ankle-busting rocks, so you have to watch your step. Most of the scenery is typical of a high desert: chaparral, juniper, prickly pear, mesquite, among other things. The trail was mostly easy to follow, especially the first 3 miles or so. There were a few places where the trail was a bit overgrown though.

The ruins are easily to see from the trail, and it is a pretty easy off-trail scramble to get to them. We were a bit premature in leaving the trail to get to the ruins: we wanted to check out some overhangs that we saw before we got to the ruins. Doing that meant that we did a bit more bushwhacking than we otherwise would have done.

To get to the TH, we went about 9 miles on Fossil Creek Rd, off of 260. The road looked well-graded, but it was VERY washboardy the whole way. You certainly don't need a 4WD or even a HCV, but you might want to drive a vehicle with a decent suspension/shocks. We parked at the TH parking area, which was on the left side of the road, across from Needle Rock. We then walked 0.3 miles along the road to get to the trail.

The ruins were neat, but this is probably a one-and-done hike for me: I didn't like the trail all that much, and the washboardy road wasn't all that great either.
Fauna
Fauna
Tarantula Hawk
Named place
Named place
Needle Rock Towel Tank
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
There were LOTS of yellow wildflowers along the trail today

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Towel Tank 51-75% full 51-75% full
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I'd rather die of exhaustion than die of starvation.
Apr 29 2014
topohiker
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 Guides 14
 Routes 113
 Photos 4,497
 Triplogs 2,111

male
 Joined Oct 29 2005
 Scottsdale, AZ
Oxbow / Cold Water Loop, AZ 
Oxbow / Cold Water Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 29 2014
topohiker
Hiking29.91 Miles 6,949 AEG
Hiking29.91 Miles   13 Hrs      2.60 mph
6,949 ft AEG   1 Hour   30 Mns Break
 
1st trip
This was my first time in the Pine / Cedar Bench wilderness(s). The drive in was pretty easy. Dugas road was recently graded. There was one interesting sign stating that it is illegal to drive on the road when it’s wet. That’s one way to keep the road in good condition

My original plan was to a big loop with the Verde Rim trail. When I got to the parking spot and got out, the wind was so fierce that it closed my jeep road for me. The wind was bitter cold. I didn't want to spend the day fighting the wind. I went to a plan B, hike down Pine mountain to the Verde River.

I parked 2 miles from the Oxtail TH. The road starts to get rocky after this point. The wind was brutal along Dugas road. I had to wear a wool hat and gloves under I dropped under 4,500 feet!

The Oxtail trail

The trail starts right off of Dugas road by a tank. You enter a gate and take a hard turn to the left. The trail drops fast down to drainage. I lost the trail for a couple of minutes in the drainage. The trail was well cairned and very easy to follow. There was a cairn almost every 15 feet. Sometimes there were to many cairns. This is a very old trail and there’s been recent trail maintenance done to it. The views on the trail very great. I saw snow on Humphreys. My only gripes is the amount of rocks and drops off. There are a lot of rocks on the trail, sometimes it’s almost like scree. There are sections with drops. Sometimes you would get both. Scree rocks with drop-offs! This made for a very slow moving hike. The trail ended at the Brown Spring TH. I took the Towel trail to the Verde. The Towel trail is an old road that follows and crisscrosses the Towel creek. The Towel trail crosses the Verde and continues to Fossil Creek RD. This was an great place to explore, but I had a big climb ahead of me so I didn’t stay long.


Cold Water trail

The Cold Water trail is an old jeep road that doesn’t believe in switch backs! The trail has some great views of the Verde valley. After the Cedar Bench the road turns into trail. The cold water trail is also very easy to follow. There’s been recent maintenance done to this trail as well. Shortly after the Tule Rim intersection, the Cold Water trail takes a sharp turn to the right and climbs up to Dugas road. This was the monster climb of the day. The trail gained 1,000 feet (5,200 to 6,200) in a little more than a half mile. I felt like I should have had a climbing rope! Half way up, the wind started to blow. The Cold water trail ends about a quarter mile from the Verde Rim trail. Once on top, the wind died down.



I went a little down the Verde Rim trail just to see what I pasted up for the day. Once I got on the trail section, I was not impressed. It started out right as a cairn hunting exercise. I liked the Cedar Bench trails better.
It was a fun hike. The Cedar Bench wilderness is a cool area. The trails are cleaned up and the views are great. The cold wind was a bit much. I’ll return on a warmer day.

This was my first hike with HAZ tracks. It was cool to get hiking stats as you hike. The only down side is that the HAZ lady reminds me how slow I am at climbing :(
Fauna
Fauna
White Tailed Deer
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"Everywhere is walking distance...If you have the time"
-Stephen Wright
Feb 15 2012
hikermary
avatar

 Triplogs 24

female
 Joined Dec 24 2011
 Sedona, Az.
Towel Creek Trail #67Camp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 15 2012
hikermary
Hiking13.25 Miles 2,500 AEG
Hiking13.25 Miles
2,500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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Feb 04 2012
toddak
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 Guides 8
 Routes 5
 Photos 1,187
 Triplogs 451

55 male
 Joined Nov 15 2005
 Puhoynix, AZ
Towel Creek Trail #67Camp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 04 2012
toddak
Hiking14.00 Miles 2,000 AEG
Hiking14.00 Miles   8 Hrs      1.75 mph
2,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A mostly pleasant stroll down to the river and back. Maps show a Hackberry Trail that cuts off the corner to the north, but I couldn't find any trace of it.
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Jan 18 2010
writelots
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 Guides 19
 Routes 40
 Photos 5,602
 Triplogs 339

47 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Towel Creek Trail #67Camp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Backpack avatar Jan 18 2010
writelots
Backpack14.20 Miles 1,800 AEG
Backpack14.20 Miles2 Days         
1,800 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
drewboy
I looked more closely at the topo map for this hike, and between that and the description in Bruce Grubb's book is where I got the overall mileage and AEG. Let me tell you, though, I think that with a detailed topo or GPS route you'd get a lot more AEG, because you just keep going up, and down, and up, and down, and up, and down...

Did as a backpack with some other strong hikers from the ABC. Awesome group to hike with. Makes me all warm and fuzzy that they let me in their little club :D . The writeup that we got from Dave made it sound like a walk in the park - or so we thought. I wouldn't rate it as easy, though, especially not with a pack on! Overall, though, I was more impressed with this hike than I think others have been in the past. The canyons and rock formations in this area are quite beautiful, and the expansive views from the saddles and highpoints are a real tribute to the value of the Verde wilderness. It has interesting cultural elements - though we didn't actually make it out to the ruins, so I've still got more exploring to do there. Saw very little real wildlife, though Lilo's first encounter with a Slow Elk was pretty entertaining.

We thought of stopping and making camp at the cowboy cabin, since our hiking day was short and there was plenty of still water in the stream just below the camp. However, the call of the river was too strong, and we pressed on, climbing over yet another low ridge. Past the cabin, the trail is much harder to follow, but the cairns are good and keep you on track. It feels like you're heading in the wrong direction at this point, but just trust in the cairns and you'll make it.

The end of the trail is a rocky stretch of shallow bank near what seems to be an old beaver dam. The water looks slow and deep here (good for swimming?), but there aren't as many trees and vegetation as one might hope for on a hot summer day. We found sufficient camping, and with a little creativity Andy and I were able to have some sweet hanging. Lilo is actually getting used to sleeping in the hammock, and with the very cold night, it was nice to have the extra body heat!

The hike out seemed harder than it should have, but still felt shorter than the way in. It's hard to keep your pace with all of the ankle turners. Made decent time getting out (about 4 1/2 hours) and headed into Camp Verde for some grub. Seems like most everything is closed on Sundays there (typical small town!). Although I loved the salsa and cabbage salad at Las Margaritas, my meal was a tad bland. I was hungry enough that it didn't matter!
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Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Jan 16 2010
drewboy
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 Routes 3
 Photos 76
 Triplogs 23

64 male
 Joined Aug 03 2004
 Gold Canyon, AZ
Towel Creek Trail #67Camp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Backpack avatar Jan 16 2010
drewboy
Backpack8.00 Miles 1,500 AEG
Backpack8.00 Miles   4 Hrs      2.00 mph
1,500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
writelots
We did this as an overnight backpack trip, hiking down to the Verde River from the Towel Creek trailhead and camping out there. We found a nice campsite with fire ring just as you reach the river. A couple of us were hammock campers and were able to find trees to hang from just downstream from the campsite. I estimate it was a couple of miles past the ruins to get to the river, for a total one way distance of 8 miles. Part of the way down we did find a place on towel creek that had a nice pool of clear looking water. There were many cattle tracks and cow pies throughout. In the middle of the night we heard a loud smacking sound against the water, and a while later another one as some critter kept moving around the river. We guessed this must have been a beaver slapping his tail. There were signs of an old beaver dam there. We spoke with a couple of kayakers who were floating down from Camp Verde. Overnight low was around 28 degrees, we had frozen water bottles and ice crystals on our tents in the morning. The ruins were very impressive. Overall a very fun and interesting trip. I will definitely do this one again.
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Jan 16 2010
Sarae
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 Guides 1
 Routes 9
 Photos 681
 Triplogs 92

40 female
 Joined May 14 2008
 Tucson, AZ
Towel Creek Trail #67Camp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Backpack avatar Jan 16 2010
Sarae
Backpack14.00 Miles 1,500 AEG
Backpack14.00 Miles2 Days         
1,500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
ABC leadership council retreat. This trail felt really long. Not sure if that was because I was still fighting a cold, or if the mileage is really off. There were cool views of cliff dwellings and a cowboy line shack along the way to the river.
_____________________
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. ~John Muir
3 archives
Mar 16 2008
dsoltesz
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 Triplogs 3

54 female
 Joined Sep 06 2003
 Flagstaff, AZ
Towel Creek Trail #67Camp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 16 2008
dsoltesz
Hiking6.40 Miles 1,500 AEG
Hiking6.40 Miles
1,500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We did this as a three-day backpack from Fossil Springs Road, setting up basecamp near the cowboy line shack (since there was plenty of water in Towel Creek). The ruins are visible from the line shack - look in the white cliffs upstream from the shack. We hiked to the Towel Creek crossing upstream from the shack (just a hundred feet or so), then struck out along the stream towards the ruins, bushwhacking up a drainage near the ruins, and up a not-too-steep slope to the ruins. We explored along the cliff edge. The first cave has just the remains of an interior wall, the second an almost complete wall (this is visible from the shack). We continued upstream past a drainage to another ruin with a complete wall with a small doorway in it. We'd started our day with a hike down to the Verde River, and explored the ruins for a couple hours in the late afternoon.

It took us ~3.5 hours to get from the trailhead to the line shack, and around 1.5 hours to get from the line shack to the Verde River. The trail's a bit rocky and slippery in places. Towel Creek had plenty of water (wet winter). Poppies were blooming in large groups on the hillsides, and we also spotted an occasional paintbrush, lupine, and a few other wildflowers.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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Feb 10 2007
Jim_H
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 Guides 59
 Routes 55
 Photos 8,273
 Triplogs 1,789

41 male
 Joined Sep 08 2006
 Marana, AZ
Towel Creek Trail #67Camp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 10 2007
Jim_H
Hiking6.40 Miles 1,500 AEG
Hiking6.40 Miles4 Days         
1,500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I didn't do the whole thing because the trail was hard to find, and it was getting late. The sign identifying the trail head (if you can call an unmarked gate in a fence a trail head) faced opposite of the direction that the FS tells you to access the trail, and there really wasn't much impressive to see. I might feel differently had I made it to the river, but never did, I don't think I ever will. I don't recommend this one. It will how ever, be free of hikers, so it does offer some solitude.
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I await my deprogramming, my master.
Feb 15 2004
mazatzal
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 Routes 33
 Photos 2,277
 Triplogs 1,131

63 male
 Joined Jul 28 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Towel Creek Trail #67Camp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 15 2004
mazatzal
Hiking9.00 Miles 1,500 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   4 Hrs   40 Mns   1.93 mph
1,500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We went about 4.5 miles in and I think we were just about at the ruins but we turned back at the top of another descent. I'll have to come back!
It was a bit warm for February!
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May 24 2003
rpasell
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 Triplogs 3

49 male
 Joined Mar 31 2004
 Flagstaff, AZ
Towel Creek Trail #67Camp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Hiking avatar May 24 2003
rpasell
Hiking14.00 Miles 1,500 AEG
Hiking14.00 Miles   11 Hrs      1.27 mph
1,500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I will be making this trip again this weekend.

Easily one of the hardest hikes due to conditions I've ever done. I knew it would be hot, and purposely got to the trail head at 7:00 am. I figured we'd get to the Verde by 11:00 am. The trail head is fairly well marked from the road if you are looking for it. The first couple miles are on a jeep trail through pretty country. Once you reach the second tank, the trail begins it's descent (I'm guessing about 1000 feet initially). At the bottom there was a small (but life saving) pool of water. Another 2 miles or so, and you should see the ruins on the north wall. These are fairly spectacular. They do require a bit of bush-wacking to get to. We continued down the trail with the Verde being the goal. After passing the old Cowboy line shack, you will cross the dry creek bed. At this point the trail became impossible to find. The quadrangle I was using didn't have the last 2 miles of the trail on it, and it was passing noon, and half our water gone, so we turned back. This is the dangerous part. My hiking companions Camelback had the hose come off at the base of the bladder and we lost all her water. This time of year it was already 110 degrees. Needless to say the hike out in that heat with half rations of water was eventful. I would highly recommend the hike as a challenging, and interesting experience. Can't wait to do it again when it's not as hot.
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Apr 16 2003
James M. Poehner
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 Triplogs 5

47
 Joined Mar 29 2003
 Phoenix, AZ
Towel Creek Trail #67Camp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 16 2003
James M. Poehner
Hiking6.40 Miles 1,500 AEG
Hiking6.40 Miles
1,500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Take 260 into Camp Verde. From Camp Verde follow 260 for about 7 miles to FR 708 on right. Follow FR 708 for about 8mis on gravel road until you see Needle Rock on the right. Go about 50 yards further until you see the Clearing on the left for parking and the ranch entrance on the right. The actual trail head is about 50-60 yards further on 708. There is a brown sign marking the trail head only visible from the opposite direction. Directly from the sign to the right is a yellow entrance gate. Enter the gate. Look for carins that will lead you to the actual trailhead marker. At marker make a left and follow the cattle trail. About 100yds you will enter another cattle gate. Continue to follow the cattle trail up a steep rocky path. Be careful! Follow cattle trail for about 2.5mis until you see the entrance to a grazing pasture. Go through the entrance. The trail is not highly visible here but continue straight along fence line and it will pick up again. You will have to cross another entrance near the cattle pond on your left. Then another on your right. This is where the trail will begin to follow the creek on the right. The trail is highly visible in some areas and almost non-visible in some. Look for carins to remain on the trail. Many are marked with small white reflector tape. Continue traveling on the trail for about 4.5 miles. Take full advantage of the many shaded resting places that cross the creek. There are many nice rocks to sit with many clear pools of water alongside. After following trail for about 4.5mis you will see the ruins high up on the opposite cliff. The trail becomes very vague as you get directly across from the ruins. Look hard for the carins that will lead you down and across the creek to the other side of the canyon where you can do an easy climb up to the ruins. At the ruins there are several tools and pieces of pottery laying about on stones. Becareful at the large cave ruin as it is home to several large cats. Wear sturdy climbing boots as the trail is steep and rocky perfect for ankle injuries especially on the way back when your muscles are tired. Take plenty of water and some high energy food. You will need it on the way back. I've seen this hike rated moderate. I rate it strenous simply for the distance and rugged up and down trail.
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average hiking speed 2.01 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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