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Tortilla Creek - Lower Loop - 9 members in 20 triplogs have rated this an average 3.6 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Feb 10 2018
hikerdw
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 Routes 130
 Photos 2,263
 Triplogs 357

60 male
 Joined Aug 16 2009
 Mesa,AZ
Peters Lower Tortilla, AZ 
Peters Lower Tortilla, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 10 2018
hikerdw
Hiking8.88 Miles 1,427 AEG
Hiking8.88 Miles   5 Hrs   48 Mns   1.88 mph
1,427 ft AEG   1 Hour   4 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Did some hiking and exploring in Peter's Canyon and Lower Tortilla Creek. Peaked into Peter's Cave and it appears it may be occupied as we saw a sleeping bad and propane tanks. Went a little further up canyon to the point we had to either swim or continue climbing with some exposure so we decided to call it and retreat. Did get further than previous attempts. Climbed out of Peter's Canyon and dropped into Tortilla Creek to check out Hells Hole Spring which surprisingly had very clear and running water. On the way back to the parking lot we took a detour to check out Fragile Arch, which there was a signed trail maker. Great day of hiking :y:
Named place
Named place
Hells Hole Spring

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Hells Hole Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Cool, clear, and flowing nicely.

dry Peters Canyon Dry Dry
Nothing running only a few murky pools here and there.
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Feb 24 2013
RickVincent
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 Guides 4
 Routes 5
 Photos 3,341
 Triplogs 646

49 male
 Joined Aug 20 2009
 Mesa, AZ
Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Feb 24 2013
RickVincent
Canyoneering1.20 Miles
Canyoneering1.20 Miles
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Had a few hours to burn on Sunday and went up to Tortilla Creek with Anna. Water was flowing pretty strong which resulted in some tricky creek crossings, boulder hopping and fighting the catclaw. Too much work for Anna. We went in a short way, took some pics, relaxed and then headed back.
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This is my gym. I have to travel down a bumpy road to get there. There are no treadmillls, no machines, and no personal trainers. I walk..I run..I breathe the fresh air. I can go any time I want, as much as I want and there is no membership fee.
Dec 21 2011
snakemarks
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 Photos 2,699
 Triplogs 240

female
 Joined Oct 31 2007
 Apache Junction,
Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Dec 21 2011
snakemarks
Canyoneering3.00 Miles 700 AEG
Canyoneering3.00 Miles
700 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I didn't have a lot of time that day, so I just hiked to the entrance of Peter's Canyon to check out the water situation. Tortilla Creek was running well enough, but there wasn't much at all coming out of Peter's. The trail out of the Tortilla Flat lot doesn't look like it sees too much action and it's getting a bit overgrown. The brushy areas alongside the creek have more catclaw than I remember. I only saw one other set of footprints out there.
_____________________
I'm at home in the wilderness... it's civilization I have problems with! ](*,)
Dec 19 2010
Vaporman
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 Guides 2
 Routes 4
 Photos 8,687
 Triplogs 931

40 male
 Joined Mar 28 2005
 SLC, Utah
Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Dec 19 2010
Vaporman
Canyoneering8.00 Miles 1,800 AEG
Canyoneering8.00 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   1.23 mph
1,800 ft AEG
Intermediate Canyoneering - Difficult or dangerous; Tech Climb; rope reqd; descent anchor; exit technical;
A - Dry or little water; shallow or avoidable water; no wet/dry suit
III - Normally requires most of a day
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
winklersh
Woohoo!!! Just hit 5000 miles in 5 years this weekend. :y:

I hadn't done this cool canyon since last winter and been wanting to play in it again when winter came back around. :sweat: My buddy Scott joined me and we left that Tortilla TH along AZ88 and walked FR213 about halfway in before dropping into middle Tortilla Canyon and rock & boulder hopping our way slowly down the dry canyon. This canyon is MUCH easier to travel down when it's not flowing but it's also much more enjoyable & adventurous when it is and I hope I can catch it flowing later this winter. ;) Some easy down climbs are encountered before the technical section just as the canyon narrows up a bit & becomes more scenic. The first drop of 6ft or so that I've handlined in the past wasn't too tough of a down climb this time which was quickly followed by a 25-40ft drop depending on where you anchor from. I've rappelled from two different spots in the past and this time I choose a third location to rappel from since this way looked cooler. 8) We checked out the dry falls and boulder caves before proceeding to the next drop. This is a cool 25-30ft falls with an exposed ridge on the left that we decided to down climb though I've rappelled it in the past since I was solo and didn't want to take the extra risk. Some boulder hopping & easier down climbing after that and you reach the confluence and the sweetest view of the whole canyon as you're surround by tall colorful volcanic cliffs. :y: Some more rock hopping and you hit a boulder jam that requires a short rappel to proceed before reaching a section full of deciduous trees followed by Needle spires on the northside of the canyon. Just after the Needles is my midway bailout point so I don't have to hike all the way to Tortilla Flat and didn't have a shuttle in place. It's a little bit of a loose bushwhack to climb up to the ridge on the northside with a cowboy/indian wall running along the saddle and great views of the canyon below and four peaks & many more canyons to the north. From the ridge, we hiked down towards another canyon as we countered to the east around a large butte and eventually hiked back up to another ridge on the east of that butte to see a sweet view of the canyon we just trekked down. Hmm, that was more of a thrash than I seem to remember... :sweat: A little bit further east and we found that jeep road and intersects with FR 213 and followed that back to our cars.

Now while it's not the most adventurous or demanding canyon in the area, it's still a cool canyon that's worth checking out if you're in the area and technically skilled and only requires a 100ft rope to descend. :D Photos look a little off because I accidently left the camera in its wet pouch overnight...
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Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p
Feb 07 2010
Vaporman
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 Guides 2
 Routes 4
 Photos 8,687
 Triplogs 931

40 male
 Joined Mar 28 2005
 SLC, Utah
Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Feb 07 2010
Vaporman
Canyoneering8.00 Miles 1,800 AEG
Canyoneering8.00 Miles   7 Hrs      1.14 mph
1,800 ft AEG
Intermediate Canyoneering - Difficult or dangerous; Tech Climb; rope reqd; descent anchor; exit technical;
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
III - Normally requires most of a day
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I woke up this morning at 6am to it pouring, the doppler radar showing the valley covered in clouds, and 70% chance of rain thru the day so I went back to bed and slept in. I awoke again around 8am to no rain, the last of the clouds passing by overhead, and clear skies to the west. :y:

So I quickly got ready and with a late start I hit the central technical section of this canyon again, but this time the creek was flowing fairly good instead of being nearly bone dry like it was 2 months ago. And instead of hiking straight thru to Tortilla Flat, I hit the best parts of the narrows/boulder section and exited up a steep slope to a saddle and then bushwhacked/contoured back to FR213. You hit the technical section by hiking along FR213 a couple miles and dropping in via one of the easier sloping sides. After a couple miles of rock hopping and/or wading you'll eventually hit some large boulders near the confluence. With the water flowing, there had to be a good dozen pools/falls to bypass if you don't want to get wet above your waist and of course downstream progress is much slower now that it's flowing than when its dry. I still hit the same 3 rappels as last time (a 100ft rope will suffice), but I had to rework the anchors since there's now waterfalls & deep swimmers where I dropped in before. :o The falls at the first rap are actually quite impressive as it drops into a sweet grotto. I was able to retrieve my quick links from before and re-used them for todays trips. :)

For my exit, I climbed up the slope just downstream from the confluence & needles and occasionaly I'd run across some cairns along a faint path though it was tough to follow. Once up on the saddle, it was odd to find a cowboy wall along the saddle :-k , an alcove they must have camped in, and a dozen or so old rusty cans they didn't feel like packing out. :roll: From there, I contoured east along the north side of that ridge down into that southern upper fork of Apache Trail Canyon. From there I went SE up that ridge again until I found that jeep road up on top plus a sweet overlook down into Tortilla Creek and followed that jeep road back to FR213 and then back to the TH. This is by far the best exit route through the area I've yet to do and is probably the preferred route to do the technical section of Tortilla Creek as a loop hike. I got by without a wetsuit, but one would have made things a little easier with less bypassing... The loop just so happens to be about 8 miles as well. :D
_____________________
Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p
Jan 31 2010
Vaporman
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 Guides 2
 Routes 4
 Photos 8,687
 Triplogs 931

40 male
 Joined Mar 28 2005
 SLC, Utah
Malapais Mountain - SuperstitionsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 31 2010
Vaporman
Hiking14.00 Miles 4,200 AEG
Hiking14.00 Miles   12 Hrs   20 Mns   1.14 mph
4,200 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I actually did a Malapais Mt-Pistol Canyon-Peters Canyon Loop that's trip #37 from the Superstition Guide. Ever since I first descended this creek two winters ago I've been itching to come back, but this time as a loop hike instead of a shuttle. As you can probably guess from the topos and terrain this is quite an adventurous burly hike. Thanks to Joe's GPS track, I was able to stay mostly on course and made decent time on the cross country bushwhack thru a new area of the Supes I've yet to explore up to Malapais Mt to enjoy the amazing views up there. The descent off of the eastern slope was about as slow going as the steep climb up that canyon on the northside. :sweat: I ran across that old camp mentioned in Carlson's Book down near that unnamed wash with loads of white quartzite everywhere. I continued up and over a saddle into the western fork of Pistol Canyon which start out fairly open but then got brushy with some down climbs just before reaching Pistol Canyon. Pistol didn't have much of any climbing but was quite the bushwhack to navigate thru. So much for making good time... :roll: When I got to Peters Canyon it was flowing fairly good like is to be assumed after the recent storms, so I change into water shoes & neoprene socks and filter a couple liters of water. Though after filtering the water I totally forgot to clip my dry shoes to my pack and did nearly a mile of rock hopping down the creek before I realized my mistake. ](*,) I was on pace to finish near sunset, but I wasted 1.5 hours going back to the Pistol-Peters confluence to retrieve my $100 shoes... The upper narrows were pretty sweet and I got up to my waist in water but I wasn't in the mood to swim in that cold water and did some class 3/4 climbing to bypass the many pools/falls. It was about Peters Cave that I had to start hiking with the headlamp but thankfully its a mini spotlight so night hiking down the flowing creek wasn't too crazy. :whistle: The creek is flowing pretty good thru the narrows, so in total there's about a dozen large pools and/or waterfalls to bypass, swim with a wetsuit, or wait until it warms up. Thanks to the GPS, I was able to make my own bypass route out of Tortilla Canyon back to Tortilla Flat and I eventually stumbled upon the actual trail in the dark and got back to my car about 2 hours after dark... :sweat:

I think this loop is about 12 miles though Carlson lists it as 14, but I added 2 extra miles for the sidetrip to get my shoes... Even though that's my second time thru lower Peters with it flowing both times, I've yet to have enough time/daylight/energy to stop and enjoy it. So I still need plan a trip just to lower Peters so I can fully enjoy this hidden gem in the desert. :D
_____________________
Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p
Jan 07 2010
T Harris
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 Photos 130
 Triplogs 30

29 male
 Joined May 19 2009
 Scottsdale, AZ
Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jan 07 2010
T Harris
Canyoneering8.00 Miles 700 AEG
Canyoneering8.00 Miles
700 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
If someone could help me on this, I would really appreciate it. I saw these canyons off the road when I was driving back from another hike the other day, and i wanted to go check it out. It's about a mile or two east from Tortilla Flat, not too far from the second creek crossing. There's a dirt road that goes up to the canyons and that's about all i can really give on where it is. We just went out and followed the creek bed (some pools, but not running at all) and went out a few miles. It was a pretty nice hike and would have been great if there was running water. The one bad thing about it was all the pricker bushes. They were EVERYWHERE, and i got stabbed a bunch of times. Once we got out a few miles and decided we didn't want to battle the prickers anymore, we climed one of the mountains (that's the second to last picture). After that, we headed back and waited for the sunset near the begining of the canyon.
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Dec 13 2009
Vaporman
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 Guides 2
 Routes 4
 Photos 8,687
 Triplogs 931

40 male
 Joined Mar 28 2005
 SLC, Utah
Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Dec 13 2009
Vaporman
Canyoneering8.00 Miles 700 AEG
Canyoneering8.00 Miles   7 Hrs   10 Mns   1.12 mph
700 ft AEG
Intermediate Canyoneering - Difficult or dangerous; Tech Climb; rope reqd; descent anchor; exit technical;
A - Dry or little water; shallow or avoidable water; no wet/dry suit
III - Normally requires most of a day
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This canyon has been on list ever since I accidently got diverted down Peters Canyon while attempting a Tortilla Super Loop and popped out near Tortilla Flat and had to hitch a ride back to the Tortilla TH. That canyon was so much fun, I was soon wandering what adventures Tortilla Creek had in store. There's not a whole lot of beta for this canyon, but from what I could collect there's a few short drops that can be bypassed by some. My first thought as a canyoneer when I read that is: Sweet, there's some rappels in there! :D So I started from the Tortilla TH and walked FR213 1.5 miles before dropping into the canyon and then rock hopped a couple miles downstream until I hit the technical section. It may be possible to bypass these drops, but rappelling is some much more fun than bushwhacking & exposed downclimbs. :roll: I setup a handline for the first 6-8ft drop that others found a way to bypass via a tunnel in the boulders. After that there's that drop with a sweet ~30ft dryfall on the left, a downclimb on the right to a tree above a ~20ft drop, or further on there's a potential exposed downclimb. I decided to hit the dryfall on the left with a tricky start to get the most bang for my buck out of this canyon and dropped into a cool little alcove. Shortly after that is another ~35ft dryfall that could potentially by downclimbed with some exposure, but that rock over there looks like a perfect chockstone to throw some webbing around. :GB: Some more rock hopping and down climbing boulders and a half hour later I arrive at another drop that doesn't look easily bypassed, so I throw some webbing around a tree and do another ~20ft rappel. If you just want to hit the best part and then call it a day, you may be able to climb up the north side of the canyon around here and then traverse back to FR213. Today I decided to keep on going and passed some cool spires before hitting the springs where the canyon got rather bushy of course. I pushed thru it and got wet only up to my thighs and before I know it I'm in the lower narrows which were full of big boulders and some more pools to navigate around/thru. Some wading required, loads of down climbing and I think I setup a handline at once point, but nothing too difficult for a hardy canyoneer. :) The canyon gets rather plain after that as you pass the confluence with Peters Canyon & Mesquite Creek and pop out along AZ88 near Tortilla Flat.

Mileage and time logged is just one way from the Tortilla TH down canyon to AZ88 near Tortilla Flat (which just so happens to be ~8 miles ) for reasons I'm about to explain and so that it makes it easier for others to get a feel for how long this route would take them. Most sane people would have a shuttle set up, or hitch a ride, or maybe even the risky walk up Apache Trail back to their car but I had something more adventurous in mind. :roll: I had scanned the map and saw a potential route back to FR213 thru the canyon country to the north of Tortilla Creek. It involved hiking up Mesquite Creek briefly (I hit some pools in those narrows and bypassed them via the highway), up an eastern fork over a saddle to that jeep road that is the old Apache Trail to the ex-bridge, dropped in Apache Trail Canyon briefly, up that eastern fork below the narrows, stay in that sdie canyon a tad before climbing up to the ridge to the north, and then contour that ridge all the way back to FR213. It was thru the beautiful rugged canyon country of the northern Supes and it almost worked too but I got short on daylight, the nice ridge kinna disappeared into a hillside, I got cliffed by an impressive 200ft deep chasm, and I was only 3/4 mile from my car as the bird flies. :x I got fairly spooked by what I was seeing and my lack of daylight even though I could have potentially climbed that hillside to the SE and found a way thru, but I decided to listen to my gut and take the safe route and using my GPS track & headlamp I backtracked my last two hours of hiking mostly in the pitch black night back to the highway and started walking the road a couple miles until some nice couple picked me up and drove me the remaining few miles back to my car. In hindsight via Google Earth, with more daylight/time it looks doable to head SE up that hillside and only about a mile until it'd hit a jeep road that connects with FR213 but it looked kinna sketchy in the waning light and I still think I made the right choice by turning around. :sweat:

I'll log these other miles wandering around in the dark under another generic triplog. How fitting that I hit 1000 miles for the year on a failed attempt to loop back to my car. :sl: After making fun of others for getting lost, hiking back in the dark, and loosing the trail karma finally caught up with me and bit me in the rear... :roll: :lol: :roll:
_____________________
Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p
Apr 12 2009
suzaz
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 Guides 1
 Routes 2
 Photos 3,905
 Triplogs 154

female
 Joined Nov 23 2003
 Gold Canyon, AZ
Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Apr 12 2009
suzaz
Canyoneering8.00 Miles 700 AEG
Canyoneering8.00 Miles
700 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was an Easter Sunday hike. I thought we might have some Bunny sightings with Peter's Canyon, Peter's Creek, Peter's Cave and Peter's Mesa all so close by....I was nearly certain this must be the place that Peter Cottontail resides.
Fauna
Fauna
Great Blue Heron
_____________________
Apr 04 2009
azdesertfather
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 Guides 12
 Routes 59
 Photos 1,185
 Triplogs 789

45 male
 Joined Apr 30 2008
 Tucson, AZ
Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Apr 04 2009
azdesertfather
Canyoneering1.00 Miles 41 AEG
Canyoneering1.00 Miles
41 ft AEG
A - Dry or little water; shallow or avoidable water; no wet/dry suit
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Took my son and a couple of his friends to play around Tortilla Creek. Water was stagnated in areas south of AZ88 where we were (where the creek crosses AZ88 next to Tortilla Flat) and there were TONS of tadpoles out there. They caught them by the dozens. Did find one pretty clear patch of water. It was ice cold, but once we got our feet in and got used to it, it was fun. But just getting our legs wet wasn't enough for me...I had to jump in and get wet from head to toe (what's wrong with me?!).
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau
Dec 10 2008
kanode
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 Guides 7
 Routes 57
 Photos 1,107
 Triplogs 64

71 male
 Joined Jan 07 2004
 Tempe, AZ
Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 10 2008
kanode
Hiking5.20 Miles 700 AEG
Hiking5.20 Miles   8 Hrs   45 Mns   0.59 mph
700 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This trip used the saddle overlooking Tortilla Creek (see my 11/18/08 trip report) and then west on Tortilla creek to the point where we turned around on the 11/11/08 hike from Tortilla Flat. That blockage isn't hard to get around (I added photos of the bypass to that trip report).

There are several places on the descent where it's possible to cliff-out but the cliffs are scattered and there are probably half a dozen ways down. If there's a best way, it wasn't obvious. We took a path down from the top that tended to head west. On another trip, I'd probably try the eastern side. All the options are steep, loose, and full of prickly things.

After descending from the saddle, at first we weren't sure we would be able to proceed. It's a jungle down there. Large and small trees, giant reed, flood debris, and miscellaneous other vegetation. I can't say there's surface water all year but the area doesn't get desert dry.

We found that the low bench on the north side of the creek allowed passage. The "jungle" lasts for about a quarter mile headed west. The route to the east seemed even more clogged with vegetation but we didn't make much of an effort to explore in that direction.

A car-shuttle hike (to avoid hiking the roads) from Tortilla Flat to the road at the ex-bridge would take me 8-9 hours with the water conditions we ran into. (That includes taking 200 or so photos.)
_____________________
Irv
Dec 03 2008
kanode
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 Guides 7
 Routes 57
 Photos 1,107
 Triplogs 64

71 male
 Joined Jan 07 2004
 Tempe, AZ
Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 03 2008
kanode
Hiking5.30 Miles 700 AEG
Hiking5.30 Miles   6 Hrs      0.88 mph
700 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This hike represents the segment of Lower Tortilla Creek from FR 213 down to just east of Mescal Spring and then west to near the point where another large branch of Tortilla Creek comes in from the south. We didn't reach this Y because of a 12 foot drop.

Warning: Don't go in this area if there's a threat of rain. The canyon is narrow during most of the hike and the boulders show signs of extensive water erosion above head height.

This is the most interesting section of Tortilla Creek that I've seen. It's possibly the best creek hike that I've ever been on with a great reward to effort ratio. It helped that it rained a week before the hike so there was water running and it was warm enough that occasionally wading through 12" of water wasn't an issue. (Although there was an ice skin over puddles on FR 213.)

The bushwhack from FR 213 down to the creek is steep, loose, and requires long sleeves and pants. However, it's not significantly longer, steeper, or looser than the hike from the Tortilla Flat area into that segment of Tortilla creek. The section of Tortilla creek near Mescal Pit Spring is interesting the whole time! (Unlike the section near Tortilla Flat, there aren't any long boring sections of medium size rocks that are just hard on the feet and knees.)

It's one boulder-garden after another separated by short sections of rocks and occasionally solid rock. It's probably not possible to hike this section without getting your feet and calves wet. You'll have more fun, make better time, with less effort, if you plan on hiking the easiest route rather than trying to keep your feet dry.

Most of the boulder gardens offered a choice between an easy route and playing in the boulders. There were three spots that didn't have an easy route.

The first is on the SW corner of the butte east of Mescal Pit Spring--it was easy on the trip out but hard to find on the trip back. On the way out, climb up some medium boulders to the left, slide down a boulder with a pointed upper edge, and then duck under a tree. (On the way back it's hard to find the right tree to duck under and the obvious route is blocked by a century plant. The boulder with the pointed top is just to the left above the century plant.)

The second difficult spot involves crawling across a log over a narrow 10' drop and then an easy climb down. (There's a very brushy bypass 10' farther to the right.)

The third difficult spot is about 150' farther on. It's where we turned around. There's a straight down 20 to 30' drop on the left. On the right, you can get partway down but the final drop is down a 12' boulder that we weren't sure we could get back up.


Carlson in his description of the "Lower Tortilla Creek loop" hike suggests one alternate is starting from Tortilla Flat and hiking Tortilla Creek through to Tortilla Ranch. This hike proves that's NOT possible by HIKERS. A through hike, if possible, would require at a minimum bouldering skills or even a rope.
Fauna
Fauna
Praying Mantis
Geology
Geology
Chalcedony
_____________________
Irv
Nov 24 2008
kanode
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 Guides 7
 Routes 57
 Photos 1,107
 Triplogs 64

71 male
 Joined Jan 07 2004
 Tempe, AZ
Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 24 2008
kanode
Hiking6.60 Miles 700 AEG
Hiking6.60 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   1.47 mph
700 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
An exploratory hike from Peters trailhead north along Tortila Creek to find the fastest and easiest route from FR 213 down to the creekbed. We verified 4 routes.
- Using the Peter's trailhead
It's way south if your plan is to explore north and west.

- From the main site of the old ranch
It's a little farther north and is very easy. Just head SW from the large concrete slab toward two sets of concrete steps and house-slab. You're in the creekbed within a few minutes and no blood. There is tall grass.

- An old horse route down the north side of the largest butte along this section of the creek.
The slope is gentle and you'll see intermittent signs of an old horse trail down to the bottomland. Unfortunately the bottom land is very brushy. It's best to wait before you turn towards the creek. The brush gets thinner farther on but it's probably impossible to avoid scratches.

- Approaching Mescal Pit Spring
There's a small saddle on the north side of the creek about 0.4 miles SE of Mescal Pit Spring. Unfortunately, there's a thicket of trees maybe 50' deep lining the creekbed that you have to get through first. The lower section of the hillside is somewhat steep and loose--it's not much of a problem when headed up but could be difficult when headed down or after a rain. Our route isn't definitive--we probably could have stayed somewhat lower on the hill.
Fauna
Fauna
Red-tailed Hawk
_____________________
Irv
Nov 18 2008
kanode
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 Guides 7
 Routes 57
 Photos 1,107
 Triplogs 64

71 male
 Joined Jan 07 2004
 Tempe, AZ
Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 18 2008
kanode
Hiking3.00 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles   5 Hrs      0.60 mph
800 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This trip represents part of the exit route for Carlson's lower Tortilla Creek Loop hike #36. It starts at the saddle (Carlson's 14-C) overlooking Tortilla Creek and ends at the ex-bridge for the original Apache Trail (14-W) . The ex-bridge was replaced by a large fill at Mesquite Flat that shortens the Apache trail by about 2.3 mile.

The original Apache Trail route to the ex-bridge is shown on the Beartooth Map of the Superstitions and is driveable by high clearance vehicles. The worst section is the first 100 feet as you leave the paved road although there is a short rutted section farther in.

The point of this hike was to determine the time required to hike down from the saddle overlooking Tortilla Creek to the ex-bridge--we found it to be 2 hours. Carlson says that hiking up from Tortilla creek to the saddle, bushwhacking down to the creek, walking the old road, and walking back along the paved road to where you parked at a pull-off east of Tortilla flat is one to two hours shorter than hiking back along Tortilla Creek.

- I'd guess 45 minutes to climb from Tortilla Creek to the Saddle
- 2 hours from the Saddle to the ex-bridge
- 45 minutes (2.2 miles) from the ex-bridge back to the pull-off east of Tortilla Creek
So about 3.5 hours.

The exit route has a lot of rock hopping but nothing approaching the bouldering in Tortilla creek. The slope is steep, loose, and brushy.
There were a lot of paths (I assume game trails) that went across the slope but non that had much change in altitude.
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Irv
Nov 11 2008
kanode
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71 male
 Joined Jan 07 2004
 Tempe, AZ
Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 11 2008
kanode
Hiking4.00 Miles 700 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles   6 Hrs   5 Mns   0.66 mph
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Hiked up Tortilla Creek from SR 88 just east of Tortilla Flat. Turned around at N 33.51892 W 111.36107 when we ran into a blockage. There's a bypass along the north wall of the canyon but not worth the effort considering we were just 30 minutes from our turn around time.
[Added photo of the bypass which I used on a later trip.]

Apparently it had rained recently since some of boulders had water in their catch basins.

On the leg headed south, there were occasional pools of stagnant water but they didn't impact our progress. Near the turn east at Hell Hole Spring, the vegetation was lush (almost jungle-like) with water across most of the canyon floor. There were a few cattails and a large infestation of Giant Reed.

This was a good hike. A mixture of rock hopping, bouldering, and jungle.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
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Irv
Dec 11 2007
JoelHazelton
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 Phoenix, AZ
Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
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JoelHazelton
Hiking2.00 Miles 700 AEG
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Hiked pretty much to where the trail goes over the ridge and meets the creek. Creek was raging and rendered the Apache Trail impassible and closed past Tortilla Flats. Sat and enjoyed the flowing water for a while before returning.
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"Arizona is the land of contrast... You can go from Minnesota to California in a matter of minutes, then have Mexican food that night." -Jack Dykinga

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Oct 14 2007
hazard
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 Scottsdale, AZ
Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
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Hiking avatar Oct 14 2007
hazard
Hiking3.00 Miles 700 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles   2 Hrs      1.50 mph
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Scrambled a few miles through the rock strewn creek bed, hike is low on the reward to effort scale but will come back to when the creek is running to give it a second chance.
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Apr 16 2006
JoelHazelton
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Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
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JoelHazelton
Hiking2.00 Miles 700 AEG
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Last week on the way to fish creek we drove over Tortilla Creek just past Tortilla Flat. It looked like there was a decent amount of water so I decided I wanted to check it out. Yesterday we parked at Tortilla Flat (which I guess isn't a good idea since I've now learned that signs I didn't see warn against hikers parking there) and proceeded east from the 88 down the creek bed. The first half mile or so had a lot of water and was very enjoyable. After that it started to significantly dry up and we started to get discouraged on how interesting the hike was going to be. After a mile and around a couple boulders and trees that blocked my view down the creek, the creekbed forked. We chose the left fork and suddenly the canyon narrowed. It was the most surprising and amazing thing and totally turned our trip around. We had to scale walls across the creek and wade through the water and just ended up having a lot more fun than we had expected. After about 3/4 miles of that the canyon opens back up so we turned around. Definitely fun and worth going to.
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"Arizona is the land of contrast... You can go from Minnesota to California in a matter of minutes, then have Mexican food that night." -Jack Dykinga

http://www.joelhazelton.com
Apr 10 2006
12red98
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 Phoenix, AZ
Tortilla Creek - Lower LoopPhoenix, AZ
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12red98
Hiking8.00 Miles 700 AEG
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Great Hike. Quite tiring because there is no trail. Feet were exhausted. Gloves would be helpful. Very slow going.
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Mar 08 2003
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Hiking8.00 Miles 700 AEG
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arizonaheat
A fun trip with all that water flowing - probably wouldn't be as interesting without it. I would like to go back in a month or so to see what kind of pools are left, and have a little swim. My favorite moment came while we were having lunch at a shady spot next to the creek. I had just taken a bite of an orange slice when I spotted a beautiful big yellow and black butterfly fluttering towards us. I raised my hand, still holding the half orange slice, to point it out and that silly butterfly came directly to me and landed on my finger and sipped from the orange. It only stayed a couple of seconds, but it was a magical moment! :D
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