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Cottonwood Camp Loop - 2 members in 5 triplogs have rated this an average 3 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Jan 22 2019
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 20,568
 Triplogs 1,922

69 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Cottonwood Soldier Camp Loop, AZ 
Cottonwood Soldier Camp Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 22 2019
CannondaleKid
Hiking8.30 Miles 1,857 AEG
Hiking8.30 Miles   4 Hrs   4 Mns   2.13 mph
1,857 ft AEG      10 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
trixiec
While similar to it, we did a variation on Joe's Cottonwood Camp Loop. First off we hiked it counter-clockwise, which meant heading up FR401A at the start. There were two reasons for this...
#1. As rough as the road is, complete with plenty of loose rocks to roll an ankle on (or worse), we did not want to hike it when tired at the end of the hike.
#2. We wanted to be off the road before time the ATV crowd hit. (Between Stellar Tours and others there were at least 30 ATV's in the staging lot, yet weirdly enough, we did not see or even hear a single ATV until almost back to the ATV staging lot after the hike and then it was only 4.

Still, the road hike part was nasty... not something we'd ever want to repeat. It was actually nice when we left the road and continue a bit on the trail past Soldier Camp TH. We didn't go far because neither of us was prepared for as cold as it was when the wind picked up significantly. It was worse for me because as usual, I was soaked with sweat down to my toes. I had planned to change to dry socks only to realize I set them out but never put them into my pack. Oh well, eventually the sloshing in my boots became warm sloshing, so as long as my head was warm I was good. (I DID remember to bring two extra skull caps with ear flaps)

Although the route down was steep, for the first part we stuck to Trail 84 so it wasn't quite as bad as Joe's route. At the point we left 84 to catch Joe's route again, we saw ATV tracks... yup, a good two miles into the Wilderness. We would follow the ATV tracks all the way down and back to Cottonwood Camp, so the ATV's had driven a full 4+ mile loop into the Wilderness!
:x
If that wasn't enough, in the last few hundred feet before reaching the car there was just a small part of the detritus from the long weekend... literally piles of shotgun & rifle shells scattered all over. None of which were here before the weekend.

Between the ATV's and the shells, Tracey was fuming... so we dug out the plastic garbage bags, rake and dustpan and proceeded to pick up everything practicable, most of which was shotgun shells. Kind of curious wondering how much all the ammo fire had cost... We found an empty plastic bag from Sportsman's Warehouse but there was no receipt.
How sad it has become to go out to enjoy such beautiful scenery (the view of Four Peaks from Soldier Camp TH has been my desktop background for over 5 years) only to see what the worst of our 'civilization' has to offer. ](*,)
Such a disgrace! :x
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CannondaleKid
Jan 30 2011
mazatzal
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 Routes 31
 Photos 2,166
 Triplogs 1,073

62 male
 Joined Jul 28 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Cottonwood Camp LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 30 2011
mazatzal
Hiking8.00 Miles 1,804 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   5 Hrs      1.60 mph
1,804 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Intended to hike to Cane Spring but we only made it as far as Soldier Camp trailhead. FR 401 is very rocky!
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1 archive
Oct 22 2010
Andy679
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 Routes 1
 Photos 337
 Triplogs 18

40 male
 Joined Feb 14 2010
 Scottsdale, AZ
Cottonwood Camp LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 22 2010
Andy679
Hiking8.00 Miles 1,804 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   3 Hrs   35 Mns   2.23 mph
1,804 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Got down to Cottonwood Camp around noonish and the sun was out few clouds. A bolt broke on my rear sway bar, so had to quickly improvise at Cottonwood Camp. I used the wire cutters on my M-9 bayonet and clipped some barbed-wire. A friendly older couple on ATV asked if i was fine, yes. I use the Strong old Barbed-wire to loop it through the hole and secure it from braking and the whole bar falling off for time being until replacement bolt. Fixed it before the hike cuz did not want to deal with that after.

Drove just around the old water tank and there was an opening in the fence that led me back to a nice shaded parking spot. Sure enough I cross over a small ridge into the wash and look up and the Trail-head for Lower Solder Camp Trail is right there! The first cairn had a gallon of water (half-full). Follow the trail with the cairns and through the wash to where you start to a slight ascent passing through into the four peaks wilderness. Short break, I could just tell that from studying and reading the other logs and MAP that this was the killer part next. You get to a "Y" in the trail go right (thins out) and this really is a straight grind 900ft almost 45 degree angle in parts. About halfway up 900ft is starting raining and that was nice. Grind it out to the top find another trial marker for Lower Soldier Camp Trail. Hiked up to the top on the old jeep trial SR 401 and the views were quite rewarding all around. It cleared off so I chill up there for like 20 or so mins took a few pics of four peaks with clouds was cool. Great rock up there to sit on and check the views.

Back down... Follow SR 401 back down its very rocky and challenging but the views of Weaver and the Superstitions are great. There is one more uphill grind on the way back and very rocky. Saw one ATCer on the way down. I think if I do this one alone again I would go back Lower Soldier Camp Trail and possibly hike the 900ft grind a couple times (return the way you came if you do this). Follow SR 401 to Cottonwood Camp and game over for the day have a few shots of Belvedere vodka and light a campfire then camp or something or go home.

Also, the altitude is not that different but at the top of SR 401 its was very chilly on this day and back down at camp was warm. I really enjoyed this hike and look forward to doing it again soon or finding more trails and connectors in the area. Will have pics soonish...
Fauna
Fauna
Coachwhip
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2 archives
Mar 29 2009
Hansenaz
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 Guides 4
 Routes 152
 Photos 6,035
 Triplogs 358

66 male
 Joined Apr 06 2005
 Phoenix, AZ
Cottonwood Camp LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 29 2009
Hansenaz
Hiking14.70 Miles 3,377 AEG
Hiking14.70 Miles   7 Hrs   30 Mns   1.96 mph
3,377 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I wanted to look around the southwestern part of the Four Peaks Wilderness. This area is popular with ATVers but there doesn't seem to be a lot of hiking. Best information I found is from some postings by Joe Bartels in 2004 (see this trip, and the speculative Cane Spring to Amethyst Peak trip which contains an intriguing map http://hikearizona.com/t2004/09/29/map02.jpg) and just today I noticed a new posting for an ambitious trip: Cottonwood Camp to Lone Pine via Alder.

Anyway since I just planned to poke around I got a late start and didn't leave my car at Cottonwood Camp until just after noon. I knew I wasn't going to try the rough jeep road (FR401) past Cottonwood Camp - a previous visit showed a very tough step within a half mile or so.

Compared to the trip Joe describes I stayed further south and followed the most likely ATV path just north of main FR401 - it soon hit a fence at the Wilderness boundary which stops the ATVs, but I kept going on an old overgrown road. This was faint in spots but continued, crossed a couple washes, and then climbed the ridge. At the crest it meets up with FR401 - this was ~2.8mi in and here I saw the only sign of the day: I had been walking on Lower Soldier's Trail. Continuing up the road about another mile I ran into two 4-Wheelers (the only people I saw all day) right at the Soldier's Camp Trailhead. This place was unmarked (posts but no signs) but I correctly surmised this was the lower left corner of Joe's aforementioned map. It was pleasant walking on the Soldier's Trail - not too overgrown, plenty of cairns, and it mainly keeps to the ridge top so nice views. I decided I could make a loop of it: continue on Soldier's to the Cane Spring Trail, take that down to the jeep road and then walk this road back to the car.

After about an hour or so I realized I was going to have a daylight problem. I probably should have just turned around but instead I decided to shortcut down hill into Cane Spring drainage just so I could see that place. Turned out to be worth the trip: many pretty waterfalls, but no sign of a trail so it was pretty slow going. By the time I hit the road it was 5PM. I think the intersection is just above the Cane Spring Trailhead (which I didn't see). The road may be tough to drive but walking it is no picnic either: I think it was 6.5 miles back to Cottonwood Camp and a lot of up and down. Pitch black - thank goodness for long range keyless remotes.

My conclusion: if you want access to the upper reaches of Four Peaks from the southwest you need to drive that road. On the other hand there's some nice hiking in the area even if you don't.
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Apr 10 2007
Grasshopper
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 Guides 42
 Routes 458
 Photos 8,104
 Triplogs 508

74 male
 Joined Dec 28 2006
 Scottsdale, AZ
Cottonwood Camp LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 10 2007
Grasshopper
Hiking8.75 Miles 1,804 AEG
Hiking8.75 Miles   4 Hrs   45 Mns   1.84 mph
1,804 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Talk about a PARKING LOT with a VIEW, this is IT!!

I had no idea until today that this nice area to hike off Hwy87 & The Four Peaks Rd (FR143 to FR401) even existed, but thanks to our hike leader (a once serious horse person who use to often ride in this area), our group of 11 enjoyed this very scenic and mostly "off trail" loop hike today through a scenic canyon, and sandy washes to our tree shaded lunch stop about 4.25mls in at what our leader called the "original" Old Cottonwood Ranch Site (with numerous corals and a huge hand made old circular rock water holding tank). There was also a large windmill next to this rock holding tank that has now disappeared.

Aside from the major views of Four Peaks, Weavers Needle in the distance, and the dominant Superstition Ridgelines to the Southeast, one of the truly special highlights of this hike for us all today, was seeing, about 75% into our hike on the Soldier Camp Ridge, "TWO" LARGE CRESTED SAGUAROS on the North/Left side as we hiked East..and..both of these two crested giants were within approximately two hundred yards of each other! Until today, I had only ever seen two of these, one hiking in the Tucson area and the one recently relocated and replanted in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, off Via Linda at the 124th Street TH.

Also, this parking location would be a SWEET SPOT every AUGUST to view the Perseus Meteor Shower :) !
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(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")
average hiking speed 1.95 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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