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Coffee Flat Trail #108 - 40 members in 143 triplogs have rated this an average 3.5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Sep 19 2020
Tortoise_Hiker
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 Routes 78
 Photos 7,357
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59 male
 Joined Apr 02 2005
 Mesa, AZ
Coffee Flat Trail #108Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 19 2020
Tortoise_Hiker
Hiking11.60 Miles 1,404 AEG
Hiking11.60 Miles   4 Hrs   50 Mns   2.40 mph
1,404 ft AEG
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wallyfrack
Wally gets a kick out of seeing me cry so he took me on this hike. Dutchman/ Coffee Flat(black) intersection and surrounding area is toast. Thousands of Saguaro will fall! 😭 Some green Catclaw.🤦‍♂️ Hiked to the windmill and back.To my surprise there were some sections with healthy stands of Ocotillo farther out on Coffee Flat and a couple Saguaro. Good hike and company but the burn 😭😭Thanks Wally. Like haz, you rock!
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Sep 19 2020
wallyfrack
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 Routes 91
 Photos 4,676
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59 male
 Joined Mar 11 2003
 AZ
Coffee Flat Trail #108Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 19 2020
wallyfrack
Hiking11.60 Miles 1,404 AEG
Hiking11.60 Miles   4 Hrs   50 Mns   2.40 mph
1,404 ft AEG
 
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Tortoise_Hiker
A Hike out to Reeds Water with the Tortoise. We got an early start to avoid hiking in the heat. Headlamps for the first hour. The trail is okay but the fire damage can't be ignored. The area beyond Barkley Basin doesn't look as bad. There are many healthy ocotillos growing in that area. The trees by Reeds Water survived but the wood around Whitlow Corral is gone. It was a nice hike and it didn't get too warm for me. Thanks for the hike Denny.
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Apr 04 2020
kyleGChiker
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 Routes 9
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 Triplogs 15

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 Joined May 28 2019
 Phoenix, AZ
JF Trail to Coffee Flat Loop, AZ 
JF Trail to Coffee Flat Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Apr 04 2020
kyleGChiker
Backpack25.06 Miles 4,884 AEG
Backpack25.06 Miles2 Days   8 Hrs   12 Mns   
4,884 ft AEG40 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Went out last weekend for another epic backpacking trip in the Superstitions! The proposed itinerary was
JF Trail :next: Hoolie Bacon Trail :next: Red Tanks Trail :next: Coffee Flat Trail

I told my mom it would be an adventurous trip since it was more in the eastern Supes (I know, it's not really the eastern Supes, but it's further east than our previous trip). I didn't really know what to expect, since the Woodbury fire swept through the whole area last May. I scoured HikeAZ looking for triplogs, photos, and water reports of people who had done these trails since the fire and there wasn't much. Hopefully my report will be helpful to some of you.

Saturday:
We started off the day with an early morning drive from north Phoenix out to the trailhead (about two hours). The drive itself is very scenic...definitely worth it! You know how sometimes a long drive to get to a hike is kind of drudgery, well this one is not! You turn onto Queen Valley road a few miles past the Peralta trailhead turnoff on US-60. Pretty soon it turns into a gravel road that is in pretty good condition. It's a total of 11 miles on gravel roads to get to the Woodbury TH, the starting point for our loop. I was driving my old Chevy Suburban, so I didn't have any problems with the road, but be aware that there are places where high clearance is helpful. There are also numerous creek crossings (they're not big enough to be called "fording a river" :lol: ) you have to drive through. The deepest water was around 2-3 feet. I have 4WD on my vehicle, but kept it in 2WD the whole road and did just fine. Eventually you get to the intersection of FR172 and 172A, where the fork to the right takes you to Roger's Trough TH, and the fork to the left takes you to the Woodbury TH. We met some people in two 4Runner's that said the road to Roger's Trough was terrible--far worse than last year--and they even had trouble getting up it! And if you know anything about four-wheeling, you know the 4Runner is a very capable vehicle!

We did the loop in the counter clock wise direction, so almost immediately, we dropped into a creek with medium flow. If I'm not mistaken, this water ends up flowing through Randolf Canyon and makes a nice dayhike (the Randolf-Frasier Loop). One of the first things we noticed when we got to the area was that the mountainsides were covered in yellow and what appeared to be brownish coloration. Having never been to the area, we assumed the yellow was some sort of mineral and the brownish color was the charred areas from the Woodbury fire. We couldn't have been more wrong! The blankets of color were from wildflowers! :y: That was a nice surprise. I'll be posting a photoset soon with pics from the trip. Over the course of the trip, we saw over 20 species of flowers, and me being an animal guy (especially birds), I didn't know any of them except that the yellow ones were poppies. I was trying to figure out just now if they are Californian or Mexican poppies, but really, botany isn't my thing, and I wouldn't want to misidentify something. :scared: As I'm writing this, I'm looking at commonly seen AZ wildflowers, and putting the ones we observed into the "Wildflowers" section down below. Wildflower names seem really hard to me, but it's never too late to start learning!

OK, enough about wildflowers, let's get on with the trip description. The trail turns out of the creek and winds slowly up the ridgeline to Tortilla Pass. Looking at a topo map for the JF trail, you can see three "peaks" or high points that are climbed on this hike. I'm not sure which of these is the official Tortilla Pass, but we didn't stop for our first break until we hit the first saddle. This was at the junction where the Rogers trail takes off toward Angel Basin. The scenery was nice, although there were definitely evidences of the fire. I'll have a dedicated paragraph towards the bottom with info about the burned areas, our impressions of the beauty, etc.

After Tortilla pass, the trail became noticeably rougher (as I imagine many people day-hike to the pass but don't continue on the JF trail any further). There was a lot of vegetation on the trail, although the lack of catclaw was a nice surprise for the duration of our trip. With the recent fire, most of the trees and bushes were burned, so as you were hiking, your clothes and backpack would brush up against the charred branches, leaving black marks over everything. Not the end of the world, but I'd suggest wearing older clothes you don't mind charring.

Between "peak 2" and "peak 3" on the topo map, there was a large grass field we hiked through. Imagine green grass 3-4 feet tall, with only 6 inch cairns to guide the way. Yeah, it was fun route finding! Actually, the whole day involved tons of route finding, but especially after pass. My mom doesn't have quite the experience route finding, and if I let her lead, we were getting off trail all the time. So I ended up having to lead the whole day, which I found after 10 miles, takes a big mental toll on you. I arrived at camp exhausted from the mental effort of staying on the trail. The JF trail is not for the faint of heart. It is not for novice hikers. In my assessment, a medium to high level of route finding skills is a must for successfully completing the JF trail. Honestly, about 1/3 of the time, I couldn't distinguish the trail from the non-trail. And this statement comes with hundreds of miles of route finding experience in the Grand Canyon (I've hiked every trail and route on the South Rim). It was a bad trail, one of the worst I've ever done. I suspect the fire destroyed all the vegetation, and now it has grown back in full force, but with no regard for the trail. :)

And to make matters worse, the cairns are spaced very far apart (several minutes hiking in some places). So essentially they don't do anything for keeping you on the right path. They just give some psychological affirmation every now and again "you're not an idiot for hiking through all this vegetation. Just keep going, you're doing great!" No doubt I got off the "trail" hundreds of times during our three days, but usually realized it quickly and was able to route back on to it without Mom realizing. Only twice did I actually "get lost" to the point where I intentionally circled back to the last known cairn to get back on track.

To conclude this section about trail conditions, I'd say it mostly applies to the JF trail and the Hoolie Bacon trail. The Red Tanks trail was in better shape and was easier to follow. The Coffee Flat trail was the best of them all, very easy to follow and relatively vegetation-free. What all the trails had in common was grass growing on top of the trail, so you never actually had a defined dirt/rock path. However, trails like Red Tanks and Coffee flat are more commonly hiked, so the grass was trampled, making the trail easier to follow than the Hoolie Bacon and JF trails.

Getting on with the trip report, we had considered camping at Clover Spring (~7 miles) "if there's water." Well, turns out there was plenty of water, but no place to camp. We scoured the area and found 0 ideal campsites and only a couple places that could work in a pinch. Knowing that Cedar Basin was only a few miles further, we opted to continue on and camp there. The descent from Clover Spring to Cedar Basin was some of the most overgrown trail, with lots of thistle to stab you when you weren't paying attention. We got rattled at by two different rattlesnakes on this section of trail, one about 3 feet off the trail, and the other about 40 feet off the trail (not sure why that snake even bothered to rattle :lol: ).

By the time we got to the junction with Hoolie Bacon, it was late afternoon, so we opted not to hike out to the Tortilla TH. That was originally part of the plan "just to see it."

There was some nice camping once we dropped into Cedar Basin, so we were glad we chose to move on from Clover Spring. That was a long first day and we were glad to be at camp and relax for the evening. I had twisted my ankle/knee on the way down that descent, so with that pain coupled with the mental effort of route finding, a good night's sleep was well deserved.



Sunday:
Climbed out of Cedar Basin past a couple springs (Night Hawk and Horse Camp). They both had water, enough to filter if you wanted, but not an abundance. I'll leave a more detailed water report down below. Before long, we were in Horse Camp basin, where there was an abundance of water. We also noted several potential campsites here for future reference. This section of the hike had a lot of dead trees. Not just small shrubs that burned, but full juniper trees. It was honestly kind of ugly, but the beauty of the saguaros (which survived! :y: ) and of Herman Mountain helped to overcome the dead trees. Also, the abundance of wildflowers reminded us that even in the midst of the dead, new life often springs forth. By early afternoon we arrived at the Red Tanks trail junction, at the top end of Upper La Barge Box. With my knee still hurting somewhat from yesterday, we had decided that this would be our camp for the day. It was beautiful scenery, second to none, and all the saguaros and flowers made for an iconic view. We passed the afternoon with reading the Scriptures and playing our favorite backpacking games. Specifically, bocce ball on the beach (modified rules) and "Pass the Pigs." If you've never heard of pass the pigs, it is the absolute best game to take backpacking. You can have fun for hours with only 15 grams of weight!

We explored Upper La Barge box just a bit, but didn't venture too far because I wanted to take it easy on my knee. It was a refreshing, fun-filled afternoon, and then we went to bed. I don't think we realized quite how far we still had to go the next day, or we might have hiked further today. :D



Monday:
Being in school at ASU with classes only on Tuesdays and Thursdays gives me the flexibility to take a long weekend at hike on Monday too, which is great! The hike from the Red Tanks trail junction up to the next saddle was a pleasant stroll along a small creek. There was an abundance of green vegetation, which helped obscure the charred bushes and trees. We saw another snake (yet to be identified, but not a rattler). At the saddle we were thrilled to find a hummingbird that made her nest in a dead cholla cactus. It was so windy at the pass we don't know how she was able to stay in her nest and not get blown away! Descending from the saddle, we quickly made it to Red Tanks Creek (I'm assuming that's the unofficial name), which had a light flow of water through it, which increased steadily as more water came from other springs. From here to the trailhead was probably the most scenic part of the hike. We were hiking along creeks the whole way (first Red Tanks, then Randolf, then Frasier), the area had less obviously burned trees, and the mountains were really cool. We also got back into the poppies and lupines, which was just gorgeous!

When we got to Randolf Canyon, we were surprised to see how bad the water quality was. Due to the gravel streambed, the water was murky and full of silt and sediment. We opted to filter water from Red Tanks Creek before we left it. Once on the Coffee Flat trail, the progress was quick back to the trailhead, except that we forgot how far it really was. The trail is not at all steep, but rather a pleasant uphill grade, essentially the same gradient as the creek. On the way out, we explored the old JF Ranch, complete with a working windmill! From there, rather than hiking the road back to our car, we took the Woodbury trail cutacross back to the initial JF trail, then walked back to the parking lot from there. It added a little distance, but it felt good to finish out the hike on the trail, rather than on a road.

All in all, this was an amazing trip! It makes me wish i had started exploring the Superstitions sooner. Well, there's always next fall when the weather cools down again. Have fun and stay safe!


A note about the Woodbury fire and the burn areas: Please take a look at my photoset for this hike, as that will give you a good visual description of what to expect. Honestly, there was much more burned than I was expecting. I looked at every photoset since the fire for these areas, but most people don't post picture of the burned stuff because it's not as pretty. In my photoset, I made sure to post pictures of the burned areas too so you have a better expectation. We were a bit disappointed by the amount of burned vegetation, but like we said before, and as you'll see in the pictures, there was a lot of new vegetation growing in its place. For the most part, I enjoyed the hike as much as I would have without the burned trees. Sometimes they were an eyesore and sometimes they were beautiful in their own unique way.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Extreme
Complete hillsides covered with Mexican Gold Poppy and Coulter's Lupine (possibly tailcup lupine. After looking at 6 or 7 species of lupine, I just had to pick one)
Globemallow
Phlox
Brittlebush
Desert Chicory
Desert marigold
Desert Primrose (yellow and white)
Desertstar Daisy
Fairy duster
Fiddleneck
Parry's bellflower
New Mexico Thistle (there were so many thisles!)
Purple Owl's Clover
Yellow Cups
Hedgehog Cactus
Angel's trumpets
Indian Paintbrush


I say extreme wildflowers because of the complete hillsides covered with poppies and lupines. The other flowers were in abundance too. I would estimate of our 25 miles, at least 20 of those were walking through flowers of some type.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Brads Canyon Light flow Light flow
We camped about a half mile downstream of here at the Red Tanks - Hoolie Bacon trail junction. There was light flow down there, but the creek was underground about half the time, and above ground about half the time. Plenty of water for filtering--probably 10 gallons per minute flow.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cedar Basin Canyon Light flow Light flow
Camped near the creek in Cedar Basin (actually we camped about a half mile north of this water drop waypoint). There was light to medium flow through the canyon, enough that we could easily hear the water running from our tent. The creek was probably 3-4 feet wide and 2-3 inches deep.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Clover Spring Dripping Dripping
There wasn't any water along the trail, as some former water reports have mentioned. We had to walk down into the creekbed to find the water. I would say it was flowing, but ever so slightly. In two weeks, I probably wouldn't depend on this water, but it was fine now.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Fraser Canyon Light flow Light flow
I would describe Frasier Canyon as light flow. It was very shallow, making it easy to walk in/around the water in the creekbed for those places where the trail drops into the creek.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Horse Camp Spring Dripping Dripping
Like Night Hawk Spring, there was water, with sufficient places to filter from, but I wouldn't depend on this past mid-April this year. In other drier years, I would only depend on this if it had rained recently.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Musk Hog Canyon Light flow Light flow
There was some good flow coming down musk hog canyon. Probably 10+ gallons per minute, although I'm not good at gauging water flow.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Night Hawk Spring Dripping Dripping
There wasn't much, but there was some water coming from Night Hawk Spring. There were places to filter, with very light flow. I don't know the year-round reliability of this spring, but I'd guess it'll be dry in a couple weeks

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Randolph Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
I don't know about the spring, but Randolf Canyon was flowing nicely at the JF trail and at the Coffee Flat trail.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Red Tanks Canyon Light flow Light flow
There was good flow all the way down Red Tanks Canyon. See photos in my triplog and photoset.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Whetrock Canyon Light flow Light flow
There was light flow in Whetrock canyon, about the same amount of water as Frasier Canyon.
Mar 19 2020
393stroker
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 Photos 68
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61 male
 Joined Jan 19 2014
 houston
Coffee Flat Trail #108Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 19 2020
393stroker
Hiking7.50 Miles 1,100 AEG
Hiking7.50 Miles
1,100 ft AEG
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1st trip
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Went in after a big rain. Water everywhere. Made it to Reeds Water and ran into a raging river.
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Jan 18 2020
AndrewAZ
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 Guides 1
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40 male
 Joined Feb 27 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
JF Trail #106Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 18 2020
AndrewAZ
Hiking23.71 Miles 5,075 AEG
Hiking23.71 Miles   11 Hrs   5 Mns   2.14 mph
5,075 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
From Woodbury TH: JF over Tortilla Saddle to Hoolie Bacon to Red Tanks to Coffee Flat to Woodbury.

This one was a real :pk: kicker. I left my place before 5am, left US 60 around 6am, drove FR 172 in the dark, and started hiking at 7am. After Tortilla Saddle, I saw a buck and doe along JF, but that was it for wildlife. I had lunch at the saddle on Hoolie Bacon at 12:30.

While hunting for trail along a burned/eroded part of Hoolie, I was down in a wash and found a stainless steel canteen. Cap was still on tight and it was about 3/4 full of water (I'd guess it's a quart-sized bottle). The little chain holding the cap on was rusted, but otherwise it was in decent shape. I dumped it and hiked it out. I wonder how long it had been out there.

My hopes were getting high that I was finally going to do it: over 20 miles on established trails in the Superstitions without seeing anyone (without hiking in July or something dangerous like that). My hopes were dashed along Red Tanks when I finally met a pair of hikers. Only people I saw all day.

I was tempted to go up Randolph Canyon instead of using Coffee Flat trail, but there was enough water coming out of Randolph that it seemed like it could be tricky to stay dry. Plus, I hoped Coffee had better trail. I was wrong on that part. If there was ever good trail along that stretch of Coffee, it's gone now (aside from one portion that goes up high along the canyon wall, I assume to avoid a pouroff). The easiest thing was to walk in the wash, which had enough firm sand to make for pleasant walking on my very tired feet. With all the greenery and the trickle of water down the center, it was a nice "I can hardly believe this is Arizona" walk.

I was running low on fun around mile 18. I was out of fun by mile 20-21. The last two miles were more of a forced march than I would've liked.

I had to hustle along Red Tanks and Coffee Flat when I realized how much daylight I had left. I made the final climb along Woodbury as the sun was setting behind me (that final climb can kiss my :pk:). I got back to my truck with just enough light to change my shoes and drink the last of my water. It turned out to be even less fun to drive out on FR 172 in the dark than it was to drive in.

Lots of water flowing in most of the major washes. Not much along the higher parts of JF or Hoolie Bacon, but water almost everywhere else. Probably the most along Red Tanks, and definitely the most once it combined with the flow out of Randolph.

This was my first time on JF and the final stretch of Coffee Flat. I've now done every major trail on the western side of the Superstitions on my Green Trails map except the 1.6-mile stretch from Tortilla Pass to Angel Basin. However, I'm still missing some of the less-used (unofficial?) trails like Randolph Canyon, the Cedar Basin alternate to Hoolie Bacon, and West Boulder Canyon.

Comments on the specific trails:

JF: alternating areas of burnt and unburnt. Some stretches of vague and indistinct trail due to too few feet stomping the grass down. A little brushy in places, but nothing too bad. In spots where it did burn, it didn't seem to affect the trail too much.

Hoolie Bacon: the climb over the saddle is still steep and hot. Lots of burn damage (and subsequent flood damage). No underbrush among the dead manzanita groves, so parts of the trail are hard to follow--where once there was a clear path through underbrush, now everything looks open and vaguely trail-like. More than a few places I was thankful for cairns.

Red Tanks: Even more burn/flood damage than Hoolie. If it weren't for cairns, parts of this would be incredibly difficult to follow. Much of this reminded me of the burned-out areas along the AZT in the Mazatzals. The creek appears to have had torrential floods in the last mile or so approaching Coffee Flat trail. I don't recall it being that deep or wide the last time I walked it. I'd say this was the most damaged of all the trails I walked.

Coffee Flat: as mentioned above, there's really not much of a trail for most of this. It's just walking in the wash.
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Jan 11 2020
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
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51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Fraser - Randolph LoopGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 11 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking10.40 Miles 1,215 AEG
Hiking10.40 Miles   5 Hrs   54 Mns   1.90 mph
1,215 ft AEG      26 Mns Break
 
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wallyfrack
I had never hiked Randolph Canyon, and the last time I hiked the Coffee Flat and Woodbury Trails in Fraser Canyon, it was nearly 17 years ago. With the limited trailhead access the further east you go in the Supes, this seemed like a good hike. I wasn't sure of the road condition or the trail conditions, so I asked Wally if he was interested and/or knew if it was doable hike. The tires on my vehicle are in need of a change soon, so I also asked Wally to drive for this one.

We did the loop counter clockwise, getting the off trail part done first, and also doing that section downhill. this turned out to be a good choice. Randolph Canyon had water running in it the entire way. It was actually very easy to hike, but I would imagine that hiking it uphill would be a bit harder. Silt filled in a lot of the rocks, making the hiking probably easier than normal. some sections were soupy and would result in some very soft footing. the trick seemed to be to stay towards the center of the stream, since that was where the most solid silt was. the water was still pretty shallow for the most part, and the deeper section were always narrow enough to step over.

the fire really didn't seem to harm this area very badly. Even the most cooked spots didn't look really all that different from the rest of the surrounding desert. There really weren't too many dead saguaros, except for some pockets here and there.

We stopped for lunch at the junction of the Red Tanks and Coffee Flat Trails. It was there that we saw the first other hikers all morning, after 3.5 hours. As I sat down for lunch, the one hiker was walking up to us and said, "Hey, you're Wally, right?" Not surprising.

the hike uphill along the Coffee Flat and Woodbury Trails was very rocky, as expected. There were a few flat sections here and there. The offtrail section of the hike was probably easier to hike than the trail section. At the ranch Wally pointed out where he and Denny has seen scores of pottery sherds on a previous hike. it was interesting to check that out and not see any sign of nearby ruins.

The biggest climb was along the Woodbury Trail back up to the Woodbury TH. Finished in just under 6 hours. Nice to have another hike back in the heart of the Supes, haven't been there in a while.
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Jan 11 2020
wallyfrack
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 Routes 91
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59 male
 Joined Mar 11 2003
 AZ
Fraser - Randolph LoopGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 11 2020
wallyfrack
Hiking10.40 Miles 1,215 AEG
Hiking10.40 Miles   5 Hrs   54 Mns   1.76 mph
1,215 ft AEG
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1st trip
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DarthStiller
A loop in the Supes. The drive in on FR 172 was a little rough but passable with high clearance. The creek crossings are washed out so you need to slow down to get through. The trails are in decent shape and the burn while present didn't change the overall look of the terrain by much. Randolph Canyon was flowing but you could get by if you watched out for soft spots in the sediment. Chris noticed a mine/cave up in the cliff and then about a quarter mile later we saw another one. We stopped but the Red Tanks Coffee Flat junction for a break. I was cold in the shade and the sun felt good once we were moving again. Fraser Canyon was flowing as well and the trail has some fallen trees in a few spots. All in all a good hike on a good day.
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May 17 2019
kingsnake
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 Guides 90
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58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Fraser - Randolph LoopGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar May 17 2019
kingsnake
Hiking11.45 Miles 1,265 AEG
Hiking11.45 Miles   6 Hrs   6 Mns   1.88 mph
1,265 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Since temps were expected to be very comfortable last Friday, I decided to stay in the Valley. (More or less.)

The furthest I had ever been up rocky, bumpy, FR 172 was Pam's New Year climb up Roblas Butte back in 2016: [ photoset ]

I took my time driving up FR 172, enjoying the views, and taking care in what to me were trickier sections. The last thing I wanted was a flat, or to puncture the oil pan, as FR 172 has no cell reception at all. It took me 1h 15m. I started hiking at 8:30 a.m.

The turn off for Coffee Flat Trail #108, down Fraser Canyon, is just before Woodbury Well, and is marked by a cairn. But first I explored the well. It has a windmill, but it no longer operates the pump, which is now solar-powered. At the base of the windmill was an elevated rubber pipe end, which was giving a steady flow of clear water. Two adjacent large plastic tanks sound like they were both full. (I knocked.) A spring box was dry, but a cattle tank was close to full. There were a number of well-licked salt blocks laying about. 🐄

Coffee Flat Trail #108 would have been a great hike had it not been for the INSANE amount of foxtail on it, particularly below JF Ranch. I'm not joking when I say sometimes the trail disappeared in the foxtail. I suppose I should have followed recommendations and hiked the canyon bottom, but I wanted to lay down an accurate track. 🙄

Fraser Canyon gets pretty tight for the next two miles, past Whetrock Canyon and Musk Hog Canyon, to Dripping Spring. There’s a decent amount of shade, and lots saguaro on the canyon slopes. Near Whetstone Spring, I found an mine adit that went in less than 50 ft.

I took a break at Dripping Spring, contemplating my foxtail riddled shoes & socks. I decided it would take too long to de-foxtail them, and that the existing infestation might somewhat innoculate me against further foxtails I might accumulate in Randolph Canyon. 🤔

After my break, I started up Red Tanks Trail #107, which passed by some pools and pretty purple boulders & slick rock. Along the way, I encountered a gila monster — the first one I’ve seen in the wild since I hiked from the Bronco Trailhead to Cave Creek in 2016.

After a ½ mile, Red Tanks Trail #107 heads north while Randolph Canyon continues northeast. I thought at first I might have found a use trail, but it quickly disappeared. I really did not want to fight catclaw for four miles, so I stuck to the rocky canyon bottom. That got old quick.

Though Randolph Canyon only climbs 500 ft. in the 3.5 miles to JF Trail #106, it felt like I was climbing stairs the whole way. My leg muscles got so tired, I briefly considered turning back, and even had non-sensical thoughts like “drop pack” and “cross country would be easier”. Both would have been bad news. I had to gut it out.

A few minutes before I reached Randolph Spring, I came within 5 ft. of a wetern diamondback sunning itself on a pink boulder. Naturally, I jumped back, but he never did rattle me, or even coil. 😅

Despite mostly staying in the rocky bottom of Randolph Canyon, I still accumulated scads more foxtail, as I occasionally had to work my way around an obstacle, trying to keep my stabby feet dry. (I eventually gave up staying dry.)

Two and a ½ miles up Randolph Canyon, I was dead tired. Naturally, that is when I encountered a 2-3 ft. high fence, across the wash. I’ve seen read that there is a gate in the brush on the side of the wash. Not knowing it at the time, I wondered how I could lift my weary legs over the fence, as there was no room to low crawl it. Even if there was, I did not have the energy to get back to my feet. After contemplating my options for a few minutes, I settled for stepping on the fence, depressing it enough that I was (barely) able to lift my other leg over it.

Finally, after nearly seven hours, I came to JF Trail #106. Though there is a cairn, the trail is faint. If you miss it, and really enjoy rock hopping, JF Trail #106 crosses Randolph Canyon a second time, in another half mile. I opted to climb the 150 ft. out of the canyon, stopping several times along the way for 10 seconds here and 15 seconds there. I was spent. 🚑

About halfway between the Woodbury Well and the trailhead, I got rattled by a second western diamondback*, on the left side of the jeep trail. Surprised, I did the hokey pokey back step. After gathering my senses, I walked around him.
* I almost ran over two more western diamondbacks on my drive back down FR 172! 🐍
I returned to the Woodbury Trailhead at 4:10 p.m., after nearly eight hours of hiking. (I might have taken even more time, if I was not concerned about getting back to pavement before dark.) Cold beer never tasted so good!

In summary, I liked Fraser Canyon, but downgraded it a star due to all the foxtail. Randolph Canyon blew chunks.

Drive to Woodbury TH: [ youtube video ]
Hike Video: [ youtube video ]
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Desert Marigold, Ocotillo, Cholla, Flat Top Buckwheat, Desert Lavender, Sacred Datura, Prickly Pear Cactus, New Mexico Thistle, Saguaro, Salt Cedar and -- of course -- Brittlebush.

dry Fraser Canyon Dry Dry
Some water here & there, but not comparable to Randolph Canyon.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Randolph Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Pools, and flow from trickle to audible pour, both above & below Randolph Spring. Some of the pools decent size. Some with algae, some crystal clear.
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Mar 16 2019
John9L
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 174
 Photos 5,073
 Triplogs 1,632

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Fraser - Randolph LoopGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 16 2019
John9L
Hiking10.00 Miles 1,245 AEG
Hiking10.00 Miles
1,245 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Met up with Kyle for a nice hike in the Supes. We made the drive to the Woodbury TH and headed in. We opted for a CCW loop starting with Randolph Canyon. There was a quite a bit of water after a couple of winter storms a few weeks prior. We tried keeping our feet dry but it was more of a hassle so we jumped on in. Most of the water was ankle deep with a few knee deep pools. We took a break by the spring with the concrete dam and continued until we reached the Red Tanks Trail. This was the highlight of the hike. We opted to follow the creek down as we headed south and all the water made for a memorable hike. There were several small waterfalls and we really enjoyed this section. We took a break by Dripping Springs and then headed back on the Coffee Flat Trail.

Along this section we had an interesting encounter with a fox. It appeared on the trail and was trotting right towards us. We thought it would flee as soon as it saw us but it kept approaching. I tossed a couple of rocks in its direction but it kept coming at us. Kyle then threw a rock near it and the fox got the hint and ran off into the brush about 12 feet off trail. We didn’t linger as we headed up the trail and got out of there. It was a very weird and unusual encounter. I’m not saying the fox was rabid but something wasn’t right. The rest of the hike was uneventful. We would see the one and only person along the hike near the Woodbury TH. It was an older guy who was doing a multiday backpacking trip. We got back to the jeep soon after and headed back to Phoenix.
_____________________
Feb 23 2019
joebartels
avatar

 Guides 241
 Routes 830
 Photos 11,838
 Triplogs 4,676

50 male
 Joined Nov 20 1996
 Phoenix, AZ
Miners Needle LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 23 2019
joebartels
Hiking15.29 Miles 2,673 AEG
Hiking15.29 Miles   8 Hrs   34 Mns   1.95 mph
2,673 ft AEG      44 Mns Break4 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners partners
The_Eagle
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
It'd be tough to find somebody that hates snow more than this cowboy. Opportunity knocked. Oh what the hell let's ride this bull.

Crossed Peralta creek without issue, I've seen it worse. Just chilly heading up Bluff Spring cardiac hill. We took it easy so we didn't bust a sweat, then freeze.

Followed huge paw prints joking that it could be a mountain lion. Five minutes later Bruce mentioned, you know there's no other prints along with the monster paw prints... uh, good point!

Got real at Barks Creek. I took a step, slipped, found myself hugging a boulder like a tripod mid creek. Staying dry wasn't an option. Bruce was game to keep going. That we did with wet feet for the rest of the hike.

I was determined to see how far I could go without screaming my head off like a two year old. The option never crossed my mind that it might just be enjoyable. Just a badass456 memorable hike the rest of the way, whodathunk.

Originally planned on hiking up Bluff Spring Mountain to Hidden Valley. Nixed that idea well before the junction, then when we got there I was seriously game to do it. We probably made the right decision and skipped it.

Passed 12-16 on our loop. All ages, solo hikers, runners, backpackers, social media like hunters. Stunning Winter Wonderland views around each corner. Crunchy snow, wet snow, the trail was a creek for large portions too.

We opted to take coffee flat trail over to Dripping Springs. Lunched at Reeds water. Decided to check out the Red Rock in Randolph Canyon. Turned out to be a really short trip, Randolph was raging like a river.

Barkley Basin back to the trailhead is one of my least favorite stretches in the supes. Pretty darn scenic surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

I'll be the first to admit, slightly bewildered this didn't turn into a scream-fest for moi. This was my week to pick. Home run. No pressure on the eagle, just setting the bar for the rest of the year.
Named place
Named place
Miners Needle
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
A few freezing poppies on occasion, brittlebush, Asian mustard, blue dicks

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Barks Canyon Heavy flow Heavy flow
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout Not quite there yet but I'm pretty sure based on the roar of the river where I'm at right now

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Crystal Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout We're going to assume considering it's surrounded by Lake
_____________________
- joe
Feb 23 2019
The_Eagle
avatar

 Guides 7
 Routes 798
 Photos 9,757
 Triplogs 1,336

64 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Miners Needle LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 23 2019
The_Eagle
Hiking15.31 Miles 2,965 AEG
Hiking15.31 Miles   8 Hrs   37 Mns   1.94 mph
2,965 ft AEG      43 Mns Break12 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners partners
joebartels
I thought I remembered possibly hearing something on the news about snow....

Joe's week, he gave me a few choices late Friday. This just seemed to be the right thing to do, but not the Joe thing to do. Joe, suggesting a snow hike? Knowing his proclivity to snow, I quickly assumed someone had stolen his HAZ account and was just messin' with me.

On the road to the Peralta TH, if I remember correctly, were four running washes you have to cross. Only one got my windshield wet driving through. There were actually a few cars in the lot with open spaces available as we started just before 7am.

We did a clockwise loop climbing up Bluff Springs trail to begin. With a 32ish degree start, it got you warmed up. The snow got deeper as we went and we were hoping to get out of the shade to warm up. [ youtube video ]

At the first tester of a crossing, Joe was nice enough to lay flat on his stomach, on a rock, in the middle of the heavily flowing Barks Canyon, creating a bridge for me to cross. I declined and we both walked across the calf deep water with wet feet for the rest of the day. [ youtube video ] This was just the first of many chances to get your feet wet.

The Supes are an entirely different place with all that snow. I took way too many photos on the day, but I may never see anything like this again... here.

We had plans to hit up the Ely Anderson to the top of Bluff Spring Mountain, but cold feet (literally) and deeper snow, had us nix that idea prior to getting there.

More great view when we got to the saddle by Miners Needle. The feet had warmed up and we'd decided to add on a trip to Reed's Water / Randolph Canyon to check thing out. On the way there, everything that could be running with water, was running with water.

Joe made the comment "Just think, in exactly 4 months from now, it will actually be the hottest time of the year." From 32 to 115 degrees, that's Arizona.

Just past Reeds Water, the Coffee Flat Trail was a river...
[ youtube video ]

Epic day in the Supes

If I hear anyone ask for a water report in the supes, for at least the next month, the answer is yes. I don't care where it is for, everything is running.

The Lot was full when we left
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Some Poppies, Lupine, Blue Dicks and brittle bush poking out of the snow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Bark at Dutchman Crossing Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Barks Canyon Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Peralta Creek at #102 Crossing Heavy flow Heavy flow
_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
Feb 09 2019
emilystardust
avatar

 Triplogs 288

38 female
 Joined Jun 23 2015
 Phoenix, AZ
Red Tanks Backpacking Loop, AZ 
Red Tanks Backpacking Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Feb 09 2019
emilystardust
Backpack22.90 Miles
Backpack22.90 Miles2 Days         
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Dutchman to Coffee Flat to Red Tanks to Whiskey Spring and back out Dutchman. Challenging route for me on the first day but trying to get better at backpacking. Definitely need to lighten up my gear. I went with a nice group of people, just fast 😂
_____________________
Feb 03 2019
clairebear
avatar

 Photos 178
 Triplogs 158

38 female
 Joined Oct 26 2011
 Tempe, AZ
Coffee Flat Trail #108Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 03 2019
clairebear
Hiking11.21 Miles 1,710 AEG
Hiking11.21 Miles
1,710 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Rain in the forecast so I wanted to go hiking in the Superstitions! It was also my first time checking out Coffee Flats from Peralta. Our views were obscured by mist and low hanging clouds but we could still appreciate how green everything was. The trail meanders easily through the desert landscape. Eventually we were admiring the views of Buzzards Roost just before descending into Reeds water. We set our sights to get to Reeds Water and turn around. We checked out the windmill and the surrounding area. The giant saguaro towered over Erik and the dogs. Our time near Reeds water was brief as it was raining on us and there was no dry place for us to escape, so we turned around to go back the way we came. It rained on us for most of the day. Barks canyon was a dry crossing when we started, but it was a gusher on the way out. Erik and I walked upstream a bit in order to find the least treacherous crossing. A significant change in the course of a few hours.

Reeds water could be a great spot a future backpacking trip with the dogs, although the creaking sounds from windmill were unsettling enough during our brief visit.
Finally, Peralta road is in fact a muddy mess when it rains. On our way out we passed 1 truck getting a tow.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Reeds Water 26-50% full 26-50% full
Water deep down in the well under the windmill. There is a cup with a string attached. (assuming that the string is long enough to reach the water. Extra paracord would be helpful just in case)
_____________________
Jan 27 2019
CannondaleKid
avatar

 Guides 43
 Routes 138
 Photos 21,830
 Triplogs 2,234

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
FR172B Dripping Springs Woodbury Loop, AZ 
FR172B Dripping Springs Woodbury Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 27 2019
CannondaleKid
Hiking10.00 Miles 1,902 AEG
Hiking10.00 Miles   5 Hrs      2.07 mph
1,902 ft AEG      10 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
The original plan was to climb Peak 3635 just off the Woodbury Trail then explore some mines in the other direction.
That plan only lasted 2 miles at the point we would need to leave the trail and begin the ascent. Neither one of us liked the look of any of the possible routes I had mapped out, at which point Tracey asked have we ever hiked to Dripping Springs from Woodbury. We had not, so we continued on to Dripping Springs, enjoying the quiet broken only by chirping of various birds.

We took a short break at the springs then headed back along the Coffee Flat and Woodbury Trails. Shortly before reaching the JF Trail intersection we encountered a spike buck white-tail(?) just staring at us. The left 'spike' was barely a half-inch long and the right maybe an inch. It kept an eye on us until we were out-of-sight.

Eventually we crossed the JF Trail and continued east to pay a visit to a few old mines. Since we had no planned on the out-and-back to Dripping Springs, by time we reached the first mine and found little of interest, we decided to skip the 1+ mile to the next one. Rather than returning on the Woodbury Trail to JF Trail and back to the TH, we climbed to the top of the ridge, scaled the fence then took a decidedly rough off-trail route back to the TH.

Good thing we started early as the vehicle traffic on FR 172 was already getting crazy, so we returned following the wash back to Hewitt road. By then the ATV traffic on Hewitt road was absolutely nuts, but I guess that's to be expected on a winter weekend.

So, between the 4x4/ATV traffic and the upcoming Renaissance Fair, we won't be going out this way except on weekdays.
_____________________
CannondaleKid
Jan 01 2019
LindaAnn
avatar

 Guides 42
 Routes 382
 Photos 3,496
 Triplogs 1,200

40 female
 Joined Dec 24 2007
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Red Tanks Super Loop - Peralta THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 01 2019
LindaAnn
Hiking21.29 Miles 3,153 AEG
Hiking21.29 Miles   10 Hrs      2.19 mph
3,153 ft AEG      18 Mns Break
 
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Lots of snow, And when there wasn't snow, there was mud. I thought of bailing out early a couple of times, but I'm glad I stuck with the full loop.

I started from Peralta just after 7:30am. It had been raining while I was driving through Apache Junction & Gold Canyon, but nothing since then. Dark and gloomy at the trailhead, lots of low clouds, and just a few cars there. I headed up a very slick Bluff Springs trail, and within about 5-6 minutes of starting, it started to snow. And kept snowing. Two guys who started just ahead of me turned around at 1.5 miles. At about 2.5 miles, the snow started to stick, and small breaks in the clouds gave peeks of the winter wonderland on all the mountaintops. Bluff Springs trail is a little brushier in places than I remembered, maybe instead of the never-ending trail maintenance on Peralta they could branch out to some of the other trails.

At Dutchman, I considered heading back out and making a short loop, but I really didn't want my day to end that early, so I kept going. The tall grass on Dutchman soaked my pants legs within minutes, but the snowfall had ended for the day for me. I wore waterproof shoes, but they are so old, they were letting in water where the toes bend. Dutchman is almost always a bore for me, so I was glad that part went quickly. My pants dried within about 20 minutes as I kept walking. I saw one backpacker on his way out, he looked cold.

At the junction with Red Tanks, the sun was peeking out, so I found a flat rock and took off my shoes to let them & my socks dry out a little, and had a snack while I waited. After about 10 minutes, the socks were dry, so I kept hiking. The catclaw is growing back in on Red Tanks again. At the junction with Whiskey Springs trail, I once again considered making a shorter loop, but the sun was out and I could see snow beckoning up ahead, so once again, I continued with my original plan. I ran into another hiker at the top of Upper LaBarge--he was making the same loop as me, but in the opposite direction. He asked what the trail was like ahead for him, I said it was fine, that there was a little snow on Bluff Springs but that it was probably already melting off. He said that the snow was crazy further up on Red Tanks and that at times he couldn't see more than a foot or two in front of him. For a second, I considered turning around, but them some credibility was lost when he said there were wolf tracks everywhere.

Shortly after the Hoolie Bacon junction, I was on a snow covered trail. It was about an inch deep, and getting deeper as I climbed. The trail wasn't visible in a lot of places, and cairns were difficult to make out as everything was covered in snow. Luckily the hiker I had passed had done a good job of staying on trail and I was able to follow his footprints in conjunction with spotting cairns--this saved me a ton of time. Lots of animal prints in the snow, but I didn't see anything except for one rabbit. At the Divide, the snow was about 4" deep, and my socks were soaked again. The beautiful snow covered desert made up for any discomfort. I stopped to take pictures every few feet at times. The snow was melting quickly, and once over the Divide, it disappeared on the trail within about 0.5 miles. The trail is in crap condition though, poor footing and brushy.

Once at Coffee Flats, it felt like autumn again, as the trees were still hanging on to their golden leaves. It was a relief to be back on an easy trail again, and the walk along Coffee Flats seemed to go by quickly. Back at Dutchman, it was another boring few miles back to the trailhead. Temps were dropping quickly, and I was annoyed at the nonstop bicycle track in the mud of the trail. Finished up just a few minutes minutes after sunset to a parking lot full of yelling people. I'm sure Peralta trail was a mob scene all day. Great day in the Supes, and especially a treat to be out there in all that snow.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bark at Dutchman Crossing Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Barks Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Pools of water, light trickle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Dripping Spring Dripping Dripping

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Fraser Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Red Tanks Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Trap Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Upper LaBarge Box Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
_____________________
Dec 08 2018
capcyclone
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 3
 Photos 55
 Triplogs 81

48 male
 Joined Jan 26 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Coffee Flat Trail #108Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 08 2018
capcyclone
Hiking12.00 Miles 1,100 AEG
Hiking12.00 Miles
1,100 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A great overnight backpack in the Supes. Took the Coffee Flat Trail out to Reeds Water.
_____________________
Nov 12 2018
rayhuston
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 81
 Photos 3,765
 Triplogs 634

63 male
 Joined Mar 09 2012
 Gilbert, AZ
Coffee Flat Trail #108Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 12 2018
rayhuston
Hiking13.03 Miles 1,737 AEG
Hiking13.03 Miles   5 Hrs   56 Mns   2.35 mph
1,737 ft AEG      23 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I've been on the Coffee Flat trail a couple of times, but I was in a hurry each time and didn't pay much attention to the area. Today I decided to "stop and smell the, er, coffee."

Cool weather means I can sleep in and start at 9am :o again. Better for Barkley Basin anyway; I always start too early and end up with sun glare in the background. It was just right today.

The Coffee Flat trail can be tedious, so not long after the first gate, I headed off trail NE towards the area the trail was named after: Coffee Flat. I got lucky and found easy walking through some cool terrain. When I finally got there, I found Coffee Flat to be pretty flat.

The route back to the Coffee Flat trail wasn't quite as easy but still enjoyable. Once back on the trail, just before Reed's Water, I left the trail again, this time to the south up a rocky bluff. I had to crawl under a fence to get there, but I found a pretty cool break spot. Sitting above the bend in the trail with the cottonwoods shimmering in a lovely breeze was picturesque. I bet those cottonwoods will be golden in a week or three.

After the break, I continued down the south side of the bluff and headed down Coffee Flat Canyon towards Whitlow Canyon. Once on Whitlow, I headed back to Coffee Flat, on to Dutchman and a return to the trailhead.

The trails were all in pretty good shape. No water to speak of. Deerhorn spring was a bug trap - they check in but they don't check out.

Fun day.
_____________________
4 archives
Nov 08 2018
markthurman53
avatar

 Guides 104
 Routes 583
 Photos 7,066
 Triplogs 486

67 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Red Tanks Coffee Flat Loop, AZ 
Red Tanks Coffee Flat Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 08 2018
markthurman53
Hiking20.15 Miles 3,149 AEG
Hiking20.15 Miles   10 Hrs   15 Mns   2.42 mph
3,149 ft AEG   1 Hour   56 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
I had time for a one day hike in the Superstitions and opted to do the Red Tanks, Coffee Flat Loop in the clockwise direction. This time I drove up to Apache Junction very early in the morning and headed back to Tucson that evening rather than do the usual stay in Apache Junction for a multiple day hikes. This hike was about 20 miles and I was concerned whether I could do it with the shorter days so it required starting before sunrise. On the up side, it is very satisfying being on the trail and watching the sun rise. The temps were in the low 50’s at the start, perfect for hiking so there was no need to be freezing chanting “come on sun”.

I started out from the Peralta Trail Head at about 0630 on the Dutchman Trail. Beautiful walk through Barkley Basin as the sun was rising. The desert was very green and the ocotillos were green with leaves thanks to the tropical storm in October. Made it to Miners Needle fairly quickly and headed up Miners canyon to the Whiskey Springs Trail. That rock formation just east of Minors Needle at the head of Miners canyon is quite interesting but I cannot find a name for it anywhere, surely someone has given it a name, probably even climbed it. The Dutchman Trail is in excellent condition as it gets plenty of use. The trail does such a nice job of climbing to the saddle near Miners Summit that you hardly notice that you just ascended about 700 feet.

At the Saddle near Miners Summit the Whiskey Spring Trail heads east for about 2 miles to the Red Tanks Trail. This trail is generally downhill most of the way to where it ends in La Barge Canyon. Didn’t notice any water in Whiskey Spring Canyon but by the looks of the large sycamore at Whiskey Spring there may have been water there. I didn’t check it out as I was concerned about finishing this hike before sunset. The Whiskey Spring Trail is in Good condition all the way to its terminus at La Barge Creek and the Red Tanks Trail.

The Red Tanks Trail Heads east up upper La Barge Box Canyon past the Hoolie Bacon Trail and up and over the Red Tanks Divide. From the divide there are views to the north of the upper La Barge Canyon and to the south Red Tanks, Randolph and Fraser Canyons. The Red Tanks Trail coming from the north is a gradual climb to the divide but a little steep and rocky on the descent in to Red Tanks Canyon. There were no issues staying on trail, I thought it was pretty well defined and cairns marked places where it crosses a creek. I Ran in to two hikers, the only ones of the day, near the Hoolie Bacon Trail. They were doing the same hike but in two days and camped in Upper La Barge Canyon.

The Coffee Flat Trail starts and the Red Tanks Trail ends at the junction of Randolph and Fraser Canyon. The rock is a reddish color and pools of water that form in and around these rocks probably are what give the Red Tanks Trail and canyon it’s name. The Coffee Flat Trail is well marked in most places and easy to follow. It follows Randolph Canyon as it heads west and heads up over a small rise to Coffee Flat where Randolph Creek starts to head to the southwest. Watch for this change of direction of the trail because I missed it and continued on down Randolph to Whitlow Canyon where I discovered I was off trail. I really need to check my GPS more often (I say this every time I get off trail; I guess old dogs don’t learn new tricks). The old topo maps show this trail and it continues down toward Whitlow Ranch to the south. After checking my GPS I opted to continue on up whitlow Canyon until I connected back up with the Coffee Flat Trail. Overall the Coffee Flat Trail is well defined all the way to the Dutchman Trail, just watch for the cairns when in the creek bed.

Great hike. Completed the hike in about 8 hours with about 2 hours stopped or resting. got back to the Peralta Trail Head just before sunset. The gallon of water I brought was plenty but I did fill my canteen cup up from one of the pools when I took a break at the Randolph - Fraser Canyon Junction. The water was much cooler than what I was carrying. Always have to give your immune system something to work on otherwise it forgets what it is there for; especially in our so sterile everyday environment (This is just a comment not advice).

My scale at home broke a record when I weighed myself at home. I have never seen it below 170 before but when I weighed in after this hike it was 169. I brought lots of high calorie snacks with me on this hike because when it says I could burn 3500 calories on this hike I knew the usual 500 to 1000 calories wasn't going to cut it. The next morning I was back up to 171 and I assume I will gain a couple more as I re hydrate over the next day or so.
Named place
Named place
Cathedral Rock - Superstitions

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Fraser Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

dry Randolph Canyon Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Red Tanks Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Upper LaBarge Box Canyon Light flow Light flow
_____________________
1 archive
Nov 04 2018
Vashti
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 79
 Photos 406
 Triplogs 117

female
 Joined Mar 11 2002
 Gilbert, AZ
Coffee Flat Trail #108Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 04 2018
Vashti
Hiking7.50 Miles 1,100 AEG
Hiking7.50 Miles   5 Hrs   53 Mns   1.56 mph
1,100 ft AEG   1 Hour   4 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Beautiful day for a hike. Started from Peralta Th, went down Dutchman's to coffee flat tail out to the windmill at Reed's water. Not a lot of elevation change, but beautiful scenery and no people, woo hoo! :). Given the rain of previous weeks, all the Ocotillos were leafed out. So pretty!

The windmill sounds a little haunted when it turns in the wind. A lot of metal on metal screeching and groaning. A neat place to have lunch. Lots of yellowjackets and bees in that area.

dry Reeds Water Dry Dry
_____________________
:D
1 archive
Oct 27 2018
AndrewAZ
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 1
 Triplogs 16

40 male
 Joined Feb 27 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Dripping Springs Super LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 27 2018
AndrewAZ
Hiking19.00 Miles 3,200 AEG
Hiking19.00 Miles
3,200 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
I went east on Dutchman's Trail 104 from the Peralta TH to Coffee Flat 108, east on Coffee Flat to Red Tanks 107, north on Red Tanks and then west through Upper Labarge Box, south and west on Whiskey Spring 238, and south and west on Dutchman 104 to get back to the TH. My Green Trails map claims that is 19 miles.

I got started at about 6:15 and wondered how long it would take me to see another person. The answer was 15 minutes because a cute, blonde trailrunner passed me with her dog at that point. However, aside from people in the parking area, that was the only person I saw all day. It's possible that heat kept people off the trails. If I had had any sense, it would've kept me away.

The trailrunner must've stayed on Dutchman because the number of spider webs I walked through went way up after I turned onto Coffee Flat trail. Coffee Flat trail through lower Randolph Canyon was brushy, but nicely shaded. The shade vanished once I turned up Red Tanks. The scenery along Red Tanks was spectacular, although it would've been much more enjoyable at 65 degrees instead of 85. I would rank Red Tanks up there with Hoolie Bacon and Peters Trail for great scenery plus remote wilderness feel.

With all the rain, I had expected lots of water. There were a few pools here and there, but not much. It was a small trickle in Upper Labarge Box instead of the torrent it had been in February after the rain.

I thought Red Tanks in Upper Labarge Box would be easier to navigate when it dropped down the to the wash without all the water to hide the trail. Nope. The trail still just vanished for a while and required some boulder hopping. I found it for a while only to have it vanish again.

There was some trickling water when I turned on Whiskey Spring trail, so I filtered a liter. I could've made it back to the truck with what I had left (I had started with 2 liters), but it would've been unpleasant.

Red Tanks is obviously not the most popular trail, but I hoped Whiskey Spring had seen more use to make the remainder of my day easier. It was not to be. Whiskey Spring was also quite brushy due to the rains, and the brush all had thorns. I mean, it wasn't brushy like the GET through the Santa Teresas (the horror, the horror...), but I still got sliced up.

The heat and mileage had really taken their toll by the time I got back to Dutchmans. The drop past Miners Needle and the stretch back to the TH was more of a forced march than I would've liked.

I think I have now done every major trail in the western Superstitions on my Green Trails map. I guess it's time to start working on the central and east portions as well as the questionable dotted-line trails. The JF-Cedar Basin-Red Tanks-upper Randolph Canyon loop looks like a memorable one...
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average hiking speed 2.07 mph
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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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