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Monday, February 10, 2014

BLUE WASH-CAMP CREEK


BLUE WASH-CAMP CREEK
Tonto National Forest, north of Carefree

Sycamores along Camp Creek

The sandy, canyon-bound courses of Blue Wash and Camp Creek provide an interesting twist on desert hiking. During rainstorms, turbulent sheets of water pummeling off of the Cave Creek Mountains rush through these natural funnels that channel moisture into the Verde River. But, on most days, the rocky corridors are hikable mazes of boulders and rock jams settled in a soft-floored, multi-armed gorge that supports a community of willows, sycamores and bamboo plugged into precious groundwater. There's no "official trail" but well-worn footpaths ambling among house-high blocks of granite are reasonably easy to pick out in this quiet section of Tonto National Forest between Cave Creek Road and Bartlett Dam Road that's off limits to motorized traffic.  From the Cave Creek Road trailhead, the hike begins with a passage through "boulder alley" where there are three tricky spots that require some minor scrambling. At the 1.1-mile point, Blue Wash intersects with Camp Creek at a wide "T" junction. Turn left (northeast) here and hike 0.28 mile to visit Camp Creek Falls---a box canyon grotto with spring-fed water cascades and drop pools. Once done exploring the falls, return to the "T" and hike south down the wash another 3 miles to the turnaround point at Bartlett Dam Road. Actual mileage may vary slightly because there are multiple paths through the canyon.
"boulder alley"



LENGTH: 8 miles roundtrip
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 2640' - 3200'

GETTING THERE:
NORTH (Cave Creek Road) TRAILHEAD:
From Loop 101 in Scottsdale, take the Princess/Pima exit 36 and go 13 miles north on  
Camp Creek Falls
Pima to Cave Creek Road (a.k.a. Seven Springs Road and FR24). Follow Cave Creek Road 6.5 miles to the gravel lot on the left just past the "Blue Wash #1" sign. Trail begins near the cottonwood trees across from the parking place.
SOUTH (Bartlett Dam Road) TRAILHEAD:
From Loop 101 in Scottsdale, take the Princess/Pima exit 36 and go 13 miles north on Pima to Cave Creek Road (a.k.a. Seven Springs Road and FR24). Follow Cave Creek Road 4.1 miles to Bartlett Dam Road, turn right and continue 2.8 miles to the trailhead on the left.

MORE PHOTOS:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200447108459000.1073741917.1795269672&type=1&l=647804239f

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We tried this hike today after reading about it in Phoenix magazine. Should've read your blog post as well, because lack of a trail made us think we were lost, and we turned back before reaching the waterfall.