Phoenix: Towel Creek Trail

Venture into cowboy country on a faded cattle trail that visits desolate buttes, colorful meadows, and quiet vistas in 6 rolling miles (each way).
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Venture into cowboy country on a faded cattle trail that visits desolate buttes, colorful meadows, and quiet vistas in 6 rolling miles (each way).

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 9.7

Waypoints

TOW001

Location: 34.4348602294922, -111.686904907227

Head S on dirt road

TOW002

Location: 34.4309387207031, -111.687927246094

Go through gate on right side of road @ Towel Creek Trail sign. Cross dry wash and follow small cairns uphill

TOW003

Location: 34.4304122924805, -111.688896179199

Turn L @ signpost #67

TOW004

Location: 34.4239273071289, -111.691909790039

Piñon and juniper provide intermittent shade on old jeep track

TOW005

Location: 34.4172859191894, -111.699279785156

Big desert views: To R is Hackberry Mtn., named after the trees whose fruit stain the desert floor blood-red

TOW006

Location: 34.4105758666992, -111.705772399902

Cross grassy meadow, dodging cow pies from transient cattle

TOW007

Location: 34.4104995727539, -111.707763671875

Stay straight past cattle tank on L

TOW008

Location: 34.4107551574707, -111.715293884277

Trail narrows then fades out in the desert dirt; follow sporadic cairns

TOW009

Location: 34.4121971130371, -111.727630615234

Trail wanders by rocky escarpment and sandstone buttes under a usually cloudless, powder-blue sky

TOW010

Location: 34.4137687683106, -111.733131408691

Trail nears spring shaded by cottonwoods and sycamores; refill water bottles

TOW011

Location: 34.4095840454102, -111.747947692871

Trail hemmed in by thorny chaparral; admire oncoming hills and canyons, which penetrate deep into the 1.8-million-acre Coconino National Forest

TOW012

Location: 34.409969329834, -111.752876281738

Trail climbs high bluff with views of high desert where manzanita, scrub oak, and cliff rose add color to sand-hued palette. Return to car, or spend a night by continuing 2 miles to primitive camps near Verde River