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Nice 5.3 mile easy hike....tricky as no “Meridian Trail” markers so use AllTrails GPS to stay on.

Beautiful trail that can be extended into much longer hikes by the vast network of connecting trails. These trails are primarily used by mountain bikers. The pros are it’s amazing scenery and relatively few people compared to other nearby trails on the Preserve. The only con is that it’s not much of a workout due to no elevation gain. Great choice on weekend if you want to get out on a hike while also have some solitude in nature!

11 days ago

Nice hike to a watering hole...water is typically too cold for me, but other folks jumped in just fine. Keep your bikes home unless your only going halfway, saw a kid struggle as his father kept going. You don't need to be in great shape, but helps.

We did not do the Bull Head Ranch trailhead, but rather took the Bald Hill Road instead. This 1 mile long road ends at the trailhead, but I would caution that any vehicle without good suspension and/or clearance avoid driving this last mile. We were in a car, so we parked at the beginning of Bald Hill Road (also called FR 214A) and walked the mile to the trailhead

This trail is a killer. Especially getting down into the canyon, which I believe is called Copper Canyon. Very steep trail down with too few switchbacks and too many sandy spots to slip on.

Once you get to the bottom, seeing the trail is hit and miss since it's not maintained. But it's not possible to get lost since the canyon funnels you along the creek. If you are headed to the waterfalls (Maiden Falls and also Supai Falls), hike upstream.

The waterfalls are about 3 hours upstream, after rock scrambling, river wading, tree branch swatting, and inner tube floating. It is very slow going, so it's hard to gauge distances.

Do bring an inner tube in your backpack, so you can blow it up when you get to the impassable section (this section is maybe 100 feet of paddling). We sat on the inner tubes with our backpacks in our laps and paddled with our hands. Wasn't too bad, but the water is COLD!!

Also bring about 3 liters of water. And even then, I finished my water during the hike out of the canyon. And bring plenty of snacks, including electrolyte/salty snacks

You will get wet on this hike. Rock scrambling serves you to a point, but there will be times when you must wade in the water. Usually less than knee deep.

The most enjoyable way to do this hike in my opinion is to backpack partway into it and tent camp, and then finish the hike the next day. Otherwise you will be very sore for a couple days afterwards. There are a few "designated" campsites that others have used by the creek. I'd recommend using these so as not to create more vegetation disturbances/fire rings.

The bottom of the canyon and the creek are beautiful. Lots of trees, mostly shady, steep canyon walls, tons of butterflies, clear bubbling creek. But it takes quite a bit of effort to get down into it and is technical in rock scrambling for 3 hours before finally being rewarded with the waterfalls.

As long as you are prepared and know what to expect, you will have a great time! Not recommended for children or anyone with bad knees or poor stamina. Dogs would have a difficult time as well.

hiking
1 month ago

It was way rockier than expected but was a fun workout. I ran out of water though (bring more than a bottle). Very scenic cacti❤️
I’ll be doing Tom’s Thumb next☹️

1 month ago

Beautiful hike. Cliff jumping is great! Word to the wise when the trail says cross the river don’t... go to your left and follow the river bed. It will take you to the swimming hole. If you go over the river you’ll continue on Bell Trail with some good elevation climbing into the forest. This spot is great if your training for a big hike or going for distance and want to see more of the canyon! Super Beautiful but be aware it’s dry and literally continues on forever. We went three miles past the river mostly incline.

backpacking
2 months ago

Would have given more stars but.......
If you follow the trail it is difficult, hot 100+, uncovered, and long stretches without water. At what appears to be the end of the trail, the way down to the creek is extremely unsafe (with a full pack) requiring navigation over a narrow ledge and 20ft drop.
If you follow the creek it is slow going and your battling loose rock, deep pools, bushwhacking through tons of poison ivy and spider webs, fallen wood and twigs which create trip hazards, and encounters with wildlife like snakes and spiders.
Next time I’ll check out the east entrance to the canyon and see if it is easier. The camping is great. Encountered many other people on the trail and deep in the canyon. I would do this again when the weather cools off. This would be a great hike 20-30 degrees cooler. Bring a fishing pole. Saw many large trout swimming in the deeper areas.

Great fishing as well

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike! Went today, a Tuesday, and the trail and swimming area was pretty hiker free. I passed one young lady on the way out who was returning and there was another young lady at the swimming area. This made for a nice quiet hike. As you hike out you hear nothing but birds and water running. the swimming hole at the turn around is fantastic. the water was cool and a nice way to relax before returning back out. I personally like a hike with a goal to reach and this one really paid off!

2 months ago

Great trail! Moderate, yet long and hot hike. The Crack was an awesome place to cool off!

2 months ago

great trail! tougher than it sounded. gps said we did 9.5 miles roundtrip. we did have to park in the overflow parking but they had a trail to connect to the main trail. the trail is pretty rocky and def drop offs at every turn. once you get to the water it is very beautiful but trash everywhere no one packs out the garbage. shame on them.

Beautiful area. Great weather. But signage terrible. About a half mile in, a sign says Willow Springs Lake, 3.0 miles to the right. That’s it. Other than a sign with a bike on it after a bit. Nothing further about Willow Lake. We continued to the right at the bike sign, on what appears to be the main trail (DO NOT GO THAT WAY. IT IS NOT THE LOOP TRAIL). Take the left at the bike trail sign. That is the loop trail.

We would up hike out the wrong trail for 3.5 mile and said screw this (actually it was much more colorful language).

Could not get cell or data coverage out there, so AllTrails could not be accessed.

Beautiful day for a hike nonetheless.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail. Tougher than we thought it would be, but we are fairly new to hiking. Bring more water than you think you’ll need! Ran into a few that ran out of water before they even made it to the crack. Loved the swimming hole.

hiking
3 months ago

8 of us did this hike Sunday 8-5-18, it was fantastic. Pretty much no shade but it's an easy hike with only a couple moderate spots. The jumping rock is perfect and easy to use and the water is always cold. As many other reviews have stated the hike gets hot, bring lots of water. I brought an empty water gallon and filled it from the river for the hike out, half way back it was getting warm so I drenched myself, best decision.

hiking
3 months ago

my wife and I did this hike. It sprinkled rain most of the day except for one point where the clouds cleared and the sun hit the trail and it was hotttt. Overall a fantastic hike and the treasure at the end as well worth the walk. bring your hiking hammock there are some great spots to hang it up near the water hole.

hiking
3 months ago

Best hike I’ve ever been on! Bring an inner tube ($2 at Walmart/ frys) to be able to float along the many pools of water. Beautiful!
Rope swing made for some fun. So amazing!

Wear hiking boots. Bring water hiking sandals and clothes to get wet in. We change into our water sandals when we get to the first crossing and keep them on until we are done and are back across to where we put them on . Dry feet and hiking boots are nice for the hike out after having wet feet all day. Creek is about knee to thigh high at the first crossing. Water is clear and refreshing. Many swimming holes along the whole trail. Remember, this area has flash floods. You may not be able to safely cross the creek during times of rain in the surrounding areas. The hike out is exposed after you leave the creek. Hot in the summer. We love this area. The more you explore the more you find to enjoy. Leave no trace.

hiking
4 months ago

Loved it! I recorded 8mi RT somehow. Didn’t realize this is the hike to “the crack” great cliff jumping at the end! The water feels great!!!
The hike itself I would say is pretty moderate. Has some incline, but nothing strenuous. My dog did it just fine. It was “monsoon” weekend. It drizzled the whole day with humidity in the mid to low 80s-ish. I would definitely do it again!

hiking
5 months ago

The hike was nice. I would rate 3.5 stars. We began at 845am and there was one other car in the lot. The weather was overcast and mid-80s. The clouds were critical as everyone in this thread is right - very little shade and if the sun is out, it'll be beating down on you. The first half of the hike is not that great, pretty simple flat trail. The second half gets much better with some elevation change and beautiful views. The swimming hole around the 3.5-mile mark was also excellent and refreshing. We had the place to ourselves. On our trek back out we passed many people and the lot was nearly full. Get there early on a weekday (if possible) to beat the crowds.

Unless you already live in Fountain Hills don’t go to the effort of driving out to this hike. Was lame

Just went to Bullpen Swimming Hole

hiking
5 months ago

Decent tour of the park if you only want to pay the discounted entry fee.

Absolutely gorgeous trail!! It offers it all! Goes from a desert drive, to a woods-y trailhead, and then the hike scenery is back and forth a few more times. Truly a unique place. Like previous reviews state, there are three different creek crossings within the first three miles. You can find a few campsites off the trail to the left after the third crossing, if you wish to stay a night or two. I would highly recommend bringing some camp/water shoes along with you, and having something accessible to dry your feet off with. I had a bandana and clipped on to the front of my pack to make my transition a bit more smooth, and it made a world of difference. It's hard to put dry socks on wet feet. Also, the first and second crossing are less than a tenth of a mile apart. If you are switching into camp shoes like I did, leave them on until after the second crossing. Trust me! I saw/heard a ton of lizards in the dry brush along the way, spotted a few small critters at camp, but no snakes or scorpions anywhere. Just be diligent and keep your eyes and ears open. Please practice Leave No Trace as well, and keep this hidden gem as beautiful and serene as it is now. Happy trails!

I wish I could say I loved it but it ended up being an awful day. We started the trail enthusiastic because it had been a few weeks since our last hike. It started out well with a nice breeze to calm the strong sun. First mistake was taking a right at a fork which ended up being the wrong direction (trail not marked well to direct you). Once we finally made it to the lake I was disappointed in the proximity of the trail to the lake. With only rocky access to the water we continued on the trail, where you can’t really see the water, and we wandered off again due to poor markings. At this point I attempted to use the app which led us through a lot of brush... thankfully without a snake encounter! We finally found our way and trekked the last few miles of sand. In the end the trail ended up being 10.5 miles v the 7.8 which would normally be fine but an extra couple hours of being lost left us thirsty.

5 months ago

We really enjoyed this hike although it turned out to be 15.5 miles round trip to reach the crack. Most of the hike is flat and out in the hot sun. You follow the creek the entire time and only reach it at the end. Beautiful hike, I don’t think we will repeat it anytime soon.

hiking
5 months ago

This was a moderately hard trail for us, mainly due to the distance and the heat! Gorgeous views, and the water was amazing! Cold but it feels super refreshing after the 3.5 mile trek. My husband and I both brought a camel pack and an additional hydro flask so we had enough water for us and our dog... warming if you are bringing a dog. It’s pretty hot for them. There is an area where the trail is black... if burned our dogs feet and we had to carry her on the way back. She has been on several hikes before, and has tough feet... so beware of that part. The rest of the trail isn’t too hot on the ground but that crumbled black rock was no good!

5 months ago

Great hike. Awesome ending. Steady moderately easy hike.

hiking
6 months ago

Decent hike, great swimming hole! Not bad if you hike regularly but we saw a few people that had issues with the heat, water, and didn’t get all the way back to the water. Swim shoes would be a good suggestion but not required. I did not use any. Don’t forget to reapply sun screen before you leave!!! Lol

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike but very hot! Some shade depending on time of day, but worth every minute once you jump into that water. Wow so much fun.

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