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Deep Creek Trail to Moody Point - Sierra Ancha Wilderness, Tonto National Forest

Summary: The Deep Creek Trail is located in the Cherry Creek area of the Sierra Ancha Wilderness. The hike heads cross country through a rarely visited area with a destination of Moody Point, a summit with good views of the Sierra Ancha Wilderness.
Directions: From Phoenix drive east on Highway 60 almost to Globe. Turn left (north) on Highway 188 (also listed as 88 on maps) and drive 14.4 miles to Highway 288. Turn right on 288 which soon crosses the Salt River on a single lane bridge. After 6.7 miles, turn right onto the well graded, dirt Cherry Creek Road (which is also Forest Road 203). After 8.8 miles at the sign for Coon Creek FR #203 bends right and crosses the creek (straight will take you onto private ranch property). At the 13.3 mile point you reach a sign for the left branching Bull Canyon Road (FR #203A). Turn left and follow this road 6 miles to the signed Bull Canyon Trailhead at the end.
Road Conditions: Passenger Car? Maybe if you take it slow. Better to bring a High Clearance Vehicle.
Navigation: Difficult
Length: ~13 miles
Date Hiked: November 2003
Weather Conditions: Cool and sunny - perfect hiking conditions
Required Skills:
Hike Description: From the signed Bull Canyon Trailhead, walk around the wooden post fence and walk down the trail (0 miles, 5030 ft). Just beyond is a sign indicating that you are on the Deep Creek Trail #128 with Coon Spring Trail (#124) mile, Moody Point Trail (#140) 5 miles. Continue down the wide and rocky trail (which obviously sees occasional horse traffic) and in 5 minutes you reach a signed junction with the left branching Coon Spring Trail #124 (2.5 miles to Coon Spring, 3.5 miles to Coon Creek Trail #254), stay straight on the Deep Creek Trail which continues through an area consisting mainly of: scrub oak, manzanita, sotol, small juniper, bear grass, rabbit brush and prickly pear. The path drops down and crosses a shallow wash before traveling beside a barbed wire fence for a distance. The trail winds its way up and down a few shallow hills before dropping down into a dry wash with some large oak trees and some nice camp sites. This is obviously the turn around point for most people because the trail becomes considerably more faint on the other side of the wash. To stay on the trail, walk across the wash, then turn 90 degrees left and walk along the edge of the drainage for a short distance. The path then becomes more distinct as it begins to climb somewhat steeply up and away from the wash to the right. As you continue to climb, the trail enters a grassy area and becomes quite faint until it reaches a somewhat more distinct path near some stock ponds (which will be down a short side trail to the left). Stay right at the spur trail to the stock pond and continue north as the trail winds its way beneath several prominent cliff faces (the second one, or the one on the right, is Moody Point). The trail is fairly level as it crosses a few washes. It then drops down into a wash, which it follows a short distance before climbing out on the right hand side and begins ascending a hill to the east. As you climb, there is a tricky spot marked by a cairn. The path appears to go straight past the cairn, but quickly fades away into the scrub. In fact the trail makes a sharp left at the cairn and heads directly up the hillside. Near the top of the hill you'll reach a signed junction with the Moody Point Trail #140 (5 miles, 5500 ft) which heads left and right. Turn left and climb the rest of the way up the hill to a ridge with good views overlooking Cherry Creek far below on the right. Follow the ridge along a mostly non-existent path keeping an eye out for cairns which mark the way. The 'trail' (using the term very loosely) crosses the ridge, then bends left and begins climbing steeply up the slope following a deep un-named drainage (just south of Devils Chasm) which will be on your right. The path in this section is very difficult to follow, basically you are walking from cairn to cairn trying to find the next one to indicate you're on the right route. The path in this section is very difficult to follow, basically you have to route find from cairn to cairn trying to find the next one to indicate you're on the right route. An old fire in the area appears to have damaged many of the trees and obliterated much of the path. It's a steep climb of about 1000 ft to the summit of Moody Point where the path levels out. You'll have to route find through several wide sections of scrub to pick up occasional sections of decent trail, which becomes more defined as you enter a more forested section of pines. The summit of Moody Point is not marked, so the turn around point is up to you (6.5 miles, 6600 ft). When ready, return the way you came.
Rating (1-5 stars):
The author and his wife completed this hike in 7.5 hours at a moderate pace. Route finding along the Moody Point Trail was difficult and definitely slowed us down.
Books: None
Maps: Tonto National Forest, USFS (not a very good map)
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
Much of the hike looks
just like this.
View on the way to Moody Point.