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Cottonwood Canyon Trail, AZ Trail - Tonto National Forest

Summary: A short out and back hike through a canyon with a spring just south of Roosevelt Marina. The Cottonwood Trail #120 is a short section of the AZ trail which connects Roosevelt Lake and the bridge over the Salt River with the Two Bar Ridge Trail.
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 to just past milepost 239 and turn left on Forest Road 83. After 2.3 miles on good dirt road you'll reach a sign indicating the Cottonwood Canyon Trail is 2 miles to the left. Follow this rough 4-Wheel Drive road 2 miles to the signed junction with a short, right branching spur road for the Cottonwood Canyon Trail. Park at the end next to a concrete stock tank.
Road Conditions: 4-Wheel Drive
Navigation: Easy
Length: 6 miles
Date Hiked: January 2005
Weather Conditions: Cloudy and cool
Required Skills: None
Hike Description: From the parking area, pick up the Cottonwood Canyon Trail #120 as it heads north down a somewhat overgrown path past a wooden sign: Cottonwood Spring - 1 mile, Forest Road 341 - 3 miles. The path soon enters a dry wash which you'll follow, more or less, for the rest of the hike. The wash is gravel at first, but the rocks become larger as you hike. There are short stretches of cairned trail on one side of the wash or the other, but these are often overgrown to the point that it's often easier just to remain in the wash. After 30 minutes you'll enter a forested area with some cottonwood trees and some old farm junk (a fence and trough). Further to the north, water eventually surfaces (at least that was the case when I was here in January, I am not sure if water is present during the warmer months) and a more defined path appears on the right side of the stream. Eventually, just after crossing the wash to the left side, the path ends at a large metal tank and Forest Road 341. Return the way you came.
Rating (1-5 stars):
Not a very interesting hike. The author and his wife completed the trip in 2.5 hours.
Maps: Tonto National Forest Map
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
Typical view along the
Cottonwood Canyon Trail.