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Copper Canyon Loop
Camp Verde
October 20, 2013
by Bill Zimmermann
  GPS Map
  GPS Map
Dave, Bill, Andy, Michael

Four hikers left the I17 and Bell at 6:30. We took SR260 east at the Camp Verde exit until Oasis Road. We turned right and followed the sign to the trailhead.

The parking area at the trailhead was spacious. The trailhead had a restroom and large map showing forest roads and trails. However there was no signage at trail beginning. We chose to step through the gate to our right and at 8:00 we were on our way.

Heading up a rough canyon.

The trail started as an old road. It vanished as we crossed the wash. Now on a walking path we crossed the wash several times. We saw signs pointing direction to trail 545. Not our goal. Each time we crossed the wash the path was less defined. Soon we were in the wash climbing dry solid rock waterfall. We continued to “LC” were an un-climbable falls was our clue to leave the wash. Dave led the steep and winding bushwhack out of the canyon.

Dave finds a way out of here.
Michael completes the climb.

We reached a road we presumed to FR136. After crossing cattle guard and gate “FX1”, we headed west looking for trail markings. None. We doubled back to a narrow rocky area (“T0”) we had passed prior. OK, let’s try it.

Following it tracked with Bills pre-entered GPS points. It must be trail #513. It was steep and rocky. A small saddle at “T2” provided us views of Lucky Canyon. We continued up the 1900-foot climb, stopping for several “catch-your-breath” breaks. The breaks gave us time to enjoy the scenic views of the Verde Valley, the red cliffs and the distant San Francisco Peaks.

We’ve still got a long way to climb.

At “WX” we crossed a wash before our final ascent to the top at “L1” where we broke for lunch. The path continued east. Not knowing if it would wrap around to the west, we chose to go off trail on a heading toward Durfen Tank. “FX2” was an on your belly fence crossing.

Go snake-eyes to get under that fence. Michael shows us how it’s done.
Black-eyed Susans cheer us.

The road that we later discovered was FR9603E was flat and free of most big rocks. We made good time among the black-eyed Susans at we headed toward the road junction with FR9603J.

At “TXS” we saw our only #513 trail marker – suggesting the road probably did wrap around.

Along the way Bill suggested we bushwhack to the top of Grassy Mountain. Vote taken. He lost.

We prefer the road.
The higher elevations had some autumn color.
    From the intersection with FR9603J we just followed the power lines. Soon we passed a ranch with a windmill.

At “RX136” we traveled the road that General Cook may have used. More likely he traveled on the remnants of an original road we saw between us and the canyon bottom to our right.

Tree cover increased as we descended the road. From the wash crossing at “WX2” the decent became an easy grade with multiple shallow creek crossing. Above on our left we were treated with glimpses of the traffic on Interstate 17 through the trees.

This is ranch country.
On the down grade, at last.

When we arrived at “T0” we were tired and chose to take the road back to the trailhead.

We made a brief stop for grub at Subway before heading back to the valley.

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updated November 26, 2017