Ash Creek #307 & Ash Creek Detour Trail #307 A
One of the Pinaleño range’s larger streams has carved the route for this popular trail. As it drops from alpine forest to desert valley, Ash Creek Trail passes through all of the varied life zones that find a home on this unique mountain. Such a diverse set of surroundings makes this an excellent trail for encountering some of the varied wildlife species that inhabit the Pinaleños. Black bear, mountain lion, both mule and white-tailed deer, javelina and coatimundi are just some of the animals you’re likely to encounter if you proceed slowly and quietly and keep a watchful eye.
If you like to fish for trout, you’ll be interested to know that pools in the middle reaches of Ash Creek hold populations of native Apache trout. Ash Creek is not a large stream, so the fish are small, but they’re wild and feisty nevertheless. If you come with that in mind, you’ll enjoy the fact that they are quite a challenge to catch.
Since this prominent drainage has long been used as a major travel route up the mountain, it has also accumulated a number of historic relics. Along the trail are remains of an old sawmill and a logging flume, as well as boilers for steam engines used by loggers. These rusty artifacts serve as evidence that this area was used for timber harvest before modern transportation methods made it cheaper to haul lumber from areas where it could be harvested more economically.
Length: 8.2 miles (#307), 0.9 mile (#307A)
Rating: Most Difficult
Access: High elevation trailhead– From Safford drive 8 miles south on US 191 to the Swift Trail (AZ 366). Turn right (southwest) onto AZ 366 and continue 29 miles to the Columbine Visitor Information Station. Just past the Info Station and across the road are the Columbine public corrals and Ash Creek trailhead.
Low elevation trailhead– From the town of Pima, drive south on Cluff Ranch Road. When you reach the entrance to Cluff Ranch, turn left. Cross the cattle guard, continue until you reach a 3-way intersection and turn left. Follow this road approximately 1 mile to the trailhead.