Here's a trip report on the 4x4 trip we took down Turkey Creek on Friday and Saturday November 24-25, 1995. No foolin' we went to Turkey Creek on the day after Thanksgiving. Participants included Bob Peterson and Bobby and Anna in Bob's 87 Chevy Suburban (lifted, rear locker, 33-inch tires), John Hill in his 94 Chevy K2500 extended cab (31-inch tires, XD9000 winch) and John Waack in his Suzuki Samurai (front and rear lockers, 33-inch tires, rock lobster gears).
The first challenge to Turkey Creek is getting there. We had breakfast in Benson, topped up our gas in Wilcox and then drove north for two hours up Sulphur Springs Valley through Bonita and Klondyke. The trip is actually more interesting than you might think. Sights included numerous ostrich farms, a tomato greenhouse covering tens of acres, a nice view of the south flank of the Pinalenos and the Sulphur Springs Valley itself. Fortunately the dirt road from Bonita to Klondyke is so well graded that you can do 55 mph on many sections of it.
Turkey Creek is a tributary that feeds in at the trailhead at the east end of Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness. We turned south from the parking area for people hiking Aravaipa. Turkey Creek is quite a spectacular canyon, perhaps rivaled only by Aravaipa Canyon and Eagle Creek in southern Arizona. Once again we had beautiful weather and loads of colored leaves on the cottonwoods. The road south in Turkey Creek for about three miles is easily passable in a 2-wheel-drive truck. There were plenty of camping spaces available, but it probably gets crowded on major summer holidays. The road becomes a real 4-wheel-drive trail when it turns up the west flank of Oak Grove Canyon (rating 3.5 for the trail from here to Copper Creek). The first section is a steep hill climb out of Turkey Creek to a ridge overlooking both canyons. The road continues overland to Parsons Grove with enough rock-crawling to keep the wheeling interesting. This road is good for people that still have nice paint on their fenders since the trail is wide and the bushes are trimmed back to avoid desert pinstriping.
Parsons Grove proper has been closed to camping by the Nature Conservancy. (Now we wish they'd clean up the old refrigerators that litter the area.) We camped overnight in an oak grove in a canyon near Little Table Mountain Mine. The sky was beautiful for sleeping under the stars. Rarely have I seen the upper atmosphere so stable --- no scintillation (twinkling) from any stars above 30 degrees elevation. (The measurement was limited by how long I could go without blinking my eyes.) After a breakfast ranging from fried apples to Cocoa Krispies, we headed up Saddle Canyon on Saturday morning. Note that the "Holy Joe Peak" topo map hasn't been updated since 1949 and doesn't show this road, but it is very easy to follow since it is so heavily travelled. We came down the west flank of Little Table Mountain and then up an amazing section called "carpet hill". This was a steep hill climb maybe 2/3 mile long where parties unknown have laid carpet over much of the road. We estimate that we drove over at least 1000 sq. yards of old carpet. The mystery is why they put the carpet there? traction? erosion control? nothing better to do? The road joins onto the Copper Creek road just west of where is turns down into Copper Creek.
From the east side: Head north out of Wilcox to Bonita, and follow the Bonita-Klondyke road (well graded dirt) to Klondyke and then on to the east entrance to Aravaipa Canyon. The Turkey Creek trail goes south from the Aravaipa parking area.
See also Experience Arizona
|Landmark||UTM Easting||UTM Northing||Altitude||Latitude||Longitude|
|Turkey Creek North (junction with Aravaipa)||12 5 51 500 E||36 39 900 N||+3065|
|Turkey Creek South (access to trail)||12 5 53 230 E||36 36 610 N||+3221|
|Turnoff for corral||12 5 50 350 E||36 32 525 N||+4589|
|Corral in Oak Grove Canyon||12 5 50 792 E||36 32 421 N||+4175|
|Turnoff for Aravaipa Overlook (at PG) (Howard)||12 5 48 948 E||36 31 999 N||+4480||+32 49 29.7||110 28 37.38|
|Parson's Grove||12 5 49 026 E||36 31 900 N||+4500|
|Turnoff to Bleak Spring||12 5 48 342 E||36 31 589 N||+4510||+32 49 16.5||110 29 00.78|
|Table Mountain Mine||12 5 48 100 E||36 30 900 N||+4740|
|Saddle Canyon (the saddle)||12 5 46 340 E||36 30 200 N||+5376|
|Exit via Cowboy Miller Rd (Priestley)||12 5 46 182 E||36 29 214 N||+4670||+32 47 59.71||110 30 24.25|
|Bottom of Carpet Hill (Marine)||12 5 46 550 E||36 27 914 N||+4262||+32 47 17.46||110 30 10.38|
|Carpet Hill / Road Canyon (at the top)||12 5 47 100 E||36 25 850 N||+5050|
|Copper Creek North Intersection||12 5 46 849 E||36 25 321 N||+4658|
Last modified: Mon Oct 29 12:44:45 2007