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matt@expaz

Trail Report - Sheep Bridge (Centrail Az)

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A new adventure has been added to Experience Arizona!

 

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Sheep Bridge

 

Type: 4WD

 

Region: Central Arizona

 

Difficulty: 1 out of 5

 

Time: 4 - 6 hours (Not including time to get to the trailhead)

 

This is a long 2WD road to an awesome suspension foot bridge across the Verde River. This piece of Arizona history was originally built during WWII using leftover materials from nearby mines. This unique adventure shouldn't be missed.

 

Click here for the full trail report, including maps, area history, GPS coordinates, photos and videos...

 

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Original sheep bridge.

 

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You can also get to Sheepsbridge from Horseshoe lake road. Total travel time from my house in Tempe 3hrs. The road is much better. You have to cross the Verde below Horseshoe lake. Are you aware of the hotsprings?

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Lichen,

What a great old picture! I would have loved to have seen it before they took it down.

 

Balljointnut,

I've heard that you can access it from the other side, but never done it. I've also heard about the hot springs. Unfortunately, it wasn't until after I went there, but not sure exactly where they are. I would love to visit them next time I go there.

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If you Google Earth the Sheeps Bridge area there will be a picture icon in the rough location of the hotsprings. Also while I won't divulge my favorite fishin' holes I will say the smallmouth bass fishing below Sheeps Bridge is outstanding. Down the road when my truck is rolling again possible group trip??? That area is beautiful.

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Down the road when my truck is rolling again possible group trip??? That area is beautiful.

 

 

I would love to head out there again - its been 3 or 4 years since I've been out there, and I'd like to fine them hot springs!

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I went to the bridge twice in June (I know - I know not the best time of year) and it was sweet!!! There weren't many other people out there except for one old coot living at the bridge in his pop-up camper. !!!!

 

The Tonto had just bladed the last ten miles (FSR 269) from Tangle Creek down to the bridge itself. But since it was only dozed and not graded you had to go very slow and there was that unique experience of riding on the dozer tracks and pitching up and down for 10 miles. A long 10 miles because it took me over an hour to go that distance in. Coming back was easier (uphill instead of down) and shorter.

 

From the FSR 24/269 jct it was about an hour or so to the Tonto/AF boundary and then another 45 mins or so to I-17.

 

IF you go that way there are some really nice side trips. There is "the big hill" which I call the "Tangle Creek switchbacks" which has an awesome view at the top. First up after that is FSR 44, a nice loop road off the North side of FSR 269. It is supposed to be a fun 4x4 road. It's on my list to maintain but I haven't gotten that far yet.

 

Oh yeah, after the disaster of the Gladiator I have transferred my volunteer services to the Tonto and the Bloody Basin area is my new "home."

 

There are 3 old cabins in the area, one of which is on the National Historic Register.

 

Another NEAT (not hard) road is FSR 677 a dual-forest road that starts in the Tonto and ends up on the Verde Hill Road in the PNF. I call it the back way to Dugas. You end up (going North) dropping into a totally pristine riparian area. And Dugas looks like something from the 1880's. Still inhabited to be kind! It's an easy out to I-17 from there.

 

Then there is my current assignment, FSR 481 and the Brooklyn Peak Switchbacks. FSR 481 runs open to vehicles -LESS than 110" WB and 60" TRACK (wheel to wheel) - to the base of the switchbacks. You need to google earth the switchbacks as they are something else! Unfortunately there is a minor GAPING washout at the base which precludes vehicles from further travel. I have a plan to repair that washout but it's way down on my list after I get all the other trails on my assignment done.

 

FSR 481 hosts the old stone cabin and mine ruins as well.

 

Then there is FSR 14 which goes to the Brooklyn Mine. I haven't seen it yet but the pictures on the internets are AWESOME!

 

Note: the AF Monument assigns a "9" or a "9" + "0" to Tonto Roads. Hence Tonto Road 269 is 9269 on the AF, and Tonto Road 14 is 9014 on the AF.

 

Speaking of, FSR 481 floats right by some awesome Native ruins. FSR 14 (AF 9014) also runs up on Perry Mesa (Not Perry Mason!) where there are more remains. There are also some in the area of the Brooklyn Mine.

 

The AF is loaded with exhibits but the BLM is real cagey about not telling anyone exactly where they area. Except Pueblo La Plata, which is the "sacrificial lamb" and easily found on the www. There are about a brazillion petroglyphs on the AF but I haven't had time to situate them yet. (I've only been on this assignment since July!).

 

None of these roads are really hard 4x4s except for maybe FSR 44. However there is a lot to see and the neat thing is hardly anyone goes there. Of course now that I have made this post I am sure to find a Wendys and a Motel 6 out there next week.

 

For obvious reasons I will not give directions to any of these sites on the web..... The native ruins are easy prey to looting. The cabins are remarkably well preserved and seem to be falling off of publication on newer FS maps. In most other locales, they would have been totally trashed by now!

 

See ya later......

 

 

P.S. The are does have more ants and wasps per square mile than I have ever seen in my life.

 

Double P.S. Beware the unbridged Agua Fria crossing. In heavy rains in can become impassable.

 

Triple P.S. All road conditions to the Sheep Bridge were "as is" before our extremely robust monsoon season!

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Honestly, every time I'm out there I see people who I wouldn't necessarily bathe with in that hot tub, which is why I have never taken a dip in it myself. Creeps me out. BTW, it's visible along the west bank of the river if you look to your left as as you're approaching the bridge. :rolleyes:

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The old coot living out there only one one front tooth which I guess is great for opening cans but I don't know how he'd be able to eat corn on the cob! :eek:

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