2.8 miles (Out and Back)
3 out of 10
2.8 miles (Out and Back)
3 out of 10
If you’re looking for a hike that’s a little different than what you’re used to hiking in the Greater Phoenix area, then you’re going to love the Blue Wash Trail.
Most of the hikes we write about in the Phoenix area are beautiful because of the views, the plants, or the mountains. The Blue Wash Trail is a 2.8 mile beautiful hike that is loads of fun for all ages (people and pets).
We hiked this trail in March and had an absolutely amazing time. From waterfalls and streams to Gila Monsters and Rattlesnakes, this trail has it all.
Driving to the Trailhead
Having only lived in the Valley for a year, we are slowly learning about cities outside of our immediate area. We drove through the fascinating town of Cave Creek on a Sunday morning to take in the Blue Wash trail.
We just happened to make our way through Cave Creek as the city was in the middle of the Sonoran Fine Art & Wine Festival.
The city was hopping and restaurants were packed. The Blue Wash trail was no different, a popular trail already, the trailhead was very busy on this Sunday in March.
The parking lot is quite small next to the trailhead, so just park alongside the should of the road soon after entering into the formal entrance of the Tonto National Forest. We parked in the long line of cars and had a 5-10 minutes walk to the trailhead.
There are no restrooms and no trash cans on the Blue Wash Trail, so be mindful as you near the trailhead. Since the trail is pretty populated, finding a “potty spot” can be difficult. Also, there are definitely critters in the National Forest, so be extra careful if you are looking for a spot to mark your territory.
On the Trail
As you enter the trailhead the pathway is very dusty and full of loose gravel – the slope, also, immediately goes downhill. Because of this steep elevation drop, the trail can be a little slippery. We found ourselves sliding down the steep pathway even with shoes with good grip..
The trails eventually wind down into a wash that will take you through to the end of the hike. There are, however, several mini-trails that will take you to the wash. We had a larger-than-normal group on this hike, and we all took different pathways that eventually led to the same wash.
The only difficult portion of the hike is on these trails that lead to the wash. Again, the terrain can get very steep which can make it difficult coming up and going down. The ages of the hikers in our group varied from 10 to 60, and while we slipped a couple of times we were able to make it without any real difficulty.
As soon as you make it into the wash the trail eases into a stroll all the way to the streams. In the wash, you will basically be walking through a dried-out creek bed.
We had fun looking at the different rocks as we walked through the trail. We also had fun looking for old Indian arrowheads. We never found any, but I would imagine there are some located somewhere along the edges of the washed-out trail.
We also ran into an old abandoned car. I just happened to have a mechanic with me for this hike, but sadly we couldn’t identify it. His best guess was a 70’s model Oldsmobile. Regardless, it was definitely a major landmark on the trail.
Somehow, over the course of our 1 year of living and hiking in Arizona, I had never previously run into a snake on any of the trails we’ve hiked. On the Blue Wash Trail, we met a very colorful Gila Monster and a rattlesnake that was catching some shade.
Both of these creatures can be very dangerous if bothered, so (of course) let them be if you find them in the wild.
The Flag at the Fork
The next major landmark on the Blue Wash Trail was the US Flag located at a fork in the trail. As you enter this fork, you’ll want to go left, as indicated by a rock shaped arrow in the middle of the path.
Researching this trail, I know the streams can extend all the way to the fork, but on our hike in March, the creek was receding pretty heavily.
The Streams to the Waterfall
We finally made it to running water at the 1.2 mile mark of the Blue Wash Trail. The water was very cool to the touch but was very refreshing, even on a 75 degree day.
Eventually, as you follow the water streams, you’ll find a small waterfall and probably several families with youngsters and puppies.
There were between 25-35 people enjoying the water as we made our way up rocks steps to the top of the waterfall. The creek goes on for miles, but we stopped at the waterfall to enjoy the water and some shade.
The kids splashed each other and played with a few puppies that were enjoying the attention. My wife described this area as a “poor man’s Slide Rock.” There wasn’t much accumulative water on our visit, but I’ve seen pictures when the creek was full.
The Blue Wash Trail is a family-friendly hike that both kids and adults will enjoy. The trail took us about an hour and 45 minutes to complete as we took plenty of time to relax at the waterfall.
The Blue Wash Trail would be the perfect trail to bring some food to make a picnic at. There are plenty of spots to rest and find some shade while chowing down on rehydrating.
The slippery slopes in the first quarter mile of the hike weren’t difficult enough for us to rate this trail as moderate. If you think you’re the type of hiker that can complete a 2.8 mile hike, then you should have no issues.
Remember to stay on trail as snakes and Gila Monsters are definitely out and about. Also remember to Leave No Trace. I usually take a small trash bag with me as we go hiking. I filled an entire bag on this trail with trash.
Go Hike Arizona!