After my trip to Maverick and (not quite) Tritle 10 days prior with trekkin gecko, I thought it might be wise to do some altitude acclimitization hikes before tackling another peak. The Groom Creek Loop #383 / Wolf Creek Loop #384 figure-8 offered some decent distance, at 6000+ feet, without any really steep bits. As usual, a topo / sat map recon revealed some bits for exploring.
Groom Creek Loop #383 is sandy-surfaced single track. Except for some deep spots, it would make a nice quick MTB loop. Wolf Creek Loop #384, on the other hand is jeep-trail wide (and sometimes on actual FR trails), and mostly hard pack.
First variation was a short trip up Hill 6296, which despite not being a prominent terrain feature has great views of the Bradshaw Mountains and surrounding valleys. Recommended. While the trip up 6296’s northeast slope was mild in slope, and had no obstacles, the trip down the southeast slope was steep and brushy — which is why I quickly diverted into a slight wash (which you would expect to be brushier, but was in fact clear sailing).
Second variation was crossing the (dry) Hassayampa River to what MyTopo said was an old jeep trail between FR 79 and FR 9403. Saw an interesting boulder formation at the crossing, including one delicately-balanced specimen. The connector trail was blocked off from vehicle access, had obviously not been used in years, and was likely in recovery. When I got to FR 9403 — not sure which letter — there was a NAU Ecological Restoration Institute pickup there. No tree doctor though. I then dropped back into the Hassayampa River, following the dry creek bed until I found a crossing, then heading back up to Trail #384.
Given the complete lack of water in Wolf Creek and the Hassayampa River, I decided to skip the “falls”. From there it was a slow, mostly shade-less, walk back up to the #307 trailhead.
GPS File: Wolf_Creek_Loop_Trail_384
Distance: 9.08 mi.
AEG: 1,286 ft.
Time: 3h 28m