This trail has only been partially surveyed at this time. Length and other trail data may be incorrect or missing. Please consult other resources before planning any trips based on this page.

Indian Creek Trail #253

Important Note

While the Forest Service website considers this to be a single trail for its entire length, some maps and guides only refer to it by this name between Whitetail Canyon and Wood Canyon Saddle, calling it the Wood Canyon Trail for the remainder of its length. Because it keeps the same trail number on maps during its passage through Wood Canyon, this guide will refer to it by a single name only. There are no surviving signs in Wood Canyon that show a trail name or number, so it is unclear if it was officially something else in the past.

Length: ~8.92 mi

Difficulty: moderate

Condition: terrible

Elevation range: 4760 ft – 6870 ft


The Indian Creek Trail is accessible from four locations, some of which have not yet been surveyed.

The southern terminus lies within a private land inholding in Whitetail Canyon, along Forest Road 356. From Noland Road/Paradise Road between Paradise and San Simon, take the Hilltop Road west into Whitetail Canyon. After 4.93 miles you will reach a fork in the road. (31.99948, -109.27144) FR 356 is the right fork. This is a rough road that frequently floods and should not be attempted without a high clearance vehicle. Currently, it is closed to vehicle traffic due to being completely washed away in several places. You can still follow it on foot. After a tenth of a mile, you will pass through a gate. The trailhead lies 1.24 miles beyond. (31.01149, -109.28717) The first tenth of a mile of trail is atop a driveway to a small cabin. Please respect the private landowners' rights as you pass through their property.

The Horse Trail connects in at Wood Canyon Saddle, (32.05210, -109.30962) the divide between Indian Creek Canyon and Wood Canyon. This junction is marked with signs, but they burned in 2011 and can barely be read anymore.

The Emigrant Canyon Trail connects in 0.13 mile southeast of the confluence of Bitter Creek and Wood Canyon. This junction is not marked by a sign anymore, but there is still a metal signpost and, perhaps more relevant, the wreckage of an old car. (32.07842, -109.32870)

The northern terminus is at the end of Wood Canyon Road (FR 700). From San Simon's business loop, turn south onto Cochise Avenue and follow it ¼ mile, under I-10, until it turns into Wood Canyon Road. Follow this county-maintained gravel road south 5 miles before it turns southwest. Stay on it another 7.1 miles until you come to a cattle guard that may have a rope gate across it. (32.11385, -109.30211) Continue through this, leaving the gate how you found it, for another 0.11 mile until you come to a fork in the road. (32.11225, -109.30234) The public access to the trailhead (still FR 700) is along the left fork, while the right fork is private (as indicated by a sign). As of February 2015 the public access is washed out just beyond the fork so you may need to park here and walk if you cannot drive through. Continuing on FR 700, you will pass through multiple gates and skirt around the edge of a private ranch. The trail begins 0.85 mile after the fork. The trailhead is not signed. (32.10281, -109.30625)

Trail Description

Whitetail Canyon Road to Indian Cave Trail

Setting out from the junction with FR 356, head northwest along a driveway for a little over a tenth of a mile. Near the end of this you will pass a small privately owned cabin on the left side of the driveway. The true trail begins just beyond this. The forest was not badly burned here, and this stretch of trail passes beneath an oak canopy on the right bank of Indian Creek. After three quarters of a mile you will pass to the west of an impressive rock cliff high above in the distance. Another three quarters of a mile beyond that, the trail enters the Indian Creek Narrows for 1.36 miles, sticking closer to the creek as the canyon gets significantly narrower, the bottom often bare bedrock. At the end of this, you will swing around to the west and come to the junction of the short Indian Cave Trail, (32.04747, -109.29912) which heads off to the northeast for 0.16 miles to a sheer rock cliff with a cave at the base. This junction is not signed and the route is not particularly visible.

Indian Cave Trail to Wood Canyon Saddle

Shortly after leaving the junction, the trail climbs the slope on the left side of the creek for a time. Continue parallel to the creek for the next half mile and the trail will reach the base of a slope near the end of Indian Canyon. Begin to climb it for nearly 100 feet and you will reach a switchback to the left. (31.05122, -109.30672) From here, the trail steeply climbs the ridge, shortly entering a badly burned area for the remaining quarter mile of this segment. During the ascent to Wood Canyon Saddle, an excellent (but somewhat distorted due to the angle) view of Cochise Head dominates the northeastern skyline. The saddle is a four-way junction, (32.05210, -109.30962) the Indian Creek Trail entering from the east and exiting to the northwest, the Horse Trail dropping away to the south and the Cochise Head Route, a steep, rough route climbing the ridge to the north-northeast.

Wood Canyon Saddle to Wood Canyon Park

This segment has not been completed at this time.

Wood Canyon Park to Taylor Place

Wood Canyon Park was once described as one of the most lush places in the Chiricahuas. Unfortunately, the Horseshoe 2 fire of 2011 burned through the area at high intensity and destroyed it, killing nearly every one of the massive trees that stood here. The very lower edge, near one of the springs in this area, still has some living trees, and there are new saplings coming up through that area as well, suggesting that this park may become a pleasant destination again sometime in the distant future.

From the southern edge of the park, the trail descends through a dense mat of tumbleweeds (32.05946, -109.31574), faintly winding down the slope. Eroded cuts and game trails through here make it hard to identify the true path of the trail, but the trail stays in a generally northern direction for ¼ mile before passing just below Park Spring. (32.06177, -109.31584) This water source usually runs at some level year around. A small basin near a small waterfall in the drainage below follows just beyond, and judging by the trash found nearby, has served as a popular campsite.

Exiting the park 130 feet beyond the spring, the trail emerges from the treeline and climbs slightly to run horizontally along a slope as the drainage drops down below. Heading northwest, after 0.13 mile you will come to a spot where you can look due south and see a waterfall at the bottom of the canyon. (32.06372, -109.31641) Continuing on, the trail begins to descend, running down the ridge dividing Wood Canyon from Overton Canyon. After 0.22 mile it drops to the creek and a Forest Service trail sign points into Overton Canyon with an arrow (someone has carved "no trail" into the sign to make it clear the trail does not follow the sign). (32.06576, -109.31852)

For the next 0.9 mile, the trail largely follows the washed out canyon bottom. You may occasionally find segments of the original trail as they climb onto the bank briefly, but the vast majority here involves just following the main drainage as it winds in a generally northwestern direction. Not long after a sharp bend in the canyon to the west shortly followed by another bend to the north, the trail leaves the creekbed onto a bank on the west side (32.07567, -109.32515) and makes the final approach to Taylor Place. This old homestead has numerous relics in the area, beginning with the foundation of the cabin on the west side of the trail 200 feet after leaving the creek. (32.07617, -109.32541) Approximately 300 feet later, an old hand dug well, a pear tree remaining from an orchard that was planted here, and the remains of an articulated wagon can be found within a 40 foot radius on the east side of the trail. (32.07697, -109.32560)

Taylor Place to Emigrant Canyon Trail

This segment has not been completed at this time.

Emigrant Canyon Trail to Wood Canyon Road

This segment has not been completed at this time.


Topographic map of Indian Creek Trail #253

Last updated May 3, 2017.