Mazatzal Wilderness

The Mazatzal Wilderness contains about 240 miles of trails. Forty miles of trails are regularly maintained by a dedicated group of Arizona Trail Association stewards. Trails on the eastern side are sporadically maintained, and the remaining are categorized as “deferred maintenance” and are in need of serious brushing.

Hiking, bushwhacking, backpacking and stewardship opportunities that are available include Read Hills, North Peak, Rock Creek, Half Moon, Barnhardt, Y-Bar, Deer Creek and South Fork, on the eastern side of the range. The elevation gains on these trails afford spectacular views and impressive geology, and the trails are easily reached by vehicle from trailheads.

Trails like Sheep Creek on the western side of the range are remote and difficult to hike, but offer wonderful opportunities for bushwhacking, remoteness, and solitude. A few of the many trails on the western side of the Mazatzal Wilderness include Willow, Davenport, Sears and Copper Camp. As with many trails in the Mazatzal Wilderness, the Sheep Creek Trail has been neglected for many years and is in need of heavy brushing to make it passable.

Sheep Creek Trail Restoration

To get to Sheep Creek Trail, one must hike about four miles on Saddle Mountain Trail from the Mormon Grove Trailhead. Starting at an intersection with Saddle Mountain Trail, the Sheep Creek Trail extends 10 miles northwest through McFarland Canyon to its end at the Davenport Trail. McFarland Canyon has an intermittent stream and many tall evergreen trees.

How You Can Help

Friends of the Tonto National Forest received a grant to hire ACE crews to clear the brush and dead-fall from the Sheep Creek Trail. Volunteers are needed to assist with trail maintenance that includes some lighter trail brushing and vegetation removal. FOTNF organizes backpacking trips where volunteers can join us in the field. Details can be found on our events calendar. Once Sheep Creek Trail and a short section of Davenport Trail are cleared, they will provide a loop hike mostly in wilderness.

Sign up to Volunteer with Friends of the Tonto and we will alert you to trail maintenance opportunities.
Check the Friends calendar for volunteer events and registration information.

If you have questions about the Mazatzal Wilderness trail projects, email