Exploring around the historic Sheep Bridge area offers lots of fun adventures. On the north side of the river there is hidden within dense reeds a hot springs to soak in. There are many opportunities for hiking along this beautiful stretch of the Verde River and swimming in the summer months.
- Trip Outline
Exploring around the historic Sheep Bridge area offers lots of fun adventures. On the north side of the river there is hidden within dense reeds a hot springs to soak in. There are many opportunities for hiking along this beautiful stretch of the Verde River and swimming in the summer months. The Sheep Bridge area is the gateway to the west side of the Mazatzal Wilderness.
This is a 42 mile (one way) ride from Cave Creek heading more or less parallel to the Rio Verde River. This is an out-and-back trip coming back the same way we go out. During this trip we will:
- Pass the Sears-Kay ruins (a 40 room village of the ancient Hohokam Indians who mysteriously disappeared)
- Pass Mt. Humboldt (where the FAA’s southwestern US radar installation is located)
- Travel through the Seven Springs Wash Recreation Area
- Travel through the 51 Cattle Ranch
- Travel up to Bloody Basin Road (Bloody Basin gets it’s name because in March 1873, U.S. Army soldiers tracked a band of Apaches who had attacked and killed three Whites to nearby Turret Peak. The soldiers attacked at dawn and caught the Apaches flat-footed. Between 25 and 57 Indians were killed with no loss of life to the troops.)
- Cross several times the very beautiful and green Tangle Creek.
This trail is a fairly easy dirt road for most of the way but the last 8 miles down into the Verde River are a long, rough, and bumpy ride.
Brief History of the Sheep Bridge
The Sheep Bridge, also known as the Red Point Sheep Bridge, is a suspension bridge which crosses the Verde River in Arizona. Constructed primarily to allow sheep to be driven, cross safely between grazing ranges on either side of the river. Building started in 1943 and was completed in 1944. Sheep drives stopped in 1978. The bridge was closed in 1987 and largely demolished in 1988. A replica bridge was constructed in by the U.S. Forest Service in 1989 to allow hikers access to the Mazatzal Wilderness in the Tonto National Forest. The original west suspension tower still remains alongside the replica bridge.
Itinerary for the Sheep Bridge Day Trip
Meet in and Depart from Fountain Hills. (Hotel Pick-up Included)
TRAVEL (PART 1)
On-Road (to Cave Creek)
We will travel on-road from Fountain Hills or your hotel to Cave Creek.
Seven Springs Wash
During our drive in we must cross over the Seven Springs Wash concrete bridge that usually has a low level of water. It is a beautiful area to take a short break and explore.
Travel (Part 2)
Off-Road to Sheep Bridge
Once we pass the Indian ruins we will begin to travel off-road for about 40 miles to the Sheep Bridge. This trail is a fairly easy dirt road for most of the way but the last 8 miles down into the Verde River are a long, rough, and bumpy ride.
We must cross the very beautiful and green Tangle Creek several times. There are many areas to stop and have a picnic.
NOTE: The crossings are usually dry but during rainy weather flash flooding is possible. PJE avoids traveling during a storm so as not to get stuck between Tangle Creek and Sheep's Bridge with no exit until the water subsides.
Red Creek Trail
This portion of our trip to the bridge is a very difficult trail that follows the Red Creek down into the Verde River. From here the remaining portion of the road down to Sheep's Bridge becomes very bumpy and rocky, with occasional washed out sections. (In wet weather this section of the trail can become very slippery and quite difficult.)
Sheep Bridge Parking Area
Bloody Basin Road terminates at Sheep's Bridge with a small parking area. There are various trails that go off to the right and left of the parking area, many of them requiring high clearance and 4 wheel drive that will take you right down to the edge of the Verde River. We will go to the river to hike, swim, and explore.
NOTE: PJE exercises caution on these trails because conditions can vary and many vehicles become stuck.
On the north side of the river there is hidden within dense reeds a hot springs to soak in. The stone tub fits two to three people comfortably.
Travel (Part 3)
We must drive back out the same way we came in to return back to Fountain Hills or your hotel. There are a couple of optional stops on the drive out.
During our drive out you may choose to drive up Mt. Humboldt to view the FAA's southwestern US radar installation.
Sears Kay Indian Ruins
During our drive out you may choose to visit this 40 room ruins.
Trip NameDeparture DateGroup (Min-Max)Pricing