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This primitive trail leads into an area of redrock bluffs and wide canyons. Low peaks with sheer cliff faces and scrub-covered slopes define the horizon, as this roughly defined route snakes along intermittent watercourses and up and over the manzanita and oak-clad ridges that separate them. Some of the climbs are steep here and the trail can be hard to follow, but views that stretch into Mexico are the reward for diligence and effort.

As this is a primitive trail, the level of maintenance is low. You may have to take some time to find your way. Because this area is relatively low in elevation, exposed and south-facing slopes can be quite hot. Since natural sources of water are unreliable, be sure to bring plenty with you.

This is an area that was used heavily in the mid 1800's by the US Army during their campaign against Geronimo, but it's doubtful that you will see any evidence of that aspect of the area's history. The Cottonwood Trail dead ends at private land. Through hikes are not possible.

Motorized and mechanized vehicles and equipment, including mountain bikes, are not permitted in Wilderness Areas.

Directions: From Douglas, Take Leslie Canyon Road north to Rucker Canyon. Stay on the main road, which will become Forest Road 74. Follow this road to Forest Rod 718. Turn left t to the trail at the end of the road.

Elevation: 5,600 feet

Ending Elevation: 7,400 feet

Elevation Gain: 1,800 feet

Distance: 5.8 miles

Usage: Light

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Coronado National Forest, Arizona

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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