Cottonwood Creek Accessible from Horseshoe Mesa. The west trail from Horseshoe Mesa leads directly into upper Cottonwood Canyon, leaving the Redwall rim in the ravine near the miner's cabin. Parts of the upper portion have been in dispute between hikers and mapmakers for years, but either route is easy enough. Water is generally found in the southwestern fork of Cottonwood.
In the western fork there is a trail of some antiquity up through a large ravine to the top of the Redwall on the promontory separating the southwest and west forks. The route can be located by going up along the south bank a bit and then up the end of the point above the first ravine. It follows the slopes up away from the bed and hits a tiny spring at the base of the rock in the channel. Stay to the east until the bed divides, then cross and go up the slope in the middle. The point where this route meets the Grandview Trail is described on page 30, P4 of GCT-I. Between the Redwall rim and the upper Grandview there is no sign of a track and the Supai break may be hard to locate.
Trails The Tonto Trail and western branch of the Grandview Trail from Horseshoe Mesa. The Tonto continues east to Hance Creek. Out on the Tonto at the tip of the point between Cottonwood and Grapevine is an old route, now well marked, to the inner gorge and a small beach at the riverbank.
Routes Interesting old trail in western fork.
1970 November First and second nights with Joe, going down to the River during the second day. Rattled at by one of the famous pink rattlesnakes along the Tonto (first sighting). The trail to the inner gorge was quite hard to locate. Snow on the rim and sunbathing at the River. Joe was looking for fossils (Ha Ha). Here, not knowing any better, I took a pickax head from the base of the Tapeats.
1981 March - Camped with Hal and his brother & girlfriend one night. The longest, wettest, most miserable night of my life huddled with Hal under a poncho. I was the only one who didn't come near to freezing thanks to my woolies, and we retreated in defeat to civilization the next day. I still feel guilty knowing the others must have been much more miserable.
1987 May - Exploration of west fork route; the route was in surprisingly good shape. There were no cairns and I took the time to place a few at key spots.
1999 October - Easy solo trip; heading for Hance Creek. Poorwill visits my camp in the moonlight ("wwurt...wwurt").
2000 May - Off-trail Grandview Circuit down the west fork route; group widely dispersed. Mild heat-exhaustion. Good water at main bed crossing.
2003 April - Camp 2 with Alessio; good water and nice camp below the crossing.