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Name: Chiva Falls Lower Loop Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: (based on one vote)
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (Challenging 4WD)
Time: 4 - 6 hours (does not include time to get to trailhead) Region: SE Arizona
Length: 11.0 miles Elevation gain/loss/change: +2240 / -2240 ft / +0 ft (entire loop)
Type: Loop Avg Elevation: 4000 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, winter Fees: NA
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Low Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: March, 2003
Short Description: A tough 4WD trail with steep climbs, gut-wrenching descents and differential crunching rocks
Geocaches: Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just a few. Chiva Falls for the Fearless; Chivo Falls; Redington Rocks;King of the Hill
References / Contact Information: For Chiva Falls: Arizona Highways, May, 2006; Guide to Arizona Backroads & 4-wheel Drive Trails, Wells, page 241; Expeditions West Chivo Falls Adventure
Points of interest: Challenging wash crossing with large boulders which has water for most of the year. Very steep hills. Beautiful views of the valley below.
Special Considerations: A long trail that doesn’t get much traffic. You’ll probably be on your own. Remote. Very steep sections. A locker is helpful. A difficult boulder section in a wash. May result in rocker panel damage in stock vehicles or if you slip off a rock.
How to get there: Follow the Chiva Falls trail until you reach Waypoint 001 (Waypoint 008 on the Chiva Falls trail). Take a right on FR 4405 to start the trail. Click here for directions.

Trail Description

The Lower Loop trail (FR 4405) is a spur off the Chiva Falls trail (see Chiva Falls Adventure for more information) which heads east, almost reaching Tanque Verde Falls, before looping back to the Chiva Falls area.

General Information and History

When I first started going out to Chiva Falls, this trail was closed. I believe the Forest Service opened the trail around the year 2000. When it was first opened it was classified as difficult trail (4 out of 5) until it was bulldozed. When I went on this in 2003, I rated it as a challenging trail (3.5 out of 5) due to a boulder field in a wash and some very steep hills in which having a locker is helpful to climb. This trail can change drastically based on use, upkeep and amount of recent rain. Large ruts forming in the steep climbs can increase the difficulty of this trail. The trail offers some extremely beautiful views as it ascends the steep foothills of the Rincon Mountains.

This is a long trail and when doing it’s combined with Chiva Falls, expect a LONG day (sunup to sundown).

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The Trail

Continue along the trail for about 2.6 miles as it winds its way down to a wash. The boulder field in the last part of the wash can be difficult. Then, hang on as it makes some steep climbs out of the wash and into the mountains. Views up here can be spectacular. You will be just below the tree line. Keep going on the main trail. There are a few short out-and-back trails (FR4409, FR4405C and FR4426A) that take you up a little higher into the mountain. I have only been on FR4405C (and that was a LONG time ago). At Waypoint 015, you can take a left to stay on FR 4405 to meet up with the Chiva Falls trail. This is a very difficult hill and the loose rock can be dangerous.

Years ago when I had my CJ-5, I had to pull out an old Land Cruiser which had taken a line too close to the edge and was in danger of sliding off the side on this hill. Very tense.

The easier way to return to the Chiva Falls trail is to go straight on FR4426, it will hook up with the Chiva Falls Pools Spur at Waypoint 020.

At Waypoint 016, there is a short trail to the left that ends about a half mile from the top of Chiva Falls and you can take a hike down the wash to the top of Chiva Falls if you want.

Continue following the main trail. At Waypoint 019, the trail intersects the old Italian Trap Trail. This used to be another way out from Chiva Falls. The Forest Service closed this trail to vehicular traffic about ten years ago. A representative from the Forest Service told me that there were the remains of a historic old homestead near the trail that they were trying to preserve. At the time of my call, they were not actively rebuilding the site, only taking precautions to prevent further destruction.

If you are thinking of hiking to the site, it might be difficult to find. I do not believe the site is easily seen from the trail. I’d never seen the site from any of my trips through Italian Trap before they closed the road.

At Waypoint 020, drive through the wash and up the hill, back to the starting point. From the starting point, you can go to Chiva Falls or backtrack to Redington Rd.

Whatever you choose to do, have fun and be safe!

Have fun and be safe.

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