Dodson Trail

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The Dodson Trail is the hottest and most exposed section of the entire trek. Don’t let the relatively short distance fool you. While hiking the Dodson Trail, it is important to keep an eye out for the rock cairns that mark the route. Most people, who have trouble on the Outer Mountain Loop, run into problems on this section due to lack of shade, heat radiating from the barren rocks, and the climbing and descending from drainage to drainage. You will be climbing (and descending) 2,000′ along the way, but views are spectacular, and the solitude is always mesmerizing.

Follow the trail from the Juniper Canyon trailhead through Juniper Draw. After 3.6 miles you will reach the ruins of the Dodson Ranch and nearby Dodson Spring (usually dry). One mile further, the trail crosses the Fresno Creek drainage. This is the only location along the Dodson Trail where there may be water (don’t count on it). If water is here, it must be treated before drinking. Please, do not contaminate this vital and ephemeral water source used by wildlife.

In another 0.5 mile, is the junction of the Dodson and Elephant Tusk trails. If you have the time, a 1-mile side excursion here leads into the Fresno Drainage below Tortuga Mountain (another ephemeral water source).

From the Elephant Tusk junction, the Dodson Trail climbs another 1.5 miles to a high pass then descends into the Smoky Creek Drainage. Look carefully for rock cairns that mark the trail through Smoky Creek. Be sure to watch for the junction where the trail leaves the wash, or you may find yourself hiking down the Smoky Creek Trail.

Three miles further is the remnants of the Homer Wilson (Blue Creek) Ranch. The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive is only 0.25 mile away from this point. After rehydrating (from you water cache), continue up Blue Creek Canyon for at least 0.5 mile and begin searching for a campsite (remember, you must be at least 0.5 mile from the road, and out of sight of the road).Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 9.9 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 29°13'26.0"N
  • Compass Longitude: 103°14'28.2"W
  • Numeric Latitude: 29.223893
  • Numeric Longitude: -103.241177
  • Elevation in Meters:
  • Elevation in Feet:

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    9.9 Miles
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