Bloody Basin to Sheeps Bridge - AZ - 7/23

Brian McVickers

Staff member
This past Sunday Datrupr and I took the morning to explore the Tonto Nat'l Forest North of Cave Creek and near the Verde River.:wings:

We took Bloody Basin Rd, beginning from I17, and wrapped around all the way to the Verde River. Bloody Basin is about 27 miles to the first turn off where you can either to South to Cave Creek, 38 miles, or East 12 miles to Sheep’s Bridge.

Sheep’s Bridge is exactly that, it is a ~700' long x 3' wide suspension bridge that was built for the sheep herders in the area to move their flocks back and forth across the river. It was last used in 1979 and a new bridge has been built to commemorate the significance of the original. More details in the pictures.

Standing on the bridge, 200’ over the river, we could clearly make out bear tracks pressed into the muddy bank!:elkgrin:

Just south of the bridge is the first of two water crossings of the Verde River on the trail that takes you South and out of Tonto. I can’t tell you exactly where that trail exits as we did not continue.
The first water crossing was doable with a depth of about 3 feet, a steep entry bank, a gradual exit and a obstacle free bottom but we only know this because my sister walked it for us! With Aarons knowledge of the approach from the other side we knew that this was only one of two crossings. With the rain from the day before this first crossing was also moving fast and was the deepest that Aaron had ever seen, this meant that the second crossing was most likely deeper, faster and wider. With time and crossings a concern we opted for the road back via crown king witch is wide, groomed and fast, with enough turns to find that breaking point between 20 and 40 mph at which 20lb of tire pressure and loose groomed gravel will allow your back end to kick out! :smiley_drive:

More pics at:

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Expedition Leader
Yeah, we will have to go back out there when we don't have any time constraints. I have to adnit, that I was the one that whimped out on the crossing, primarily due to the fact that we were a little short on time, and we had no idea how the other crossing was going to be, and then to find it impassable and have to back track a ways to get out. The time was not there. It was a fun ride Brian, thanks for giving me a call. Your sister was really funny when Oliver was swimming and she dove in after him. A very heroic attempt on her part though, and I found it quite admirable that she did that. Plus, since she was already soaking wet, we did not have to get in the water ourselves. I did not bring my camera again, so I have no pictures to share. But, next time we will give ourselves all day and make the whole loop. Thanks for posting this up Brian.

Brian McVickers

Staff member
Ah, no one whimped out!
It was a smart and safe decision.
I have to try and start getting whole days for adventuring.
this back by noon stuff makes it tight and limited.
For those days I need to hit it by 5am instead of 8!

Regardless I'm always glad to go no matter for how long:wings:


Very cool! Nice pics McVick. I love the one with the bear tracks.

I think Aaron was wise - 3 feet of water is not to be taken lightly. Here is a little video of a samurai crossing the verde near that area (lucky for him he had a strap pulling him)