The Prior Creek Trail is a 3 mile trail that runs from the Lilley Park Trail – Trail #164 to the Big Bear Canyon Trail – Trail #28.
Trail Condition: Good
The trail remains in good condition and is easier to find and follow than in 2017. At the end of May, the lupine were at their peak.
From the faded junction with the Lilley Park Trail – Trail #164, the Prior Creek Trail follows the small, shallow gulch downstream. The trail is very gentle for first mile. A spring comes in from the right just before the slope of the ravine steepens and a small trickle picks up. This was an appreciable water source, but do not count on it.
The ravine becomes narrower in the final 1/2 mile before the cabin and widens in the final 100 years before reaching the cabin.
On a hot day, the shade of the cabin’s porch makes a nice spot for a break.
From the cabin, the trail continues uphill and to the right. This is a tricky point in the hike because there is no sign and the trail is not at all initially apparent. We spent approximately an hour following a social path that continues down the gulch and then retracing our steps – wasting both time and dehydrating ourselves in the process.
Once you find the trail midway up the hill to the right, it remains easy to follow all the way to the rim of the canyon at the junction with the Big Bear Canyon Trail – Trail #28.
To read more about the Prior Creek Trail, see my trip report from the West Fork-Middle Fork Gila River.