The Rain Creek Trail is a 9 mile trail that runs from Rain Creek Trailhead off of the Sacaton Road to the Mogollon Creek Trail – Trail #153
Trail Condition: Good
From the trailhead, the Rain Creek Trail starts by descending down toward Rain Creek. This section of trail is in good condition and quickly enters the Gila Wilderness just a short ways beyond the trailhead.
After 1.3 miles, it crosses Rain Creek. If it’s hot consider filling up some water here even though you have just started. There’s no water for the next 5.6 miles and shade is limited as well.
After crossing the creek, the trail follows it upstream for a short ways before switchbacking out of the shaded canyon. After about 1 mile of climbing, the trail flattens out as it reaches the top of the large flat ridge. Enjoy the final views of the Rain Creek drainage before entering forest burned in the 2012 Whitewater-Baldy fire.
The next few miles are fairly uneventful and much easier despite their being little shade. This area burned severely, but the trail is in fairly good condition nevertheless. At a couple points, the fire has destabilized the soil structure and the trail is loose with downed trees. Here, the walking can be challenging, but the trail remains easy to follow.
Eventually, the trail enters the drainage of the West Fork Mogollon Creek. There are views upstream along the creek as well as of Mogollon Baldy Peak, which also burned severely in 2012.
Once the trail starts to descend to the creek, there will be parts that have become overgrown with gambel oak that has come back since the fire. Again, while this regrowth can be annoying to push through, the underlying tread is well-defined and hard to miss.
As the trail nears the creek it reenters unburned ponderosa forest that will provide welcomed respite from the hot sun.
At the junction with the West Fork Mogollon Creek Trail – Trail #224, the Rain Creek Trail crosses the West Fork and immediately starts to climb again immediately.
From the West Fork of Mogollon Creek to the the main fork of Mogollon Creek is 2 miles. This section of trail starts by climbing steeply up to a small divide separating the two forks. This climb is roughly a mile. After enjoying the cool cover the ponderosa forest, the trail reenters a burn area was again and overs little cover.
Close to the top of this small divide, the trail becomes slightly difficult to follow due to the fire, but once atop the ridge, the trail picks up again as it descends toward Mogollon Creek.
The trail crosses Mogollon Creek in a small box canyon. The creek is quite beautiful and there was significantly more water than in the West Fork.
To read more about the Rain Creek Trail, see my trip report from West Fork Mogollon Creek.