Log Corral Trail

Fountain Hills, Arizona (Maricopa County)

Last Updated: 04/05/2018
4.8 / 5 ( 5 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 5-6
(DIFFICULT )
Length: 18 miles
Highest Elevation: 3631 feet
Duration: About 5 hours
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: West
Nearest Town: Fountain Hills
Nearest Town w/ Services: Fountain Hills
Official Road Name: 3456
Management Agency: Tonto National Forest
District: Mesa District
Distance:
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Highlights

Highlight: Log Corral Trail
Log Corral Trail is a very challenging off road trail that leads you to the very remote eastern shore of Lake Bartlett. This beautiful trail has something for everyone, hard technical rocky obstacles, water crossings, hill climbs and opportunities to test your flex. The trail follows a very picturesque small creek, climbing up to a high ridge that overlooks Lake Bartlett the ultimate destination. The end of the trail offers a very remote access to camping, fishing and enjoying a great sunset along the lake.

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Log Corral Trail

Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Lightly Modified 4X4 (Small Lift and Larger Tires)
Concerns:
Summary:
The trail has a few rocky sections that may require a locker. There are large slippery boulders that cause high centering. There are a couple rock ledges that may require a spotter. The brush is very tight and tough on this trail. The sand can be very loose and very soft. Do not go alone or travel the route if there is the potential for rain.

Technical Rating: 5-6
(DIFFICULT )

Rocky or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 24" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 24" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 54" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep and off-camber.
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Description

After reaching the trailhead off of Highway 87, there is ample room to air down and prepare for the trail ahead. The trail follows Log Corral creek and Sycamore creek with several water crossings along the way. A short distance down the creek you will turn sharply northwest and follow the narrowing creek and canyon. Look for the Log Corral trail marker sign at the entrance to the canyon. As you head up the canyon the terrain will get progressively rougher as you reach the most difficult section of the Rock Garden and the Waterfall obstacles. Caution is required here - as body damage and breakage commonly occurs. A good lift, at least 33" tires and lockers are recommended. After completing this section of the trail the road will climb up an uneven trail with lots of opportunities to test your flex. The top of the ridge offers great scenery and a good spot for a lunch break. Once over the ridge you will descend down into a large wash that crosses FR 393 and eventually ends at the shore of Lake Bartlett.
Do not attempt in the rain!!

Waypoints

1. Log Corral Trailhead (0 mi)
After exiting Highway 87 and heading west there is a large dirt area to air down and secure any loose items and prepare for the trail ahead. From here you will be heading southwest following Log Corral Creek.
2. Right to Log Corral Canyon (0.9 mi)
After traveling .9 miles south down Log Corral Wash you will cross Sycamore Creek and take a hard right heading back northwest following the narrowing canyon on FR 3456. There are also signs marking Log Corral Trail.
3. Left Turn to Rock Garden (1.53 mi)
Follow the narrowing wash road along FR 3456 for another 1/2 mile further with several water crossings. This section follows a narrow section with tight clearance and could be impassable due to flooding after rain. This will mark the beginning of the hardest section of the trail and will require spotting and tight maneuvers up and around a progressively more difficult large boulder field. This section of the trail can change frequently depending upon the recent conditions so be prepared for large rock obstacles with potential for body and undercarriage damage. The hardest obstacle of this section does have a less difficult but still very technical bypass. 3" lift, >33" tires, and lockers are recommended.
4. Waterfall Obstacle (1.68 mi)
Just after the rock garden section you will come to the hardest obstacle on the trail, the waterfall obstacle. This obstacle climbs a steep series of rock shelves up the creek that usually has water in it and can be wet and slippery. Again this section of the trail can frequently change and for this obstacle large tires, a lift, and lockers are recommended, however this obstacle has a fairly easy bypass that you can take to the left of the waterfall.
5. Log Corral (4.98 mi)
Continue about 3.25 miles west along FR 3456 along a narrow wash that slowly widens and begins to climb up to the highest point on the trail, Log Corral. As the road starts to climb the hill the trail has many off camber spots that will test your flex. The right line is easier and the left line will likely max out the flex of most rigs so lockers would be recommended to take the harder route. This spot climbs to an old log corral and runs high on a ridge and offers your first views of Lake Bartlett to the west. It is a great spot to stop for lunch or a cold drink before continuing down to Lake Bartlett.
6. FR 393 Intersection (8.27 mi)
From the high ridge at Log Corral continue west descending to mile marker 8.27 and the intersection with FR 393. The road gradually gets easier and follows an obvious wash all the way down to the shore of Lake Bartlett. Continuing south on FR 393 will take you around to the front side of the damn and the Verde River, however it is closed from January to June due to eagle nesting. Continuing north on FR 393 is a long, twisting and often tilting trail that eventually runs into Highway 87.
7. Bartlett Lake (9 mi)
Continue following the obvious wash west as it descends down to the shore line of Lake Bartlett. There are many small coves that you can camp in but access will depend upon the time of year and lake water level. Great dispersed camping and fishing are available but no services at all so come prepared. From here you can continue back the way you came along FR 3456 or return to Highway 87 via FR 393 which should not be considered a short cut. Although it doesn't have as much technical difficulty, it is a very long, challenging and remote trail that takes just as much if not more time to get back out to Highway 87.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 33.796519, -111.493492
From the intersection of Shea Blvd. and Highway 87 head northeast towards Payson on Highway 87 for 24 miles. Just after crossing a bridge over Log Corral Wash turn left heading west across the highway.

Camping

Dispersed
Once you reach the shore of Lake Bartlett there are plenty of opportunities for great camping, super views and some good fishing. If the lake is full it may be difficult to access some of the shore camping spots, however if the lake it down then it becomes much easier to simply drive along the shore until a you find a good camping spot. There are no services available in this area so if you are camping come prepared.
Camping: Log Corral Trail

Land Use Issues

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Trail Reviews (8)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This is a great trail with many challenging spots. We take this trail about once every year. Note that the increased water levels have caused this trail to increase in difficulty with more flowing water, slippery rocks, washouts and large ruts. The lake is the highest we've ever seen it which is awesome; however, it does mean the space at the end of the trail is much tighter than in the past. In the past we've connected to the power line trail crossing the lake below the dam to continue out toward Pincacle Peak. However, due to the high water levels this isn't possible. The trail is fairly heavily used. On the weekends you can see several different groups... might be quieter on the weekdays if you're looking for some quiet time.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
After running this trail it has instantly become one of my favorites. It has everything. Rock crawling, ruts and sandy washes, not to mention you are rewarded at the end with your own beach front property. When I did the trail the first 2.5 miles were the toughest. It was wet, and this caused some of the rocks and obstacles to become more difficult. The rock garden (Mile 1.53) is an awesome obstacle, and may require some good spotting and high clearance. The rock garden has become rutted with lose boulders and is pretty tough when wet, if you can clear the rock garden you should be able to complete the rest of the trail. Not long after the rock garden, you come to the waterfall obstacle with an optional bypass. In my opinion the waterfall was easier than the rock garden- even tho it was running water. The rest of the trail is gorgeous. I cannot do it justice with words. Once past the waterfall you work toward the log corral- which offers an incredible oversight of the valley. At this point some people will turn around but I highly recommend running this trail all the way through. Once at the log corral (half-way) you head down the hill and get to enjoy the beautiful Arizona desert as you fly through the sandy washes. Take your time and take in the natural relatively untouched scenery. Before long you will see the lake and your final destination. I like to provide my vehicle specs as I believe it helps others compare and prepare for a possible trip. 15 Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4in lift with 35in tires Rock sliders- these are extremely necessary (I landed hard on mine twice) Open differentials D30 front and D44 rear (Jeep JK stock axles) If you are ever interested in running a trail in Arizona- Please reach out! Insta @zonajeepin

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Like everyone else that has run this trail, it really is beautiful and has a mix of everything. We had two vehicles both JK Unlimited Rubicons with 35s and neither had an issue at any spot. There are some tight areas that get interesting but it's a great trail. We turned around at the Log Corral due to time constraints, but I will return and make it to the lake! I do wish there were a few more obstacles along the trail but it's still worth doing.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I took my 1st gen xterra (3"lift 31" tires,and open diff) through there. Like they say not recommended but i made it with little body damage. Nice trail. Will do again after a few upgrades.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
1st time running this trail. No major problem with any of the obstacles. 3 of the Jeeps in our group had 35" tires & the other 40". Some minor rubbing going over a few of the boulders etc.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail was clear and dry. No issues from the 87 all the way to the lake.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
We lead two different groups over two days from Sunflower, AZ to Bartlett Lake and out through Log Corral. It was a beginner type run to help the newcomer gain experience from professional trail guides. The participants were shown different techniques and tips for traversing a wide range of terrain. Day one we got a KIA through, day two was a Isuzu Amigo and a Jeep Liberty. All successfully completed the route without issue. To join us at future events like this, check us out at https://www.meetup.com/trailsoffroad-com-Crew-and-Fan-Meetup-Arizona/ The day one video can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=az-6NYL-MkI

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
An adventurous group of 5 braved the summer heat to tackle Log Corral this morning. This is one of my favorite local trails which gives you a bit of everything; rock crawling, sandy wash, running water under the cool shade of some very old trees, and a spectacular view of Lake Pleasant at the end. A word of caution however, many people have had experiences with bees on the trail. There are 2 hives along the trail that I know of. The first being immediately after the first rock garden after waypoint 3 and the other inside an old downed tree near waypoint 4. Today however, there were very view bees and all of us escaped without incident. The last time I was on the trail was in 2015 and the biggest change to the trail since then was the fallen boulder in the middle of the trail at waypoint 3. I included a photo from 2015 to show the comparison of the trail from today. With the introduction of that boulder, the waterfall obstacle to the left is more or less for short wheeled based vehicles. Long wheel based vehicles will have a difficult time. Our group did not continue on past waypoint 5 to the lake but we still had a blast.

Questions & Answers (2)

Q: It seems as if mostly jeeps make this run! I have a 2019 can am x3 max 4 seater w/32" tires and 72" wide. Is this trail doable for an this aveage driver and this vehicle?
–James Peters (05/31/2020)
A: You shouldn't have any issues with your can am. There are boulders and a ledge at Waypoint 03. With your ground clearance and careful tire placement, it shouldn't be an issue. I have guided many vehicles, besides Jeeps, without lockers and smaller tires through this section. Your narrow width will be an advantage throughout the route.
–Bobby Nelson (05/31/2020)
Q: Would a stock rzr be ok? Or should I wait for a lift and winch?
–Matt (03/06/2019)
A: I believe that this trail would be possible in a Rzr. The hardest sections that require high lift for a vehicle could be avoided or drove around due to the smaller size of the Rzr. However, water frequently runs through the small canyon and the rocks/boulders can change often so you should be prepared to turn around if necessary. There are several sections with large steps to climb over and no other way around. Not sure the clearance of your vehicle but you should expect that you will rub. The hardest parts of the trail are very near the start so it would be easy to walk back. For a Rzr the other section to worry about is the long hill climbing up to the high point at log corral. That track has deep, long, washed out ruts. With a wider wheelbase it was easy to span the wash outs and climb up but with a narrow wheel base you have a much higher risk of not spanning the width of the wash out and rolling. There are several different tracks up that hill of varying difficulty but the condition is highly variable dependent upon weather. After the hill at Log Corral the Rzr should have no difficulties, just be careful if the lake is down and don't get stuck in soft lake bottom mud, it is very remote and no one will be coming by to pull you out. Overall it is possible but be prepared to turn around, and you can be sure that you will rub on rocks and cause some damage, but be especially cautious climbing the big hill. Also, I would avoid this if it has been raining a lot some of the water crossings would not be possible in a Rzr, too deep and lots of big unseen rocks.
–Bill Loux (03/08/2019)

Writer Information

Bobby Nelson

Mapping Crew - Arizona

While living in the Midwest, I developed a passion for searching out new trails and hidden spots. That passion continues to this day in the beautiful southwestern United States. My wife and I are full-time RVers who travel from region to region exploring every nook and cranny we can find. While we're getting to know the locals, we gain insight into these areas, then passing on that knowledge onto our subscribers. We truly enjoy traversing long, beautiful back-country routes with epic campsites, but we equally enjoy pushing the limits on difficult rock crawling trails. Our rig was built to do everything and that's what we hope to share with our subscribers. Please visit our website https://www.xploremor.net to follow us and for opportunities to join us on our adventures. You can also view our vast video library on YouTube XPLOREMOR. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqvpVThlbR-IwMLX4tlRRcg
For individual use only, not to be shared.