China Dam/Tule Creek Homestead

full-limited Icon
4.7/5 (12 reviews)
Anthem, Arizona (Yavapai County)
Last Updated: 03/15/2023
Trail Types
Scout Route
Full Trail Guide

Preview Trail Icon
Preview Trails
easy
moderate
difficult
severe
extreme

Limited Trail Icon
Upgrade to Unlock
Limited Access/All-Access
Scout Route
Start a 7-day Free Trial

Trail Information

Highlights

Close to Phoenix, the historical mining areas north of Lake Pleasant, China Dam, and the Tule Creek Homestead are a fascinating look back into the early settlement of the Bradshaw Mountain Foothills. Branching off the popular Backway to Crown King trail, this track leads to the China Dam, built in the late 1880s by immigrant Chinese laborers for hydraulic mining operations on Humbug Creek. The trail continues to an old mining homestead deep in the mountains on Tule Creek, slowly reclaimed by the desert landscape. Be sure to spend a day visiting these fantastic relics of the past before they are forever gone.


Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Check out our Backway to Crown King (7.28 mi away) trail guide for an All-Access Preview!

Trail Reviews

4.7/5 (12)
Open
Visited: 12/30/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Fun day trip. China Dam has enough room for a larger grip to go
Trail Review: China Dam/Tule Creek Homestead - Tony Bascelli
Trail Review: China Dam/Tule Creek Homestead - Tony Bascelli
View More Images
User Avatar
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 06/18/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

I'm going to rate this trail easier based off the completely dry conditions at the time I visited the trail. I could however see this trail being more difficult with water flowing This trail in its current condition could be ran with a stock high clearance 4x4 or a lifted awd fairly easily with a competent driver in my opinion.
User Avatar
inline-aa Icon
1500
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 03/25/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Thankfully, not much to report in terms of trail conditions. The trail has weathered the recent rains very well. Some sluicing from Waypoint 6 down to China Dam, but not nearly as bad as it could be. Creek was running fast and the recent high water mark was pretty evident.
User Avatar
inline-aa Icon
1500
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 12/16/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

My daughter and I ran this trail solo today. Overall, I'd say it's mostly in good shape. I consider myself a moderately experienced driver, but there were a few sections today that tested my skills - and my familiarity with my 2017 JKU, which is fairly new to me. We navigated the hill at waypoint 8 (we followed the grade to the right and did not go down the steep rock face), and easily crossed the creek. We drove another ~50 yards up the trail past the creek and then decided to turn back, just to be safe. Made our way back up the hill at waypoint 8 (again, following the less intense grade) and worked our way over to the Old China Dam - which was easily navigated. For me, greater familiarity with the pitch and roll limits of my JKU would probably give me greater confidence to run the entire trail up to the homestead. I was disappointed that we didn't make it to the homestead, but we'll give it another try later this month.
User Avatar
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 12/11/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

We did the trail with https://valleygladiators.com Club on 12/11/23 with 12 Jeeps, most of them stock, without any difficulty. There was a small ledge that did require spotting for stock Gladiators both up and down and you will definitely need 4W Low the last two miles or so. Otherwise, perfect trail for stock Jeeps and beginners alike. Do pay extra attention when you cross the creek. It's easy to miss the trail even with GPS!

From the Community

Start a free trial and get this level of detail on every trail guide
Start Free Trial