The Sycamore loop as it's presented here, can be challenging for stock vehicles and inexperienced drivers but is ideal for someone looking to advance their off road skills. There are a couple steep loose dirt hills, off-camber ridge trails and potential washouts along the route, so a steady hand & clear head are needed. This is NOT recommended for big full size trucks because of several high center and narrow sections, that do not have by-passes. There are a couple optional difficult trails along the route, like Widowmaker hill climb or maybe Squeeze Rock, if you're really up for a challenge. Remember to take plenty of water, a map or gps because it can get confusing with all the different washes and hills you'll be traversing. Cell service is sporadic and likely only possible at the highest of hills in the area. Be cautious while traveling in the narrow washes, traffic can be coming from the other direction at any time!
NOTE: The permit is a motorcycle and ATV requirement only.
Fountain Hills Fire Dept.
16831 E Saguaro Blvd, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268
Very heavy ohv traffic in the area be very cautious.
Enter through large steel gates and cattle guard onto the gravel forest road 1847. Continue northeast along this road 1.5 miles to fr403.
2. FR1847 / Straight
Continue to the right, north on the main fr1847 until fr403. Left fr1847 is a lesser traveled side trail that leads to Sycamore wash, below Widowmaker.
3. Information Boards
National Forest, Mesa District information board for the OHV area. You can find a trail map, fire restriction levels, tips for the trail and other very useful information posted here. Please respect the area, tread lightly, and pack out what you pack in. Please respect the closed areas signs to help with restoration projects.
4. FR403 Left
Turn left at the bottom of the hill onto fr403, traveling west in the sandy wash for 2.4 miles.
Shooting and camping area begins. Turning right on fr403 leads to a dead end.
5. FR1849 Large Wash
When entering down into the large Sycamore wash, turn left, traveling west for about a half mile until you come to the Widowmaker hill climb area.
If you wish to begin the loop and not visit Widowmaker, turn right, traveling northeast in the wash along fr1849, skip to (WP7).
6. Widowmaker Hill Climb
Widowmaker Hill will be on the left after a 1/2 mile drive in a very bumpy wash. Please be cautious of nails around the fire pits as you are pulling up to the hill, pallet bon-fires! The hill has a couple different ways up, each has it's own challenge. It's responsible for a few fatal accidents, hence the name. There are dips and undercuts while climbing that cause problems for vehicles without lockers. PLEASE BE CAUTIOUS and do not exceed you or your vehicles limits. Once you reach the top you can return the same way, being cautious of uphill traffic or take a side trail back down to the bottom. Return back towards WP6 to begin the loop.
7. Begin Loop
To begin the loop, continue traveling northeast along fr1849, staying in the large wash, for 2.4 miles.
8. Stay Left in Wash / FR1851 Right
Stay in the main large wash to the left, traveling northeast for 1.9 miles more. (half the fr1849 sign was buried in sand). fr1851 to the right, leads to fr402 the Sugarloaf entrance and basically the end of the loop (WP18).
9. FR3470 Left
Turn left at the large rock formations heading northwest up in the sandy wash. Staying in the main wash to the right will bring you to the optional Squeeze Rock trail. This trail is very difficult and has high potential for body damage and engine flooding, if water is present. By continuing through Squeeze Rock, you meet up with the loop at fr1855 (WP16).
Squeeze Rock POV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7H9aN4YNC0
10. Quartz Hill
When approaching this hill, be careful to pick the correct line. The left side up the hill seems the safest and recommended to help maintain the integrity of the site. When climbing the hill stay to the right at the top of the quartz mound, to have access to the next descent. Descend down the steep backside into the next section that requires a steady hand. Once at the top, many use this as a vista point and the quartz is cool too. Parking can be tight.
11. FR3470 Left
Turn right, down hill then left at the bottom. There are a couple ways down and should be viewed before attempting. Turn left at the bottom in the sandy wash, traveling north on fr3470.
12. Hill Climb
Right turn, northeast up a short hill climb leading to a ridgeline trail. There are two ways up the hill but both lead up the ridgeline trail.
13. Right Turn
Continue to the right at the Y intersection for vehicles with good articulation. The right can be difficult but with a good spotter can be easily navigated. Going left is an easy way around the slightly more difficult section and meets up around at the bottom of the hills.
14. Downhill Turn
Right turn down to rock out cropping. The main route and the recommended route, is the first right heading down the ridgeline to the rock out cropping below. Forward is an optional washed out, loose and difficult descent that must be viewed before descending. Be very careful because of loose rock, dirt and very deep ruts that cause many rollovers.
15. Rock Climb Obstacle
This spot has a few options. Staying to the left around the first large rock going down is the easiest route. Over to the right, by the rock out cropping's, is an optional rock climb step-up. Please refer to the video, pictures and use a spotter. This spot is often considered the lunch or break point for the loop. Continue down hill and to the right at the bottom, following the wash southeast. Please remember, two way traffic, so watch your speed and be aware.
16. FR1855 Begin
Continue in the wash south, traveling along fr1855 through the rocky, boulder and large tree strewn wash.
Left on fr1855 will bring you north to fr160.
17. Camping Area
Continue across the creek to the dirt road leading to fr402 and fr1851. This area is very popular for camping and is also where Squeeze Rock trail exits. Camping in the area is free but please be responsible and pack out, what you pack in. Waste disposal is not provided, so plan accordingly.
18. FR402 - FR1851
Continuing on east fr402 to the left will take you to the end of the loop, the Sugarloaf staging area and the exit to highway 87. Turning right, west on fr1851 will bring you back to fr1849 (WP8).
19. Sugarloaf Staging / Highway 87
On the left, just before the gates and highway 87, is a large open staging area for airing up and final checks before hitting the road. If you continue across the highway, you'll be entering the Four Peaks region, for even more great off roading.