Tortilla Trail leads from the grasslands that spread along the eastern slopes of the Galiuros to the heart of that remote mountain range in deep, wide Rattlesnake Canyon. From the trailhead at Deer Creek, it meanders among shallow canyons and rocky flats in the shadow of the bluffy slopes that characterize the Galiuros. Most of this trail is in open country, where isolated oaks and grassy flats do little to restrict the far-reaching views of rugged canyons, rocky escarpments and distant mountains. You may see evidence of mountain lion along this trail. These reclusive animals are about as plentiful here as they get in the southwest.
There are mule deer and black bear in the area too, and smaller animals including shrill-voiced rock squirrels and colorful scarlet king snakes. Typical vegetation in the open areas includes bear grass, sotol, cane cholla and manzanita. Down in the canyons you'll find Arizona walnut, netleaf oak and silverleaf oak, among others. At Mud Spring, Sycamore Canyon Trail #278 branches off to the north. The Tortilla Trail then drops into the upper reaches of Sycamore Canyon before climbing to a saddle at the top of a steep descent that leads into Horse Canyon and eventually into Rattlesnake Canyon.
Rattlesnake is one of two main drainages that split the Galiuros, the other is Redfield Canyon. At the bottom of Rattlesnake Canyon, you'll find Powers Garden and the Powers Garden Trail #96, both named after a family whose members once mined gold in this area and were principals in a famous shootout that occurred at Power Cabin. This trail can be a bit difficult to locate in a few places, and it is crisscrossed by a number of ranch and cattle trails that can confuse the issue even more. If you look around a bit, however, you can generally relocate the trail without much trouble. While it is always advisable to take a topographic map and a compass on a trip into the backcountry, in the Galiuros it is essential.
Restrictions: Motorized and mechanized vehicles and equipment, including mountain bikes, are not permitted in Wilderness. See the Wilderness section of this guide for more wilderness rules and ethics.
Directions: From Safford drive south 17 miles on US 191 to AZ 266. Turn right (southwest) onto AZ 266 and drive 19 miles to Bonita. From Bonita, continue north on Aravaipa Road about 19 miles to the Deer Creek Ranch Road (FR 253). Turn left here and drive 8.4 miles to the trailhead.
Day Hiking: Remote Wilderness, Broad vistas, Pinnacles, buttes, needles, and bluffs. Oak savannah setting. Mud Spring and Powers Garden Spring provide the only reliable source of water on this trail. Purification of water is recommended prior to use. 7.4 miles of this trail are within the Galiuro Wilderness. USGS Map(s): Kennedy Peak