China Dam, Fort Tule
A desert trail that leads to an old dam along Humbug Creek, and an unusual miner's cabin. This area offers numerous rugged side roads to explore, so it's a really good area for ATVs, UTVs and dirt bikes. You'll find Bradshaw Foothills Staging Area north of Lake Pleasant Regional Park. It is free to camp or ride from this point north. Please pack out all trash.
Our online research revealed that the China Dam was built by Chinese immigrants in the late 1880s as part of a gold mining operation. A dog’s grave marker at Fort Tule says “A MINERS FAITHFUL FRIEND.” The dog “Pooch” lived from 1928 to 1938. Much evidence of mining in the area would suggest that this was a permanent residence for at least two miners, possibly built as a fortress against Indian attacks.
From I-17, Exit 223 at Carefree, head west 11.2 miles on Highway 74. Turn right on paved Castle Hot Springs Road just after Mile Post 19. Go north 5.6 miles to “T” and turn left. Continue on wide gravel road another 2.9 miles and turn right on Cow Creek Road. Continue north another 1.5 miles to kiosk on right, which marks staging and dispersed camping area. Continue another 1.2 miles to start of trail on right at steep hill.