“A good trail in the south western most portion of Cottonwood.”
— Markk Knowles
**See the note at the end of this description**
The Dead Horse Loop Trail is not actually a loop in itself. Other trails combine to make this a loop.
Hiking the Dead Horse Loop is an excellent exercise in exercise. The climb is long and mostly gradual, including some doubletrack to keep the excitement at bay at times. This is the kind of trail that grows on you the farther you get into it.
Begin hiking from Late Night Parking west through the 3rd tunnel to the south side of Hwy. 160 on doubletrack. Boring desert hiking for the first couple miles gradually turns to singletrack which gets better as you proceed. A few steep washes add enthusiasm. Before you know you're hiking through fun scenic terrain. A couple more short doubletrack sections (watch closely for the turns back to singletrack) and you are presented with Satan's Escalator....a series of switchbacks on a steep climb. At the top you are faced with a choice of jeep road, hang right and look for the trail to your left in a short distance.
Wilson's Tank Overlook is your next attraction. A very nice view point. Following the track in this area can be difficult as it is broken. You'll be heading back north towards a thrilling descent called 3 Mile Smile
. At the top of 3 Mile Smile
this trail ends. Enjoy the descent ahead of you or backtrack down on Dead Horse.