Sunday, November 23, 2014

SONORAN DESERT (HAWES) TRAIL SYSTEM


SONORAN DESERT (HAWES) TRAIL SYSTEM
Tonto National Forest, Mesa Ranger District

Salt River viewed from Saguaro (aka Mine) Trail

Originally constructed by mountain bike enthusiasts, this intertwining system of trails overlooking Granite Reef Dam on the Salt River in Mesa is just too interesting for hikers to ignore.  In 2005, 10.3 miles of the 20-mile web of social trails were adopted into the Tonto National Forest System. As would be expected of bike trails, these routes offer an entertaining mash up of twists and swooping turns tracing the site’s hills and valleys. The 5-trail maze is also known as the "Hawes System" after the longest route in the mix. As bikers heavily use these trails, hikers should stay alert and share the dirt accordingly. Trail courtesy dictates that bikers yield to hikers and everybody yields to horses---especially the wild mustangs that roam this riverside terrain. However, a bike careening through a hairpin turn at break neck speed won't necessarily be able to avoid you without drawing blood. So, although riders on these trails are generally courteous and careful, be prepared to relinquish the right of way whenever possible---after all, they were here first.

Views of Red Mountain dominate the hike


LENGTH: 10.3 miles (maintained trails only)
Hawes Trail #52: 3.4 miles
Ridge Trail #59: 1.7 miles
Granite Trail #54: 0.7 mile
Saguaro Trail #50: 3.1 miles
Saddle Trail #51: 1.4 miles
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 1150’ – 1760’
GETTING THERE:
From Phoenix go east on Loop 202 to exit 23 for Power Road in Mesa.  Travel 2.1 miles north on Power Road to the Hawes Trailhead on the left. Trail begins across the road.
INFO & MAPS: Global Bikes
Tonto National Forest

Hawes Trail

MORE PHOTOS:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

KAHTOOLA AGASSIZ UPHILL RACE at ARIZONA SNOWBOWL


8th Annual Race, Raffle & Fundraiser
KAHTOOLA AGASSIZ UPHILL RACE at ARIZONA SNOWBOWL


Hikers take your marks---the 8th Annual Kahtoola Agassiz Uphill Race (KAU), Raffle and Fundraiser event is slated for Saturday, February 7, 2015.  Join 300 climbers on this insanely challenging hike/climb surrounded by a party atmosphere.  With Gore-tex as the title sponsor, racers have the option of wearing Kahtoola (a Flagstaff-based company) MICROspikes, snowshoes, crampons, skis with skins, or a split board for added traction on the steep course.  The catch? There’s no telling who will make it to the finish line first, because whichever product helps (or hinders) your way up the mountain is the product you have (or get!) to wear on the way back down. 
 A racer’s choice of footwear — MICROspikes or ski gear — livens up the competition, given that, in the race’s history, there has never been a consistent winner. Some years, the MICROspikes win; others, the ski gear.  The wide range of experience levels, from competitive racers to recreational athletes to just plain winter enthusiasts, also contributes to the fun. 
 While the competition is fierce and the fun is even fiercer, the event also dishes out a fierce dose of philanthropy. 100 percent of proceeds from the Agassiz Uphill are donated to Camp Colton, an environmental and natural sciences camp for children that informs and encourages children’s interaction with the outdoors.


WHEN: Saturday, February 7, 2015
WHERE: Arizona Snowbowl, Flagstaff
WHY: benefit for Camp Colton

REGISTER HERE:

INFO ON FLAGSTAFF-BASED KAHTOOLA PRODUCTS:

I have NOT received product or payment for this endorsement. It's just a cool event worth a pitch. Mare

Monday, November 17, 2014

DECEMBER HIKING GUIDE


On newsstands Nov. 20, 2014
The December 2014 issue of PHOENIX magazine features 41 great hikes in and around the Valley.
Here’s where you can find PHOENIX magazine: Safeway, Fry’s Marketplace, Wal-Mart, Costco, Sam’s Club, Sunflower Markets, Sprouts, Borders, Barnes & Noble, CVS, Walgreens, Sky Harbor Airport, Albertson’s, Fresh & Easy, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target, Whole Foods, Basha’s, A.J.’s, La Grande Orange, The Kitchen, Area hospital gift shops WEB SITE: http://www.phoenixmag.com/ ORDER BY PHONE: 480-664-3960
DIGITAL EDITION AVAILABLE on iTunes. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

BUTCHER JONES TRAIL


BUTCHER JONES TRAIL
Saguaro Lake

Trail near Camper Cove

Of the sting of reservoirs tethered by the Salt River 30 miles northeast of the Valley, amenity-rich Saguaro Lake is the closest and easiest to find. This is one of the reasons why it's so wildly popular for boating, fishing or simply bonding with a cooler and juicy novel under a lakeside mesquite tree. Hikers can hit the dirt here by way of the Butcher Jones Trail that wraps around a water-piercing peninsula with secluded coves. Most of the route hugs the cliffs high above the lake, but fisherman paths to the shore make nice scenic detours for photography, wildlife spotting or a cozy lunch break. The trail's high points reveal fantastic views of the gaping Salt River Canyon, 1930s-era Stewart Dam and surrounding mountain ranges. Arrive early to get a good parking spot and be prepared to share the trail with pole-toting anglers and gaggles of kids running off their hot dogs and Kool-Aid. If noise and crowds cramp your style, hang in there---the commotion dissipates where the trail makes a hairpin turn around Peregrine Point.
Heading toward Burro Cove

LENGTH: 5 miles roundtrip
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 1529' - 1600'
FACILITIES: restrooms, picnic tables
FEE: Tonto Pass is required. $6 daily fee
The Flatiron in Superstition Wilderness on horizon

GETTING THERE:
From Mesa, go 27 miles north on SR87 (Beeline Highway) to exit 199, Bush Highway (FR204), turn right and continue 2 miles to the signed turnoff for Butcher Jones Recreation Area.  Follow the access road (FR116) 2 miles to the site.  Trail begins at far east end of the beach.
Burro Cove

INFO: Tonto National Forest

MORE PHOTOS:

Monday, November 10, 2014

TURPENTINE TRAIL


TURPENTINE TRAIL
McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Who knew that the ambrosial, mood-altering magic of fragrance could be so pronounced on a trail dubbed "Turpentine"?  Named for Ericameria laricifolia, a knee-high bush in the sunflower family, the Turpentine Trail in Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve celebrates this tenacious plant's olfactory contribution to desert hiking. Instead of the expected nasal membrane singeing vapors, the needle-like leaves of the turpentine bush emit a complex cloud of piney perfume with hints of citrus and sage when pinched gently between the fingers. The late bloomer is at its best during the winter hiking season boasting yellow, broom-shaped blooms from August through December followed by frothy, flightily seed globes.  The plants grow in perfusion throughout the preserve's sandy, crushed granite terrain but are especially robust in the north sector around the Fraesfield and Granite Mountain trailheads, both of which can be used to access the Turpentine Trail. Maps available online coupled with meticulous on-trail signage show numerous ways to weave this trail into a day of exploring.  One option begins at the Fraesfield trailhead with a 1.6-mile trek on Black Hills Trail, to the Turpentine junction. From here, go left and hike 1.4 miles to Whiskey Bottle Trail, veer left and continue 1.6 miles back to the trailhead. This loop has terrific views of the Superstition Wilderness, Four Peaks and the Cave Creek Mountains.


LENGTH: 4.6 miles as described here
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 2300' - 2656'
Four Peaks

GETTING THERE: Fraesfield Trailhead
From Loop 101 in Scottsdale, take the Princess/Pima exit 36 and go 6.5 miles north on Pima to Dynamite Blvd./Rio Verde Dr.  Turn right and go 5.6 miles to the trailhead on the left.  No facilities or water.

Turpentine Bush

INFO & MAPS: McDowell Sonoran Preserve, 480-312-7013
MORE PHOTOS:

Monday, November 3, 2014

GIRDNER TRAIL


Cockscomb formation dominates the horizon

GIRDNER TRAIL
Sedona

Taking off from a trailhead located less than a mile from busy Highway 89A in Sedona, the Girdner Trail has a surprisingly wild feel about it---if you give it about a mile. The first part of the hike shares space with the 0.2-mile, paved Centennial Trail that leads to an overlook area with big sky views of colorfully layered mesas and blood red rock spires floating over residential properties northwest of town. Trudging beyond this barrier-free gem, the trail boasts cypress-framed vistas of the russet sandstone Cockscomb formation before making a dive into the twisting gorge of Dry Creek where suburbia gets swallowed up in a frenzy of high desert trees and water-sculpted canyon walls.
A rocky crossing of Dry Creek
Although the creek lives up to its "dry" name most of the time, the porous terrain retains enough groundwater and reflecting pools to support an enchanting forest of cottonwood, willow and sycamore trees that flaunt golden canopies from late October thought mid-November.  A walking stick is helpful as the trail makes many crossings of the boulder strewn creek bed.  Along the way, a short trek on a gas pipeline road and telephone line corridor reminds that civilization is not too far away. The trail ends at Dry Creek Road, however, multiple connecting trails in the "Cockscomb cluster" can be cobbled into endless day hike or backpacking trips. NOTE: trail signs are sparse and intersecting social trails can cause confusion.  Study the trailhead map before heading out.


LENGTH: 4.5 miles one way
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 4240'- 4600'
FEE: a Red Rock Pass is required
GETTING THERE:
From the AZ89A/179 traffic circle in Sedona, head 4.2 miles west (left thru the circle) on 89A to Cultural Park Way (traffic signal). Turn right and continue 0.3-mile to the Cultural Park trailhead on the right. Trailhead has picnic tables and a map kiosk but no restrooms or water.

INFO & MAPS: Red Rock Ranger District, Coconino National Forest, 928-203-2900

Monday, October 27, 2014

SOUTH THUMB BUTTE TRAILS


SOUTH THUMB BUTTE TRAILS
Prescott
Thumb Butte Bypass Trail follows Miller Creek

Soaring to 6514', the sky dominating profile of Thumb Butte is Prescott’s most iconic natural landmark. Its convenient location in the middle of a park just west of downtown's historic Whiskey Row attracts scores of visitors, many of whom use the main Trail #33 as their first exposure to Prescott area hiking. Although it's a good choice for novice hikers or those unfamiliar with the area's terrain, a slew of connecting routes add length and difficulty to satisfy the predilections of most trekkers.
Thumb Butte Trail #33
The heaviest traveled of the seven routes in the park's south end, Trail #33 is engineered with climb-calming switchbacks, safety rails and rest stops that make short work of the 2.1-mile loop around the granite formation.  When hiking clockwise from the trailhead, the path is paved up to the loop's highpoint on a saddle below vertical rock slabs forming the butte's summit. Here, a spur trail that's closed from February 1st to July 15th each year to protect peregrine falcon nesting sites, leads to optional rock scrambling routes.  The trail turns to dirt for the return leg, passing a makeshift memorial to the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who perished in the 2013 Yarnell Hill wildfire.    Maps available at the trailhead show the lay of the land and numerous ways to explore deeper into Prescott National Forest including easy connectivity with the Prescott Circle Trail that makes a 50-mile circuit around the city.

Thumb Butte

LENGTH: 8.3 miles total for 7 trails
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION:  5705’ – 6314’ (Trail #33)
HOURS: seasonal 7 a.m. to 5, 7 or 8 p.m.
FEE: $5 day use fee (exact change required)
Granite Mountain Hotshot memorial

GETTING THERE:
From the courthouse in downtown Prescott (Gurley St. and Montezuma), travel 3.4 miles west on Gurley Street (turns into Thumb Butte Road) to the Thumb Butte Recreation Area.
INFO & MAPS: Prescott National Forest

Sunday, October 19, 2014

WEST WING MOUNTAIN TRAILS


WEST WING MOUNTAIN TRAILS
City of Peoria


Every town and city in the Valley has its popular workout trail where the hordes converge for their daily dose of sweat and grind. Examples are Camelback Mountain in Phoenix and, Scottsdale's Pinnacle Peak. Not to be left out of the fitness frenzy, Peoria's trek of choice is West Wing Mountain. Unlike its neighbors, which offer one option---moderately difficult, straight up-and-down trudges-- this system of loop trails offers you a choice of difficult and extreme options. Although the trails are well maintained and not too steep, the difficult rating is likely because of the slick rock and loose scree underfoot.
The mountain is actually an undulating ridgeline with trails wrapping up and around scenic viewpoints and a high summit.  Rising above a Northwest Valley suburban domain of kids and cul-de-sacs, the trails dodge among crusty cliffs and barrel cactus showcasing ever-improving views as the routes gain elevation. At the top of the extreme loop, views of a sea of terra cotta roofs nuzzling up to the mountain’s base and West Valley mountains form a 360-degree panorama beyond a familiar landscape of freeways and shopping malls.

LENGTH:  3.4 or 3.5 miles (including 0.2-mile access trail from the park)
RATING: difficult
ELEVATION: 1400'- 1903’

GETTING THERE:
From Phoenix, go north on I-17 to Loop 303 exit 221 .  Turn left (west) and continue 7 miles to  Lake Pleasant Parkway exit 131, turn left (south) and go 2.3 miles to West Wing Parkway, turn left and go 1 mile to West Wing Park on the right.  Trail begins at the far west side of the parking lot. Although there are numerous access points from residential streets, The City of Peoria wants hikers to park at the West Wing Park lot.

INFO: City of Peoria, 623-773-7120
West Wing Neighborhood Park
27100 N. West Wing Parkway, Peoria

Sunday, October 12, 2014

BARBERSHOP and U-BAR TRAILS


BARBERSHOP-U-BAR TRAILS to DANE CANYON
Coconino National Forest
Barbershop Trail, Oct. 11, 2014

One of the best long hikes on the Mogollon Rim is the Cabin Loop System.  Several trailheads provide myriad options for making multi-day backpack treks or day hikes using the five trails that link a system of abandoned fire lookout cabins. In autumn, the Barbershop Trail portion of the route is famous for its awesome display of colorful foliage.
The hike begins with a steep descent into Yeager Canyon, a creek crossing and an immediate climb back up to a ridge. The trail is sketchy in places but is marked by tree blazes. Along this section, moist pockets of Bigtooth maples form canopies of red, orange and gold over a moss-fleeced pine-fir woodland.  At the 0.7-mile point, turn right to pick up the U-Bar Trail.  Deeply wooded, this trail features Gamble oaks and aspen groves that shine in electric yellow in mid-October.  The ruins of Dane Cabin and its companion spring appear at mile 2.3 before the trail winds north along the edge of Dane Canyon. Soon the path dips into the gorge via a series of switchbacks landing hikers in a stream-bisected meadow at the 4.3-mile point---a good turnaround point for a leaf-peeping day hike.
U-Bar Trail, Oct. 11, 2014


Maples on Barbershop Trail, Oct. 11, 2014

LENGTH:  8.7 miles (as described here)
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 7120’ – 7598
BEST TIME FOR FALL COLOR: mid-October
GETTING THERE:
From Payson, go 29 miles east on AZ260 to Rim Road (Forest Road 300 at the Woods Canyon Lake sign).  Turn left and go 22.8 miles on FR300 to FR137, turn right and continue 3.4 miles to the Barbershop Trail sign.  Hike begins on the west side of the road at a small wooden sign. Dirt roads are sedan friendly.

INFO:

MORE PHOTOS:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

WEST FORK OF OAK CREEK: POST FIRE


WEST FORK OF OAK CREEK: POST 2014 SLIDE FIRE
Sedona
Narrow Canyon Pool, Oct. 7, 2014

I cried when I first learned that the 2014 Slide Fire had crept into the West Fork of Oak Creek, impacting one of Sedona’s premier hiking destinations. Prior to the blaze, the soaring crimson and buff canyon walls that cradle the creek were embellished with pines, maples, elders, willows and hop trees. In spring, apple blossoms burst from an abandoned orchard and in autumn, the canyon glowed in shades of russet, gold and orange. After a months-long closure, the forest service re-opened the canyon on October 1, 2014.  I re-visited a few days later and found that the damage is minimal. The vast majority of the trail is intact and I only noticed six areas of moderate fire damage---but nothing bad enough to detract from the canyon’s beauty.  Despite our wet summer, water levels in the creek are very low and the sandbars are stained black with ash. But, low water means that hiking into the slot canyon beyond the maintained trail is now easy to do without having to wade. On October 7th, the leaves were just beginning to show some color, which means the week of the 15th should be prime time for fall foliage hiking.


13th creek crossing: Oct. 7, 2014

Beginnings of Fall color: Oct 7, 2014

LENGTH: 3.3 miles one-way
RATING: easy with 13 creek crossings
ELEVATION: 5324' – 5594’
FEE: $10 daily fee per vehicle or $2 per person walk in
FACILITIES: restrooms, picnic tables, no water
Fire damage at creek crossing #11

GETTING THERE:
From the AZ179/89A traffic circle in Sedona, veer right and continue 10.5 miles north on 89A to the Call O the Canyon trailhead on the left.
INFO: Red Rock Ranger District, Coconino National Forest, 928-203-2900

MORE PHOTOS:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

ASPENS ON THE ARIZONA TRAIL


ASPENS ON THE ARIZONA TRAIL
Arizona Trail Passage 34, Flagstaff
Aspen color on October 5, 2014

Trekking the Arizona National Scenic Trail Passage 34 can best be described as hiking through an aspen alley. Although this section of the 817-mile, state-traversing route is well over 30 miles in length, some of the best fall foliage viewing happens in the 4-mile strip of forest between Forest Road 418 and Bismarck Lake . Right from the start, hikers are immersed in colonies of slender, white-barked trees with feather-duster-like canopies that glow in shades of gold from early to mid-October. After about a mile, deep woodlands of pines and firs overcome the aspens.  Here, sporadic, survivor aspens stand out like torch flames.  At the 1.8 mile point, a small grove adds spots of color and at 2.7 miles, the aspens return with a vengeance, dominating the trail all the way to the Bismarck Lake junction in the shadow of Flagstaff’s San Francisco Peaks.



LENGTH: 4.2 miles one way
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 8287' - 8897'
GETTING THERE:
From Flagstaff go 19 miles north on US180 to Hart Prairie Road (FR151) at milepost 235.
Turn right and go 1.6 miles to FR418, turn left and continue 1.1 mile to the trailhead.

INFO:

Friday, October 3, 2014

FALL FOLIAGE IN GLOBE

ICEHOUSE CANYON TRAIL Pinal Mountains, Globe

Maples, alders, walnut and oak---and aspens near the top

Fall color in Arizona often conjures images of aspens in Flagstaff or maples on the Mogollon Rim, but there's another place---only 95 miles from the Valley--- that glows just as well. The Pinal Mountains in the Tonto National Forest near Globe offer autumn foliage and challenging treks. Of the four major trails that ascend the mountains (Icehouse, Six Shooter, Kellner and Telephone), Icehouse presents the most colorful option for leaf peeping.
It’s a bit tricky to stay on track, but with some attention to detail, hiking to the cool pockets of aspens and maples  is an exhausting yet memorable adventure. From the trailhead, hike a short distance uphill along Forest Road 112 to the Telephone Trail on the right. Follow the Telephone Trail for two-tenths of a mile to the Icehouse Canyon Trail junction, hang a right and go downhill and through a dry wash. Next, pass through a cattle guard and continue up to the top of a rise. From there, go left and follow the road for a half-mile to a junction where there are spring-fed water troughs and salt licks for the domestic cattle (and black bears) that inhabit the area. Veer left and continue on the Icehouse Canyon Trail following the signs to FR 651 (7,560 feet), the turn around point for this hike. To visit Signal Peak (7,812 feet) and Pinal Peak (7,848 feet), continue up the road toward the radio towers and follow the signs.  
Yup---it's steep

View from top of the trail
IMPORTANT NOTE: Pinal trails are notoriously overgrown and rife with obstacles. In addition, directional signage is sparse--so hikers must have excellent map and route-finding skills in order to safely navigate these trails. A good map resource is the National Geographic Maps, Salt River Canyon, Tonto National Forest #853. INFORMATION: www.natgeomaps.com/ti_853 LENGTH: 10 miles round trip ELEVATION: 4,520' – 7,560' RATING: difficult. DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 95 miles one-way GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, take US 60 east to Globe. Once in Globe, follow the “Besh-Ba-Gowah Ruins, Globe Ranger Station” signs through downtown to Icehouse Canyon Road (FR 112). Turn right onto FR 112 and continue for 4.2 miles to the Icehouse CCC campsite which is indicated by a brown sign that says: “197, 192”. INFORMATION: (928) 402-6200, www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/recreation/rogs/hikingtrail/grd/IcehouseTrail198.pdf

Monday, September 29, 2014

West Fork to Reopen Wednesday Oct. 1, 2014

For Immediate Release (from Coconino National Forest)
September 29, 2014
           
Most of Oak Creek Canyon to reopen Wednesday 
Visitors urged to continue to use caution
October 14, 2011

Sedona, Ariz.
– This summer, Coconino National Forest managers, along with the City of Sedona, Sedona Fire District, Coconino and Yavapai Counties and State partners, have worked diligently to assess and mitigate hazards caused by the Slide Fire in Oak Creek Canyon. On Wednesday, October 1, most of the National Forest in Oak Creek Canyon will reopen.

The only areas which will continue to be closed in Oak Creek Canyon include Cave Springs Campground (closed for the season), A.B. Young Trail and also a section of land between Slide Rock State Park and Halfway Picnic area.

While the monsoon season has passed, there continues to be potential for occasional storms and the threat of severe flash flooding is still present within the canyon and surrounding areas. In addition, falling trees and rocks are possible even without rain. As such, visitors are asked to remain vigilant when recreating within the canyon.

“Returning visitors will likely be relieved to see that their favorite spots aren’t completely blackened and desolate, but it’s important to remember that these areas aren’t completely risk-free,” says Nicole Branton, Red Rock District ranger. “We’ve mitigated many of the imminent hazards caused by the fire, but the canyon is no longer in the condition it was before.”

Each visitor is responsible for his/her own safety. The public is urged to be mindful of their surroundings, keep an eye on the weather, err on the side of caution and make smart decisions while visiting the forest.

Oak Creek Canyon visitors and residents are reminded to sign up to receive Coconino County CodeRED emergency alert notifications to their home, cellphone or via email. Visit www.coconino.az.gov/emergency <http://www.coconino.az.gov/emergency>  to register. For additional information on the Slide flood preparations, visit www.coconino.az.gov/slidefloodinformation <http://www.coconino.az.gov/slidefloodinformation> .

Forest managers will continue to work closely with partners to monitor conditions and may need to temporarily close portions of the area for public safety. For updates, visit www.coconinonationalforest.us <http://www.coconinonationalforest.us>  or contact the Red Rock Ranger District at 928-203-7500.
  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

BEARFOOT TRAIL


BEARFOOT TRAIL
Pine-Strawberry
Junipers and Ponderosa pines shade the trail

Officially introduced in May 2014 during Pine-Strawberry Trail Days festivities, the area’s newest hiking path connects with Tonto National Forest routes Pine Canyon Trail #26 and Rock Wall Trail #608. The hike takes off from a small pull out along Highway 87 and follows a ridgeline above the town of Pine.  There are no signs along the route and finding where the path begins is a little tricky.  From the trailhead, pass the gate, veer right and hike 0.2 mile on the power line road to a 4-way junction where the road gets very steep. Pick up the trail heading right and from here on, the route is obvious.  While hiking, note the beautifully constructed native stone retaining walls and drainage ditches. The din of the highway accompanies outstanding views of the Mazatzal Mountains for the first mile, but the noise recedes as the trail curves to the northwest,  dipping and climbing among cypress pockets, juniper-studded gullies and cool pine-shaded woodlands backed by Mogollon Rim vistas. You’ll pass by several private residential communities and Camp Lo Mia before connecting with Trail #26 in Pine Canyon.

An elegant Emory oak along the way

LENGTH: 5.6 miles one-way
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 5690’ – 6050’

Majestic views of the Mogollon Rim

GETTING THERE:
From Payson go 20 miles north on AZ87 to the trailhead at milepost 270 on the right.  There’s parking for about 4 cars, but additional space is at the Trail #15 lot a few yards up the road on the left.

Mazatzal Wilderness on the horizon

INFO:

MORE PHOTOS:

Friday, September 19, 2014

FALL COLOR HIKING 2014

 GET READY FOR ARIZONA FALL FOLIAGE HIKING 2014

Lamar Haines Wildlife Area
The Forest Service will activate  its annual FALL FOLIAGE HOTLINE on Friday September 26, 2014. Until then, hikers want to know where you'll be going to see the leaves in next few weeks.
Share your favorite autumn hiking tips and photos in my Facebook Arizona Hiking group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1428020817423751/

FALL FOLIAGE HOTLINE:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r3/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5323844

Thursday, September 18, 2014

THIS HIKE IS FOR THE DOGS


WAG & WALK HIKES on the Merkel Trail

Join adoptable dogs from the Maricopa County Animal Care & Control Mesa shelter as they strut their stuff on Usery Mountain Park's Merkel Trail on the first Saturday of every month October through April.  Hiker pups are selected for their dazzling personalities, good behavior and eagerness to find a new home.


A volunteer handler who can share information about the animal’s breed, exercise needs and individual character will escort each dog.  Hiker dogs are already spayed or neutered, up-to-date with their shots and license and can go home with you on the spot. Some of these lovable canines are "bench warmers"---pets who have been waiting to be adopted for weeks or months. Are you the one they've been waiting for?   Even if you don't find the love of your life on the hike, shelter volunteers will be on hand to direct you to county adoption facilities and answer your questions about selecting a pet to match your lifestyle.  Your leashed dogs are welcome to join the hike.


LENGTH: 1 mile
RATING: easy, barrier-free
DATE & TIME: 1st Saturday of every month October -April, 9 a.m.
FEE: $6 park entry fee per vehicle
GETTING THERE:
Usery Mountain Regional Park
3939 N. Usery Pass Road, Mesa
Take US60 east to the Ellsworth Road exit and go north to the park.
INFO: Usery Mountain Regional Park, 480-984-0032

Sunday, September 14, 2014

HIGHLANDS CENTER FOR NATURAL HISTORY


HIGHLANDS CENTER FOR NATURAL HISTORY
Prescott

Lynx Creek

Located adjacent to the Lynx Lake recreation site a few miles south of downtown Prescott, the trails of the Highland Center for Natural History blend hiking with education. Two easy trail loops are laid out to highlight the unique geology, plant life, conservation concerns and watershed resources of the Central Arizona Highlands. Accompanying field guides available at the trailhead correspond with numbered points of interest along the collective 3-miles of nature trails. These short paths also connect with longer forest trails for those who want more of a challenge. In addition to being a model of sustainable building practices and fire-wise landscaping, the center offers a plethora of guided field hikes, youth learning opportunities and naturalist certification programs. But the keynote event is the annual "Take A Hike" Hiking Spree. Participants in the popular self-paced event hike a list of designated trails within the Prescott National Forest and City of Prescott systems between September and December. Hikers who complete the program may purchase a specially designed commemorative medallion and also are entered into a prize drawing.  The 2014 Spree kicked off on Sept 6th and this year's trail selection includes perennial classics like Juniper Mesa as well as newly opened Granite Gardens trails. Click the link below to get started.

Lynx Creek

LENGTH: 3 miles
RATING: easy, partially barrier free
ELEVATION: 5300’ – 5590’
FEE: none, but donations are appreciated
HOURS: variable, but generally 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Elderberry Spring
GETTING THERE:
1375 S. Walker Road, Prescott. 
From Phoenix, go north on I17 to Cordes Junction, connect with  SR69 and go 30 miles west to Walker Road at milepost 293. Turn left and continue 1.8 miles to the center on the left.

INFO:

Take A Hike Hiking Spree

MORE PHOTOS: