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Monday, April 24, 2017

MUD TANK TRAIL, BRAD'S TRAIL & FROG TANK LOOP

MUD TANK TRAIL, BRAD'S TRAIL & FROG TANK LOOP

Munds Park Trail System
Mud Tank
Just off Interstate 17 a few miles south of Flagstaff, a mix of Coconino National Forest roads and footpaths have been adopted by the Munds Park Trail Stewards-- a non-profit organization that maintains and builds recreational routes around the mountain community. The Munds Park Trail System offers a varied menu of both ATV and hiker options enhanced with a plethora of eye candy and points of interest.
Typical scene on the Mud Tank Trail
The Iron Springs Trailhead serves as the system’s nerve center with a map kiosk showing an overview of the entire matrix as well as providing a launch point for the Mud Tank Trail, Brad’s Trail and Frog Tank Loop.
A good way to get warmed up before exploring the system’s longer routes is to step out on the Mud Tank Trail.  This effortless walk among Ponderosa pines is open to hikers, bikers and equestrians and culminates at a stock pond. It’s a quiet, pretty place surrounded by oak trees and a muddy fringe of animal footprints. A stroll along its perimeter reveals the signatures of elk, deer, raccoons, birds and the familiar impressions of dog paws. You’ll want to hang out for a while to absorb the songs of Mountain bluebirds and Stellar’s jays riding on pine-infused breezes before heading back to the trailhead to pick up Brad’s Trail. Named for forest service volunteer Brad Bunsell (1958-2011) who, according to a tribute at the kiosk, never met a rock he couldn’t move, the path serves as a non-motorized connector to the Frog Tank Loop.
Frog Tank
The mile-long trail is also the main artery for paths that access private communities. Look for directional signage tacked to trees to stay on course. The Frog Tank Loop junction marks the beginning of a delightfully irregular, 3.1-mile trip through thick, coniferous forests, sunny meadows and scenic water features. Heading right from the junction, the route descends on a rugged shared-use road to meet the distressed channel of an intermittent stream.
Meadow on the Frog Tank Loop
Keep an eye out for motorized traffic while ogling the eroded banks, reflecting pools and trickling rivulets. The loop connects to a maze of forest roads that can cause confusion if you’re not paying attention. Just look for the Frog Tank Loop signs at each intersection and you’ll be fine. As the trail swings westward, it emerges into a moist, green pasture that drains into Frog Tank. Only foot traffic is allowed around the pool’s sensitive berms, so travel lightly or better yet, take a break beneath one of the massive trees on the perimeter and try to spot some of the animals that come there to drink and swim.
Pine Thermopsis bloom April through July
Beyond the tank, the trail crosses a canyon-bound waterway cluttered with high-country wildflowers like Pine Thermopsis and wild roses before heading uphill to a point just above the steep-walled passage. Once at the top of the climb, look for a couple of spur paths leading to the lip of the gorge. Carefully peer over the edge for dizzying glimpses of vertical basalt walls and a log-jammed creek. Around the next bend, community paths and cabin rooftops signal the end of the loop where you'll backtrack on Brad’s Trail to the start point.

Intermittent stream on Frog Tank Loop
LENGTH:
Mud Tank Trail: 1.6 miles roundtrip
Brad’s Trail: 2 miles roundtrip
Frog Tank Loop: 3.1 miles
RATING: easy-moderate
ELEVATION: 6500’ – 6700’
Sign on Brad's Trail
GETTING THERE:
Iron Springs Trailhead:
From Interstate 17 in Munds Park, take the Pinewood Blvd (Forest Road 240) exit 322 and continue 0.8 miles to Crestline Road. Turn left and go 0.8 miles (road will turn into Oak Dr.) to Iron Springs Road, turn right and go 0.2 mile to the trailhead gate. Park along the street, pass through the gate and hike 0.3 mile to the big trailhead kiosk.
INFO:

Monday, April 17, 2017

NASH POINT

NASH POINT

Coconino National Forest.
Hikers approach the Calf Pen Canyon overlook
Forest Service road maps can burn the eyeballs. Black tentacles sprawled across paper maps or smart devise screens bearing nondescript numbers and letters give clues about road conditions, where you can take a motorized vehicle and nearby towns and landmarks.
But, where do the roads go? Why would a road end abruptly at no particular destination? The best way to find answers is to park and hoof it.
Forest Road 9365R north of the town of Strawberry is a good one to try because its terminus-- marked only by an “X” on most maps-- is a memorable sight.  
View from Nash Point
Located on the Mogollon Rim just outside of Fossil Springs Wilderness Area, the road begins as a typical backwoods Jeep route. On a base of sandstone, smothered in a forest of Alligator junipers and Ponderosa pines, hikers pass through a pinecone cluttered corridor bolstered by massive rock slabs. At about a mile into the trek, the road meets a clearing with wide views of Deadman Mesa on the border of Coconino and Tonto National Forests. At this point, it’s possible to spot the hike’s objective—a basalt knob poking up from the edge of a bluff off to the right. From here, the route heads downhill passing a mucky stock tank and barbed wire relics. After a brief traipse through a low saddle, the rock underfoot changes from tawny sandstone to ashen volcanic boulders and pebbles. Here, the degraded path goes uphill on a juniper-populated slope overlooking Calf Pen Canyon. Fossil Creek flows through the colorful, rugged gorge, but you’d be hard-pressed to see it from this vantage point. On clear days, Flagstaff’s San Francisco Peaks are visible on the horizon.
Calf Pen Canyon
From the Calf Pen vista, the highpoint of the hike stands out as a wall of lichen-encrusted steel-gray basalt at road’s end. Nash Point rises to 6546 feet at the edge of Gila and Coconino Counties. A moderate scramble to its summit reveals enhanced views of Calf Pen and the Fossil Springs area. Although it’s not clear why anybody would have built a road to such an odd place, the jumbled perch provides satisfying closure and animates an uninspiring “X” on a map.
Views along FR 9365R
Nash Point. PHOTO: Randy Cockrell (used with his permission)
LENGTH: 5.3 miles round trip
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 6250' - 6526'
GETTING THERE:
From the junction of State Routes 260/87 in Payson, go 17.5 miles north on SR87 to Fossil Creek Road in the town of Strawberry. Continue on SR 87 for another 2.2 miles to just before milepost 273 and turn left into a dirt parking lot.
Pass through the gate (close it behind you) and hike the road. At the 0.25-mile point, continue straight at a fork and at the 0.5-mile, veer right and a second fork. From here, the route is obvious.
Coconino National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps, April 2017 Updates:

Sunday, April 16, 2017

CORNVILLE NON-MOTORIZED TRAILS

CORNVILLE NON-MOTORIZED TRAILS
View of Mingus Mountain and Jerome from Backbone Trail
Spanning the space Northeast of the Verde River between the communities of Bridgeport and Cornville is a system of trails that just got a shot in the arm. Although the trails have been around for awhile, a recent influx of grant dollars has helped fund new trailheads, signs and fresh trail construction. The Cornville Non-Motorized Trails project is being coordinated by Yavapai County and the Cornville Community Association in partnership with the Forest Service. The overall goal is to establish a 12-mile network of routes to link the two towns. The work-in-progress is coming together quickly and is now open to hiking, biking and equestrian use.
New signs were installed in March 2017
The trails located between Zalesky and Tissaw Roads are mostly complete, signed and easy to follow. This segment of the system is anchored by the Backbone Trail which passes through a wash-riddled high desert with views of Jerome and Mingus Mountain to the west and Sedona to the north.
Backbone Trail
Cliff-rose and paintbrush
Two loops—Zalesky and Side Oats—attach to Backbone making for roughly 6-7 miles of hiking between the two trailheads. The single track dirt and sand paths brush by subdivisions, farm houses and plenty of open country with limestone escarpments and a smattering of juniper trees dotting grassy plains. This exposed landscape hosts a plethora of blooming plants including Cliff-rose, Crucifixion-Thorn, Mormon Tea and dozens of ankle-high wildflowers. Near Tissaw Road, the trail climbs a tiny mound for glimpses of Sedona's House Mountain and the Verde River watershed.
Sego lilies bloom along the trails 
Across Tissaw Road, the system continues to evolve with new construction happening on the Dog Leg, Creosote and Black Grama Loops.

LENGTH: 12 miles total
RATING: easy-moderate
ELEVATION: 3170' - 3560'
GETTING THERE:
Zalesky Road Trailhead (Bridgeport):
From Interstate 17 north of Camp Verde, take the McGuireville exit 293 and go 12.3 miles west on Cornville Road to State Route 89A. Turn left and continue 1 mile to Zalesky Road, turn left and go 0.1 to the trailhead on the left.
Tissaw Road Trailhead (Cornville):
From Interstate 17 north of Camp Verde, take the McGuireville exit 293 and go 11.2 miles west on Cornville Road to Tissaw Road. Turn left and continue 1 mile to the trailhead on the right.
INFO:


Monday, April 10, 2017

BOULDERS LOOP

BOULDERS LOOP
Payson
Stewart Creek trickles along Boulders Loop
Sometimes, a trail’s name and its reputation dovetail like a fine hewn joint. The Boulders Loop Trail in Payson is such an excellent example of this that it has earned a local moniker: “Boulderpalooza”.  And that’s not the only home-grown terminology inspired by this twisted little trail that whirls through creek-scoured back country a few miles southeast of town.
Resident trail maven, photographer and hike-stick-maker Randy Cockrell, who leads treks for the Payson Packers hike group, shared some insight into the informal names locals have bestowed upon landmarks along the route.
Hikers navigate "Boulderpalooza".
But first, let us discuss why this entertaining Payson Area Trails System (P.A.T.S.) route might also be dubbed, “Boulder Confusion”. Finding the trailhead is the first of several challenges. To get to the loop from the Monument Peak trailhead, hike 0.5 mile down FR 435 to where the gorge of Stewart Creek appears on the right. An unmarked trail on the right had been the access point, but was washed out during the heavy rains of 2016-17. Instead, continue another 0.25 mile and locate the wide, sandy ATV access point. Hike down into the gorge, veer right and look for the tiny P.A.T.S. trail sign up on the opposite bank. Scramble up the embankment to reach the loop.
The loop's north leg has great views.
Go right to hike the north loop first. This way, you’ll get all the tough climbing out of the way. This easy-to-follow section makes its ascent through a shady cypress-oak woodland. Use your huffing and puffing as good excuses to stop and view the “shark fin” rock formation and a stunning landscape emerging behind you. The trail then dives back down to meet Stewart Creek again for the first of several effortless crossings. At the one-mile point on the loop, the trail intersects “sign vortex”. This apt alias describes a clearing cluttered with both forest service and PATS signs of wood, Carsonite composite and plastic tree emblems. Ignore the magical forces attempting to get you lost. Go left. Now on the south leg of the loop, the terrain changes from forest to an exposed pocket of granite heaps weather-sculpted into fanciful forms that resemble a certain cartoon mouse, dragons and bowling balls. There’s also the “world-famous Butt Crack Rock”. (Okay---that last name was on me.) The rocky corridor can be difficult to navigate. This past winter was not kind to the usually impeccable signage, plus, tight curves, slippery descents and tangent social trails might cause some head-scratching.
Randy Cockrell of Payson ponders the mystery circles.
Hang in there, though. Once through the maze, you’ll spot signs to get you back on the main course. 
Near the end of the loop, a massive slab of peachy granite bears mysterious circular impressions.
Certainly, there’s a scientific explanation for the curious pock marks. However, it’s more fun to toss around theories of space aliens, blunt-footed dinosaurs or freak forces of nature. Summon your creative energies because this is a phenomenon in need of a name.

LENGTH: 4 miles
RATING: difficult
ELEVATION: 4550’- 4750’
Butt Crack Rock
TRAILHEAD:
From the intersection of State Routes 87/260 in Payson, turn right and go less than a mile east on SR260 to Granite Dells Road (located just past the Safeway center). Turn right and go 3.3 miles on Granite Dells Road (which will turn into Forest Road 435 after 1.3 miles) and park at the Monument Peak trailhead on the left.
INFO & MAPS:

Monday, March 27, 2017

BUBBLING PONDS PRESERVE

BUBBLING PONDS PRESERVE
Blackhawk Trail at Bubbling Ponds Preserve
Hikers who enjoy wildlife viewing will have a heyday at the Bubbling Ponds Preserve in Cornville. Cradled among desert hills, wineries and dewy green zones along Oak Creek, the site has two formal trails that loop among the property’s rare and varied habitats. The flat, soft paths pass through mesquite forests, meadows, cattail wetlands, a warm water hatchery for raising native fish and a shady riparian corridor. Informational signs, viewing benches and observation decks help maximize the visitor experience.
Lower Oak Creek Important Bird Area
Because of its reliable water and favorable nesting niches, the property is a sanctuary for resident and migratory birds, reptiles and mammals including several threatened species. Hikers are practically guaranteed sightings of Great blue herons, Red-winged blackbirds and many common species of waterfowl. With luck, you might also spot a more elusive Snowy Egret, Vermillion Flycatcher or river otter flitting among reeds and willows. In addition to the two main trails, the adjacent Lower Oak Creek Important Bird Area and Page Spring Fish Hatchery offer more miles of wildlife-rich exploratory hiking.
Mesquite forest
Dedicated in May 2016, the preserve is a joint effort between the Arizona Game & Fish Department that owns the property and Northern Arizona Audubon Society which funds site improvements and trail maintenance through private donations. Ongoing Audubon volunteer projects work to eradicate invasive plants and protect sensitive ecosystems while providing public education events and recreational opportunities.
Hatchery ponds for native fish species
LENGTH: 2.3 miles
Black Hawk Trail: 1.8 miles
Willow Point Loop: 0.5 mile
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 3328' - 3492'
HOURS: open daily dawn to dusk
GETTING THERE:
From Interstate 17 near Cornville, take the McGuireville exit 293, go 8 miles west on Cornville Road, turn right onto Page Springs Road and continue 4.8 miles to the entrance on the left. 
An osprey glides above the ponds
INFO: Northern Arizona Audubon Society
Arizona Game & Fish
Coconino National Forest, 1970 N Page Springs Rd, Cornville, AZ 86325

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

WAG & WALK DOG ADOPTION HIKE: APRIL 1, 2017

WAG & WALK DOG ADOPTION HIKE


 Take a hike with a tail-wagging pack of adoptable dogs from the Maricopa County Animal Care & Control Mesa shelter as they strut their stuff on an easy desert trail.  The final Wag & Walk Dog Adoption hike of the season will take place on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at Usery Mountain Regional Park in Mesa. It's a great opportunity to interact with the dogs outside of the kennel environment where they're more relaxed and able to show their true (mostly silly) personalities. You can even "test drive" the dogs to see how well they walk on leash. Shelter volunteers will be on hand to provide information on each dog's breed, exercise needs and history at the shelter. There will also be information on how you can become a volunteer. You don't have to be looking for a new fur baby to join the hike. Your participation gives the dogs a chance to practice their social skills and pander for belly rubs and treats.  Leashed, well-behaved owned dogs are welcome to participate.
DATE: Saturday, April 1, 2017
TIME:  9 A.M.
PLACE: Usery Mountain Regional Park, Mesa
LENGTH: 1-mile
RATING: easy, barrier-free
GETTING THERE:
From U.S. 60 in Mesa, take exit 192 and go north on Ellsworth Road (turns into Usery Pass Road) to the park entrance. Follow the main park road to the Merkle Trailhead at Area 6. Look for the yellow "Wag & Walk" sign. There's a $6 daily fee per vehicle.
INFO & MAP:
http://www.maricopacountyparks.net/events/wag-n-walk-dog-adoption-hike-march1/

Monday, March 20, 2017

HOMOLOVI STATE PARK TRAILS

HOMOLOVI STATE PARK TRAILS

Winslow
Tsu'vo Trail
Please don’t call this place a “ruin”.  Homolovi State Park is a Hopi ancestral village on the high plains of northeastern Arizona that teems with both animated and spiritual life.   Air-breathing, water-slurping terrestrial entities share space with invisible, but very present human souls who occupied the area from prehistoric times to 1400 AD.
March is the perfect time to visit the park. Balmy temperatures and festivities associated with Archeology & Heritage Awareness Month add bonus points to a day trip that’s enjoyable any time of year.  The park is situated at the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau where the ruddy, sun-backed terrain smacks of NASA images of the surface of Mars.  
Homolovi I
The lifeline of this unforgiving yet striking landscape is the chocolatey flow of the Little Colorado River which feeds a fringe of greenery on the site’s western edge.  Five easy hiking trails explore pueblos, dozens of ancillary structures, scattered artifacts and petroglyphs. Standing among the sketchy footprints of plazas and ceremonial structures, it’s impossible not to feel a connection with the ancient communities and their descendants. Of the four major 14-century pueblos within the park, two are open for exploration. Homolovi I is situated near the river where former inhabitants grew beans, corn and cotton on the fertile floodplain.
Homolovi II
The Homolovi II site has a half-mile, barrier-free trail that explores the park’s largest pueblo that had between 1200-2000 rooms. This hillside site provides beautiful views of treeless plains, the Hopi Buttes and Flagstaff’s San Francisco Peaks. To get the most out of this educational trek, stop by the visitor center and ask about guided tours, demonstrations and star parties.
Tsu'vo Trail

LENGTH: 4 miles total (5 trails)
Tsu’vo: 0.6
Dine: 1.5
Nusungvo: 1.2
Homolovi 1: 0.25
Homolovi 2: 0.5
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 4850’ – 4950’
HOURS: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily
FEE: $7 per vehicle, $2 walk-in/bike-in
Pottery fragment at Homolovi I
GETTING THERE:
From Interstate 40 in Winslow, take exit 257 and continue 1.3 miles to the park entrance.
INFO:

Monday, March 13, 2017

GARWOOD-THREE TANK LOOP

GARWOOD-THREE TANK LOOP

Saguaro National Park East, Tucson
Garwood Trail

There’s more to Saguaro National Park than the eponymous cacti. This is especially true in the park’s east side where relics of human history blend with an array of plant and animal specimens wedged between the craggy peaks of the Rincon Mountains and see-forever valley vistas of suburban Tucson.
The area’s keynote curiosities date to a cattle grazing era that ended in the 1970s. Remnants of ranch operations can still be seen along the two dozen trails that weave through foothills, washes and open desert.
View of Santa Catalina Mountains from Carrillo Trail
The interconnected trail system is setup with multiple access points and signed junctions with mileages. When paired with a downloadable map from the park’s website, hikers can easily create treks that range from short and easy to long and difficult. One recommended loop option that uses four trails is packed with points of interest and a sweaty climb into the high foothills.  
To try this ambitious loop, begin by hiking 0.2-mile on the Douglas Spring Trail, then turn right onto the Garwood Trail. This 1.4-mile segment makes a gradual ascent through a sunny cactus forest. Acres of pink and magenta Fairy Duster shrubs tickle centuries old saguaros and jockey for sunlight among swaying ocotillos.
Desert Rose Mallow
Year-round blooming plants like the fuzzy-flowered Indigo bush and delicate Desert Rose Mallow add splashes of color to the desert’s muted palette. The park’s website offers a brief education about saguaros, including how “nurse plants’ aid in their growth. You’ll see examples of this symbiotic relationship along the trails where twisted Palo Verde and ironwood trees retain futile embraces around saguaros that have outgrown the need for a “mom’s” protection.  Near Bajada Wash, keep an eye open for a
majestic crested saguaro. This segment ends near Garwood Dam, a concrete structure built to provide a water source for the nearby abandoned homestead. Turn left at the dam and follow the Carrillo Trail to the steel tank at Rock Spring. Here, you’ll pick up the Three Tank Trail to continue the skyward slog that passes by Mica and Aguila tanks on the way up to the Douglas Spring Trail. The tanks attract wildlife, so if you travel quietly and early in the day, you might spot deer, bobcats, fox and maybe a mountain lion. Though encounters are rare, it’s smart to know how to avoid mountain lions and what to do if you run into one. (check this out: https://www.nps.gov/sagu/planyourvisit/safety.htm). After taking in the high-desert views, turn left and descend through grasslands and slick rock back to the trailhead.
Fairy Duster
LENGTH: 6.8 miles
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 2,760’ – 3,720’
FEE: $5 daily fee for each hiker/biker entering the park on foot.
For other types of passes that are accepted, visit:
PETS: pets are not allowed
GETTING THERE:
From Interstate 10 in Tucson, take the Speedway exit 257 and go 17 miles east to the Douglas Spring trailhead on the right. There are no facilities at the trailhead. Roads are 100% paved.
INFO: Saguaro National Park



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

WILD BURRO TRAIL

WILD BURRO TRAIL
Globemallow & lupine along the trail
Lake Pleasant Regional Park
Cove on Lake Pleasant
Whether you love ’em or hate ‘em, you’re likely to encounter rogue donkeys on the Wild Burro Trail.  One of the newer routes in Lake Pleasant Regional Park, the moderate two-mile path passes thru prime burro territory. The desert-adapted, North African imports first arrived in Arizona in the 1600s carrying supplies with Jesuit priests. Valued for their strong backs and hardy work ethic, the burros soon found additional employment with prospectors. During boom times, they hauled ore but when the mines went bust, they either wandered off or were released into the wild where they thrived in the arid territory. Today, their descendants wander in loose-knit social groups and are easily spotted along the park’s lakeside trails. The free-roaming herds and their habitat are protected by the Bureau of Land Management.
Globemallow are abundant along the trail in springtime
The Lake Pleasant Herd Management Area encompasses 103,00 acres around the Agua Fria River where approximately 480 burros graze. Even if you don’t spot any burros, the trail has plenty more to offer. The route winds around coves and rolling hills studded with cacti and wildflowers. Look for flotillas of American coots, roosting egrets and magnificent blue herons in flight. If you do luck out and run into some burros, keep in mind that they are wild animals that are naturally distrustful of humans. When approached, they will usually run but can bite and kick when they feel trapped or threatened. Therefore, it’s best to observe them from a distance.

LENGTH: 2 miles one-way
Wild burros are best observed from a distance.
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 1860’-1568’
GETTING THERE:
From Phoenix, go north on Interstate 17 to Carefree Highway (State Route 74. Go 15 miles west on SR74 to Castle Hot Spring Road, signed for Lake Pleasant. Turn north (right) onto Castle Hot Spring Road and continue past the main gate (pay fee first) to the south trailhead located near a large water tank just past the turn off for Peninsula Blvd. The trail begins across the road.
FEE: $6 daily fee per vehicle
About the wild burros:

Monday, March 6, 2017

RED CREEK

RED CREEK
Tonto National Forest
Red Creek trickles toward the Verde River
Crystal clear, gurgling waters, red rock cliffs, shady mesquite forests and towering canyon walls make hiking along Red Creek an especially relaxing experience. A tributary of the Verde River, Red Creek--which runs through rugged backcountry roughly 35 miles northeast of Cave Creek--creates a narrow band of green in the desert and supports abundant plant and animal life.  The "trail" is a mash up of both motorized and non-motorized routes. Running water often obscures the way, but as long as you go with the flow, you'll pick up the paths-of-use.  From the parking area, hike down the steep embankment, veer right (north) and follow the creek, informal footpaths and 4x4 roads. Stream hopping is a major feature of this simple and serene, hike but the creek bed is gravel (not mud) and the water is anything but deep or treacherous. The creek emerges from the canyon at about the 3-mile mark and trickles into a desert wash with big-sky views and miles of river rock underfoot. On the near horizon, a ribbon of green jutting over the desert ridges is a sure sign that a major water source is nearby. Keep following the trickle and it will lead you to the rushing waters and sandy beaches of the upper Verde River.
Red Creek

LENGTH: 8 miles out-and-back
RATING: Easy
ELEVATION: 2,660' - 2,210'
BEST SEASON: October -April
Red Creek
Verde River

GETTING THERE: From Carefree, follow Cave Creek Road (which will turn onto Forest Road 24) for 32 miles to the Forest Road 269 junction (Bloody Basin Road) and turn right. Go about three miles, turn left onto Forest Road 18 and proceed  2.5 miles and park in the dirt turnoff just before the steep descent to Red Creek.  Expect to spend 2.5 hours on dirt roads. NOTE: FR 18 is very rough and requires at least a high clearance vehicle.

Monday, February 27, 2017

WOODS CANYON TRAIL #93

WOODS CANYON TRAIL #93

Sedona
The sandstone "beach"
Hiking during springtime snow melt season is one of Arizona’s most remarkable experiences. During this brief period, water rushes through desert washes and normally dry creek beds with an urgency tantamount to the panic hikers feel when trying to hit all the best water-themed trails before the cascades die out.  In Sedona, the well-known trails that wind around Oak Creek, Dry Creek and their watersheds are easy-access crowd favorites. But few venture into the isolated domain of Woods Canyon where the ordinarily parched groove of Dry Beaver Creek runs wild for several months each year. One of the best ways to enjoy the transient water works is to take a hike on the Wood Canyon Trail #93.
Dry Beaver Creek
This trek starts with a short walk through a lush, riparian exclosure with an easy creek crossing before emerging in an airy, savannah-like high desert. Yucca-embellished grasslands dominate the first two miles of the hike. The red-earth path climbs gently, morphing from a wide two-track to slim footpaths in the shadow of Horse Mesa. At the 2.3-mile point, the trail enters Munds Mountain Wilderness and begins its descent to the creek bed. Over the next 1.2 miles, canyon walls close in and the trail ducks in and out of oak-juniper woodlands with a couple more creek hops and a traverse of an edgy-ledgy shelf above the water. The highlight of the hike is a sandstone “beach” that appears at the 3.5-mile point. Mounds of water-scoured russet stone slouch into the creek like melted taffy.
Oak-juniper-cypress forest along the trail
This scenic, sycamore-cluttered spot at the juncture of Woods and Rattlesnake Canyons features rushing rapids, swirling eddies and still pools that reflect the rusty edifices and charcoal volcanic cap rock of the surrounding mesas. The trail is reasonably easy to follow for about another mile but you’ll need some high-end route-finding skills to make it all the way to where the trail dead-ends at 5.25 miles. 
Arizona sycamore thrive along the creek
LENGTH:  5.3 miles one-way (trail degrades after 4 miles)
RATING:  moderate
ELEVATION:  3890’ – 4310’
GETTING THERE:
From Phoenix, travel north on Interstate 17 to the Sedona-Oak Creek exit 298. Go left (west) on State Route 179 and continue 8.5 miles to the turn off for the Red Rock Ranger District Station on the right.  The trailhead is located within the ranger station complex in the south (lower) lot where a small metal sign indicates the start point.
High desert plants along Trail #93
INFO & MAPS:
Coconino National Forest