Monday, September 22, 2008
HYDE CREEK MOUNTAIN
HYDE CREEK MOUNTAIN Prescott National Forest There’s a funky old fire lookout on the summit of Hyde Creek Mountain. One of 3,116 towers built by F.D.R’s Civilian Conservation Corps workers sometime between 1933 and 1942, the wooden shack’s amenities include one destitute room, an array of electronic gadgetry and an outhouse. Sitting on the 7,270-foot high point of the Santa Maria mountain range northwest of Prescott, the Hyde Mountain Lookout (#528,AZ50) has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places and makes for a worthy hiking destination. The trudge up the trail is easy-on-the-feet and, for a summit climb, only moderately strenuous on the quads. Two saddles along the trail offer convenient places to stop and rest. The “Lower Saddle” features vistas of Granite Mountain Wilderness while the “Upper Saddle” is a good place to scope out the steep final stretch of the trail, which winds up the southeast ridge of the mountain. LENGTH: 6 miles roundtrip RATING: Moderate ELEVATION: 5,770-7,270 feet GETTING THERE: From Prescott, take Highway 89 north to Outer Loop Road, which is just south of the town of Chino Valley. Turn left (west) onto Outer Loop Road and continue to the intersection of Williamson Valley Road (Highway 5) and turn right. Follow Highway 5 north to FR 21 at the Camp Wood exit, on the left. Drive about 16 miles on FR 16 and watch for a “V” shaped turn off on the left for FR 95. The road sign for FR 95 is about 100 feet in from the main road and is easy to miss! If you get to FR 9, you have gone too far. Drive for less than a half-mile on FR95 and turn left (west) onto FR 95C. and negotiate a short but rugged few yards of road and park in the clearing under the pines. The trail begins a few yards to the NW on the dirt road. You will see the sign for trail 6. The trail is well maintained and signed all the way up. Roads are passable by sedan up to FR 95. High clearance is recommended after that.