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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Y-BAR

Y Bar Trail #44 Mazatzal Wilderness Rugged, contorted escarpments of shimmering metamorphic rocks studded with high chapparal woodlands are the hallmark attractions of the Mazatzal Wilderness. The Mazatzal (which is pronounced “mah-zaht-zahl” and means land of the deer) mountains tower to nearly 8,000 feet for spectacular vista views. The Y Bar trail is a continual uphill climb along the base of Suicide Ridge through dense stands of juniper and agave. Near the 2-mile-point, the trail transitions into a heart-pumping crawl on the cliffs above Shake Tree Canyon. There, the path enters a burned area where charred pine trees and scorched snags make the remainder of the route tricky to follow. Watch for rock cairns to use as your guide. At roughly the 4.2-mile point, the trail tops out at 6,400 feet on the Cactus Saddle, a large open area with views that stretch all the way to the White Mountains in the east. From there, the trail dips downhill to a seep area known as the Y Bar Tanks-- the turn around point for this hike. LENGTH: 9.6 miles round-trip RATING: difficult ELEVATION GAIN: 2,400 feet GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, go north on Highway 87 for approximately 65 miles to Forest Road 419 and the signed turn off for the Barnhardt Trailhead, which is located a quarter-mile south of the town of Gisela. Follow FR 419 for 5 miles to the parking area. Information: Visit fs.fed.us/r3/tonto or call (928) 474-7900

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