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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

ROCK CROSSING

ROCK CROSSING Coconino National Forest Rocky jetties, bizarre crystal-encrusted limestone formations and a shallow cave are just a few of the attractions to be found along the Rock Crossing Trail #18. Divided into three segments, the path traverses the many fingered coves and secluded fishing spots surrounding Blue Ridge Reservoir (recently renamed C.C. Cragin Reservoir). The hike begins with a mild descent along the cliffs that hover above the water. On the way down, a fringe of lithe oak trees sway over a lagoon like an overdressed, out-of-sync chorus line scribbling willy-nilly reflections upon the impossibly blue surface of the water. Where the trail meets the reservoir, a limestone grotto ringed with soft grasses and manic splatters of blue-violet-colored fleabane vie for attention just inches from shore. Here, chunky boulder piers pierce the shoreline inviting sunbathers, anglers and hikers to sit a spell and enjoy the solitude. Highlights: Rocky beaches, crystal-encrusted limestone walls and a shallow cave. Length: 1 mile round-trip Rating: moderate Trail elevation gain: 250 feet Elevation range: 7150’ – 6,900’ Driving distance from Phoenix: 160 miles one-way Getting there: From Payson, go north on Highway 87 to Forest Road 751, which is located 4 miles north of Clints Well just past milepost 295. Turn right on FR 751 and continue for about 3.6 miles (past the Rock Crossing Campground) to the trailhead on the right side of the road. The maintained dirt roads are passable by sedan. Refer to the forest service website for alternate access points. Information:
Coconino National Forest:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recreation/fishing/recarea/?recid=54898&actid=42

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