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Thursday, July 22, 2010

REDROCK SPRING

REDROCK SPRING Tonto National Forest This short but steep route was originally built to drive cattle up to summer pastures on the Mogollon Rim. Redrock Spring provided a handy watering hole for thirsty bovines on their long and arduous trip. Although the cattle population on the Rim has dwindled, the spring continues to run year-round, filling a concrete trough beneath the sprawling arms of a gigantic Ponderosa pine. From the spring’s idyllic vantage point, views of the Mazatzal Mountains blush mauve on the horizon. This reliable water source attracts myriad critters, including fox, deer, raccoons, elk and hawks. To spot these shy forest residents, find a shady spot nearby, stay quiet and keep an eye on the trough. HIGHLIGHTS: short hike to a mountain spring with abundant critter activity LENGTH: 2 miles roundtrip ELEVATION: 5,390 – 6,000 feet RATING: moderate BEST SEASONS: March - November DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 115 miles one-way GETTING THERE: From the intersection of AZ 87 and AZ 260 in Payson, go north on 87 to Control Road (milepost 265), turn right (east) and go 2.5 miles to the trailhead on the left. The trailhead is marked only by a small “294” sign. There’s no parking lot-- just find a spot in the turnouts along the road. INFORMATION: Payson Ranger District (928) 474-7900, www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/recreation/rogs/hikingtrail/prd/RedRockTrail294.pdf

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