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Friday, June 10, 2011

FRED HAUGHT TRAIL

Fred Haught Cabin
Water pools in General Crook Canyon
Descending into General Crook Canyon

FRED HAUGHT TRAIL
a.k.a. Arizona Trail Passage 28
One of many early Anglo settlers on the Mogollon Rim, Fred Haught (died 1938) ran cattle in the bucolic pastures of General Crook Canyon. Skeletal remains of his one-room cabin make for an interesting side trip while hiking the trail he and others once used to move livestock and market commodities between Camp Verde and Fort Apache. Today, trail #141 (aka #22) is a much quieter place--open only to hikers, horseback riders and dogs on leash. From the south trailhead, the route begins behind (north side) old General Spring Cabin. The first 3 miles are shared with Passage 28 (Blue Ridge) of the Arizona Trail (AZT). Along this segment, AZT posts mark the way. About a half-mile in, the trail gets sketchy as it passes over slabs of limestone---look carefully for strategically placed cairns to stay on course. Just beyond the stone maze, the trail begins its descent into General Crook Canyon. Three easy switchbacks flanked by striated limestone cliffs and clusters of wild strawberries transport hikers to the canyon floor. Here, pools of water and intermittent streams foster wide swaths of green. The canyon’s girth yawns and contracts accordion-style, moving from steep, V-shaped shady gorges to broad, sunny meadows. At the 3-mile point, AZT branches off to the northwest while trail #141 continues due north. Roughly 0.3 mile from this junction, a wooden sign marks the turn off for Fred Haught Cabin. To get to the ruins, slide down the dirt bank into the meadow and hike 0.5 mile due east (stay to the right of the water and head up a low slung embankment) and follow a faint trail marked by (really ancient) tree blazes until an old fieldstone fireplace comes into view off to the left. After visiting the ruins, head back to the main trail. Because the path is not maintained beyond this point, route-finding skills are needed to stay on track. Carins and “Cabin Loop System” signs mark the route on its way up to Pinchot Cabin at the northern trailhead.
LENGTH: 6 miles one-way
RATING: easy up to AZT junction, moderate after that (route-finding)
ELEVATION: 7,045’- 7,390’
GETTING THERE:
SOUTH (General Springs) TRAILHEAD as described here: from the intersection of SR87/260 in Payson, continue 28 miles north on SR87 to FR300 (Rim Road) near milepost 280. Turn right and go 12.2 miles to FR705 where there’s a Battle of Big Wash Monument on the NE of the intersection. Go left (north) onto FR705 and continue 0.5 mile to the General Springs/AZ Trail trailhead. Roads are maintained dirt and passable by sedan, although high-clearance is a better idea.
NORTH (Hay Meadow) TRAILHEAD:
From Phoenix, go north on I17 to Camp Verde. Connect to SR260 east (toward Payson) and travel 31 miles to the SR87 junction. Turn left (north) and go 9 miles on SR87 to Clint’s Well. From here, continue 8.3 miles to the turnoff for the Moqui campground (FR138). There will be a “Moqui” sign a few hundred feet before the road on the right. Turn right onto FR138 where a sign located roughly 50 yards in from SR87 reads: "Blue Ridge Campground/Moqui Campground/138". The trailhead is on the left about 100 yards from SR87. All paved roads up to the last few yards.
ALTERNATE: From Phoenix, take Loop 202 east, connect with SR87, continue to the SR87/260 junction in Payson and then follow the directions for the south TH above. It's a few miles longer this way, but the scenery is nice.
INFO: Coconino National Forest, Mogollon Rim Ranger District, (928) 477-2255
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