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Monday, April 30, 2012


Arizona Trail Passage #30 
Coconino National Forest
First gate

Four gates plus 15 minutes = 10 miles.  That’s the crazy equation we developed for a pleasant, easy hike near Allan Lake.
Second gate
Third gate
We did this by following part of passage #30 of the Arizona Trail (AZT) with a GPS to measure our mileage and we determined that all one really needs to do to gauge a 10-mile out-and-back hike is count gates. Here’s the plan.  From the trailhead, begin hiking northwest (go left from the sign crossing the road) through a meadow following the AZT sign posts.  You’ll come to GATE #1 at the 0.5-mile point. Pass the gate, hike a few yards and cross Lake Mary Road (FR 3) where GATE #2 greets you at 0.51 mile on the west side of the road.  From here, the trail parallels FR 3 for a short distance before meeting GATE #3. Here, the signage is a bit confusing. The AZT sign points away from the gate, as if instructing you to go left. However, the correct route goes through the gate, (not around as the sign seems to indicate), and you’ll encounter another AZT sign near a dirt road. Cross the dirt road, hang a right after a few feet and follow the old railroad bed heading north.  This section passes the marshy headwaters of Allan Lake. You won’t see any AZT signs for a while, but they will appear again at critical junctions, so stay alert.  Once we passed GATE #4, we hiked for another 15 minutes or so to make an even 5 miles. As with all gates on forest lands--close them behind you --unless signage instructs otherwise.

LENGTH: 10 miles roundtrip
RATING: easy
ELEVATION:  7,450 - 7,500 feet
THE RULES: non-motorized use only
DOGS: leashed dogs okay
KIDS:  good choice
DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 130 miles one-way
ALLAN LAKE (a.k.a. Gooseberry Springs) TRAILHEAD:
From Phoenix, go 75 miles north on AZ87 (Beeline Highway) to Payson.  At the intersection of AZ87/260, continue north on AZ87 to Clint’s Well and turn left onto Lake Mary Road (FR 3).  Continue 21.1 miles on FR 3 to milepost 312.2, turn right (east) onto a gated dirt road for Gooseberry Spring (FR 935) and drive 100 yards to the signed parking area on the right.  Hike begins across the road--head northwest toward the campground following the AZT signs. For alternative directions, see Shuffs Tank. 

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