Find A Trail. Start Your Search Here:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Wet Beaver Creek Wilderness
Wet Beaver Creek
The weather is heating up and soon we'll be heading to higher elevations in search of cool summer trekking. But right now, with temperatures hovering between warm and torrid, a visit to the high desert, swimming holes of Wet Beaver Creek is just the ticket for a refreshing day trip.   Few things are more invigorating on a sweltering day than a dip in a canyon stream. The Bell Trail #13 leads to one of the most beloved of all Arizona swimming holes—“the crack”. Tucked into a slender slot canyon where the chilly, spring-fed waters of Wet Beaver Creek flow year-round, this natural water park attracts droves of visitors.
The hike in is completely exposed to the sun, but never strays far from the creek with its lush riparian vegetation, numerous shallow pools and slick-rock water chutes. At the 3.25-mile point, the trail comes to a junction near Bell Crossing. Although the official route veers right, crosses the creek and climbs 1,200 feet to the top of the Mogollon Rim, those in search of plunge must hang a left instead and head for the red cliffs that form “the 
Rapids at Bell Crossing

LENGTH: 6.5 miles roundtrip
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 3,880 – 3,980 feet
FACILITIES: restroom, nearby camping
From Phoenix, travel north on I-17 to exit 298. Go left (east) onto Beaver Creek Road (Forest Road 618) and continue 2.1 miles to the trailhead on
The Crack
the left.
INFORMATION: Red Rock Ranger District, Coconino National Forest, 928-203-7500, 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Volunteer to replant Schultz Fire burn area

From: "Magee, Brienne U -FS" <bmagee@FS.FED.US>
Date: March 25, 2013 2:18:43 PM PDT
Subject: SOUTHWESTERN-NEWS-RELEASE: Coconino National Forest Information
Forest Service hosting public volunteer events to help replant Schultz burn area

Flagstaff, AZ The Flagstaff Ranger District is inviting volunteers to help replant approximately 2,500 ponderosa pine trees in the Schultz Fire burn area. Public volunteer events will be held on three Saturdays in April. Each event is limited to 50 volunteers; those interested should sign-up in advance by contacting Justin Loxley, Flagstaff District Volunteer Coordinator, at or 928-527-8213.

Saturday, April 6
Saturday, April 13
Saturday, April 20 (Earth Day Weekend!)

Events begin at 8:30 a.m. and will last until approximately 1:00 p.m.  Volunteers should arrive by 8:30 to attend the safety briefing and planting demonstration.

Where: The planting areas are located off of Schultz Pass Road (Forest Road 420), approximately 12 miles north of Flagstaff on Highway 89 and approximately 5 miles on forest roads.  The road should be suitable for most cars; however persons with low clearance vehicles are advised to drive carefully. Specific directions and details will be given at registration.

What to Bring: Sturdy shoes, long pants, gloves, hard hats or bike helmets if you have them, sunscreen, appropriate dress for the weather, snacks or lunch, and plenty of water. Planting tools will be provided by the Forest Service.

Who: Anyone eager to help with the Schultz Fire recovery efforts. Participants of all ages are welcome; minors must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.

For other general information on the Schultz burn recovery and restoration efforts, contact the Flagstaff Ranger District at 928-526-0866 or visit our website at


Sunday, March 24, 2013

A pilgrimage to Mount Francis

Near the summit of Mount Francis

Aspen Creek Trail
For me, planning this hike was torture.  Each time I put it on my calendar, my efforts were thwarted by rain, snow, hail or schedule conflicts.  I was beginning to feel as if the powers that be didn’t want me to bag this peak.  Then, out of the blue, just as the newly elected pontiff emerged as pope Francis, the weather cleared.  Was it a happy coincidence---or, a miracle?  Certainly, His Holiness has bigger concerns than my hiking itinerary, but I had to wonder (even though I’m not Catholic) if the break in the weather, a hike up Mt. Francis and a new pope named Francis aren’t--ya know-- connected.  Still, whatever your religious affiliations, it’s hard to deny that trekking in the "cathedral of the great outdoors" is a great way to renew the spirit.  Counts for church! Now, on to the hike details.
East Copper Spring
There's no shortage of hike-able peaks in the Prescott area and this sweet little find on the fringes of log-cabin-vacation-home-land holds its own among its loftier, more remote commrades.  Remarkably easy to access for a mountain trek, the route is a web of forest roads, ATV tracks and hiking trails.  To seasoned hikers, the tiny 800 feet of elevation change from the trailhead to the peak may seem like an outing for amateurs, however, once on the trail, unrelenting dips and climbs easily add up to three times the advertised ascent.  There are many ways to hitch together a loop hike using the labyrinth of dirt roads and footpaths circling the antenna-cluttered peak which resembles a lumpy knoll.  Therefore, a good map and a compass will be your best tools to avoid frustration and aimless wandering in this scrubby terrain of juniper and yucca. And so, in yet another weary homage to the slogan of this blog, we set off to conquer the mountain and record our journey for your hiking sanity.  Here's a description of our route:  from the trailhead, cross Copper Basin Road and pick up Aspen Creek Trail #48, follow the “48” signs 2.9 miles to the junction with East Copper Trail #260.  Turn right (north) and hike 0.5 mile to a 3-way junction with a gate. Head up the road with the gate to the summit of Mt Francis.  Once done exploring the peak, head back down to the first shed with antennas and turn right onto the road below the power lines.  Soon, you’ll pass thru another gate.  At this point, you’re on FR9402D.  Follow this aspen-fringed track to Copper Basin Road, turn right and hike roughly a mile back to the trailhead.  NOTE:  Along FR9402D, you will notice several side roads on the right blockaded with boulders.  According to my research, these theoretically head northeast to connect with trail #48.  However, we didn’t verify this.
Aspens along FR9402D

LENGTH: 7.8-mile loop
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 6266' - 7110'
DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 117 miles one way

From Phoenix, travel north on I17 to Cordes Junction and the turn off for AZ69.  Head into Prescott on AZ69 (which will become Gurley St) and turn left (south) on Montezuma St. Continue 1 mile to Copper Basin Road, turn right and go 4.6 miles on Copper Basin to the Aspen Creek Trailhead on the right.  Roads are paved up to the last 1.6 miles, which is on sedan-friendly dirt.
City of Prescott Mile-High Trail System
Prescott National Forest