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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Flagstaff fall color Sept. 28, 2013: UPDATE

Sept 28, 2013
Today on Abineau-Bear Jaw trail. Aspen color, cool temperatures and SNOW. Will post details tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bridge over riffled waters

Bridge over Show Low Creek

Dedicated in June 2012, this loop route is the newest addition to the White Mountains Trails System. Because of its convenient location, short length and moderate tread, this trail is a popular choice for family jaunts and leisurely strolls. A paved path debarking from the trailhead leads to a rustic stone bridge spanning Show Low Creek.  Here, horses can sometimes be seen grazing in green pastures. Beyond the bridge, the trail enters a forest of oaks, pines and high desert yuccas for a short climb among basalt boulders to the top of the loop where a
sign points to the Woolford trailhead. It's a bit confusing here---go right to complete the loop, or, for a longer hike, head toward Woolford to get to the bluff’s high point for nice views from the juniper grasslands above town.

LENGTH: 1.5 miles
RATING: easy-moderate
ELEVATION: 6350' - 6400'
The SR260/US60 junction in Show Low, go 1 mile south on SR260 (White Mountain Road) to near milepost 284 and  turn left at the sign for Show Low Bluff trail.  There's a second trailhead off Woolford Road.



Sunday, September 22, 2013

Creek hike with a mountain summit

Billy Creek

The cool, spring-fed waters of Billy and Thompson creeks anchor this deeply wooded mountain circuit. Perfect for a late summer or autumn trek, the route is located just off Pinetop-Lakeside’s main drag making for a quick up-and-around day hike with lots of variety.
One of the beautiful things about the Blue Ridge Trail is that it can be accessed via either of its two trailheads or by way of Ice Cave Trail, Springs Trail or Billy Creek Connector. But, if creekside trekking is what you're after,  the later provides the best water exposure. Along its 0.75-mile, course, Billy Creek Connector is augmented with footpaths leading to bramble-embellished quiet spaces at the water's edge.  Go right at the Blue Ridge Trail loop junction and hike through 2 miles of fragrant wet meadows to the Springs Trail turn off and the beginning of the 600-foot climb to the summit of Blue Ridge Mountain through airy, oak-pine woodlands, red earth, volcanic boulders and marauding cattle.  Blue diamond markers and location beacons help keep hikers on course where dirt fire roads muddle the map. Occasionally, tree cover parts just enough to reveal White Mountain vista views, however, do not expect the stereotypical treeless, wind-in-your-face, summit-conquering experience---- there are just too many trees..  If you have the stamina, take a side trip on the Ice Cave Trail, which leaves from the return leg of the loop. It's roughly 2 miles one-way (near mile post 8)  to the lava tube cave. Would be spelunkers be warned, hiking/climbing into the cave is not allowed.
Near the top of Blue Ridge Mtn
Billy Creek

LENGTH: 9.9-mile loop
RATING:  moderate
ELEVATION:  6880' - 7656'

Billy Creek trailhead:
In Pinetop-Lakeside, go south on AZ260 (White Mtn Blvd) to milepost 252 (just past Darbi's) turn left onto Pinecrest Rd. and continue 0.1 mile to the trailhead. Parking is very limited and for passenger vehicles only---do not block private drives. 

Billy Creek Connector:
Blue Ridge Trail: