|Barbershop Trail, Oct. 11, 2014|
Sunday, October 12, 2014
BARBERSHOP-U-BAR TRAILS to DANE CANYON
Coconino National Forest
One of the best long hikes on the Mogollon Rim is the Cabin Loop System. Several trailheads provide myriad options for making multi-day backpack treks or day hikes using the five trails that link a system of abandoned fire lookout cabins. In autumn, the Barbershop Trail portion of the route is famous for its awesome display of colorful foliage.
The hike begins with a steep descent into Yeager Canyon, a creek crossing and an immediate climb back up to a ridge. The trail is sketchy in places but is marked by tree blazes. Along this section, moist pockets of Bigtooth maples form canopies of red, orange and gold over a moss-fleeced pine-fir woodland. At the 0.7-mile point, turn right to pick up the U-Bar Trail. Deeply wooded, this trail features Gamble oaks and aspen groves that shine in electric yellow in mid-October. The ruins of Dane Cabin and its companion spring appear at mile 2.3 before the trail winds north along the edge of Dane Canyon. Soon the path dips into the gorge via a series of switchbacks landing hikers in a stream-bisected meadow at the 4.3-mile point---a good turnaround point for a leaf-peeping day hike.
LENGTH: 8.7 miles (as described here)
ELEVATION: 7120’ – 7598
BEST TIME FOR FALL COLOR: mid-October
From Payson, go 29 miles east on AZ260 to Rim Road (Forest Road 300 at the Woods Canyon Lake sign). Turn left and go 22.8 miles on FR300 to FR137, turn right and continue 3.4 miles to the Barbershop Trail sign. Hike begins on the west side of the road at a small wooden sign. Dirt roads are sedan friendly.