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Boulders Loop Trail - PATS, AZ
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Note: FR #435 is currently blocked about 1/4 mi from the "Boulders Trail" sign. This will add to the posted distance.

This loop hike is made up of the Boulders North Trail and the Boulders South Trail, collectively known as the Boulders Loop Trail. Now a part of the Payson Area Trails System or P.A.T.S., this scenic loop hike takes one through the eroded granite formations of Payson's Granite Dells. This description is of a clockwise hike. Pay close attention to the P.A.T.S. trail signs to avoid taking a wrong turn onto one of the area's numerous atv paths.


From the trailhead sign, the Boulders Trail drops down and then crosses the eroded channel of Stewart Creek. Once across, the Boulders Trail immediately arrives at a signed junction, where it splits into the Boulders North and Boulders South Trails. Take a left onto the Boulders South Trail. This trail soon reaches an open, sandy flat with views of the area's boulder formations. To the south, Gibson Peak's rugged facade towers high above. The trail departs the flat to ramble southwest along the route of a dry creek bed, while heading toward a prominent needle.

Approaching the one mile point, the Boulders South Trail turns west and becomes more of a cross country route, traveling along sandy washes and bedrock in places. Watch for trail emblems nailed to trees to stay on route.

The trail travels through a wide pass and turns north at 1.5 miles, before reaching the wooded course of Stewart Creek at 1.7 miles. The Boulders South Trail meets the Cypress Trail and the Boulders North Trail at a signed junction in the creek bottom. Turn right (east) onto the Boulders North Trail.

The Boulders North Trail follows the gently descending wash of Stewart Creek, and weaves in and out of stands of Rocky Mountain juniper and Arizona cypress. A few willows, raspberries, and other moisture loving plants cluster around the occasional moist patch in the creek bed.

Stewart Creek pinches into a small box at 2.2 miles, tumbling through granite bedrock, while the trail bypasses this section by climbing over a small ridge. As the trail descends to the creek again, the terrain opens up to reveal a fine view to the east down Stewart Canyon.

Back along the creek, the Boulders North Trail passes through a nice stand of cypress, skirts the north side of a large boulder outcropping, and arrives back at the signed junction with the Boulders South Trail at 2.6 miles. Take the Boulders Trail back across Stewart Creek's gravel chasm to return to the trailhead at 2.7 miles.
Description 26 Triplogs  0 Topics
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 Payson S
Statistics
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,561 feet
Elevation Gain 200 feet
Accumulated Gain 300 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.2
Interest Seasonal Creek
Course Lasso-Loop Hike
Author PrestonSands
Descriptions 167
Routes 149
Photos 5,504
Trips 1,179 map ( 6,078 miles )
Age 38
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Photos
Viewed All Mine Following
3  2016-08-26 jtaylor
13  2016-03-31 outdoor_lover
10  2016-02-28
Stewart Pocket Loop Payson
mazatzal
6  2015-08-03
Stewart Pocket Loop Payson
The_N
5  2015-04-05
Stewart Pocket Loop Payson
mazatzal
22  2014-09-11
Monument Peak Loop - PATS
CannondaleKid
1  2014-07-19 ssk44
8  2014-04-20
Stewart Pocket Loop Payson
mazatzal
11  2013-11-17 winotron
39  2013-07-13
Stewart Pocket Loop Payson
kingsnake
26  2011-10-18
Stewart Pocket Loop Payson
donqcryer
13  2011-08-28
Cypress Trail - PATS
Darth Stiller
Page 1,  2
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
Forest Tonto
Backpack   Possible & Connecting
Preferred   Apr, May, Oct, Nov → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:57am - 6:54pm
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Official Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
0.2  Stewart Pocket / East Tower
0.2  Stewart Pocket / Stewart Peak
0.4  Monument Peak Loop - PATS
1.5  Cypress Trail - PATS
1.7  Stewart Pocket - Balanced Rock Loop
1.8  Stewart Pocket - South Loop
[ View More! ]
Flora
     Arizona Cypress
     Arizona Sycamore*
Space
The big attraction in Stewart's Pocket
by PrestonSands

Note: FR #435 is currently blocked about 1/4 mi from the "Boulders Trail" sign. This will add to the posted distance.

This loop hike is made up of the Boulders North Trail and the Boulders South Trail, collectively known as the Boulders Loop Trail. Now a part of the Payson Area Trails System or P.A.T.S., this scenic loop hike takes one through the eroded granite formations of Payson's Granite Dells. This description is of a clockwise hike. Pay close attention to the P.A.T.S. trail signs to avoid taking a wrong turn onto one of the area's numerous atv paths.


From the trailhead sign, the Boulders Trail drops down and then crosses the eroded channel of Stewart Creek. Once across, the Boulders Trail immediately arrives at a signed junction, where it splits into the Boulders North and Boulders South Trails. Take a left onto the Boulders South Trail. This trail soon reaches an open, sandy flat with views of the area's boulder formations. To the south, Gibson Peak's rugged facade towers high above. The trail departs the flat to ramble southwest along the route of a dry creek bed, while heading toward a prominent needle.

Approaching the one mile point, the Boulders South Trail turns west and becomes more of a cross country route, traveling along sandy washes and bedrock in places. Watch for trail emblems nailed to trees to stay on route.

The trail travels through a wide pass and turns north at 1.5 miles, before reaching the wooded course of Stewart Creek at 1.7 miles. The Boulders South Trail meets the Cypress Trail and the Boulders North Trail at a signed junction in the creek bottom. Turn right (east) onto the Boulders North Trail.

The Boulders North Trail follows the gently descending wash of Stewart Creek, and weaves in and out of stands of Rocky Mountain juniper and Arizona cypress. A few willows, raspberries, and other moisture loving plants cluster around the occasional moist patch in the creek bed.

Stewart Creek pinches into a small box at 2.2 miles, tumbling through granite bedrock, while the trail bypasses this section by climbing over a small ridge. As the trail descends to the creek again, the terrain opens up to reveal a fine view to the east down Stewart Canyon.

Back along the creek, the Boulders North Trail passes through a nice stand of cypress, skirts the north side of a large boulder outcropping, and arrives back at the signed junction with the Boulders South Trail at 2.6 miles. Take the Boulders Trail back across Stewart Creek's gravel chasm to return to the trailhead at 2.7 miles.
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Permit $$
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Directions
Map Drive
Road
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
From the junction of highways 87 and 260 in Payson, head east on highway 260 for 0.3 miles to the Granite Dells Road stoplight (next to Safeway). Turn right onto Granite Dells Road (Forest Road #435) and follow it for 3.85 miles to the large brown "Boulders Trail" sign next to the road. A fiberglass signpost for "The Boulders" marks the start of the trail (see hike description).

2010-11-08 casfranklin writes: FR #435 is currently blocked about 1/4 mi from the "Boulders Trail" sign. This may be due to a large wash-out near the sign... About 50 feet before the sign is a large cairn marking the easiest descent to the dry Stewart's Creek bed. Crossing the creek bed diagnolly left is a large boulder marking the incline to the trail start.
page created by PrestonSands on Nov 04 2008 9:05 pm
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