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Turkey Trail #217, AZ

no permit
20 23 2
Guide 23 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson N
3.6 of 5 by 11
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 2.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,190 feet
Elevation Gain -1,506 feet
Accumulated Gain 143 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 2.58
Backpack Yes & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
14  2019-09-02
Webber Turkey Spring Loop
9  2019-07-06
Geronimo Turkey Milk
15  2019-04-17
Geronimo Turkey Milk
8  2018-09-02
Geronimo-Turkey-West Webber
7  2016-02-19
Geronimo #240 to West Webber #228
14  2013-07-29
Turkey Trail via Geronimo
15  2013-07-20
East Webber Canyon - Turkey Trail Loop
19  2013-07-20
East Webber Canyon-Turkey Trail Loop
Page 1,  2
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,834
Trips 4,262 map ( 21,474 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, May, Oct, Jun → 7 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:14am - 6:21pm
Official Route
8 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Tryptophan Summer Days
by joebartels

Likely In-Season!
Overview: 1.95mi hike from Milk Ranch Point peninsula/mesa down 1513ft to Geronimo Trail #240. Distant rim views dominate the upper stretch.

Low Down: Due to lack of shade in the upper reaches stay out of the mid-day summer-sun. As of this writing the trail is a debris mess and difficult to follow.

2013 Update: It's a trail again. Switchbacks are in place so there is no route finding issues or loose soil issues as noted in 2007.

Hike: The trailhead is a quarter mile away from current FS maps. Judging by the weathered look of the sign it's been a few years too. The hike to edge of the rim albeit rarely used is pleasant. You walk through tall pines into a lush fern section. Just after that you enter a field of common mullein which generally grows in disturbed areas such as graded roadsides. In this case it's the even more common occurrence, the healing process of a mountainside wildfire.

0.4mi the trail starts to disappear and cairns come into play. You can't help but notice the views opening up in front of you. Heading down isn't too steep. Unfortunately the trail has been seriously affected by the wildfire and starts to make you think around 0.6mi. Here you are heading down a slope to a nice outcrop. The FS mentions a balanced rock as a feature of the hike. I didn't see it concentrating on trail-location but this must be the area.

Bushwhacking, log jumping and cairn spotting continues until you reach ~1.25mi. It isn't horrible but it does become a nuisance in at times.

When the trail gets back into longer switchbacks you're home free. Nice views continue through some Sedona esque landscape. Soon the trail turns into an old jeep road. At 1.7mi you come to an intersection. Keep right and you'll soon come to a left that takes you down a fence line. The fence is protecting the Turkey Spring Meadow. Further down the fence line is the junction with West Webber Trail #228. This is also the location of a round wooden trough. Continue another 0.13mi to Geronimo Trail #240.

The trail officially ends at the Geronimo Trail #240, 1.9mi from the Geronimo Trailhead. This trail is often hiked as a 5.15 mile loop with West Webber Trail #228: GPS Route / Map
(might also consider) Longer loop with Donahue & Highline: ???

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2007-08-23 joebartels
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One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Turkey Trail #217
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Camp Geronimo weekend, day 2:

Left for a solo hike after breakfast with the parents in the dining hall and made my way to the west end of camp. Started on the Milk Ranch Point West Trail, then took the West Webber Trail to the top of Milk Ranch Point. Followed F.R. 218 north for a mile or so, looking for the Turkey Trail, which, as it turns out, is not signed at this time. After a couple of wrong turns and some bushwhacking, I finally located the Turkey Trail and descended the Mogollon Rim into the toasty warmth of the West Webber Creek watershed. Had lunch with my dad near Lake Geronimo and then I started for home, stopping to meet my brother for dinner at Serrano's in Tempe. :)

Things learned on the drive back to Payson: the Washington Park trailhead and access road is now closed to camping, and delays should be expected on Houston Mesa Road while the new (!) Second Crossing and Third Crossing bridges are completed.

Trip log data reflects West Webber-Turkey Trail loop and Camp Geronimo hiking.
Turkey Trail #217
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Turkey Trail via Geronimo
My last few hikes have been somewhat leisurely, so this time I wanted to challenge myself a little more. I've never explored this area before, and figured that this hike would be pretty interesting, so I loaded up and arrived at Geronimo TH just before 8am. After crossing Webber creek, the Highline trail headed through some ferns and blackberries on the way to the junction of trail 240. This area seems to be very well signed, which I guess probably has something to do with the close proximity of the scout camp. Despite a few heavily eroded areas and side paths departing the main trail, I had no problems finding my way to the start of Geronimo trail after about 1/4 mile of walking along the Highline.

There isn't much to say about Geronimo trail that hasn't already been stated on this website many times over. It's a mostly non-noteworthy jeep trail that wanders past Camp Geronimo. I was distractedly walking along, thinking about how bland the past couple miles had been, when I approached the sign indicating the junction of a trail that headed uphill to the west. I had just started to read "BSA Milk Ranch trail" that was carved into the wood when I perceived a large brownish mass heading directly toward me from right behind the sign. It took me a second to comprehend what I was seeing, and I jumped back a few steps when I realized that a huge black bear was closing to within 15-20 feet of me. Of course, as soon as it saw me move and noticed I was there, it turned around and took off up the hill. It emerged back onto the trail about 100 feet away to stare me down for a few seconds, but I was too slow and couldn't get a picture before it strolled away into the trees.

So that close encounter definitely got the adrenaline flowing for the serious climb I was about to get down and dirty with. Another 1/8 mile past the BSA trail junction is where trail #217 begins. It starts out fairly gentle as you cross the trickle of water that originates just a bit uphill at Turkey spring. After passing the West Webber trail junction a couple hundred yards up, things started to get steeper and steeper. The ample shade of lower elevations gradually disappears as the trail switchbacks up into what looks to be an old burn area. Just when your legs really start to burn from the past 1000' of elevation gain, the massive rock outcropping appears off the side of the trail. It's a great place to stop for a drink of water and take a few pictures. If you decide to climb it, like I did, beware the vertigo-inducing nightmare that awaits you at the top.

Once you continue past the outcrop, assure yourself that most of the tough climbing is behind you as the trail levels out passing over the edge of the rim. The views are great from the top, but don't stop there. It's worth it to keep going to the end of the trail at Dickenson flat. I ate lunch while sitting on a stump at the edge of a picturesque grassy meadow, which was a nice surprise to see after a pretty brutal ascent. I have no idea how some of you guys on this site manage 20+ mile dayhikes in this area, you must have bionic legs. Anyway, the way back down to the lower trailhead was much quicker than going up. I used my favorite downhill technique that I'd describe as a "controlled stumble" which saved almost an hour off my return time. I arrived at the car a few minutes after 1pm to see another vehicle at the trailhead with a HAZ sticker on the back. Didn't see any other hikers on the trail all day, however.

I really liked this hike and I'm planning on returning in the fall, probably for a lasso route connecting to West Webber trail #228 or an out and back hike up East Webber trail. Turkey trail is pretty fun, and I'd recommend it to anybody who is willing to work up a sweat for some awesome views of the rim.
Turkey Trail #217
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East Webber Canyon-Turkey Trail Loop
A week short of a year ago, Joe and I started a 27 mile 14 hour hike from Hell. The ultimate goal that day was to get to the Slick-rock spring area up in East Webber Canyon. We abandoned the last 1/4 mile of this search due to a combination of heavy prickly wet growth, Rain/Lightning, Mud, and bad attitudes.

I vowed never to go to this area again. Roll forward 51 weeks, and what hike do I plan?

We smartly started on top of the rim, parking just down FR6107 from Lee Johnson Spring.

What an extremely pretty canyon this is going through. Joe remembered going partway down this canyon years ago and getting stopped at one point. There really was nothing that bad going down. Whenever there was a large drop or obstacle, there was a way around it. We took our time, getting "Tibber Finger" from all the photos.

Just prior to reaching the slick-rock area, we started finding clues of the old trail. The slick-rock area is very lush. Green, Green, Green.

Next, the only part of this trail that would keep me from coming back. (yea, that's what I said last year). It only lasts for a 1/2 mile, but it is a half mile of thick, prickly, wet, overgrown, leg grabbing flora.

Once past here, it's clear sailing. On the way past Camp Geronimo, it sounded like the Boy Scouts at were practicing for their Merit Badges on Shot Guns, Semi-Auto Rifles, and pistols.

We took our lunch on the Turkey Trail at Turkey Spring. The Turkey trail is a winner in my book, the "Rocky Outcropping", at 6900' and about 350' shy of the rim, is another definite plus on this trail. It's a short .8 mile from the western TH for the Turkey Trail. Take some time to climb on the boulders and take is the views of the valley below and Rim.

We bailed on the planned trek around and close to the rim, because of impending storms and Locust. I'd like to try this again sometime.

Two main highlights on this one, the drop down East Webber Canyon and the Rocky Outcrop.
If we could get that 1/2 mile of crap cleared, it had book possibilities.

Video== :next:
Turkey Trail #217
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East Webber Canyon - Turkey Trail Loop
Finally pushed down East Webber from the rim. Nothing technical, just slow going. We went even slower taking photos every fifty yards. The beauty is a step up from anything in the area. Aspens at the top. Dark canyon colors. Old healthy trees. A few stacked rock obstacles nothing really sculptured. Based on past bear encounters we probably heard a bear but couldn't pin down his location. To the spring and back would be a nice hike in itself.

Turkey Trail #217 is now an actual "trail" again in very good condition! My 2007 visit was after a fire wiped out the switchbacks.

Only 1 hour above 80 degrees based on Bruce's garmin sensor. Nice puffy clouds kept the sun on simmer. It rained notably more on the rim when we were in the canyon. I noticed this happened on previous days reviewing rain totals prior to our hike. The rim is a solid dividing line.

Indian Paintbrush, red penstemon, wiry lotus, columbine, Red Cinquefoil, Arizona Thistle
Turkey Trail #217
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Mike and I started the summer hiking season by doing the Pine / East rim / Turkey Spring / Geronimo / Highline loop.

The Pine and Turkey Springs trails have a bunch of new dead fall on it. Nothing too hard to work around.
The only people we saw was two guys in jeans with a rifle on the Geronimo trail.
Turkey Trail #217
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We did a big Pine / Geronimo / Highline loop. We got to the Pine TH at 8:50 and started to get ready for the hike. Two women approach us and ask "what was the best way to do a 20 mile hike in the area". They were training for a 40 mile walk in San Francisco. We pointed them to the Highline and told them to go 3.5 miles past the Geronimo TH and that would give them a 20 mile hike. Then a man approached us asking how to get to the rim ASAP because he had to be back at the TH by 3:30. He told him to take the Pine trail to the rim.

We started the hike at 9:05. We took the Pine trail to rim, and then we took the following forest roads to swing over to the Milk Ranch point:


It took a little trial and error to find the right combination of trails. Twice we tried to bushwhack to reduce the mileage, but the terrain was costing us time and energy, so we stuck to the FRs. Mike ran out of water on the rim, so then we altered the hike and headed down to the boy scout camp. We took Turkey trail down to the Geronimo, then a footpath to the camp and filled up on water. We headed back a little bit to have a very late lunch.

It was 4:45 and we already clocked 18+ miles. We could either hike the Geronimo to the highline back or climb back top of milk ranch point and take the Donahue back. Even though going back on rim would cut the mileage down, we just didn't want climb another 1,500+. So we took the flatter, longer route back. We got back to the TH at 8:05.

The trails are in good shape. The section of the Turkey trail, just right below rim is exposed with a lot of fire damage and debris. There's a little of route finding here.
Turkey Trail #217
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Made a nice circuit all around and across the Milk Ranch Point area. Started by dropping off the Rim via the broad, south-facing slope between the Patton Spring and upper Webber Creek gullies - loose 3rd class but no brush issues due to a past fire. Just a short thrash upstream from the bottom of the slope to the origins of Webber Creek. Then back downstream to Geronimo and around the camp, out Highline, up Donahue, back down West Webber, up Turkey, then the long road walk back on FR 218. Good variety of terrain, lots of running water and beautiful forest along trails #289 and #228, several elk, some good climbs and big views.
Turkey Trail #217
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Started off at the Geronimo Trailhead on the Highline Trail for a short distance west to Geronimo Trail #240. Took the Milk Point Ranch diversion which eases into West Webber Trail #228 two-third of the way up. Followed the road on the rim north and took Turkey Spring Trail #217 down and returned back on #240.

It was a cloudy day that started off sprinkling. Enjoyed a nice 63 degree break on the rim before heading down into the upper 70's.

TrailDEX Map is undergoing renovations... so here's the route
Turkey Trail #217
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Turkey Webber Loop
Headed out and accomplished my task at hand to connect all the missing links.

Found a sweet outcrop overlook before the hike.

Turkey Trail is a mess with debris and foliage clutter. It's difficult to follow in places. Unlike it's nearby cousin West Webber this trail is totally exposed in the upper half. It's iron laden sandstone is more reminiscent of Sedona than Payson. The distant views are unmatched by any other nearby trail.

Finally figured out West Webber. Now I know what Hank was talking about in difficult to follow. I got off track twice. Although I knew I was off track I continued just to explore the area then turned back. Once it paid off well finding a spring not on the map. It has obviously been used for a very long time from an old sign I found. Then again, where it intersects with the creek seems oddly new looking? Hope somebody knows the story behind all this and can shed some light. With all the babble about Turkey Spring this one proved more worthy. Almost wonder if somebody tapped into Turkey Springs supply as it was more of a drip.

Actual loop mileage is 5.15mi, I "explored" :wink: some.
This is such a cool area, I can't get enough!

Permit $$

Map Drive
FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

To hike
From Payson head up SR87 passing through the town of Pine. Continue PAST the turnoff for US-260. Turn right onto Rim Road and follow 0.1mi to right on 218A. Follow 218A 1.3mi to 218. Turn right on 218 and follow ~1.9mi to FR9381F. Turn left onto FR9381F and follow a hundred yards or so to the trailhead of sorts...
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