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Pine Mountain Short Cut Trail Loop, AZ
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93 8 0
Description 8 Triplogs  0 Topics
RatedFavorite   Wish List 7  AZ > Camp Verde > Dugas
Rated
3.5
3.5 of 5 by 2
 
0
0
 
Statistics
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 12.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,085 feet
Elevation Gain 1,665 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 6.5-8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 20.83
Interest Peak
Photos
feature photo
Viewed All Mine Following
10  2016-04-10 adv_trev
9  2014-05-11 bballard
14  2011-04-04 HawaNate
30  2010-05-27 The_Eagle
5  2009-06-07 AZNaturalist
10  2009-04-20 ALMAL
15  2008-03-29 Moovyoaz
Associated Areas
list map done
Prescott Forest
Pine Mountain Wilderness
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Forest Prescott
Wilderness Pine Mountain
Backpack   Yes
Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Sep → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Winter to Late Spring
Sun  5:26am - 7:40pm
Route Scout App Import ID
1479
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Official Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Pine Mountain Verde Rim Loop
0.0 mi away
9.8 mi
1,875 ft
Nelson Trail #159
0.0 mi away
8.3 mi
1,423 ft
Salt Flat Trail #71
0.1 mi away
1.6 mi
1,123 ft
Pine Flat Trail #165
0.8 mi away
3.2 mi
894 ft
Pine Flat Trail #72 - Pine Mountain
1.2 mi away
1.9 mi
47 ft
Cold Water Trail #27
2.6 mi away
5.4 mi
288 ft
[ View More! ]
Fauna
Arizona Sister Butterfly
Automeris caterpillar
Beyer's scarab beetle
Black-tailed Rattlesnake
Coyote
Ladybug beetle
Leaf-footed Bug
Red-spotted Purple Butterfly
Tussock Moth
Wild Turkey
Flora
Arizona Walnut
Beehive Cactus
Bigtooth Maple
Butterfly Weed
Claret Cup Cactus
Cliff-Rose
Gambel Oak
Golden Flowered Agave
Indian Paintbrush
Larkspur (various)
Poison Ivy
Skunkbush sumac
Sumac
Trixis
Unidentified Flora
Winding Mariposa Lily
Meteorology
Autumn - Color Foliage
Fire Burn Area & Recovery
Named place
Beehouse Canyon
Beehouse Spring
Bradshaw Mountains
Horseshoe Reservoir
Long Peak 4838 - Mazatzal Wilderness
Nelson Place Spring
Pine Mountain
San Francisco Mountains - Kachina Peaks Wilderness
South Prong Sycamore Creek
Squaw Butte
Sycamore Creek
Verde Rim
Culture
Azimuth Mark
Benchmark
Campsite
Corral
HAZ - Selfie
HAZ - SOTA ( Summits on the Air )
HAZ Gear
Miscellaneous Survey Marker
Old Glory
Reference Mark
Trail Signs and Markings
Unidentified Culture
Shorcut into the wilderness!
by Moovyoaz

Pine Mountain is one of Arizona's lesser-known wilderness areas, offering fine hiking without the crowds. It offers super views of the Mazatzal Wilderness and the wild Verde River country south of Camp Verde. I did this hike with a group of dayhikers and backpackers from Friends Hiking Club. The dayhikers basically did the Pine Mtn Verde Rim Loop. The backpackers did an interesting variation as described below.


Hike: We started south-east on the Nelson Trail #159 along Sycamore Creek past Nelson Place Spring, the site of an old homestead and ranch. As an Arizona native, I must say the trail along Nelson Spring is among the most beautiful I know, passing through an oak riparian area with clover and other greenery. The creek was flowing from the springs along the trail, along with the snow melt we were to encounter later. After 0.9 mile, we passed the Pine Flat Trail #165 lower trailhead (sometimes incorrectly shown as the Beehouse Canyon Trail), which follows its namesake canyon north past Beehouse Spring and up to a saddle at Pine Flat.

All hikers continued south-east, gradually climbing to the Willow Spring Trail #12 junction (3 miles). The trail to this point is in excellent shape, the best I've seen in years. From there, we turned south to the 'Cloverleaf' junction with the Pine Mtn #14 (3.5 miles), and then made the 700' climb up to the Verde Rim Trail #161, passing through patches of snow along the way (4.8 miles). Here both hiking groups turned north to the Pine Mountain Summit. The views from here were well worth the effort, as we could see snow on Mt. Humphreys to the north as well as Four Peaks and the Flat Iron to the south; simply breath taking!

After returning south to the Verde Rim Trail #161 junction, our two groups diverged; the dayhikers returned the way they came to the starting trailhead at the Salt Flat Campground. The backpackers followed the Verde Rim Trail #161 to the south-west. This description continues here, where things very got interesting.

After a short distance the Verde Rim Trail #161 drops 1000' off the edge of the Verde rim. Here the terrain traverses through mixed pines and oaks, and soon turns into thickets of manzanita. Note the trail becomes faint here, so be sure to watch for the cairns that mark the way down the slope. After 2.4 miles from the trail #14 junction, trail #161 turns to the west and re-enters the pines where it crosses a creek that, in March 07 and 08, had pools of water (7.2 miles).

Here is the first best kept secret of the Pine Mtn Wilderness. Continuing off trail to the west about 100 yards, we found an excellent camp area that's all you can ask for; a small protected valley among the pines along a creek with water. There's even a nice fire ring and plenty of firewood available. In this 1 acre park we spent a pleasant night under a full moon (34.2801, -111.81867).

The following morning we arose to a fine, clear day to continue our trek back to our cars. We backtracked the short distance to the Verde Rim Trail #161, crossed the creek, then headed west. After 0.9 miles trail #161 ends at the upper junction of the Nelson Trail #159, which is followed 0.4 miles west to Bishop Springs (8.5 miles).

Here is the second best kept secret of the Pine Mtn Wilderness. Our original plan was to continue west along the exposed edge of the wilderness on trail #159 to the Pine Flat Trail #165, and north down Beehouse Canyon. But during a prior pre-hike, I came across the 'Shortcut Trail' #166 (34.29009, -111.82434). Normally I'm skeptical of any trail named 'Shortcut', being of the opinion that's how the Dutchman got lost! Although not listed on most topo maps, the map posted at the trailhead shows #166 turning sharply to the north and then west up through the pines for 1.5 miles, connecting back with the Pine Flat Trail #165, cutting off about 1.6 miles off the return trip. Just be sure to follow the cairns to the north-west.

Once back on trail #165 (10 miles), we continued our return north, down the rocky yet scenic Beehouse Canyon to the Nelson Trail #159 (11.6 miles), then north-west 0.9 miles to the our trucks at the Salt Flat Campground (12.5 miles). All in all, a fine ending to an adventurous weekend!

Moovyoaz
  • description related
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 $$
None

Prescott Forest
Prescott National Forest Pass

Only trailheads with six "amenities" have fees. Amenities are picnic tables, trash, toilet, parking, interpretive signing and security.


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

To hike
Take I-17 North of Cortes Junction the the Dugas Exit 268. Go east on Dugas Rd for 18.4 miles to the trailhead. You'll pass through the big town of Dugas around 6-7 miles in. There's a creek to cross in town. A car could make it to the trailhead under the best conditions. On the other hand, if it rained some of the smaller 4x4 vehicles would be challenged in the thick heavy mud.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills

11.5 inch Teflon Coated Umbrella
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