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East Fort Trail #31 - Prescott NF, AZ

Guide 17 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
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HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,292 feet
Elevation Gain -217 feet
Accumulated Gain 388 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 4.04
Interest Ruins & Historic
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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17  2019-04-20
Horsethief Basin East Fort South Fort Loop
7  2018-05-24 kenjacobsen
7  2017-08-05 Hansenaz
42  2017-04-29
Horsethief Basin East Fort South Fort Loop
12  2016-08-06
Horsethief Basin East Fort South Fort Loop
11  2016-04-16
Bradshaws Fort Loop
15  2015-05-27 AZWanderingBear
45  2015-05-17
Horsethief Basin East Fort South Fort Loop
Page 1,  2
Author AZWanderingBear
author avatar Guides 27
Routes 61
Photos 2,620
Trips 700 map ( 4,689 miles )
Age 65 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Mar
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  5:37am - 7:34pm
Official Route
3 Alternative

Ancient Views
by AZWanderingBear

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This short trail descends into Oak-Chaparral vegetation, passing through 1.7 million year old granites (tan color) to the East Fort fortress ruins. This hike starts on an old 4x4 track, changing to single track entering the Castle Creek Wilderness.

The drive from Crown King to the trailhead is on a seldom maintained dirt road and may be closed during winter months. 4-wheel drive is not required, but moderate clearance is.

East Fort is a Hohokam site dating back to approximately 1300 AD. It is one of many hilltop sites that form a network with each site being visible to at least one other. The sites stretch from the northern Phoenix Valley, across the Bradshaws to Prescott and down to Wickenburg. Archaeologists are not certain of the purpose of this extensive network.

The trail begins at a sign along the Horse Thief Basin road. From here you can either hike the old jeep trail or park and walk. For those brave enough to drive you will stop either at Castle Creek Wilderness boundary or when you have had enough of the washed out trail. Most of us will choose the latter option. The jeep trail portion of the hike is a steady descent.

The Jeep trail stops near the wilderness boundary marked by a gate. From here the trail climbs steadily. Your objective is right in front of you at this point, but the trail works north up onto the ridge and then south to the Fort.

Vegetation includes impressive Manzanita, Alligator Juniper, Ponderosa Pine, and a smattering of wild flowers in season. Deer are plentiful in this area. A few black bears call the southern Bradshaws home as do a very few mountain lions.

Upon reaching the summit follow the cairns along the western edge of the rock out cropping around to the fort. Some easy rock scrambling is required. Your dual reward is a small but fairly well preserved fortress ruin and very impressive views. Take some time and imagine how this would have looked when the Hohokam inhabited this area.

If you are still craving some more views after your hike, drive south a short distance along Horse Thief Road to the Horse Thief lookout tower. If the gate is open the tower is manned. Odds are they will invite you up for one of the best views. Most of the watchers are long time Crown King residents and a chat with them is usually fascinating.

Water Sources
Water is available at the Ranger Station, Hazlett Hollow Campground and Turney Group Campground (maybe turned off in winter months).

Nearby Hazlett Hollow Campground is open Spring through Fall. Multitudes of dispersed camping sites available.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2015-05-30 AZWanderingBear
    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 $$

    Prescott Forest
    Prescott National Forest Pass

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

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Phoenix take I-17 north to the Bumble Bee Exit 248. Follow the Crown King dirt road 27.5 miles to Crown King. Continue through Crown King along the Senator Highway for .5 miles and turn left on Horse Thief Road. Follow Horse Thief Road 9.1 miles. The trailhead sign is on your left.
    page created by The_Eagle on May 30 2015 10:56 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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