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Cypress Trail - PATS, AZ

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Guide 20 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson S
2.2 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Distance One Way 2.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,800 feet
Elevation Gain -197 feet
Accumulated Gain 240 feet
Avg Time One Way 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 3
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible & Connecting
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1  2017-07-11 MountainMatt
10  2016-02-28
Stewart Pocket Loop Payson
11  2015-10-27
Stewart Pocket - Monument Peak Loop & Summit
6  2015-08-03
Stewart Pocket Loop Payson
5  2015-04-05
Stewart Pocket Loop Payson
8  2014-04-20
Stewart Pocket Loop Payson
39  2013-07-13
Stewart Pocket Loop Payson
26  2011-10-18
Stewart Pocket Loop Payson
Page 1,  2
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 149
Photos 5,534
Trips 1,317 map ( 6,690 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Mar, Nov, Oct → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:13am - 6:22pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Payson's backyard
by PrestonSands

Overview: The Cypress Trail takes one through the eroded granite formations of Payson's Granite Dells and is a part of the Payson Area Trails System or "P.A.T.S.". One can hike the Cypress Trail by itself, or create a 5 or 7 mile lasso-loop hike by connecting with the Boulders Loop Trail. One can also access the mid-point of the Cypress Trail at the Phoenix Street trailhead for a shorter 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. The following description begins at the north trailhead on Granite Dells Road.

Hike: From the trailhead on Granite Dells Road, follow the Cypress Trail south past a large brown signboard with a crude map of the area's trails. The Cypress Trail winds along the eastern base of Yerba Senta Butte at first, along sandy slopes of eroded granite. There are some nice views across Stewart Pocket, with the Gibson Peak rim forming the backdrop. Pinyon pine, juniper, and scrub oak dominate the area, with scattered ponderosa pines adding welcome shade. The route bends west and then south, roller-coasting over several small washes and low outcrops of granite boulders.

At just over a mile, the Cypress Trail descends to Stewart Creek, where it meets a short spur trail coming from Phoenix Street, 0.15 miles to the west. The junction is signed, and lies in a fine stand of ponderosas. From the junction, the Cypress Trail turns east, and follows the winding course of seasonal Stewart Creek downstream. As you enter the heart of Stewart Pocket, bouldered hillsides and granite towers begin to appear.

At a little over 2 miles from its start (and just under a mile past the Phoenix Street spur trail) the Cypress Trail meets the Boulders Loop Trail at a nice little forested flat next to the creek. Return the way you came, or create a lasso-loop hike by turning onto the Boulders Loop Trail.

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2011-01-05 PrestonSands
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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
Cypress Trail - PATS
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Stewart Pocket - Monument Peak Loop & Summit
This was a mostly off-trail exploration into Stewart Pocket that ended up being a loop. I started from the end of Phoenix St and slowly wandered up the side of Stewart Ridge where I found a nice spot to assess the terrain and eat a little breakfast. Felt a little sluggish for the first couple of miles, almost like I wasn't fully awake yet. Headed back down and onto Cypress briefly before turning north and following a drainage wash to Hill 5085. Climbed Hill 5085 and it's two adjoining hills. Climbed down and traveled Northeast over to Monument Peak where I summited from the Southeast side by following game trails (theme of the day). Found some pottery pieces and took a few photos before heading down the ridgeline. Hopped back on Monument Peak Trail once back at the bottom and then walked the dirt road to Yerba Senta Butte. To my surprise there was an actual trail to the top of the butte, as well as a summit shelter on top. I took this unnamed trail back down to Cypress where I finished out the loop. Water was hit or miss. Some creeks where lightly flowing while others where bone dry. Skies where clear and sunny so views of the Rim were good. Although the weather was perfect, I didn't see another human all day.
Cypress Trail - PATS
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First time on the PATS. I'd been reluctant to check this trail system out, but the suggestion of a neighbor swayed me so I looked up a couple of loops in the area. This was the first of two on the day. This hike was mostly off trail and up dry creek beds and washes with the first and last miles on actual trail. Some spots have the feel of seclusion and then around the next bend is an old sofa and a TV full of bullet holes. Pleasantly surprised to not encounter a rattler on such a warm day and in what seemed like ideal rattler territory. At one point I did spook a pair of owls who took off right above my head and swooped into higher trees. This was a cool little hike to get me started but I had my eyes on the ridgeline looming over me and headed for Gibson Peak next.
Cypress Trail - PATS
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Thnkfully the Hwy 87 brushfire was quickly extinguished ( ... es-hwy-87/ ), allowing me and my wife to head back up to rim country for a hike. (I had considered a hike near Wilhoit, but thought it too soon to drive through Yarnell.) This area seemed like it would be easy enough that my wife should be able to do a few miles of it, while allowing me to go a bit further.

The designated trail is braided with ATV/dirt bike trails, but if you pay attention to the many signs, you need not worry about straying. Plus, even if you get off trail, the hiking is relatively clear. (There was a prescribed burn there in 2008: ). The trail is wide and mostly free of obstacles; you can safely spend most of your time gazing at the scenery rather than your footing. The sand can be a bit deep in spots, though. The washes are not much different than the trails, and the most pleasant wash walking one could possibly hope for. In the few spots blocked by rocks or deadfall, the slope of the washes is a mild angle of only 5-20 feet ( ).

Wow, the rocks are awesome! :o And the way they are stacked on top of each other, really makes you wonder how they got that way. :-k My personal theory is alien overlords, like in "2001: A Space Odyssey".

The west-east wash ends at the local shooting gallery, by the large caged cairns on FR 435. There's a dead critter there, whose proximity to the shooting gallery I thought suspicious.

After the hike, my wife and I ate at the Buffalo Bar & Grill in Payson. PBR is the perfect post-hike beer: light and refreshing without an excess of flavor. My wife loved her Asian chicken salad, and my buffalo burger was mighty tasty as well. :)

I'll definitely return to explore more of that south/southeast Payson area ...
Cypress Trail - PATS
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Finished initial flagging and adding cairns. More to be added later. You will love this route IF you like OFF Trail and the sounds of silence. No ATV's, no dust... Because you are following washes on the Off trail parts, minimum stratches (I always wear shorts...) Pics this day were added to the original description... Foliage is peak for Stewarts Pocket; never exceptional, but nice near the streams and springs. Yellows are beginning to fade...
Cypress Trail - PATS
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more exploring for a direct route from PATS Phoenix Street Trailhead to Monument Peak Loop, not on ATV trail, and then over to Boulders Loop then back to PATS Phx TH. work in progress but 70% done! Rousted a large owl roosting! Size of a large hawk... Later almost stepped on a small (baby?) rattler...
Cypress Trail - PATS
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Started at E Phoenix Str PATS trailhead and took Cypress to Granite Dells, then down the road and did the PATS Monument Peak Loop then bushwhacked back following washes and drainages to find a better and shorter route back to E Phx trailhead. Found a much better way back, but needs more exploring...
Cypress Trail - PATS
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entered from the cu-de-sac at the east end of E Phoenix, making this a lasso route. Good hike all seasons. Looking for early foliage. I hike this lasso loop many many times a year. Good exercise hike and scenic with ridge views and those house-big Granite Dell boulders. A can't miss (and shouldn't miss) short hike for all and right in Payson. Being exposed, can get a wee bit hot mid-day in the summer
Cypress Trail - PATS
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My grand Mazatzal hike plans ruined by a rainy day, I stayed in Payson to work instead of play. Even with the cold rain, I didn't want the day to go to waste, so I did this old backyard hike. Plenty of cold, wet and mud, but I was glad I went. I met a friend at Chili's for dinner after the hike, then headed for home.

Permit $$

Map Drive
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 about 2 miles to the brown fiberglass signpost for "Cypress Trail" on the right side of the road. A big, brown, wooden sign with an inscribed map is found a short distance in on the trail. There is no official parking area at this trailhead, but one can park a vehicle or two by pulling off of the road.

PHOENIX STREET ACCESS: Phoenix Street is on the east side of Highway 87, and is the 3rd street north of the Mazatzal Casino stoplight. Follow Phoenix Street east (2+ miles) to its end in a coul-de-sac/parking area. Follow the short, marked spur trail for about 0.15 miles to its signed intersection with the Cypress Trail.
page created by PrestonSands on Jan 05 2011 8:01 pm
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