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Half Moon Trail #288, AZ

Guide 45 Triplogs  2 Topics
  2.5 of 5 
no permit
460 45 2
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 4.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,175 feet
Elevation Gain -466 feet
Accumulated Gain 552 feet
Avg Time One Way 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.94
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 242
Routes 836
Photos 12,086
Trips 4,888 map ( 24,947 miles )
Age 51 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:36am - 7:28pm
Official Route
7 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 Willow 2004117.2 mi*
🔥 2004 Willow Fire120k
🔥 2004 Willow117.2 mi*
🔥 View All over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles

Springs, ravines and a little place called HELL!
by joebartels

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Connects Barnhardt TH (FS 419) and Rock Creek TH (FS 442) on the lower eastern foothills of the Mazatzal range. Please note the FS lists this trail as #288 however it's signed #42.

The hike starts at an elevation of 4,175ft from the Barnhardt Trailhead. It passes over several ravines along its journey. All of which are relatively low-key elevation gains/losses. The entire trail is just outside of the wilderness boundary.

You pass through a gate from the Barnhardt Trailhead and immediately descend into the first ravine. This happens to be the fading end of Barnhardt Canyon. Garden Spring, a half-mile upstream, is generally reliable if it's rained recently.

The second ravine encountered is Eisenhauer Canyon. You'll encounter some light catclaw on route and eventually a road. A left takes you up canyon to Eisenhauer Spring. Take a right to stay on course and look for cairns leading off the road and out of the ravine.

The journey continues to a third ravine. This one is less defined, unnamed and the location of Half Moon Spring. Coming out of this ravine, you start moving east/away from the Mazatzal range onto Fisher Mesa. The hike is enjoyable up through this point.

Coming down off of Fisher Mesa, you drop into the fourth ravine, which is Rock Creek. It starts off nice but turns nasty quick. This section is the cursed with catclaw and poor definition of trail. That's two things that should never be mixed! If somehow you make it onto the opposing ridge without a scratch, then consider yourself lucky!

On the ridge, you have Rock Creek to your left, Alder Creek to your right, and you're heading down towards Center Creek. Light bushwhacking is encountered in spots. Dipping through several ravines, you have to search and find for the trail on the other side. Soon you'll reach a wide swath in Center Creek. Here you'll find the junction with Rock Creek Trail. This is also the Rock Creek Trailhead at the end of FS 442. We didn't see any "trailhead" signs, so it may officially be down the road a quarter-mile or so. We saw a trickle in Center Creek in June. However, Spring was unusually wet.

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.

2008-06-22 joebartels

    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To Barnhardt Trailhead
    From the corner of SR87 & SR260 in Payson go south on SR87 for 14.5 miles to the signed turnoff for Barnhardt trailhead (forest road 419). Follow FR419 5 miles to its end. The parking area is fairly large. Barnhardt trailhead is located at the west end of the parking area. From Phoenix take SR87 north out of Mesa to Payson. The turnoff to the trailhead is 4mi north of the 188 intersection. (think rest stop)

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 83.4 mi - about 1 hour 45 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 182 mi - about 3 hours 4 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 126 mi - about 2 hours 31 mins
    page created by joebartels on May 28 2008 11:18 pm
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