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Merritt Draw Loop - Mogollon Rim, AZ

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Guide 15 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well
3.5 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6.11 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,419 feet
Elevation Gain -342 feet
Accumulated Gain 975 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.0
Kokopelli Seeds 10.99
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
17  2015-08-15
Maverick Cny - Merritt Draw Loop
15  2014-06-12 Grasshopper
29  2013-06-14
Middle-Upr Merritt Draw Figure 8 LOOP
19  2012-08-25
Merritt Draw Lower Loop - Mogollon Rim
9  2012-08-12
10  2012-07-15 Oregon_Hiker
15  2012-05-12 Grasshopper
23  2011-08-16 AZLumberjack
Page 1,  2
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Sep, Oct, Jun
Sun  6:09am - 6:29pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Likely In-Season!

Author Full Detail Guide
Overview: Please see "information notes" posted on the default GPS Track for hike description summary.

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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
Merritt Draw Loop - Mogollon Rim
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My Hiking Loop Route today (which is different than the published Hike Desc Route):
This clockwise loop from Camp Grasshopper C/Site #3 up FR139C to C/Site #2 area, then west off-trail to intersect Merritt Draw Riparian Area to intersect not legal motor vehicle secondary & obscure FR9735P, then down FR9735P to intersect back with FR139C, then FR139C back to TH Start.

This short, peaceful, scenic, less traveled, and easy family friendly "off-trail" loop hike is recommended to begin & end at Camp Grasshopper C-Site #2 or #3.

For this, my June'14 seven day vehicle camping/hiking trip, this short loop hike was my first planned hike to determine if after no hiking exercise since 5/25 (except for my ongoing ~24/7 addiction to flipping pages on HAZ :) ), if my body was up for a few additional day hikes.

My body was.. and this hike did not disappoint with even a late morning Elk sighting this time.
Merritt Draw Loop - Mogollon Rim
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Middle-Upr Merritt Draw Figure 8 LOOP
One of the enjoyable perks of my Mogollon Rim vehicle campsites is often not having to drive to a hiking TH. This Figure 8 Loop hike is one of those :)

Over the past three years I've hiked this family friendly and very pleasant, simple off-trail route finding section of Upper and Middle Merritt Draw loop hike a number of times. This trip I planned to check-out the three riparian enclosure sections within this area of Merritt Draw and report on the perennial flow status of a couple of the named map springs that were located on my planned hiking route (Whistling Spring and Merritt Spring).

As an unexpected benefit today, I located three (3) additional springs along my figure eight loop that are unnamed but had what appeared to be a perennial water flow. I have way point documented all these springs within my posted and geocoded GPS Route and further documented them via my posted picset with captions and tag notes.

The only disappointment to report on is that last year I was able to walk right up to the perennial flowing cement spring box of "Whistling Spring" (located in Upper Merritt Draw). This trip I noticed that over the past year some enclosure work had been done to reinforce and build-up the Riparian Enclosure around this spring with a seven foot high fence with "no" access :? I don't understand why they fully enclosed the cement spring box without having some type of human access. On my exit day 6/17, I stopped by the Hwy 87- Blue Ridge Ranger Station and leaving without a reason why..?
Merritt Draw Loop - Mogollon Rim
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I first explored our "Merritt Draw Loop - Mogollon Rim" hike description area on 7/17/11 when I attempted to hike the entire lower draw to it's ending intersection with Barbershop Canyon at the U-Bar Trail #28 crossing. On this first attempt I made it to within ~.75 miles of its lower end when I thought it best to turn around due to threatening Monsoon weather. This is a very enjoyable draw to hike and I have always intended to return with the intent of completing this lower Merritt Draw section and to write-up a new Merritt Draw hike description to include it as a loop connecting off-trail with the lower end of FR139C.

With this 8/25/12 visit, my fourth hike within this middle to lower Merritt Draw area, I have now edited and documented this new hike description "Merritt Draw Lower Loop - Mogollon Rim":

"This moderate, pleasant, and partially off-trail loop hike enters scenic and riparian Merritt Draw with seasonal water flow, pooling, a perennial spring- Drift Fence Spring, and travels down the draw to its lower end at the intersection with Barbershop Canyon and U-Bar Trail #28. From here, following some well and not so well defined animal routes, the off trail route continues with ~350ft of elevation gain to connect with the lower end of scenic for hiking, biking, and driving FR139C for a ~2.2 miles hike back to TH Start to complete this loop."

I do highly recommend this loop and do hope others with consider it when car camping or planning a day hike or backpack in this area of our Mogollon Rim.
Merritt Draw Loop - Mogollon Rim
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Parked along the Barbershop trail and headed down into Barbershop Canyon. Down Barbershop Canyon is initially easy, with good elk trails on benches. After awhile the going gets a bit tougher, but Barbershop Canyon is wonderful, with plenty of flowers, intermittent water, and two impressive springs along the way.

With monsoons clouds forming at the time I started the hike, it wasn't surprising I got rained on. After getting a bit wet, I finally found a spot out of the rain to wait out the second half. Thoroughly wet, I continued down the last part of Barbershop, where the elk trails got much better, and found the Ubar intersection.

Barbershop canyon is a true gem on the rim, probably the best hike anywhere in the area.

I went up Merritt Draw, which initially wasn't too bad but quickly required scrambling, bushwhacking, and crawling over many, many downed trees. After awhile of this the elk trails began to improve and I headed up the draw at twice the speed. Reaching Hank's "best entry point", I surprised two elk. One of the elk spotted me and ran away. The other elk didn't see me, but panicked when the other ran.

The elk happened to end up running right at me, not having spotted me. This was good and bad - the bad part was that I had 600 pounds of animal barreling right at me at 15 mph and about 1.5 seconds to react. What to do? Dive behind the tree! While moving, grab the camera, fire off a shot! I haven't checked, but I think I go it!

The rest of the trip wasn't as eventful, I used an elk trail to bypass a portion when I wasn't having any fun climbing over tree after tree and bushwhacking. I think I skipped about a quarter mile. The upper part of Merritt Draw has lots of fences to keep the elk out.

It was pleasant walking through the vast meadows of Merritt Draw. This part is an easy hike that anybody can do, and it goes on for quite a ways. Lots of flowers and green fields. Very nice indeed!

I continued all the way to the top of the draw, cross country to find the trail, and crossed through Barbershop canyon again to finish the loop.

Spring reports - the springs in Barbershop were flowing quite well. They are amazing, but not on the map!

Couldn't tell with the Merritt Draw springs - too many fences in the way.
Merritt Draw Loop - Mogollon Rim
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Why drive a total of 6 hours and spend $75.00 on gas to only hike a total of 3.6 miles? ;)

.. it was 100F+ in my residence area today at 1215ft elevation and it was a very pleasant high of 75F at this Merritt Draw hiking area at 7450ft elevation :)
.. this is a very enjoyable area to visit within our Mogollon Rim- Cabin Loop Hiking Area;
.. enjoyable company to join me and good conversation :)
.. after the hike, a planned picnic lunch that by itself was worth the trip..thanks Trish! :)

I hope to return again for a week stay this coming June, July, August, and September :D
Merritt Draw Loop - Mogollon Rim
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Hank PMed me about playing "hooky" or taking the day off to go for a hike with he and Jack up to the Rim. Let me see, "work" or "hike" ;) . Well since I have nothing on my hiking agenda for the next couple months, I checked with my boss (after just getting the okay for my 8 days off for my Glacier Park 2012 trip), to see if I could push my luck... and I got the day off :D . So after jamming my little toe at 5:20AM the day of the hike, I met Jack and Hank at Wendy's in Fountain Hills for our drive up to the TH at Camp Grasshopper, The Rim. I had not driven on that part of the Rim before so it was very interesting; especially with Hank filling us in on the Beta for the area.

We could see the remnants of the heavy rainstorm as we crossed over and in some puddles along the way. Of course it was the last road heading east that we hit all sorts of fun and even larger puddles as well as a big tree that had fallen across the road :o . Grasshopper said if we parked here it would add several miles to our hike :sweat: so I surveyed the area to the north of the tree and fortunately, it was clear enough that Tonto could get around a few trees, down and back up the hill without much duress :) . It was AFTER that area where Tonto scraped a rock that may have brushed a strut :scared: as the road required us to stay high to avoid the deeper ruts.

We arrived at Camp Grasshopper but not without having to cross over a bit of water where a couple rocks had been placed to prevent sinking into the mud. We were so happy to be out in the cool air :y: of the Rim. We got on all our gear and headed east along the road before turning onto the old forest/logging road. We followed it through the forest and by four very stately, tall and lonely aspen. Next we came around a bend that headed northwest and it was from there that we would head down into the draw. It was a bit steep but was tiered so not too bad to get down to the cairn Hank had placed at the bottom.

Next we went east in the Draw in pursuit of the Driftwood Spring. At first we came upon the water on one side of the draw but then Jack heard water running from the other side of the draw with a big pool in front of it. We found the source of the spring! :DANCE: and it was a scenic area as well. See Video of trek up to this point:
And then it was on to the antlers; but along the way as were crossing by a pool of water, Hank miscalcuated and fell backward :o into the pool. Fortunately his pack saved him from any injury and he got up laughing at himself. We all know the feeling! [-X

Draw hiking is very much like creek hiking except there was a little less water. The yellow corn flowers were getting toward the end of their bloom life but the butterflies and moths were still deeply attracted to them so I got some good stills and movies of this happy event. Eventually and not much further, we retraced our steps to where we entered the draw and headed back up the hill. Half way up the sun was lighting up a moss covered trunk. The color was simply glorious. Within moments the vibrant color changed as the cloud began obscuring the sun. The moss was so lovely and soft :) . It was not too far from here that we also had our lunch.

We finished off the climb out of the canyon and continued on the old logging/forest road to the south. Much of this road has filled in with luscious short grass that made it feel like you were walking through a meadow :budrose: . It was absolutely delightful. The clouds were coming out in earnest now so we occasionally wondered if the monsoon would roar its head 8-[ but it never did. It was also in this area and into the riparian area that I would smell cow. We never saw evidence of cow until coming back thru the riparian area. It was an old and small pile... unless there is another animal's poo that smells like a cow :-k . However, I know that smell all too well [-( . Here is the video, Part 2 from Driftwood Spring to the antlers, back down and out of the Draw and to the Riparian area:

Eventually you get to the clearing which seems to extend for a couple miles. This is the riparian area and was quite a treat to check it all out. We walked in it and around the east side of the two fenced areas all the way to the south before crossing over and heading up the west side. Jack decided to head up the hill (SE) once we reached the end of the last fenced area. Hank and I continued on a track he was trying to create for others to follow. Soon we would also be following the fence line up and over the hill back to where Tonto was waiting.

Here is the last video starting at the meadow/riparian area and our hike around, finished off by a couple stills from our drive on FR300:

We decided to drive back via FR 300 on the southside of the Rim as we were only a few miles from it. We headed west on FR 300. It was a very rough ride :tt: as the road over the culverts was settling deeply. And there were a lot of these culverts; even when you slowed down, it was pretty bumpy. I would hope the Forest Service would get that contractor back out there to fix the situation cuz obviously they did a louszy job if the road was sinking around each of them :SB: . My brother thinks they may have not used enough gravel before putting the dirt back on. Nonetheless it was a pretty drive and we stopped in a couple areas to get some photos. You could see some rain showers out to the east and then somewhat to the south of us.

We stopped in Payson for some Mexican food at El Rancho. You should have seen the special they had for $8.99 :o . It was a giant plate of food and Jack ate almost every bite :o . Hank couldn't quite finish his off as he had munched on Jack's wife's cookies ;) on the drive. They were also both happy with the hotter salsa after they had almost finished off the house salsa.

It was a great little trip for the day. Jack had been wearing a new fabricated brace for his leg for the first time. I hope he's recovered from that and can do some tweaking so that it can be more comfortable. As for Hank, he discovered his glass case had broken but not his glasses so that was a good thing. As for me, other than my sore jammed little toe and Tonto's strut, we're a little worse for wear. I'll bounce back quickly, not so sure about Tonto
:cry: .
Merritt Draw Loop - Mogollon Rim
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I first had the chance to explore this very pleasant "Merritt Draw" and "Merritt Draw Riparian Area" this past mid-July while car camping in this area.

I had some unfinished exploring I had hoped to complete and with Jack and Angela's kind offer to drive and join me for a revisit, I was able to share my new area finds with them both and also complete some of my unfinished exploring that I had hoped to accomplish: confirm the perennial source locations of both Drift Fence Spring and Merritt Spring (Thank you Jack for your keen eyes in locating both of these perennial spring sources)! :D hike and post a revised GPS track to include a new hiking section of closed to vehicles, old logging road FR9735P( ).

Thank you both for a very enjoyable day on our Mogollon Rim-Cabin Loop Area at 7400ft+ and an opportunity for me to give you both a grand, scenic driving tour up via Hwy87 to FR95 and driving out via the Rim Road FR300 to Hwy87. Angela's dinner recommendation at "El Rancho Mexican Food" in Payson was also an excellent choice!
Merritt Draw Loop - Mogollon Rim
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On my last full day of M/Rim camping this trip, this planned exploratory loop hike which I originally discovered via reviewing Google Earth for my 7/14/11 hike, turned-out to be a real winner :)

I do recommend and for my next visit I will plan to hike this loop a little differently as described in my posted 7/17 GPS Track "information notes".
Merritt Draw Loop - Mogollon Rim
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It was past time for me to plan another car camping/hiking/R&R "get-away". This time to one of my favorite Mogollon Rim-Cabin Loop area locations at 7435ft elevation.

Back in early June I had intended this July 13 to July 18 (5nt/6day) event to be a group outing, but due to Coconino NF fire restrictions in-force prior-to 7/12/11 and my concerns regarding a possible Coconino NF violation of group/vehicle camping at this proposed campsite without me having a Plan "B" group campsite location, on 7/9 I most reluctantly thought it best to cancel our previously planned group overnight camping.

On my Mogollon Rim arrival day Wed-7/13 I drove the immediate area up/down/around FR139 and FR139C and just could not find an alternate campsite location that I liked enough to commit set up of my major "Camp Grasshopper" for 5 nights and 6 days of camping and that was also within close hiking access to our Cabin Loop area trails. So I ended up camping for this entire period at my original planned group campsite with "off trail" hiking access to all the areas that I had originally intended to explore:

Thurs-7/14: From my campsite to ~3mls up FR139C to off trail down 300ft to intersection of U-Bar Tr28/Barbershop Canyon to off trail ~4.5mls up Barbershop Cy to an off trail exit point back to my campsite location;

Fri-7/15: From my campsite to cross FR139C to off trail over to Merritt Draw to explore the Forest Service protected (fenced) riparian area in this interesting draw with its incredibly lush green meadow area;

Sat-7/16: Dane Canyon Loop (7.0 mile route per hike description write-up) from the FR321A Dane Spring/Cabin TH Start location;

Sun-7/17: From my campsite up FR139C to connect with an obscure, closed to vehicles logging road (FR9735P) to off trail downhill to intersect middle Merritt Draw with plans to explore a few hiking miles down riparian Merritt Draw to its intersection end at U-Bar Tr28/Barbershop Canyon and then hike back up Merritt Draw past my previous Merritt Draw entry point and hike all the way up Merritt Draw to repeat the hiking area of my 7/15 hike;

I will post separate photosets and GPS Tracks for these above four hikes and will also post a few "Camp Grasshopper" pics from my very enjoyable 5nts/6days :DANCE:

Permit $$

Map Drive
High Clearance possible when dry

To hike
From the PHOENIX area: Take the Beeline Hwy 87 north all the way past Payson, Strawberry, and past the small community of Clints Well; Continue on Hwy 87 past the right turn for signed Blue Ridge Reservoir, continue on Hwy 87 past the signed right turn for Moqui / Blue Ridge Campgrounds, continue on Hwy 87 past the Blue Ridge Ranger Station to the next signed FR right turn onto FR95; Turn Right onto FR95 at way point N34 36.785 W111 11.209 and follow signs for FR95 South, then a major downhill on FR95 to FR95/FR96 intersection after crossing East Clear Creek Bridge; "Stay on" FR95 (a ~right turn SSW) and continue uphill until you reach signed FR139; Turn left onto FR139 (Note: set your odometer to "0") and continue south on FR139 for ~6.6mls to signed FR139C on your left side at waypoint N34 26.535 W111 11.900; Turn Left onto unmaintained, easy to follow gravel FR139C (Note: set your odometer to "0") and continue driving on FR139C for 2.10 miles to primitive campsite entrance/TH Start, a right turn at waypoint N34 27.546 W111 10.598; Please also note: Via either Hwy 260 east/FR300 from Payson "or" Hwy 87 north/FR300 (at Milepost 281.1 on Hwy 87), you can drive to the SW end of FR139 at its intersection with Rim Road FR300, then drive north up FR139 for ~2.0 miles to intersect FR139C and then make a right turn onto FR139C and follow the directions noted above;
page created by Grasshopper on Jul 21 2011 1:01 pm
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