Mount Union's little buddy
Overview: At approximately 7900 feet, Mount Davis is the second highest point in the Bradshaw Mountains, the first being nearby Mount Union, at 7979 feet. This hike uses forest trails #285 and #284, along with an off trail segment to bring you to the top of the peak. Trail #285 begins on the south side of the Potato Patch cabins area, where Poacher's Row road comes to an abrupt end on forest service land. If you don't have a high clearance vehicle, it might be wise to park along Walker Road or Poacher's Row road and walk from there to the trailhead. This hike can easily be done in conjunction with Mount Union.
Hike: At the trailhead where Poacher's Row road ends, two rough atv trails climb up from the creek bottom into the forest. Take the right fork, which is marked as trail #285, and follow it uphill. Almost immediately, trail #285 forks; stay left and continue uphill through the aspens. Around 0.2 miles, the trail forks again. Go right.
Tall fir trees and aspens fill the canyon of the usually dry Hassayampa River, and keep the trail well shaded. Evidence of the area's rich mining history can be seen in the form of partially collapsed mine tunnels and overgrown tailings piles. Keep an eye out for the old arrastra (ore crushing pit) in the canyon bottom.
About a mile in the trail ascends a few switchbacks, as it nears the top of the Hassayampa River canyon. The Prescott area comes into view briefly, just before trail #285 meets trail #284 in an open saddle at the 7600 foot level. Turn left and begin following trail #284 east.
After hiking about a tenth of a mile on trail #284, the forest on the left above the trail begins to open up a bit. Head uphill from this area to the crest of Mount Davis' south ridge. From its south ridge the top of Mount Davis is easily reached in only about a third of a mile, with only a few minor rocky obstacles in an open forest of ponderosa pine and gambel oak. Mount Davis' summit is marked by a small cairn and register. The view from its summit of the surrounding mountains is wonderful. There is an even better and nearly unobstructed view from a small, rocky hilltop about 0.1 miles past the summit.
The easiest way back down is likely the way you took to get up. Enjoy!
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.