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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Merritt Draw Upper Loop - Mogollon Rim, AZ

no permit
31 4 0
Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well
3.5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3.01 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,615 feet
Elevation Gain -166 feet
Accumulated Gain 311 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.1
Kokopelli Seeds 4.57
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
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8  2013-06-15 Grasshopper
29  2013-06-14
Middle-Upr Merritt Draw Figure 8 LOOP
9  2012-08-12
23  2011-09-29 Grasshopper
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
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Sep, Oct, Jun
Sun  6:09am - 6:29pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Likely In-Season!
Overview: A mid to intermediate level route finding "off trail" hike to enter and hike within riparian and easy to navigate Merritt Draw at its upper end following the posted 9/29/11 default GPS track. Two perennial springs (Whispering Spring and another UN-named Spring) are along this very pleasant hiking route. Partially closed to vehicle traffic and easy to hike FR9735P is also part-of this loop hike.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
    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 Upper Loop - Mogollon Rim
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    This June 15th out and back hike is a deviation from the original hike description write-up further explained in the "information notes" section of my posted 6/15 GPS Route.

    On the previous day, part-of my loop hike within Middle & Upper Merritt Draw included hiking to perennial "Whistling Spring" that resides in the upper section of Merritt Draw. After discovering that the newly beefed-up 7ft high Riparian Enclosure around this spring source appeared to not provide any gate or walk-in access, I thought that maybe I had just missed the entry access on this day after and prior-to my planned drive and short hike to Aspen Spring/Cabin, I decided to hike back in to "Whistling Spring" this time from the upper end TH access for Merritt Draw and confirm or deny by hiking around the entire Riparian Enclosure.

    Other than providing a little more hiking exercise on 6/15 in a pleasant area to be, my confirmation of findings on 6/14 were confirmed :(
    Merritt Draw Upper 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 Upper 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 Upper Loop - Mogollon Rim
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    The last time I hiked in this area was with Angela and Jack back on August 16th which was also my last actual and posted hike until today :oops:

    On 8/16 we started in from the designated TH Start for the main Merritt Draw Loop hike description (2.1 mls in on FR139C). Our loop hike that day took us into the middle sections of the draw and through the main draw riparian areas to Merritt Spring and beyond, but unfortunately due to the long drive back we were not able to hike an additional .5ml up Merritt Draw to confirm the status of "Whistling Spring".

    Late this September I decided to quickly plan a one week car camping trip back in this area for 9/28 to 10/3. One hiking day during this stay, starting from a .45ml drive in on FR139C, I had planned to "off-trail" hike this upper most section of Merritt Draw to visit Whistling Spring to confirm its flow status and to also do more exploring of the draws uppermost end. I did a little pre-topo map research before departing and had a plan.

    My actual hike on this 9/29/11 day turned-out to be a much more pleasant and enjoyable outing than I had originally expected, so I decided to do the full-Monte with a new HAZ short hike description, posted GPS track (for review & download), pics with detailed captions/tag notes and this trip log. I do hope that some might consider giving this one a try one day as it would be a good one to consider for those interested in sharpening up their off-trail map/GPS route finding skills :D

    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 ~.450 mile to waypoint N34 26.513 W111 11.669 (Note: As of this writing, there is a small rock cairn on left side of road designating TH "off trail" Start Location; Park off the right side of this FR139C road);

    Please also note: Via either Hwy 260 east/FR300 from Payson "or" from Payson 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 Oct 06 2011 7:17 pm
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