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Goat Springs Trail #542, AZ

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Guide 6 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Camp Verde > Camp Verde
2.8 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,272 feet
Elevation Gain 552 feet
Accumulated Gain 755 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.78
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Possibly Connect
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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11  2015-09-05
Goat Springs Trail - Squaw Peak 6525 Loop
26  2015-09-05
Squaw Peak Loop-with Goat Spring
23  2014-04-27
Cedar Pine Wilderness
12  2012-06-24 skatchkins
Author skatchkins
author avatar Guides 2
Routes 22
Photos 3,186
Trips 214 map ( 714 miles )
Age 41 Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
Historical Weather
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Feb
Seasons   Autumn
Sun  6:15am - 6:24pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Culture Nearby
the redheaded stepchild
by skatchkins

The Cedar Bench Wilderness has been called the redheaded stepchild of the Arizona Wildernessi. In fact the Prescott National Forest Service purports it to be the least visited in the state. Even so, there are established and named trails in the area and at the right time of year you can find yourself amidst large shade trees nurtured by the many area springs and by Chasm Creek. The springs also tell of many types of animal visits by surrounding heavy-use game trails and muddy tracks around the water.

The Goat Camp Spring trail starts out carving a mark through thick scrub brush and then takes you along the edge of Chasm Creek. The contouring path does leave you exposed with not much shade for warmer weather hiking. Its little use means you'll find less visible maintenance but wearing shorts only fetched a negligible amount of scratches. You'll find a couple seeps from the hill side muddy the path in spots. A sign marks the split for Goat Camp Springs #542 and Hell Hole #541 but it was ill advised in its creation as its arrows both point straight ahead. Someone has since carved a more helpful arrow denoting Goat's true direction from the split to the left and even penciled in the approximate yards until the creek crossing. The correct trail is pretty obvious and the trail straight to Hell appears to be dwindling as the brambles take it back trying to make it more appropriate in name.

There can be decent water holes trapped in the smooth creek rock and even some small falls to shoot film at. In the heat of June, there was but one pool seen and green.

After the halfway mark at the Chasm cross, there is some elevation gain-back as you follow the creek upstream and above; Shade here and there keeps it interesting. The best view resides in the small plot of the destination as the growth overhead takes over and darkens out the ground cover. Game trails pop up everywhere and all feeling of being alone in the woods vanishes. This is a good place to stop and lunch, to wait and watch. Even in the summer with the creek dry, the spring keeps a couple indentations wet for the animals.

Turning your feet around, the hike out goes quickly. There are other trails around that could possibly connect but I'd avoid hiking the creek directly for too long as the rocky going is substantial slower.

In short, the 542 isn't a great trail and there are far better areas to be found (you're also not going to get a car back there on the 9602J), but it is a solid area that in the right season could keep one occupied and feeling like they may just be the first to add their footprints into the path in a long while.

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2012-06-27 skatchkins
    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
    Goat Springs Trail #542
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    Squaw Peak Loop-with Goat Spring
    Joe hikes Squaw Peak quite often.
    So when it finally got cool enough for me to give it a try, I had a loop all drawn up.
    Little did I know this wasn't the same Squaw Peak the Joey's been doing. ](*,) He said his is now called Piestewa Peak...

    We parked just off of 574, not knowing what the road in would be like.
    The road walk to the Goat Spring Trail was the warmest part of the day. Temps got close to 80 with none of the predicted wind or clouds. The rest of the day it was in the 70's, but very humid.

    We got to the Goat Springs Trail #352 and started making our way up canyon. The trail was in decent shape with only mild overgrowth in places. Shorts all the way, with very few scratches on the day. The Goat Spring area, as well as a few others areas in the canyon, were thick and lush, but never a problem to get through. The canyon did narrow the closer we got to the top, but it was just some sweet mild bouldering, all the way to the top. We hit about 4 or so dry falls, the tallest about 30', that were fun climbs. I really enjoyed this canyon. An hour later these dry falls, were probably water falls.

    Up top and out of the canyon, we got a reprieve from the climb. Instead we had 1-1/2 hours of a steady rain, turning our trail runners into trail weights.

    The rain stopped just in time for us to find a cabin that I'd spotted on GE. It has sign of recent roof work, but the rest of it was kinda trashy.

    We ate lunch with a view of our peak in sight. It ended up being an easier traverse across the mesa than I'd feared. Finally up top, there were great views to the North and East. We'd talked about climbing this one for three years and finally did. We rejoiced as a couple of ORV's drove up... Cheaters...

    On the way down, Joe almost stepped on a 4' Gopher Snake that he never saw stretched across our path. This was the second snake on the day he almost stepped on and did not see. The first slithered right between his legs as he was walking.

    Good to get this one done. but there is still unfinished business out there....

    Video :next: ... 6d9s
    Goat Springs Trail #542
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    Goat Springs Trail - Squaw Peak 6525 Loop
    Goat Springs Trail #542 exceeded my expectations. Do not get excited. It's just a hike into a forest that hasn't been wiped out by fire. A couple seeps are marked in my [ gps route ] . Forward ascending views are steep grades covered with junipers. Ending in a canopy of trees that included walnut and cottonwoods near Goat Camp Spring. Perhaps five years past maintenance yet very shorts friendly. No flowing water. The seeps only produced enough for some mean looking foxtails. A couple small pools off route you might be able to filter in a pinch.

    Upper Goat Spring Canyon
    Soon after #542, the trees parted for a scattered boulder hop. No catclaw. Live oak teased once or twice. Kept expecting the worse and it was a saint the entire way. The upper end has three dryfalls. Maybe two twenties and a ten. Just fun.

    Mudland to Squaw Peak 6525
    The fun was over. A medium downpour lingered through breezeless drab... cattle range. Each step gained a pound of unshakable clay like mud. Mini victories of mud separation never lasted more than two steps. A cabin on Arnold's Mesa helped bring sanity back into play. The rains let up and we heard a hunter exiting his post.

    Squaw Peak looked intimidating in the distance. Halfway across the bench of the cedarless wilderness we lunched with chasm views. Travel eased and before we knew it we were on Squaw Peak in perfect weather.

    Road walk. Down a steep powerline grade. Road walk.

    Carried 4 qts, consumed 3
    Goat Springs Trail #542
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    Cedar Pine Wilderness
    I love rain. And snow. But my plans for this weekend were to take me to the single worst place you would ever want to be if there is rain in the forecast. So on Thursday, it was time for a reset.

    Luckily, the wilderness beards needed to get out and gather some ingredients for a future ale, and I wanted to take advantage of a rainy, cold, snowy, day in late April. The stars aligned, Liz wanted to come along, and we all set out for fun and adventure.

    The wilderness beards now have a new truck that runs on homemade fuel from the duck fat they make their french fries in :y:

    We headed for the Pine Mtn Wilderness, where the road had been graded in the last week. It's as nice as it could possibly be. The grader was still parked out there. The rain and snow made it a little muddy but not too bad. The issue out here is that the mud is like cement. It sticks to everything. I think chains would be useless since your tires just end up coated in 4-5" of mud, rendering traction useless. Oh well. We managed it ok after taking our sweet time.

    After an afternoon stroll up Tank Canyon -- a beautiful slick-rock canyon with pools of water that would be stunning during spring or monsoon runoff -- we headed up the western hillside to capture the sunset. It's a surprisingly difficult climb, 700 feet above camp. The views were stunning. The snow-capped Bradshaws, dominated by Mingus, Union, and Towers, filled the horizon to the west. It was frigid and windy up top and we headed back down in the dark. Jon took a spill and hit his head. We had a bit of a scare since he was dizzy and disoriented, and bleeding pretty good. Head injuries are no joke, and I had the full first aid kit out back at camp. Once it was cleaned up and Jon remembered who he was and some other basic info, we relaxed a bit, and settled in by the fire.

    In the morning, we hiked up toward Pine Mountain. Plenty of water in Sycamore Creek. We spotted a beautiful Golden Eagle that kept flying just a little bit farther than us. At one point I was trying to position myself for a photo, when it decided to drop a huge bomb in my direction before flying off. Luckily I avoided the incoming. Unfortunately, I didn't capture a photo.

    Next we headed over to Pine's northerly neighbor--the red-headed step child of wilderness areas--Cedar Bench. I had set out to do a pic mimic of the most unique photo on the wilderness wall. It was the most entertaining part of the weekend for me, despite my total failure at capturing it even remotely close to the original. Oh well.

    Liz was happy that we didn't continue driving the road that turned into a singletrack that even quads would have a tough time driving. Amazing it's so close to Camp Verde, and yet so rarely visited.

    Overall a great weekend. Nice recovery from a plan that the weather washed away. Can't wait to see what I come up with next year!
    Goat Springs Trail #542
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    My friends wanted to go hunt for the elusive Arizona feral pig. But they'd never seen a map before much less a wild pig, they just heard there were some on the AZ strip and near Camp Verde. Being that CV is much closer...
    So apparently, feral pigs are a big problem. I knew this from before I graduated Louisiana but had no idea they liked the desert. Destroying crops, stealing other games' breakfasts, and even just Snatch-style eating up whole animals like turkeys, they came to be like all those cute less dangerous desert donkeys. At some point in time someone released farm pigs that were deemed less than Terrific and those pigs got busy making more and more so there are pretty much no restrictions on taking them out (if only other smaller feral domesticates of the feline persuasion could be dispatched in this way ;)
    Given the fact that my guys had no idea where to start, they semi picked an area near the Verde River and had me plot out some springs. I had all but drawn in a proposed route when further researching showed me my suggested route was actually listed on the Prescott NF as a "real hike." I thought to myself, "Why not? I know we won't see any piggies but there's nothing wrong with a little guy trip with some camping and guns and I get to throw a hike into the hat and later a river swim," so I packed up and we drove out.
    Apparently 4 miles is "such a long hike," and "I totally hate you 11 on a 1-to-10 right now."
    After the "how much further is it"-hike we headed out to a Verde River overlook I knew we could walk down to the river from. Two of them fell asleep before I blew up my tube to hike down. My now fit friend Bob and I played in the rapids and jumped into the deep sections. When we finally got back up the hill I was forced by the now awake sleeping beauties to program Dairy Queen into the gps.
    After they cooled down in town we picked a camp spot right on the water closer to civilization.

    Permit $$

    Prescott Forest
    Prescott National Forest Pass

    Only trailheads with six "amenities" have fees. Amenities are picnic tables, trash, toilet, parking, interpretive signing and security.

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    Steer onto the 1-17 from wherever you're at, exiting on to the 260 in Camp Verde heading East. At 1.7 miles, take Oasis where you'll be dumped out on Salt Mine Road. Stay on for 6.7 miles and turn right on to FR 9602J. After 2.2 miles of rough dirt, you'll see enough room to park 3 vehicles on the left. You're at the trailhead and it's shoe time.
    page created by skatchkins on Jun 27 2012 7:58 pm
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