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Section House Trail #500E, AZ

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Guide 6 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Cottonwood
3 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,790 feet
Elevation Gain 724 feet
Accumulated Gain 876 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.92
Backpack Possible & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
6  2013-03-17 PrestonSands
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 149
Photos 5,534
Trips 1,317 ( 6,690 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Sep → 4 PM
Seasons   Late Winter to Late Autumn
Sun  6:10am - 6:38pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
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Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Woodchute's colorful connector
by PrestonSands

Likely In-Season!
Overview: Forest Road 500E is a steep, narrow, and rocky road northwest of Jerome that is better suited to hiking than driving. It climbs the northeastern slopes of Woodchute Mountain, connecting Perkinsville Road with Forest Road 503A (the Jerome-Prescott Wagon Road hike). This trail's position high on a mountainside allows unobstructed views of the surrounding area, including the Sycamore Canyon and Sedona areas.

The name Section House Trail is my suggestion for this nameless Forest Road, due to its location near Section House Spring. Statistics listed for this hike are for a one way, uphill hike; a round trip hike will be about 6 miles with 1131 aeg.

History: The section of Perkinsville Road at the beginning of this hike was once the roadbed for the United Verde and Pacific Railroad, constructed in 1894 to serve the United Verde Mine in Jerome. Section House Spring, located nearby, was named for a railroad section house located there that housed a track maintenance worker. The railroad was removed in 1920.

Limestone, used in the smelting process at the long vanished Jerome smelter, was mined at the quarry near the beginning of FR 500E and hauled by railroad cars to the United Verde Mine (the abandoned open pit mine passed on the drive in). A second limestone quarry is visible high on a mountainside above the trail.

Hike: Once you have located the unsigned beginning of Forest Road 500E, start up its steep and rocky route. FR 500E climbs the side of a brushy canyon at first, through exposures of grayish Redwall Limestone and brick red Supai Formation. The road climbs steadily higher on the slopes of Woodchute Mountain before largely leveling out on top of a flat, open ridge at 6300 feet. A spur road heading out across the flat likely leads to the second limestone quarry.

Beyond the flat, the road begins crossing a series of small ridges covered with scrub oak and agave, separated by shallow ravines filled with shrubby oaks and maples. Scattered oaks and pines begin to appear as well. The relatively open terrain on the mountainside allows for far reaching views across the Verde Valley.

Rounding point 6872, one can look down onto the Gold King Mine museum, an interesting collection of buildings, machinery and artifacts from the old west, some 1000 feet below.

Once Forest Road 500E gains the rocky, open crest of Woodchute Mountain's prominent eastern ridge, the end is near. Mingus Mountain appears ahead, and the road makes a short descent through an agave wonderland to its end at an unsigned junction with Forest Road 503A, the route of the historic Jerome-Prescott Wagon Road. One can continue on FR 503A, or return the same way.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2012-07-03 PrestonSands

    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Section House Trail #500E
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    My dad and I set off from the southern end of 503A on a mild late summer's morning, intending to do this and Section House as a shuttle. I performed tour guide duty, pointing out items of historical note along the way. My dad and I don't get to roam the hills together too often, so this adventure was a special one. Jerome adventures on my birthday have been a tradition for almost 30 years now.

    FR 503A and 500E were two of my most favorite hikes during my Prescott days, and it felt great to revisit these areas. The hills were green and the ruts were muddy from ample summer rains. Nice patches of paintbrush flowers in places. There is a new and elaborate wildlife water cache basin around the midway point of 503A. We capped off our adventure by meeting the rest of the family in Jerome for lunch at Hilltop Deli, some town exploration, and a visit to the Jerome State Historic Park. A great Sands family adventure.
    Section House Trail #500E
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    Evening exercise on the east end of the trail. Partook in a bit of rock hounding, roamed through a forest of century plant stalks, and watched the sunset paint the rocks of Sycamore Canyon and Sedona orange before turning around on the Section House trail. A fulfilling outing with great music.
    Section House Trail #500E
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    Sunday evening: it's hike time! Off I drove toward Jerome, deciding upon this trail on the way. It was 7 pm by the time I started and the sun was low. I pushed my way up the steep trail while a welcome, cool evening breeze set in. Century plant stalks framed views of the Verde Valley below as the clouds above grew pink and orange with the sunset.

    I reached the trail's end at the Jerome wagon road at dusk, as a bright moon began to cast its light. I stumbled back down the mountainside in the moonlight, arriving at Perkinsville Road around 9 pm. The verdict on this trail? Worthwhile and scenic.

    Several deer were hanging close to the highway as I drove into the hills above Jerome. Rounding a curve, a short, hefty, brown furball dashed through my headlights and under the guardrail. Cool! It was the first bear I'd seen in awhile. I love nights like this.

    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
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the junction of U.S. Highway 89 and U.S. Highway 89A just north of Prescott, drive east on U.S. Highway 89A approximately 26.4 miles to the turnoff for Perkinsville Road/Gold King Museum on the left (right next to the Jerome fire station). Turn left and follow Perkinsville Road for 2.5 miles to a small roadside parking spot on the left, just below an abandoned quarry. Park here and walk 0.1 miles further on Perkinsville Road to the first side road on the left, which climbs the mountainside. This unsigned side road is Forest Road 500E. Begin your hike.

    (hint: if you noticed the green mile marker signs on Perkinsville Road during the drive in, then FR 500E is located on the west side of the road at mile 13.1, at gps coordinates 34.76314 N, -112.14258 W)

    F.Y.I. Perkinsville Road is fine for cars, but it might be a bit muddy during wet weather.
    page created by PrestonSands on Jul 02 2012 10:17 pm
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