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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.

Mescal Trail #547, AZ

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123 20 0
Guide 20 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Cottonwood
Rated
3.4
3.4 of 5 by 8
 
3
Statistics
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 1.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,200 feet
Elevation Gain 514 feet
Accumulated Gain 514 feet
Avg Time One Way 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 3.11
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
14  2019-09-14
Mingus Inner Basin
The_Eagle
13  2019-09-14
Mingus North - Mint Julep Loop III
joebartels
3  2018-03-10
Long Canyon Trail #122 - Sedona
jket
20  2017-07-12
Black Hills Loop
kingsnake
2  2016-10-14
Mingus Meander
MountainMatt
6  2015-08-09
Bug Hollow Trail #548
winotron
4  2015-05-22
Mingus North Loop
hikerdw
10  2015-05-02
Mingus North - Inner Basin
The_Eagle
Page 1,  2
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 149
Photos 5,534
Trips 1,317 map ( 6,690 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
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Preferred   Oct, May, Apr, Sep → Any
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:13am - 6:33pm
Official Route
 
8 Alternative
 
Water
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
history and mystery in the oak jungle
by PrestonSands

Likely In-Season!
Overview
Conveniently located along Highway 89A between the Mingus Summit and Jerome, The Mescal Trail #547 ascends the shady, forested confines of Mescal Gulch, between Forest Road 338 and the Bug Hollow Trail #548. It can be hiked by itself or in conjunction with its connecting trails: Upper Mescal Trail #550, Bug Hollow Trail #548, and North Mingus Trail #105.


History
The bottom half of the Mescal Trail roughly follows the route of the original wagon road to Jerome (see the "Jerome-Prescott Wagon Road" hike for more on that). One can see evidence of Mescal Gulch's historical use in the form of old rock walls and an abandoned rock watering trough below a now dry spring.

Hike
The Mescal Trail begins below the highway embankment, near the start of Forest Road 338 and is marked by a fiberglass signpost with "547" on it. The Mescal Trail begins following a closed road up a grassy flat, paralleling Highway 89A. A brief and unexpected jog to the right near the beginning of the trail is marked by a few cairns. This is the only potentially confusing spot on the hike.

As one hikes up the western bank of Mescal Gulch on the old roadbed, large gambel oaks and ponderosa pines close in on the Mescal Trail, creating a pleasant, shady environment. Elevation gain is minimal. High above and out of sight on the mountain slope to your right is Highway 89A.

About a half mile in, the trail passes what appears to have been a long abandoned rock watering trough below an old (and now dry) spring. Beyond this point the old roadbed that the trail has been following becomes overgrown, and eventually vanishes. The trail continues, however, as a well cairned path.

The gradient of Mescal Gulch increases and the Mescal Trail climbs steadily through big trees, weaving around rocks and repeatedly crossing the rocky creek bed. Though the trail appears to see little use, cairns are plentiful. After a nice little climb, the Mescal Trail comes to an end where it meets the Bug Hollow Trail #548 at a signed junction amid tall ponderosa pines.

A nice return hike option is to hang a left on the Bug Hollow Trail and follow it back to the beginning of the Mescal Trail. See the Bug Hollow Trail #548 hike for more information on this option.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2012-07-07 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 of 15 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Mescal Trail #547
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Mingus North - Mint Julep Loop III
    A good loop that few will try. Other Mingus loops rank higher. This one has plenty of character. I'd guess 40% or more is along or under tree cover. Most will leave with memories of pines. Gamble Oak has a solid presence for autumn foliage opportunity.

    1 hour in we passed a rafter of turkey hens. Neither of us captured one for the annual 4-H county fair exhibit.

    #550, #549 and west #503A offer pleasant hiking. Best-of destination slayers might ponder if options run low.

    In addition to countless redos we have a reason to try and loop up Mingus. However, no trace on satellite. FR500E needs to be utilized in a Woodchute Loop too.
    Mescal Trail #547
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    Mingus Inner Basin
    A return to the Mingus area for cooler temps.
    This hike features tall pines, decent trail and some off trail. A start in the 60's was perfect.

    There was some smoke in the area in the AM, that dissipated in the afternoon.

    Goal on this loop, was to try and find a way down from the dead end of the Powerline Trail. I'd seen on satellite, what appeared to be undocumented sections of a trail. Bingo, we found it and it was a much easier way down than the Ravine. Next time, I need to find where this goes up to? This is an old trail with great tread. I'd love to know the history of this one.

    Now on the Mescal Gulch-Hull Canyon Trail, this one is fading away on the south side of the ridge. The steep north side of the ridge, has seen some recent and welcome love, all the way to Walnut Spring.

    Out of the tree cover for the most part, we followed the old Jerome-Prescott Wagon Road, back to the TH.

    A couple miles from the finish, some poor sole had lost a tire (not wheel) on his Silverado, and wound up 10' down/off the trail.

    A good day for wildlife. 2 miles in, 3 deer with the buck still in velvet. 3 miles in, a dozen turkey lazily sauntered away from us. 12 miles in by Walnut Spring, a couple of Javelina.

    The rain held off until the drive home.
    Mescal Trail #547
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    Parked at the forest boundary pull off on 89A, and dropped into Meacal Gulch to follow the Mescal Trail on a cold and windy afternoon. Saw all of my familiar favorites, such as the ancient spring trough, the cave that isn’t, the wall of mystery, the Jerome wagon road ruts, and more. If only these hills could speak. Spooked a couple of deer as I turned onto the Bug Hollow Trail. Plenty of cat and bear sign along old Buggy. Just north of the junction with the Powerline Trail, the Bug Hollow Trail has seen a reroute and some fine trail work since my last hike on it in 2013. Thanks to whomever did that. Bug Hollow is first class now, and is even signed at its north end in Mescal Gulch. Great to hike in one of my favorite areas again, even with a nasty head cold. I do love me some Jerome hiking.
    Mescal Trail #547
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    Black Hills Loop
    I started my hike from rge Prescott National Forest sign at the large pullout on the west side of AZ-89A, opposite Mescal Tank. I headed east on the jeep trail, through some nice shade. This, and all jeep trails, foot trails and cross country, throughout my loop, showed ample evidence of recent heavy rain. Some jeep trails appeared to have channelized runoff, with downslope sand patterns, and shifted small accumulations of dead grass. On flatter parts of the jeep trails, the ruts were either muddy or still held water. Off trail, the soil was quite loose, with even large rocks poor candidates for a solid foot hold.

    A half mile into the hike, on the south side of the trail, there are the ruins of a stone-walled building. Just past the ruins is Mescal Spring. There is a dry spring box, and the springs are fenced off. I always wondered why some springs are fenced, and today the reason finally occured to me: So that animals would not pollute the water, at its source, with their droppings. I may be off base, but it makes sense.

    A half mile up FR 338, hidden back in the tree line, I checked out the small graveyard. There are three anonymous graves there, although apparently one cross once had the name “C. Jones” on it ( apcrp.org/MESCAL_GU ... .htm ).There is a collapsed mine shaft not far away, so perhaps it is a miner & his family?

    Back in Mescal Gulch, the path up the ridge looked, to me, less like an MTB path than a Roman footpath, with a (now scattered) rock surface and rocks lining much of the sides. An obvious old road crossed the path halfway up the ridge.

    On a clear day -- there was a lot of wildfire smoke in the Verde Valley -- the view from the ridge top would have been nice, but I could still cealry see the Verde Central Shaft and Jerome High School.

    I could not find a path south off the ridge top, so I bushwhacked. Despite the lack of manzanita and cat claw, it was still slow going. It took me 15 minutes to go 250 yds. and descend 150 ft., until I bumped across a powerline right-of-way, where I was able to pick up a defined foot path. At the bottom of the ridge, in Hull Canyon, the trail splits. Going right would take you to the Jerome waterworks; I went left up a wash.

    Up the wash, I found an old mine. The oddest part, at the collapsed shaft, was all the firm yellow foam laying about. It looks like the miners used it to keep pipes and posts in place.

    At first, I thought the Jerome municipal water tank was the most massive cattle tank I had ever seen. I also took a look at the chlorine purification plant. (When I was in the Army, I was in Civil Affairs, so we got to tour waterworks and sewage plants, which was fascinating.) Heading out to AZ-89A, it appears I may have been on mining company land. :-$ In my defense, there was no fence or sign of any sort the way I came in, over the ridge.

    Nearly noon, I was ready to call it a day, but couldn't get ahold of my wife for pickup, so trudged onward, up the old FR 503A wagon road. I got to the top of the climb, near the intersection of FR 500E, where I took an extended break. Unfortunately, I did not bring lunch, or even an energy bar. (I was expecting to be in Jerome drinking beer at lunch time.) As much as I like salt & vinegar chips, they are a poor source of energy.

    After that I ground out the miles to Hull Canyon, where the shade was welcome. Heavy clouds and drizzle also brought some relief. The best part of the hike is through the trees from Hull Canyon back to AZ-89A, mostly through forest. Just before the highway was the one of the coolest cairns I’ve ever seen: A finely balanced single rock-wide tower. I’m surprised wind hadn’t blown it over!

    An out & back hike from the Mescal Tank trailhead, up FR 503A direct to Hull Canyon — the opposite of the direction I travelled — would be a great six mile, 900 AEG, walk in the woods.

    Hike Video, Pt. 1: [ youtube video ] : cemetery, ruins, ridge, mine
    Hike Video, Pt. 2: [ youtube video ] : waterworks, FR 503A, Hull Canyon
    Mescal Trail #547
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Hey, this was pretty cool. Pulled off the highway without really knowing what was there and just followed what was in front of us. There's an old rusted car that apparently rolled off the road decades ago right as you start. Nice mix of tall pines and shade in the trees on the way up Mescal, with some evidence of the logging/mining history of the area. Then a nice descent down Bug Hollow, warm but way better than the valley. Didn't see anybody else, just one other car at the trailhead, wasn't there when we got back.
    Mescal Trail #547
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Back to one of my favorite hikes with my fiance and my sister. My sister's first visit to Mingus. It was nice to be out hiking again after pretty much taking the whole summer off. Beautiful weather, with some light rain here and there throughout the hike.

    We started from the Upper Mescal TH, took Bug Hollow, then Mescal and Bug Hollow back to the highway, and walked the highway for a few mins to complete the loop. Didn't see a single other hiker, as always. It always amazes me how empty these trails are, even on the weekends.
    Mescal Trail #547
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    Mingus North Loop
    We pretty much followed the route posted by Joe and the Eagle, with just slight changes. This is a great loop, although we did find ourselves on the wrong side of a No Trespassing area.

    We did find the HikeArizona.com logo placed along the route so if there is a prize for that let me know how I collect it :D
    Mescal Trail #547
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    Mingus North - Inner Basin
    A redux of a hike we did almost 3 years ago. Going CCW this time made the off trail a much easier downhill. With the added bonus of finding a use trail to replace a thick bushwhack.

    Old 503a extension > Mescal > Bug Hollow > Off Trail to Upper Mescal > Powerline > Off trail to North Mingus > FR > Old MTB trail > J-P Wagon Road

    May the Weather stay like this the rest of the year, for this couple welterweights. It was perfect on the day. Clouds and brief very light sprinkles kept the temps down.

    Bug Hollow and Upper Mescal are the highlights on the day for the thick tree cover. (Best viewed in the Autumn). The recently cleared Powerline trail does yield some big views to the north, past Sedona and to "The Peaks", Bill Williams, Sitgreaves and Kendrick.
    Mescal Trail #547
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    Mingus North - Sands Mint Julep Loop II
    Returned to this classic I threw together and Bruce streamlined in 2012. Temps forecasted around 71 degrees held well. It had it's warm moments in the sun. Ultimately big fluffy clouds made the day. I love this mountain and the variety it offers.

    Bruce suggested we flip the direction of travel to ccw. That decision along with a pinch of experience put this hike into the virtual breeze category.

    The Powerline Trail #549 has been seriously cleared so that was a nice surprise. Our little off trail jaunt over Mescal Ridge ( no name really ) was perfected today. Last time we found partial use-trails on each side. Today we scored use-trails the entire way!

    Down in Hull Canyon, near Walnut Spring, Bruce slipped and gashed his finger. Luckily he survived applying pressure and setting a makeshift bandage. Next found a nice spot to lunch near an old city of Jerome tank.

    All and all a pleasant day hike. Instead of bushwhacking a few areas we danced around the mahogany demons unscathed. We left in what sounded like a motorcycle rally. Which seems typical for weekend afternoons on Mingus.

    Wildflowers
    Cliff-Rose and yellow flowered bush dominated the upper end of #503A, lupine, skyrocket, thistle & paintbrush
    Mescal Trail #547
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Loved this hike when I did it last weekend, so I brought my girlfriend here today. This time we started from the Bug Hollow trailhead and returned there, skipping the Upper Mescal Trail. The stats are almost identical.

    Started around 8:45am when it was nice and cool. Some intermittent cloud cover made it even nicer. It did get pretty hot later in the hike though, especially when the clouds cleared. A lot of nice shade along the Mescal Trail though. Not much wildlife this time other than a lot of lizards and squirrels. Still didn't see a single other person today. I'm kind of surprised this area doesn't see more hikers. Very easily accessible from 89A and it's just a beautiful area. Need to come back and hike some of the other trails in the area...it's probably very nice in the fall.

    Permit $$
    None

    Prescott Forest
    Prescott National Forest Pass

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


    Directions
    Map Drive
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    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the Highway 89/Highway 89A junction just north of Prescott, head east on Highway 89A, towards Jerome, for 21.9 miles. At the bottom of Mescal Gulch (milepost 339.6), there is a pulloff and parking area on the left, near the Prescott National Forest sign. Forest Road 338, which is marked by a brown fiberglass signpost, starts on the right side of the highway here. Follow Forest Road 338 for about 0.1 miles to the bottom of the highway embankment. At this point, on your right (south) is a brown fiberglass signpost with "547" on it (34.73002 N, -112.14129 W). This is the start of the Mescal Trail. (see hike description)
    page created by PrestonSands on Jul 07 2012 5:27 pm
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