Overview: This moderate, pleasant, and partially off-trail loop hike enters scenic and riparian Merritt Draw with seasonal water flow, pooling, a perennial spring- Drift Fence Spring, and travels down the draw to its lower end at the intersection with Barbershop Canyon and U-Bar Trail #28. From here, following some well and not so well defined animal routes, the off trail route continues with ~350ft of elevation gain to connect with the lower end of scenic for hiking, biking, and driving FR139C for a ~2.2 miles hike back to TH Start to complete this loop. It is recommended to download and follow the "official" GPS Route..with key waypoints noted.. posted to this hike description.
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.
High Clearance possible when dry
To hike From the Phoenix area- Drive Hwy 87 north through Payson, Pine, and Strawberry.. approx 10.5 miles north of Strawberry on Hwy 87 at MP281.1, turn right at signed FR300 (the Rim Road). From this intersection, download and follow the above posted driving GPS route for a "total" of 20.7 miles ending at the Park-TH Start up FR139C.