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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.

Kelsey Springs Trail #3, AZ

no permit
150 14 0
Guide 14 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Flagstaff > Flagstaff SW
3.5 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 5.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,637 feet
Elevation Gain -698 feet
Accumulated Gain 941 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 8.44
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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4  2017-11-23
Dorsey Spring Trail #7
8  2017-06-11 BiFrost
9  2016-06-11
Dorsey - Kelsey - Sycamore -Winter Cabin Loop
15  2016-06-11
Dorsey - Kelsey - Sycamore -Winter Cabin Loop
20  2016-06-11
Dorsey - Kelsey - Sycamore -Winter Cabin Loop
17  2014-05-17
Little LO Spring Canyon
28  2014-05-17
Little LO Spring Canyon
23  2013-09-29
Babe's Hole Spring Canyon
Page 1,  2
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, Oct, Sep, Apr
Sun  6:16am - 6:25pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby

Likely In-Season!
From the Kelsey trailhead you immediately descend into a shady forested canyon of Ponderosa pine mixed with Douglas fir, Gambel oak, and juniper trees. Most of the length of the trail is gradual up and down with only a few short steep areas. Along the trail water can be obtained, usually year-round, at Kelsey Spring, Babes Hole Spring, Dorsey Spring, and Winter Cabin Spring. There are many spectacular panoramic views of Sycamore Canyon as you hike along the trail. Kelsey Winter Trail and the Dorsey Spring trails make a great 7.3 mile day hike loop. The Kelsey Winter trail terminates at the junction of Winter Cabin Trail.

Sycamore Canyon can be very hot and dry during the summer months. There are several springs located near the Wilderness trails which normally have water year round but hikers should not depend on this water being available and all ground water should always be treated or filtered. There is plenty of shade along all of the trails as you descend into Sycamore Canyon through a thick forest of Ponderosa Pine, Gambel Oak, and Juniper trees. The lower part of Winter Cabin Trail and part of Kelsey Trail takes you through chaparral type vegetation which offers spectacular views of Sycamore Canyon.

Sycamore Canyon is the second largest canyon is Arizona and offers hikers plenty of solitude and natural beauty.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    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
    Kelsey Springs Trail #3
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    A little Thanksgiving hike with the pups today. This was my first time in this area, but I left feelings impressed, with though of a return backpack.

    The winter cabin area was probably the highlight, however the majority of the hike was pleasant. There was significanr water flowing at all of the robust springs along the way and the trails were in great shape, apart from a few overgrown warm stretches along Kelsey. The stretches of trail underneath the pines in particular, were very pleasant and there were some nice views to be had on occasion along Kelsey. Good hike overall, perf temps and fast trails. I started at Dorsey TH, took Hog Hill to Winter Cabin and then Kelsey the rest of the way. Nobody on the trails. This area might have some solid fall color potential.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Past due prime, not much to be had, but potential
    Kelsey Springs Trail #3
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Dorsey - Kelsey - Sycamore -Winter Cabin Loop
    With the 1" of rain the night before and 20 miles of dirt roads, Karl slid us to the Trailhead in 4wd. With my 2wd Pathfinder, there is absolutely no way we would have made it. We started at 62, got as high as 95 degrees twice on the climb out and finished at a pleasant 68.

    - Dorsey Spring Trail #7
    This trail is just a wonderful walk in the woods.

    - Kelsey Trail #3
    At Dorsey Spring, we got on the Kelsey Winter Trail making our way closer to Sycamore Canyon. This also is a nice trail with a few good camp sites on it. We checked out Babes Hole Spring on the way down which had some good filterable water.

    - Little Lookout Trail #6
    At Babes Hole Spring, we got on to the Little LO Trail. towards the bottom, fill up at Geronimo Spring. Getting to this point is a pretty steep drop. The water is great at the spring

    - Sycamore Canyon
    While there are some great looking canyon views...
    5.8 miles of boulder hopping gets a little tiring for me.

    - Winter Cabin #70
    From Sycamore Canyon, don't miss the cairned turn on the east side. This is a steep totally exposed climb to Ott Lake. After Ott lake you pick up some trees and is gorgeous at Winter Cabin. Filter some water here if you need it.

    - Hog Hill #133
    Pleasant grade up from Winter Cabin. This appears to be an old road in many spots

    We saw a huge Fox running at top speed with a 3' bone in it's mouth on the way in, a dozen or so elk and plenty of Mule Deer on the day.

    I love this area, just need to work up a better loop minimizing the 5.8 miles of boulder hopping
    Kelsey Springs Trail #3
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Dorsey - Kelsey - Sycamore -Winter Cabin Loop
    This would be better in April or October. We did a reverse of Bruce's 2012-09-15 loop. No mosquito or wasp issues this round.

    The area got around an inch of rain overnight. BiFrost did a fine job sliding his 4Runner through the mud all the way to the Dorsey Trailhead.

    Dorsey, Kelsey & Little LO is a fantastic hike down to Sycamore Canyon. An out-n-back would be prime for most.

    Not sure how I forgot about 5.6 miles of boulder hopping. Sycamore is cool but 0.6 would suffice. Sprained my ankle so I may be negative biased.

    Turning out of the creek and up Winter Cabin Trail #70 we met two canyoneers from Ohio. The little side trip to Ott Lake was a winner for the second time. No field of wildflowers, just a sea of foxtails. Which is the only place I like to see them, in the middle of a lake bed!

    Albeit reasonable for myself this was borderline too hot for Bruce. Luckily occasional clouds and breezes made it bearable.

    The pines kick in just before Winter Cabin then on up. Always nice to hike in the tall pines.

    Shockingly the roads were mostly dry heading out.
    Kelsey Springs Trail #3
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Ken and Scott picked a good one!

    After Ken and Jake arrived in the Morning, we set off...It wasn't long before we started the Steep Descent into the Side Drainage that would take us eventually to the Main Event...I can honestly say that it's been awhile since I've done this much extensive Boulder Hopping. 1 1/2 Miles felt like 3 before it was all said, done, and we got to the Main Canyon. There was no easy Slick Rock Walking through here and there was no getting out of the "Creek" either. Solid small, medium and large Boulders the whole way and let's throw in some Logs and Log Jams just for Kicks...I actually had to work pretty hard to get my Leg and Foot back at one point...:sweat: I slowed the Team down quite a bit as I no longer feel like the Knees can take jumping down onto Rocks like they can, but the guys were more than patient... It didn't help that I forgot the Ibuprofen, but Jake probably really saved me on that one... : app :

    We get to the Main Canyon and down in we go...A couple of us decided on Wetsuits, but it could have gone either way as the Water was really low and infrequent. It was also Sunny and plenty Warm out. Almost immediately, we are at the Keeper and it was definitely in Keeper Mode on this Day. Partner Assist was a Must on this one and everyone did great! We went right from that one into another Semi Keeper. I made Friends with a Frog in that one, but opted not to Kiss him...These Pools were definitely "Stewy".... :sweat: Ken and Jake were able to muscle out of that Pothole, so we were good there too... :y:

    We continued on down the Canyon, Downclimbing most of it, which was fun. My Skills in that Department are getting better, and I am more comfortable with some of it, but still needed some assistance in a few Spots. Hopefully, I'll keep getting better at it. This was definitely a good Canyon to "practice" in...

    We opted to do 3 Rappels. One into the Keeper, another one that we rigged a Handline for, but that I opted to use my Device on and then one using a Dead Man's Anchor that we rebuilt. Just a great Variety of Skills utilized on this Day, it was awesome!

    The Canyon was really nice. It had Narrows, then it widened out and then it would Narrow up again. Even with the Potholes, Downclimbing and more Boulder Hopping, I don't think it took nearly as long to do the 1+ Miles of Canyon as it did the Approach... :sweat:

    And then, we were at the Exit. I knew when I started up the Trail, that I was really running out of Gas. It was steep and I was extraordinarily slow. I think the Boulder Hopping took a lot out of my Legs and I was also struggling from the Elevation. I kept insisting to the Guys to go on ahead, but some of them didn't listen very well...Ken knows me well enough to know I'll be fine, but Jake insisted keeping me company to Babe's Hole Spring and then Scott took over from there... :A1: Luckily between the Two Springs, there is some respite before the next and final Uphill. :sweat: By the Time I hit the TH at the Top, I was pretty done. I had to rest even walking the Road 1/2 Mile back to Camp... :| It probably didn't help that halfway up the last Hill my Leg Muscles started Spasming... :sweat:

    But with more than a little help from my Friends, I got it done and it was worth every Mile. I actually recovered quite nicely after Resting in Camp awhile, but I still felt a little Fatigued the next morning. The Soreness didn't really settle in until the Drive Home... :sweat:

    Thanks for the Invite Scott and Ken! Once again, I am grateful to have such good, patient, understanding Friends that are willing to take me to these Places...Without them, these Places would only exist in my Mind through the Photos of others...You. Guys. Rock. Jake, welcome to the Party, you fit right in and were awesome as well! : app :

    I would like to do this Canyon again sometime...I would like to do it better. I think this Canyon was great, but I think it would be awesome with some good running Water through it. Until next time.... 8)
    Kelsey Springs Trail #3
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Hog133/70 - LO6 - Kelsey3 - Dorsey7 Loop
    From the Dorsey Springs TH we headed down Hog Hill Trail #133. The air was cool, crisp and most enjoyable through thick pine trees.

    After a short visit to Winter Springs Cabin we headed down Winter Cabin Trail #70. On route we stopped by Ott Lake. This large meadow is a very picturesque. Abundant wildflowers filled the dry lake. Mosquitoes tried to devour us alive. Denny entertained with a Kachina Rain Dance type circle stomp upon hearing the rattle of a snake.

    Back on trail #70. The descent turns a bit rocky and slightly scratchy down to Sycamore. It felt warmer with each step. It really seemed to drag on making this stretch my least favorite for the day.

    We boulder hopped about 5.6 miles up Sycamore Canyon. Which is very similar to the middle section of Woods Canyon most curse off. We lunched near the halfway point. Mosquitoes and wasps were out in force.

    Just as we were all excited to exit the canyon and be on a real trail I pounded my inner right calf with a bad step. Not even a scratch, just some blunt force rock pounding. The pain was unreal. About five minutes later it was swelling up enough to concern me. We had a bit of difficulty finding Little LO Trail #6 due to a fallen tree at the first switchback up.

    Back on track Little LO ascends quick and steep. Luckily there wasn't much descending as that shot shrieking pain with each step. Albeit steep the trail is short. Next we headed over on Kelsey Springs Trail #3. A little unnerving as it was angling back The pines give way to live oak. It reminded me of the second mile along Boynton Canyon Trail.

    The pines pick back up approaching Dorsey Spring Trail #7. Several of us enjoyed the clean water flowing out of the black tubing. Many thanks to all the kind souls that maintain springs in the back country for all to enjoy.

    I enjoyed the hike up Dorsey through the pines. Yet I was glad this one was over due to my leg. The swelling is almost gone now a day later. It's only a little tender. Probably a big ol' yellow bruise will surface. I'm just grateful as the shrieking pain was concerning me.

    Pines are thick on Hog Trail #133, Little LO #6 and Dorsey Trail #7. Not sure on the fire history for the area. Most of the fallen and decaying trees are larger than anything standing. I fire might wipe out this entire area since the pines are skinny and dense. Jim Hodlofski would be better at making that type of assessment.

    It was good to hike with Wally after a little hiatus. The hike in general just seemed okay compared to our Casner-Taylor-Dutch-Sycamore-Dogie Loop loop on April 7th. A day later now it is growing on me, sometimes hikes just have a way of playing with your mind. Bruce put together another winner. Check out his triplog for a thorough report on all the springs!
    Kelsey Springs Trail #3
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Sycamore Canyon Loop-North
    We tried to do this hike last month, but were turned away because of muddy roads. On this return trip Wally decided to join Denny, Joe and myself. The Trip to this trailhead includes 22 miles of dirt off of I-17. If you like washboard roads, then FR 231 is for you.

    It was a beautiful crisp clear morning with The temps on my Truck Thermometer getting down as low as 40 degrees on the way to the TH. We did a clockwise loop

    - Hog Hill #133
    Pleasant grade down to Winter Cabin

    - Winter Cabin #70 (With a stop at Ott Lake)
    This is a pretty area.
    Interesting Cabin.
    Spring is full of water.
    Ott Lake is Dry.
    Got to personally witness the Denny Rattlesnake dance. Hope to get it on camera some day.
    It goes something like this:
    "A high Pitched/Scared hoot, with both hands in the air, hopping on one foot in circles.
    This trail gets steep dropping into Sycamore Canyon Basin.

    - Sycamore Canyon Basin
    There are some pretty views in the canyon, but I tired of the 5.8 mile rock hop.
    Two more Blacktail Rattlers found down here

    - Little Lookout Trail #6
    Fill up at Geronimo Spring. The water is great.
    Short Steep trail that climbs out of Sycamore Canyon. If you are trying to find this trail from down below, the trail head is easy to miss as it is blocked by a fallen tree.

    - Kelsey Trail #3
    Traverses across to Kelsey Spring

    - Dorsey Spring Trail #7
    The final push up to complete the loop

    Permit $$
    no fees or permits reported

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    Map Drive

    To hike
    From Flagstaff, take Old Route 66 west to FR231 (Woody Mountain Road). Go south on FR231 for 14 miles and take a right at FR538 to FR538G (about 5.5 miles). It's about 2 miles from junction of FR538 and FR538G to the trailhead. Kelsey trailhead is about 1/4 mile west of the junction of FR538G and FR527A.

    Access to the trailheads is by dirt roads which can be extremely rough and even impassable during Monsoon Season and winter months due to mud and heavy snow.
    page created by joebartels on Sep 16 2012 2:12 pm
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