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Pine Creek Trail #289, AZ

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Guide 11 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Prescott S
3 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 10.91 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,517 feet
Elevation Gain 1,503 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,602 feet
Avg Time One Way 4.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 16.25
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
23  2019-06-22
Little Wolf - Pine Creek - Grapevine Loop
13  2019-06-22
Little Wolf - Pine Creek - Grapevine Loop
14  2019-06-22
Little Wolf - Pine Creek - Grapevine Loop
15  2018-09-13
Big Bug Mesa
41  2014-10-17 kingsnake
21  2014-07-05
Yankee Doodle Eastern Loop
15  2013-09-14
BB Mesa-L Wolf Crk-Pine Crk-Grapevine Lp
12  2013-09-14
Little Wolf - Pine Creek - Grapevine Loop
Page 1,  2
Author kingsnake
author avatar Guides 83
Routes 182
Photos 7,946
Trips 637 map ( 5,893 miles )
Age 57 Male Gender
Location Sunnyslope, PHX
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, May, Mar → 8 AM
Sun  6:12am - 6:36pm
Official Route
7 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Never trust a map
by kingsnake

I will describe this hike in three segments: 1) Pine Creek Trail #289, 2) exploring the southern end of Big Bug Mesa, and 3) descending Pine Creek from the line shack to Seaton Spring.

Pine Creek Trail #289: The trail is a decent surface the first two miles, but crosses Pine Creek many times, and is slightly up & down though, obviously, tending up. At 0.4 miles, on your left, will be junk pile. At 1.1 miles, on your left, will be a corrugated metal tank, with two probably dry tanks made of metal, lined on the inside with stone & concrete. At 2.6 miles, will be the unusual triple box metal tank. All three boxes were full of decent water when I saw them, and one was trickling over, so they were obviously receiving fresh water. The trail is now on the west side of the creek, and beginning it's climb to the rim. In less than a hundred yards, on the east side of the creek, if you look closely, you will see a small metal box: Just on the other side the box is Seaton Spring. The box was full of decent water when I saw it. Now beware, despite what FS Topo and MyTopo would have you believe, I could find absolutely no evidence that the trail continues north up Pine Creek. Instead, it turns left / west, and gets steep, and slippery with pebble gravel. At 3.0 miles you will hit the rim, not far from the small stone wall. Though I did not see any dirt bikes, keep an eye out for them as they have left tracks on Trail #289.

Explore: There are numerous jeep trails on the southern end of Big Bug Mesa. Lots of fire rings too. I followed a jeep trail for awhile, then cut cross country towards Hill 7020. Cross country travel varies from stony (both granite and what appears to be volcanic), to dead fall riddled, to smooth grass. No matter which, it's pretty smooth sailing. Just before Hill 7020, there is a trail heading left / west, and down. I did not follow it the whole way, but it appears to head down towards Old Dandrea Ranch. Hill 7020 has great views of Moscow Peak, Mount Union, Mount Davis and Turkey Creek. You can even see the San Francisco peaks in the far distance! I saw no other hiking trails in the area, but instead followed another jeep trail east, to the rim overlooking Wolf Creek. More great views. The line shack used to just be a shack, but the house ruins -- surrounded by an amazing amount of junk spread overal several acres -- used to actually be a nice house. Not sure what happened, but shame it ended up that way. Too collapsed to look inside. There are lots of fences and gate-less gates in the area.

Descending Pine Creek: From the line shack, you have two choices: 1) either work your way west, then southwest, along the rim for a mile back to the top of Trail #289 at the stone wall, then diddy bop on down, or 2) drop into Pine Creek and scramble the next half mile to Seaton Spring. As I said earlier, there is no evidence of any trail between the line shack and Seaton Spring. Side-sloping also was not practical the couple of times I tried it. Despite the creek bottom being choked with rocks, and much deadfall, and even a few more barbwire fences, the creek bottom is actually your best route if you drop into the canyon. It's only about 0.3 miles to Seaton Spring, but your track will be twice that distance due to dodging & weaving. Cross Pine Creek at Seaton Spring, hop back on Trail #289, then book back to the trailhead.

Note: There are two tracks on my uploaded route: The first track for the actual path Trail #289 follows -- as opposed to the misdirection claimed by FS Topo and MyTopo -- and the second track for exploring the mesa, then returning via Pine Creek.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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

2014-10-18 kingsnake

    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
    Pine Creek Trail #289
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    After missing the trailhead, doubled back and drove over a small ditch to park. Trail #289 does not follow the path indicated on FS Topo or MyTopo. It criss-crossed Pine Creek several times, and is up and down, though obviously tending up. There were motorcycle and animal tracks in the trail, all the way to the top, but no human or horse prints. I was surprised at the fall colors, including one flame red tree, whose leaves were obscured by numerous leaf-less branches. I still got a decent picture, I think.

    Spotted a triple-box tank just east of the trail. It had some interesting wood bits & bobs, the purpose of which escapes me. Just past that, the topos claim Trail #289 goes up Pine Creek. I saw no such thing. :roll: Instead, the trail turned the opposite direction, west, beginning a steep and gravel slippery climb to the rim. The entire trail below the Big Bug Mesa rim is riddled with gnats, and I swallowed one and snorted another. :sk:

    I checked out a small wall at the top of (actual) Trail #289, then followed a jeep trail -- there are jillions up there -- for awhile before heading off trail to Hill 7020. Just south of the hill, a foot trail headed left / west. I followed it for a bit, but it seemed to be heading down, perhaps towards Old Dandrea Ranch, so I skipped it.

    Hill 7020 had awesome views of Moscow Peak, Mount Union, Mount Davis (each about two miles across Turkey Creek) and what sure looked like the San Francisco Peaks. I usually only slowly eat half my QT sandwich during a hike, but I wolfed down both halves. Whereas most of the hike was 1-bar reception, Hill 7020 was 4-bars, so I sent my wife a selfie to let her know I was okay. After Hill 7020, I spent some time searching for USMM 3. The ones I have seen before have a marking stake, then a rock with the number carved into it. I saw no stake, nor carved rock. (Just a beer bottle.) Bummer. :|

    I followed a jeep trail towards the mesa's east rim, which also had great views, then cut cross country to what I hoped would be a line shack. It was, but was useless. Just past that was a couple of acres strewn with debris and garbage, in the middle of which was a collapsed home. Judging by the remains, it had log beams, with asphalt-shingled roof, and possibly a partial second story. There was a curved cinder block wall/rotunda on one side. Maybe 2000 square feet. It was a shame what has happened to it, as it was obviously at one time a very nice place, not a crap shack. Now, it's not useful for anything other than rats; you couldn't even shelter in it from a storm. When I heard some guys approaching on ATVs, I departed. Thankfully, no shooting ensued.

    After the ruins, I searched for a trail down Pine Creek. I found none, and side-sloping was actually more impractical than the creek bottom, so down I went. It was quite congested with rocks and dead fall, and even a barb wire fence (wth!?) and was very slow going. :sweat: At one point, I went to steady my hand on a rock, and instead steadied my hand on the business end of an agave. Ouch. :doh: Finally I popped out at Seaton Spring, which was trickling and also had a full box. I was quite relieved. Never saw any trail up in Pine Creek. The maps lie. ;)

    While it had been cloudy most of the day -- and I could see rain at several distant compass points -- it was actually sunny for a bit on the way back down Trail #289. However, the crickets started chirping at 4:00 p.m. and the sun began disappearing quick. It was dusky -- though not yet dark -- by the time I hit the trailhead at 5:00 p.m.


    Two days later, and oddly the only sore part of my body is from my right elbow up to my shoulder. Wonder if I might have pulled something scrambling down to Seaton Spring ... :-k


    Video :

    Lots of yellow leaves and one absolutely brilliant red leaf. I'd recommend coming back here during peak color next year.
    Pine Creek Trail #289
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    Yankee Doodle Eastern Loop
    Another Trip to the little traveled portions of the Bradshaws.

    I like this access to the Bradshaws on FR67 out of Mayer, because you only have 10 miles of smooth dirt road before you hit the Senator Highway. Much nicer than the Road to Crown King through Cleator. We'd hit up parts of this before, ending in an epic thunderstorm high up on Longfellow Ridge.

    I put this loop together to visit new areas and return to Pine Mountain when we could spend a little more time.

    We started in the tall cool (68) pines close to the 67 / 52 intersection.

    The plan was to head northish following trails, old mining roads and two track that I cobbled together using Route Manager. I'd seen some buildings on the Sat. view that needed checking out.
    I thought they may be mining ruins of some sort. Ended up they were for a place called Camp Helaman. Nobody was there, not quite sure what type of camp it is/was. Nothing I could find on the web.

    We made the climb up the Dandria Trail #285 from the Old Dandria Ranch site and hit the Yankee Doodle #284. There was activity in the Mt Union Tower but we continued on and made the southern turn on the Yankee Doodle and started down Longfellow Ridge.

    I really like his trail. You start in high in the pines, then just views all over!

    The storms were starting to make noise in the area. We had a bit of lunch and got rained on a bit. You could see squalls starting up to the South and Northwest. Finally made it up to Pine Mountain to enjoy the views. The track I had drawn, had us doing about a mile of off trail, East down the mountain, to an area I wanted to check out. We made the decision to go to my plan B, since it had now started to pour and my off trail portion looked a bit "Thick".

    Plan B had us backtrack to a bailout track I put together getting us off the Ridge. It would have worked out better If I'd used the scale right on my GPS, but we still hit a pretty established, unnamed path coming down.

    I short road walk and we're back to the Truck.

    Short Video :next:

    On the way home we ended up taking the scenic route. When we got 1 mile from the 17 on Rt 69, traffic came to a standstill. After checking, we found a fatality accident at Sunset Point had Southbound 17 shutdown. So instead of a 40 minute drive to get to the Park and Ride, we opted to turnaround and go back through Prescott Valley, Prescott, Wilholt, Yarnell, Congress, Wickenburg, Lake Pleasant to get to the 17. 2:40 and 140 miles.

    Lots more to do in the Bradshaws!
    Pine Creek Trail #289
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    Little Wolf - Pine Creek - Grapevine Loop
    We parked in the spot before the green gate 0.8mi before the official trailhead for Grapevine #4. Followed #4 0.2mi from the TH to #9434 turnoff. Followed #9434 for a mere tenth of a mile.

    Next we followed Coyote Springs Canyon aprox 1.4mi up to Little Mesa Saddle. No clue where Bruce got the track but there was an actual trail in fair shape. Route finding was questionable near the bottom and top otherwise a fantastic quaint canyon.

    There was a minor blip trying to locate the trail down LWC which Bruce fought a rusty barbed wire fence. We took a break for him to tape up his leg. Then found the trail down that jj and I ascended in late August. This doesn't really agree with topo as #304... we did go to the spot as depicted on topo for the top (turn) of #304 and did not find any sign or trail heading SSW.

    Upper LWC is not shaded yet I continue to enjoy the views all around. Met up with FS67 and followed it 1.9mi to another mysterious track Bruce acquired.

    From 10:35am to noon we traveled 1.4mi through uncertain "which way do we go" terrain to Pine Creek Trail #289. The last ten minutes got interesting as a storm started to unleash splat sized raindrops.

    We boogied up to the Seaton Spring Overlook for lunch in the same spot jj and I took a break. Things weren't looking so great. We tried to stick to our planned loop however it just wasn't happening. The next few hours involved a lot of swearing, arguing, gang signs and whatnot before we found a way to survive unexpected tortures. I'm just glad no one got hurt. Especially Bruce as at one point I nearly took my 1.5-inch jj knife and killed him if he said "turn right" one more time.

    After turmoil we found FS 103 and headed off-trail down to Grapevine Waterfall. Along the way I got an unexpected stinging pain moving an oak branch. It felt like I grabbed a filament haired cactus such as prickly pair. Thought it might be Mala mujer. Turns out I grabbed an automeris caterpillar. Having recently read phrases containing "poison" and "toxin" I was concerned. Everything turned out fine. Later read "deadly in severe cases". Imagine that would be dozens with an allergic reaction or such.

    Unsure about my hand we didn't spend much time checking out the waterfall. A third storm sprinkled on us back to the end. Perhaps some time needs to pass to heal the wounds... I'd still like to check out these trails more in the future. The Bradshaws continue to intrigue...
    Pine Creek Trail #289
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    BB Mesa-L Wolf Crk-Pine Crk-Grapevine Lp
    The drive in on Grapevine Road is definitely not for anything but HC Vehicles. If there is even the slightest chance for rain, park at the Gate and walk the additional .8 miles (4x4 recommended). Expect Arizona pin-stripping unless you are in a small Samari sized vehicle.

    Beautiful sun filled morning and 58 degrees to start. At 11am it was in the 80's when the clouds rolled in and the temps started dropping down into the 50's. A 20% chance of rain dumped on us for the better part of the late morning until about 3:30pm. We had to hunker down for 45 minutes waiting for the Hail and Lightning to subside. This storm caused all the washes up on the Mesa to run, 3 of which we were forced to cross the freezing water.

    13 second Sampler :next:

    A second wave came through for the last 1-1/2 hours of the hike, but luckily was not as strong as the first.

    This ended up being a plan "B" hike, we ended up just doing a loop when the bushwhacking in spots slowed us to a crawl and the strong storm forced us to seek shelter. The original plan would have forced us to cross more of the newly formed rivers.

    We saw 3 large racked Mule deer, one Denny and I considered trophy sized.

    Big Bug Mesa Trail #9434 - Real pretty trail that gets little use.
    Little Wolf Creek Trail #304 - Continuation of the above, becomes two track close to the south end.
    Pine Flat 67 Road walk - It's a road.
    Bushwhack - This was probably a fire break at one point. Took it to a drainage to try and find the 9439 trail indicated on Topo. "Thick" in many spots and hard to follow.
    Pine Creek Trail #289 - Back to a real trail! Pleasant with nice views
    Big Bug Mesa walk - Pretty easy walk with a GPS to guide you. Deer Country, lots of old tree stands observed.
    Grapevine Canyon - not a bad bushwhack if you stay close to the drainage. When bypassing the 30' to 40' waterfall, go to the NW side
    Grapevine Springs Canyon Trail #4 - Pretty area, lush, green, lots of water.
    Pine Creek Trail #289
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    Arrastra-Pine-Yankee Doodle Loop
    I just got back in town Wednesday night and didn't have time to plan a hike, so I asked Joe if he wouldn't mind throwing something together. Most of the scars from the last hike he put together had just cleared up, so I had a bit of concern.

    On the plus side, he put something together in a seldom documented area in the Bradshaw's. I love seeing new areas, especially in the Bradshaw’s and this qualified. Also, we got to access them in a new way, via FR67 (Pine Flats Rd) out of Mayer. This road is a great alternative to the Crown King or Prescott entry points. In the morning going in it was relatively smooth and accessible by just about any vehicle. Going out, well that was a slightly different story.

    After the 1.5 hour drive from the Happy Valley Park and Ride, we were hiking at 7am. A comfortable 66 degrees and the smell of pine trees filled the air. We didn’t get more that .25 miles when we stumbled on an old cabin. Even though we had more tan 24 miles planned, we had to investigate. The building on the property that was in the best of shape was the outhouse. This property had a basement and a well. It did not look like it had been lived in since the 50’s or 60’s.

    Going counterclockwise we started on Arrastra Creek Trail #275. I was surprised to find the trail to be in good shape and easily follow able. A real enjoyable trail following the now dry creek.

    Next, at the Corral, we turned on Pine Flat Connector Trail #9275. Another nice trail that follows Pine Creek, complete some water and assorted greenery. Be careful approaching the Pine Flats area with the homes / Cottages. Heading northerly we did not see any signs, but if you turned around in sections there were No Trespassing signs. The area could have been just ambitiously signed.

    After a short road walk on FR67, we turned on Pine Creek Trail #289. Temps were warmish on this trail reaching the low 90’s. This is a well-worn track that appears to get some Motorcycle traffic to keep it cleared. It starts in Manzanita and ends in tall pines on top of a mesa. From here we did some easy bushwhacking down to FR9404V until we got to the old Dandrea Ranch site. Now it’s up a deceptively steep unmarked trail, until we got to FR261. Prior to reaching the area around Mt. Union, we had heard thunder for the previous 2 hours. But by the time we’d gotten there it had moved off to the east.

    After a short walk we were on the Yankee Doodle Trail #284. The portion of the trail that we needed to do to get back to the Arrastra Trail, was 8 miles long. This trail follows a ridge line all the way and actually goes over the top of Pine Mountain. No more than a half mile into the Yankee Doodle Trail, the skies opened up with the thunder storms reforming. We had torrential rains, pea sized hail, and lightning that was uncomfortably striking within .25 miles of us. Short of one 15 minute break in the rain, close to Pine Mountain, we were rained on for 5 hours and teased with lightning crackling around us. along the entire ridgeline route.

    We made the turn back on Arrastra Creek Trail #275 to get back to the warmth and dryness of the truck. The high temp of 114 in the Valley sounded inviting, seeing we’d spent the last 5 hours soaked, temps in the 50’s and low 60’s, and 50+ mph winds in spots.

    The drive out on FR52 (Senator Hwy) and FR67 (Pine Flats Rd) to Mayer was a bit more exciting than on the way in. With what I’m guessing to be 2+ inches of rain, the roads were washed out a bit in spots and deep puddles would have made passenger car travel close to impossible.

    Say hello to my little friend :next:
    Pine Creek Trail #289
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    Arrastra Pine Dandrea Yankee Loop
    Summer double-feature mega-hit. Sit right back and you'll hear a tale of a Classic Bradshaw Loop. It started at the confluence of Arrastra & Turkey creeks.

    Within minutes a cozy old homestead set the character for our first leg of the hike, complete with a rare Arizona cellar. We followed the better than anticipated Arrastra Creek Trail #275 alongside Turkey Creek. At 5k the forest and ambiance has a Reavis Ranch Valley feel... trade sycamores for cottonwoods & apples for grapes.

    Onto Pine Flat Connector Trail #9275 we found out this loop had more promise. We worked our way up Pine Creek Trail #289 around the eye-candy of 6,809. Dreamland changed faces. The lack of perennial water or absence of designer enameled publications to throw your money at may leave some running back crying. I found it wildly intriguing looking forward to each step.

    The skillet started to simmer on the ascent. A front rolling over Mount Union dared battle against the mighty sonoran heat bubble. Finally around 6,800 feet the front started to win. We got much needed relief from the blazing August sun.

    39 years ago I was stung by a bee and knocked off my tricycle. Lucky until crossing paths with a tree swarming with bees today. In a dull effort to impress Chris and Joel ( local bee haters ) with a video I was stung a couple times on the back of my Never thought much of bees until the pain surfaced... intense for maybe fifteen minutes.

    Upper Yankee Doodle Trail #284 is pure paradise in tall pines with far reaching views. Our tiptoe through Eden was rudely interrupted. 5 hours of erratic lightning rattled our nerves. Rain pounded us wave after vicious wave. At times it felt like we were dancing in a blender.

    If you enjoy the finer hikes in life this one delivers.

    lots of Purple Nightshade at our trailhead

    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 / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Phoenix: North on I-17 to the Cordes Junction exit. West 7.5 miles on AZ 69 to Mayer. Left at the Circle K (Central Ave.), bend right. First left onto Miami St. First right onto Wicks Ave., bending left. In 0.2 mile, left onto Jefferson St. In about a mile, you will cross a cattle gate, and the road will turn from pavement to dirt. In about 9 miles, you will see a "Entering Private Property" sign. That's the hamlet of Pine Flat. As soon as you pass the last "No Trespassing" sign, on the right will be a very small pull out, park there, it is where Trail #289 starts. FR 67 is narrow & twisty, but smooth. (Much smoother than Aravaipa Rd.) There's a few bumpy spots, and a creek crossing, but a car should be okay in dry weather, with some caution. I had two oncoming vehicles both heading out & back in, so take care approaching curves.
    page created by joebartels on Oct 18 2014 4:04 pm
    3 pack - loud whistle
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