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East Copper Trail #260, AZ

Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 3.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,389 feet
Elevation Gain 1,476 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,550 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.87
Backpack Possible & Connecting
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20  2020-09-12
Mt. Francis Loop
13  2019-10-12
Aspen Creek Mount Francis Loop
45  2014-07-16
Wolverton Mountain Trail #9415
10  2012-07-30 PrestonSands
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 169
Routes 148
Photos 5,617
Trips 1,516 map ( 7,711 miles )
Age 43 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Nov, May → Early
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  5:39am - 7:34pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2018 Stubbs Fire34.7 mi**

Sierra Prieta escalator
by PrestonSands

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The East Copper Trail #260 is located on the southern slopes of the Sierra Prieta, southwest of Prescott. This trail begins at Highway 89 and quickly ascends to the western shoulder of Mount Francis, near the summit of Copper Basin Road. In addition to the East Copper Trail, there is the option of connecting with the Aspen Creek Trail #48 and climbing 7110 foot Mount Francis for an even better view of the greater Prescott area.

From milepost 300.7 on Highway 89, walk downhill on Forest Road 53 for a tenth of a mile to the bottom of Copper Creek. A large sign for East Copper Trail greets you here, next to some large ponderosa pines. Turn right (east) onto the East Copper Trail, which begins climbing steeply up the east slope of the canyon along a multiple-use trail bed (hiker/horse/ohv). One-quarter of a mile in, at a small saddle, the pines give way to chaparral brush and occasional alligator junipers.

For the next couple of miles, the East Copper Trail makes a steady (and at times steep) climb up a series of connecting ridges, passing a couple of old mine tunnels along the way. Be sure to turn around and enjoy the impressive view of the northern Bradshaw peaks and the rugged Hassayampa River country. A couple of potential wrong turns are averted with well-placed "260" trail signs.

Two miles in and having gained some 1100 feet, East Copper leaves the ridges behind to head for the pine-filled basin in the distance. Passing a signed junction with Aspen Creek Trail #48, the East Copper Trail drops into the forested bottom of what one might call "East Copper Canyon". The trail continues its now gentler ascent through Gambel Oak and ponderosa pine in a pleasant, high mountain valley. East Copper Spring itself is passed as the trail climbs out of the valley towards its high point in a saddle on the west side of Mount Francis. Shortly beyond the high point saddle, East Copper Trail comes to an end at a locked gate along Mount Francis Road. Consider a half-mile side hike to the top of Mount Francis. It's worth the view.

Water Sources
East Copper Spring may have water.

The East Copper Spring area is likely the best spot along the entire trail for backpacking opportunities.

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.

2013-06-23 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.

    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
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the Gurley Street and Montezuma Street junction in downtown Prescott (think Whiskey Row and Courthouse Square), head south on U.S. Highway 89 for 10.5 miles to milepost 300.7, where Forest Road 53 meets the highway. There is limited parking here along the highway. Forest Road 53 leaves the north side of the highway and quickly descends 0.1 miles to the floor of Copper Creek Canyon, where there is a large metal sign for East Copper Trail beneath large ponderosa pines. The East Copper Trail begins climbing the hillside to your right (east).

    Alternate upper trailhead at Mount Francis: From the Gurley Street and Montezuma Street junction in downtown Prescott (think Whiskey Row and Courthouse Square), head south on U.S. Highway 89 for 1 mile to the Copper Basin Road stoplight (next to Safeway). Turn right and follow Copper Basin Road (paved, then graded dirt) for 5.9 miles to its summit at a 4-way road intersection. Make a left at the 4-way intersection onto Mount Francis Road. Follow Mount Francis Road 0.6 miles to a locked gate across the road. The upper end of the East Copper Trail begins at the locked gate.
    page created by joebartels on Jun 23 2013 2:10 am
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