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Walnut Trail #251, AZ

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Guide 21 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson W
3.5 of 5 by 8
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Distance One Way 4.35 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,202 feet
Elevation Gain 1,008 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,212 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 8.39
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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6  2017-11-01 Sredfield
2  2017-10-18 MountainMatt
15  2017-09-23
52  2016-03-12
AZT Trail: Picketpost to Pine
30  2015-09-04
Whiterock Mesa - AZT #25
19  2015-05-03
Oak Springs from Hardscrabble Rd
9  2015-03-28
Hardscrabble Mesa Lasso
8  2013-10-13
Whiterock Mesa - AZT #25
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
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov
Sun  6:13am - 6:24pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby

Author Full Detail Guide
Overview: No information is known on this trail other than it's part of the AZT. The forest service does not list any information.

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This hike is listed as One-Way.

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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
Walnut Trail #251
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Nice big loop around Pine. Clockwise from the Strawberry trail head: BF13 > PC26 > OS16/AZT25 > W251 > PS15.

Bearfoot steadily improves along its length and the new bridge over Pine Creek is fiberglass art. Warm and very dry conditions, only a few meager patches of snow. The Pine-Strawberry fuel reduction program has done an incredible amount of work - several long stretches along this loop have nearly all the chaparral chopped down to a foot high, hundreds of acres have been thinned.
Walnut Trail #251
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Denny and Joe refused to hike with me 2 weeks in a row.
The Dbacks kept me up late. I slept in until 6:00 and didn't hit the trail until 8:00.

Got dropped off at the Good Enough Trail. First time on this one. It's in decent shape and a short steady climb to The Pine Canyon Trail. Passed up Wild Bill Spring on the way up.

Pine Canyon Trail #26 yields great views down to Pine and back into the canyon. It's a super highway. A brief stint on the Highline trail and I was at the Pine TH.

I had not been on the Oak Spring Trail #16 in over 7 years, since we did the AZT in 2010. It really has a lot to offer. You get to peak at "The Narrows" (on my list) on your way to the picturesque Bradshaw Tank and meadow area. The blind has been changed up from last time through, with the same familiar note inside.

The drop and views into Oak Spring Canyon is what I'd remembered most about this trail. It did not disappoint.

I was going to take a side trip to relive the Butterfly Whisperer moment [ photo ] [ photo ] , but I was on a timetable.

I'd forgotten everything about the Walnut Trail #251. I'm sure there may be some walnut trees here, but most of what I saw were Oaks and Maples on the cusp of their seasonal turning. Worth a visit for sure.

The Pine Strawberry Trail #15 is a MTB highway, yet I saw none. This is an enjoyable trail that has had some slight reroutes since my last time through.

I finished up on the Bearfoot Trail.

I saw 4 hikers total on an absolutely perfect weather day.

Walnut Canyon's maples are just starting to turn.
Walnut Trail #251
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My bros and I had a bit of a hassle getting on the trail!

We were all set to get to the Roger's Canyon trail via the Roger's Trough trailhead . . . I've been into Angel Basin six times, but I've never had enough time to check out the cliff dwellings. In the past, we've started at the Woodbury Trailhead, and lemme tell ya--the hike up to Tortilla Flat (the junction of the JF Trail and the Roger's Canyon Trail) is a beast . . . I don't want to do that hike again (with a pack). So this time, the plan was to bring a high clearance vehicle to the Roger's Trough trailhead. But, I had engine trouble at the last minute. DOH. A low clearance minivan will have to do. :lol:

Next plan--hit up the Barbershop Trail and U-Bar trail on the Mogollon Rim. I've had great experiences there in the past. So we drive up to Woods Canyon Lake to hop on the Rim Road (FS300) only to find that . . . it's frickin' closed. People close roads? Who would have thought? Not me . . . I guess the road wasn't passable or something. Even the visitor center had a sign on the door saying it wouldn't be open until May-ish. So I figured we'd just get on the Rim Road from the west side off the AZ87. We drove back down the 260 into Payson, and my brother pulled over into a parking lot and suggested I call the ranger station. And sho nuff . . . the Rim Road was ALSO closed from the east. So what am I gonna do? I fire up HAZ on my cell phone and try to find something that has water. 30 minutes later . . . voila! Oak Spring Trail out of Pine, AZ it is.

We parked the minivan at 34.3714183, -111.4797109 on Hardscrabble Mesa Rd and headed down the Walnut Trail. I had found from the HAZ entry that Oak Spring was about 4.5 miles in or so . . . . So we made it to the junction of the Walnut Trail and Oak Spring Trail and I thought to myself "well we're looking for the spring, so that must be up the Oak Spring Trail," so regrettably, we took the Oak Spring Trail thinking that Oak Spring was up that way. So we ended up hiking to what we later found out was Bradshaw Tank. There was some good water here for treating at 34.3679893, -111.4558701. That was coo. We set up camp in Bradshaw meadow. You can find our firepit at 34.3688631, -111.4589177, and you can find our awesome natural toilet at 34.3691812, -111.4588189. This seemed to be reaaaaallllyyy close to town. My cell service was off the hizzle. Maybe we shouldn't have camped there . . . not sure. But we were tired and hongry.

That night, I figured that we didn't really find Oak Spring, so it was probably just further down the Walnut trail. So we hiked back to that fateful trail junction and went (a little) further down the Walnut Trail. And there it was . . . Oak Spring. So close . . . great water. We set up camp this next night at 34.3500167, -111.4728984, and we set up another rockin natural toilet at 34.3502227, -111.4724498. You're welcome.

Good 2 night trip
Walnut Trail #251
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AZT Trail: Picketpost to Pine
I was kind of looking to see where I was at for another big trek this summer and Karl was looking to experiment with a lighter weight higher mileage backpack, so I proposed Picketpost Mountain, or the beginning of section 18 of the Arizona Trail to Pine and the end of section 26 of the Arizona Trail. Karl was down for four days and had a somewhat flexible plan for ending his trip when he needed to. Meanwhile, I was about 50-50 if I could do the entire hike and was content with just seeing how far Karl and I could get and then playing the rest of my trip by ear, or I should say by body.

Day 1: 29.92 miles 6268 aeg

We made it to our planned first night's campsite on day one, Walnut Spring. Section 18 really exceeded my expectations. This is about the best time of year to be walking though that desert right now and Whitford proved to be a real treat with the flowing water and abundance of green. The climb was grueling and relentless but it offered some very solid views of the area and was really made manageable by liberal use of switchbacks. Karl was so confident with our performance at that point in the day that he insisted we bag Montana Mountain while we were up there. I agreed, but only because I was born in Montana and I said it had to count it as our break. Reavis Ranch looked like Daytona Beech and I had not apprehensions about making the short trip past it to my cozy little campsite at Walnut Spring. Got to Walnut just at headlamp time. Blew through camp chores, made a fire, ate and got to bed as soon as we could.

Day 2: 25.67 miles 6392 aeg

We came up a little short on our proposed campsite on this day, but the hiking was great so no worries. No stranger to the Eastern Supes, but Sunday still offered me all new areas after Two Bar Ridge. Cottonwood Canyon was great! No shortage of water in there and some cool little sites in this random little riparian jungle in the far corners of the northwestern Supes. A little bit of road and then it was the traverse from hell along the 188 waiting for that damn bridge to come into sight. From the bridge it was up the stairway to heaven. Where fittingly we had a trail angel waiting for us with tons of snacks and H20. After our sugar, hops, and caffeine binge at Mills Ridge we decided to just push for Buckhorn Creek. However, on that side of Four Peaks, pushing for a few extra miles usually entails a nice chunk of aeg as well, so we earned it. I did find a set of Indian ruins though along the way, so that was cool. We were both excited to learn that after carrying all that fresh water from Mills Ridge, there was water flowing in Buckhorn Creek. Oh well no filtering to do, quicker camp set-up, quick fire and in bed even earlier than previous night.

Day 3: 31.24 miles 5239 aeg

Day three was all new ground for me. Four Peaks makes you work, but alas the beauty of nature is enhanced by the ardor of the journey. I really enjoyed this section, an instant new favorite! I hiked through perhaps one of my nicest sunrises in a long time and marked several rock pile sites along the trail for future exploring. This section just kept getting better for me as we neared Four Peaks and started contouring towards Pigeon Spring. The lingering and previous snow had some of the creeks flowing nicely along this stretch and the trail got very nice as we approached its end. The road felt a little like Mad Max with the amount of Jeeps, trucks and atvs out. However, I must say not one negative experience with any driver and I do not think I have been offered as much water in such a short amount of time as I was along that 11 mile stretch of road. One guy asked, "is there anything else I could give you?" I said I could use some sunscreen and he offered up the whole bottle. The hike down into Sycamore was also very nice, again a great time to be in the lowlands, a little water, some flowers and green. However, it was hard to appreciate at times with the fatigue and anxiety over coordinating a last minute drop off of some additional things I felt I needed, if I was going to have any chance of reaching Pine. The drop and pick went smooth, a small adventure, but relatively smooth. We did not get an ideal spot to camp, but spirits were high after our resupply.

Day 4: 24.7 miles 6297 aeg

This was the day Karl and I would be saying our goodbyes. Karl decided on a Peely exit and I would push on to Bear Spring from there. More new trail for me to start the day and again I was not disappointed. The canyons on the way up to Saddle Ridge were picturesque, there was a lot of water and signs of some pretty extensive trail work in spots. I will admit things got a little dicey after we left the quaint McFarland Spring area, but we endured. The trails definitely need some work in there. I found myself kind of embracing the ruggedness and challenge the area presented. However, I could see that area becoming another hiker's hell if they were not expecting it. Karl and I parted at Peely. Losing Karl sucked, as he and I had a good thing going the first few days. Karl was keeping our pace in the areas where I tend to day dream and I was doing what I could do to keep us at a respectable place for some of the more stout climbs. But no time to dwell, I was solo now and needed to reach Bear Spring, just another 2000 feet of aeg and a shade under ten miles. There is no sense harping on the point, but the Divide Trail is getting nasty along there and I did make it to Bear Spring before head lamp conditions, but I was obliterated from that last little push from Peely. I replaced Karl with another Carl at Bear Spring. I am going to assume he spells his with a C. Anyways, I ran into Carl, better known as Spiced Rum on HAZ. He was on the final night of a backpack to gather some information for future work in the area. We chatted it up for awhile and I am not ashamed to admit I took some extra snacks from him. He was leaving a day early and I could not believe the amount of food I was going through on these long days, so I had no problem taking the charity. Superb stuff too, some great dried fruit, trail-mix and a Rice Crispy treat. Good guy all around and a source of wealth on some other major trails that I am interested in. And what a nice little spot to camp near Bear Spring, that saddle is great, I see why toughboots is fond of the place.

Day 5: 26.9 miles 4051 aeg

This was my make or break day. I had my city creek trailhead bailout option if needed, or I was pushing for the East Verde via the dreaded Red Hills and making my final push for Pine from there. The divide trail has its ups and downs, both in terrain and condition, but overall it was pretty smooth going. There is a section of Divide Trail that is now immaculate from about the intersection with Brody Seep to the intersection with Barnhardt. Kudos to that trail crew. I stopped for way too long to soak my legs and filter water and then realized I was looking at about ten more miles to include the worst part of the Red Hills and it was nearly three. My rational side said, "set up camp here, hike out LF or Saddle Ridge tomorrow," however, my other side said, "quit making excuses and finish the original plan." I am not sure what it was, but I was really dreading the last half of the Red Hills. Out of paranoia of being too exhausted to complete the entire section and having to dry camp somewhere I carried way too much water. This weighed me down and annoyed me even more as several of the creeks and main valleys I crossed had running water in them. As it turned out, while my worries were warranted, I did just fine and to be honest felt the area did not seem as bad as it had before and I must give props to the horse(s) whose tracks I followed through the entire Red Hills section, a doable stretch, just may require more time and detail. Camped at the Verde where I was serenaded to sleep by cows, frogs, chickens, maybe peacocks, cats and perhaps even a species of monkey. A very lively river at night.

Day 6: 23.08 miles 4329 aeg

This was the one I was waiting for, the "easy" day. A nice early start, I don't think there is a better place to be in the world than a half hour before light in the mountains somewhere, just pure serenity. There were ankle breakers abound on this day of Whiterock and Hard Scrabble. A nice steady pace was all I tried to keep and I followed a liberal break plan, as I crawled into Pine. The final two sections were not my favorite, but they were also the last two sections of a 160 mile trek so they would have had to have been perfect to really capture my imagination. Nevertheless, I got through both of them and endured the lava rock tread and bland road. I did find the last few miles to be more redeeming with the scenic Oak Spring and Bradshaw tank area. It was a reunion at the trailhead with Jackie and the pups, Del Taco and then home.

Final Notes

I need to work on a better nutrition plan for these big ones. I simply did not bring enough caloric energy for the type of days I was doing and the amount of energy I was putting out. I need to go healthier and more efficient, just a good lesson to learn.

Karl played a huge role in getting me through those first four days, very glad to have him through there, he was missed later.

A good song to have stuck in your head while hiking is Passion Pit, "Take a Walk."

I can definitely go lighter on these ones too, I packed light, but by no means did I make any attempts to go ultra-light. In the future, that may be needed to knock out some of these more ambitious multi day treks.

The hardest days by far were Day four with its nearly 7000 feet gained and day five with its 27 legit miles through the Mazzies without as much as a foot of road relief until the very end.

About normal to not so great, to really good in spots. Most action in the first few sections though.
Walnut Trail #251
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Rather than following the initial route south, I cut straight across AZ 87, using the culvert just north of the Pine TH driveway. Didn't need to crouch. After checking out the memorial I had noticed, I bumped across two dead elk. The first somewhat scattered, the second unfortunately not scattered. It was gross. And it smelled. :o

Trail #16 west was okay. Nothing special. A bit rocky. Nice view down Oak Spring Canyon towards Arrowhead Canyon Estates and AZ 87. Might have to hike that sometime. It eventually empties out at Tonto Natural Bridge. The intersection with Walnut Trail #251 is obvious, but only the southern segment, along the AZT. Despite at least 10 minutes searching I was unable to find the northern segment, up canyon. :-k I settled for going straight up the creek bed.

After a few hundred yards, I found the trail, which crosses the creek many times in the two miles to FR 428. It's a nice trail surface, cairned, plenty of shade, and pretty too. :)

Pine-Strawberry Trail #15 has been realigned in many places from what is on FS Topo. (The correct/new alignment is reflected in the official route.) It's enjoyable as well, with nice views east along the Mogollon Rim. I was hoping for some MTB action, but it was not to be. :| Might be worth hauling a cooler of beer up to several points to watch next weekend's races.

Found some obvious bear tracks near Cottonwood Spring -- which, despite 10 minutes searching, I was unable to locate. (The spring, that is, not the bear.)

I engaged in blatant cloud pr0n. :D

At one point I went to sit on a rock, but some critter had already pooped on it. I had a Johnny Cochran moment: If the rock has ****, I cannot sit. :lol:

I'd measured the hike at a little over seven miles, so I figured it would actually be eight. By the time I finished, I had over 10 miles under my belt. Unfortunately, the only beer I had to greet me was that awful "Go To IPA". :yuck: I ended up pouring half of it out for my dead elk homies.

The sun came & went all day, but I never did get rained on. Caught a few sprinkles heading south out of Payson. It must have poured earlier, as there were puddles in spots on AZ 87 near Mt. Ord. Lots of cops out. Traffic backed up 50 cars at the casino light, heading into Payson for the holiday weekend "getaway". :roll:


Pine 2 Strawberry Video:

99.9% of the flowers were these small yellow things.
Walnut Trail #251
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My girlfriend and I were staying at a cabin in Pine for the weekend, and this hike was only about 5 minutes away, so we figured we'd check it out. Didn't expect a whole lot from this hike, but it turned out to be pretty nice. We were thinking we missed the trailhead, but it turns out we actually hadn't gone far enough down the road. The TH is very visible from the road and there's enough parking for several cars. It was a little warm when we got there but there was some cloud cover and a breeze.

Most of the trail meandered gently through the forest. The area is very lush with a lot of greenery. At some points we got some good views of the canyon. There were some nice patches of wildflowers here and there. The area seemed very vibrant and alive. I've never seen so many butterflies in one place!

I didn't do a whole lot of research on this one, so a couple miles in when we got to the sign pointing left to the Oak Spring Trail, we figured that was the way to the spring. You'd think the "Oak Spring Trail" would get you to Oak Spring, right? Nope. Lol. The trail immediately started switchbacking up out of the other side of the canyon and we knew we went the wrong way. We backtracked to the sign and just continued ahead on the Walnut Trail for a few minutes and saw the sign for the spring itself. There were a couple nice little meadows before getting to the spring.

The spring area was a very nice shaded setting, though it was loaded with yellowjackets. Looked to be a good amount of water coming from the spring, but it was hard to see it as it was almost completely covered in greenery. We enjoyed the shade, dodged the yellowjackets, and hung out for a while before heading back. The hike back was a nice stroll. Saw a good sized snake on the way back.
Walnut Trail #251
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Hardscrabble Mesa Lasso
Wanted to check out the Hardscrabble Mesa area so threw together a lasso loop using Oak Spring Trail #16, Walnut Trail #251, and FR's 1655, 1654, and 428. Really nice hike; the weather was great, 37 degrees at the start, warming up to a nice 77, saw a herd of 5 elk that actually weren't camera shy, and chatted with, a thru-hiker from Ohio, who, even with my bright florescent green shirt on, didn't see us until I startled him with a shout-out :)

I posted a water report for Oak Spring which was flowing very nice. All the tanks we passed were full but not sure I would drink from them. Even in dire-straights, Pine-Strawberry is just a stone throw away, and That Brewery is a much better choice.
Walnut Trail #251
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I was bummed to find that Dave was not going to make it today :cry: , and that for my last hike with Jim (near term) that he'd come up with a better offer :zzz: (most likely because he got to sleep in).

The first part of this hike was on an exposed forest road followed by a long straight slog for the most part along a power line lined with fist sized rocks.

Once you turned off the power line the hike actually got pretty nice. The trees got taller and provided more shade and you got some changes in elevation.

We stopped at Oak Spring to check it out, and I got to see the Butterfly Whisperer in his full glory! The butterflies would not sit still for us to get a picture, so Denny, aka Tortoise Hiker, aka Butterfly Whisperer, stuck his arms out and said "Watch this". The butterfly landed right on his hand and stayed there for the better part of five minutes, until Joe Joe got "a bit frisky" with the butterfly trying to imitate the butterfly's tongue action. The scared butterfly flew away only to be coaxed back to the safety of Denny's arm by The Butterfly Whisper! Incredible.

New items learned on this hike if you are writing a HAZ book:
Joe was good looking as a child, with very blonde hair and vibrant blue piercing eyes (Information Provided by Joe)
The normally reserved Denny enjoys being Joe's backup singer.
The normally reserved Denny has the ability to break out the uncontrollable belly laugh.

As always the hike was a hoot with these two goof balls. I come along to lend some sanity on these jaunts.

(No Butterfly's were harmed during the photography portions of this hike)
Walnut Trail #251
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Oak Walnut Strawberry Salad
I really enjoyed this hike more than I expected. Jim got us up to the Strawberry TH (unmarked, at the 270 mile marker), where we met The Stillernator, aka Stiller, aka Chris, Tough Boots, aka Kyle, and set up the shuttle back to the Pine TH.

The first bit until you get to the Bradshaw Meadow Watershed Project was a bit bla, but then there was some great terrain and views. Not that tough of a hike but enough to get a workout. Views from Trail #15 (the Strawberry-Pine Trail from what I've been able to find) were pretty darn nice. Blue skies and Big white puffy Fraley's were a welcome site. We took a bit of lunch at the Strawberry TH and then started the journey across Rt 87 to what is now known as Rock Wall Trail 608T. This is an old jeep trail that starts at Rt 87 and cuts off some distance going north to meet Rt 87 once again. Someone put a bunch of work into this route building 20' tall rock retaining walls on the inside corners of the switchbacks in at least 5 different places. I was impressed. But then again I'm easily impressed. This trail had one rocky section that was a bit hard on the feet after a day of hiking, but it didn't last long.

A great day of hiking with new partners Chris (Stiller) and Kyle (Tough Boots minus the Beard).
Equally great to see and jab with Jim again and thanks for driving! (Beware of the gas station breakfasts)
Joe-Joe as always great hiking w/ you.
Walnut Trail #251
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Located west of Strawberry & Pine,AZ, this 12 mile one way AZT Passage#26 runs West to East starting off of Twin Buttes Rd(FR194) and continuing to the Pine TH off of Hwy 87.

Our initial plan was to hike the entire 12ml one way passage then turn around at the east end Pine TH and head back. The first five mostly rocky, FR/old jeep road miles with some ups and downs on this section convenienced me that I was not going to enjoy doing a twenty-four mile day hike today! During this segment, distant views to the east of the Mogollon Rim were nice. At around six miles in the pines and oaks were more prevalent as we descended into the west end of Oak Springs Canyon on the AZT/Walnut Tr#251 down to perennial Oak Springs at a small meadow area. Just past Oak Springs on trail#251 at 7.2mls in we arrived at the intersection of Walnut Tr#251/Oak Creek TR#16. DECISION TIME.. Fortunately for me my hiking partner who can day hike 24mls without a problem had already completed the AZT 3+ mile segment of this Oak Creek TR#16 that continues east from here ending at the Pine TH off Hwy 87 8) .

Since we were already hiking on this Walnut Tr#251 we decided to take a left turn at this above intersection to check-out the rest of this trail to see where it ended. The next 1.6 miles were just beautiful as we continued through dense forest growth of pines, oaks, maples, sycamores, and we even passed an apple tree just off the trail that was creekside and loaded with good size GREEN APPLES! This 1.6ml section of the Walnut TR#251 also crossed a creek numerous times with scenic, small cascading waterfall areas that would make for a great visit during seasonal flows. The trail gradually made it way up to Hardscrabble Rd(FR428) where there is parking and an official TH sign for the start of Walnut Trail#251. Ken and I had a short lunch break here then returned back the way we came in.

I understand that the 3+ mile east segment of the Oak Creek TR#16 passes through another beautiful area in Oak Creek Canyon just a short hike east from the above mentioned intersection of trails 251/16, SO to start this Walnut TR#251 from the Hardscrabble RD(FR428) TH parking area would offer a short, beautiful day hike for the most-est!! :bigth: (Hardscrabble Rd..well maintained accessible from Hwy 87 north by making a left turn off Hwy 87 going thru Pine).

Permit $$

Map Drive
High Clearance possible when dry

To hike
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