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Graver Wash Trail #9904 - Prescott NF, AZ

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Guide 9 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Prescott NW
3.8 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 1.22 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,439 feet
Elevation Gain -192 feet
Accumulated Gain 36 feet
Avg Time One Way 45 minutes
Kokopelli Seeds 1.34
Interest Perennial Creek
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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16  2014-10-18
Apache Creek Trail #9905
13  2014-09-13
Walnut Creek Exploration
67  2014-09-13
Graver's Wash - Apache Creek - 95B&A&B
21  2014-08-16
Hyde Mountain - Apache Creek Loop
30  2014-08-16
Hyde Mountain - Apache Creek Loop
31  2014-08-16
Hyde Mountain - Apache Creek Loop
11  2014-08-16
Hyde Mountain - Apache Creek Loop
15  2014-01-12 chumley
Author chumley
author avatar Guides 75
Routes 667
Photos 13,172
Trips 1,417 map ( 10,542 miles )
Age 46 Male Gender
Location Tempe, AZ
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Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, May → Any
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:19am - 6:28pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Named place Nearby
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To B or not to B
by chumley

This trail is the easiest access point for the Apache Creek Wilderness. While this trail never actually enters the Wilderness, it ends at the boundary and at the north end of the Apache Creek Trail #9905. It is the only official access to the northern portion of the Wilderness which is otherwise surrounded by private property where hiking is not permitted.

Trailhead Access
As described in the directions below, this trail begins from a marked trailhead on Forest Road 95A. There is parking for one or two vehicles only. This road gets progressively more difficult to drive the farther from FR95 it gets, and while a stock 4x4 truck can make it to the trailhead, the travel is so slow that it probably makes more sense to just walk. Hiking a portion of the road is not included in the stats for this hike.

All the signs you find posted along this trail and others in the Apache Creek Wilderness indicate this as Graber Wash Trail - rather than Graver. I assume this was a mistake in verbal communication to the signmaker since B and V are easily confused. But all the maps I've ever seen identify the nearby wash as Graver. So B or V? Don't let it confuse you too much. Either way, you're on the right trail!

From the trailhead, proceed north through a little wash and up the hill on the other side where you will encounter a very nice information board and sign-in box. From here the trail descends slowly through primarily pinyon and juniper. After about half a mile, the trail begins to parallel a dry wash, and you may occasionally find a bit of surface water from a seep along the way.

At .9 miles, the trail takes a turn to the west following the contour of the drainage you have been walking down. Straight ahead and downhill you may see a corral that belongs to private ranch property adjacent to the Wilderness.

Next, the trail then descends gently into the perennial Apache Creek, where you can use boulders to cross without getting wet before following the cairned route up the slope on the other side. From here, cairns lead you up into a grassy meadow north of the creek where it ends at the Wilderness Boundary and junction with the Apache Creek Trail #9905.

There are numerous shade trees here that make for a nice relaxing picnic spot, or you may explore off-trail to a creekside location.

Connecting Hikes
From the end of this trail you can enter the Apache Creek Wilderness by hiking south on trail #9905. If you wish to make a loop, Upper Graver Wash Trail #9906 leaves the wilderness and connects back to Forest Road 95A, which you can use to return to the trailhead for a total of about 6.5 miles.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2014-08-28 chumley

    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
    Graver Wash Trail #9904 - Prescott NF
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    Upper Graver Apache Creek Loop
    Did this hike with a group of people. We made a loop using Upper Graver, Apache Creek, Graver Wash and FR95a for a total of 7.2 miles. Great day for a hike, the weather was perfect. The creek had more water in it than last time I was out there. I'm still itching to complete the rest of the Apache Creek Trail and find some water holes. Hurry up summer!!
    Graver Wash Trail #9904 - Prescott NF
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Hiked a portion of this trail in conjunction with Upper and Lower Graver Wash Trails.

    We started off at Lower Graver Wash Trail #9904 in the early afternoon. The trail was well marked with lots of cairns along the way. It was a bit rocky along the way but a nice easy trail that wound mostly downhill. After a mile we crossed Apache Creek and started onto Apache Creek Trail #9905. This trail seems to be a cow trail, and we were hiking behind a herd that kept running just a little ways ahead of us and stopping. It was rather amusing... except for the big bull that kept looking at us!! We stayed on this trail for only a couple miles and camped for the night just past the junction to Upper Graver Wash Trail #9906. In the morning we woke up and hiked out trail #9906 to FR95B, which we took back to our vehicle near the Trail for Lower Graver Wash. This was a pretty trail with water available along the way. Will probably do more hiking in this area, as there was much more to see. This time was a quick overnight, as it was my 9 year olds first time backpacking.

    There were still a few trees changing, but many had lost leaves already.
    Graver Wash Trail #9904 - Prescott NF
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Walnut Creek Exploration
    After dropping off the group at Graver Wash for their Apache Creek hike, I decided to further research access to this wilderness from the north. The forest service doesn't have any indication of access, but it is so close that I just had to try. After all, the drive to the Graver Wash trailhead really is quite a chore, and if you hike the 95A road, it adds unnecessary and boring miles.

    I started at a nice turn out on FR95 at the east end of the valley, having previously seen an old roadbed that leads away from the Graver Wash trail just east of where it crosses Apache Creek. I got lost, turned around, chased by hungry horses, and eventually spotted by a farmhand working in the fields on a tractor.

    I quickly continued to the west, over a route that was much longer than I had remembered or expected from looking at maps. Finally I reached the wilderness and decided to investigate the more direct route directly north to Walnut Creek Road to exit the wilderness. My map showed that I had just 1/4 of a mile of private property that needed to be crossed. To get there, I had to hike nearly half a mile along the wilderness fence line over a small hill.

    From there, I passed through a gate and took the most direct route. I was back at the road in no time, but not before encountering some more horses as I got a bit closer to a corral and ranch home than I would have liked. I spent a little bit of time investigating better options before hiking the road back to my truck.

    At no point did I see any No Trespassing or Private Property signs. Some of the gates did have locks on them though. I got home and did some research. Contact information for the ranch owners is easy to come by, and having been there once, I think that's by far the best course of action before the next visit.
    Graver Wash Trail #9904 - Prescott NF
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Graver's Wash - Apache Creek - 95B&A&B
    This hike was suggested by HAZ host Chumley (except for the 95A part; that was a detour I apparently decided to challenge my skills or lack thereof :roll: ). I uploaded the routes to Scout III, good thing too! Lesson One, when you have the option to load the waypoints, select YES! Based on the hike desc it is only a 5.6 mile hike. Apache Creek Trail is 5.6 mile hike but if you come in from the north, you have to hike Graver's Wash first and at the end you have to road walk about 3 miles to get to the other TH. Once we figured this all out before leaving from camp, we were good to go. Oh and on the way since Chumley thot a few of us would be hiking separately, he said be sure to take a left at the road.

    It was a little warm and we got a bit of a late start but it was nice to hang around camp and take our time getting ready. Chumley was kind enough to shuttle us up to the northern TH. Once you turned on the road to the TH, it was more like driving a trail :o! He dropped us just slightly before the official start of Graver's Wash. We signed in and continued our way down the wash with great views of Juniper Mesa.

    Soon some water and a creek came into view; the dogs promptly headed down and into the creek. We came to the area for us to step stone across. After making our way through some very tall green flora, we came to an open grassy plain reaching the Wilderness sign around 10:50. I decided this would be a great group photo and perhaps can be an addition to the Arizona Wilderness Brewery wall. I took a few of the folks and then decided we needed to have Blanco and Cup. I kept shooting photos while they were trying to get the dogs to cooperate. It turned into a cute sequence I think.

    Anyway, this was a pretty area but we kept on at a pretty good clip for me. I felt as long as I could get a good visual of them that I was keeping up enough. Somewhere around the 3 mile mark, I realized the track did not reset so I reset it. I did but at the end of the hike in all the commotion of my emotions, I forgot to save MY track, DRAT! We crossed over a wider channel of the wash and continued on our way. The landscape would change from time to time always keeping me interested which met Tibber Moviemode was in full swing even if my legs were moving much faster than normal :lol: . We did stumble upon two FS crew and their ponies. Always love to visit with a horse; should have borrowed it for the rest of the day.

    At 11:40 we arrived at the junction with Apache Creek Trail. And I think it was around noon when we went off trail toward the swimming hole. At this point you are walking in the creek bed and along the creek. This is always a fun challenge but now I would really fall behind because I literally fell forward while going over a tree snag wanting to get a picture :oplz: . OUCH! I didn't hurt too bad but would take a couple ibuprofen just in case. And yep, I would have many bruises and sore places to remind me of this beautiful area.

    I kept on keeping on and got to a wider area of the creek bed not sure where to go except to follow the creek. Decided to head to the middle where Lee caught up from their break and led the rest of the way encouraging me, it's just up here. It sure is a nice place with the sandy beach and all. Lee jumped right in, the dogs were having none of this swimming over to the other side despite Lee's beckoning. Kim walked just a little way into the water and James went in, swam to the other side and also tried to test for the bottom which was pretty deep.

    Around 1 we left the swimming hole to go back to the main trail. We started hearing voices and thot it was Karl and Bruce so we yelled out but didn't get much but hellos back; mostly since they were forest service workers (Lee went back) doing tamarisk eradication which the FS workers we met earlier had mentioned. Meanwhile, Blanco was not happy that we were leaving Lee behind and a couple times he reminded us not to forget. It was the cutest thing :) .

    So off we went soon to be entering the Apache Creek's Wilderness of the Rocks. The group was getting pretty far ahead by this time so once I got within ear shot of John I told him to go ahead and if an area got tricky to follow, they would wait for me. This was fine with me because now I could stop and enjoy this incredible scenery and get some more pictures. There were quite a few areas that I had to study the topography to figure out where I needed to go. Sorry BobP but I could have used just a few more cairns. I was always relieved when I chose the right route. A couple times I would go back a bit just to be sure that this was the best way to go.

    And then Mother Nature decided she would give me a real test with lightning, LOUD thunder and then the rain :gun: . Couldn't be just a light rain but a pouring one so I pulled out the umbrella. Fortunately the trail is mostly open so the umbrella didn't get caught up on anything but it does obstruct my vision a bit; especially because I held it close to my head - didn't want the lightning to get any ideas.

    The hike was still beautiful despite my anxiety and even though I couldn't really see all the sites; really a shame too because I think this is probably the prettiest section of the hike. But I continued on hiking : rambo : since I was so far behind. I figured if the group could find cover, they would yell out at me. And if they were hiking, they would really pick up the pace. The weather would be difficult from time to time and then it let up for a bit. I still tried to enjoy my hike and once I hit the road, I thot I was home free and so relieved. I came to another slight fork in the road where it looked like I could take the road right or left but I continued left since I presumed Tonto Jr was to the east of where I had been hiking.

    I don't know how long part of the road becomes more grassy and meadow-like. I passed some cattle, walked around a downed tree and thru the opening of a wire fence. The weather turned again so I held the umbrella tight and continued. Can't remember if I saw the 5B sign or not. Not knowing I had missed the right turn south, I continued on my merry way hoping the rain would stop as I could see blue sky.

    I crossed a couple creek/drainage area and was then presented with a rocky hill. So I figured I had to skirt the side of this hill and it would eventually take me back down. I recalled from reading previous trip reports that they all complained about this road walk. But THEN I was presented with another rocky hill that seemed to go up quite vertically. I'm thinking, surely Chumley would have mentioned this but nonetheless I trudged ahead. I decided I would go for another couple miles with the hopes I would eventually head down hill but THEN another hill. I finally topped out and hiked for awhile until I came to a barbed wire fence with a tight wire gate (like the one on the 95B). :out: .

    So I raced down the hill knowing that would be a possibility even as I climbed it. I looked at my clock to see it was 4 so I still had a few good hours of daylight to try and figure this out :-k . I mentally went thru my pack to figure if I had enough food, liquid and an ability to hang out if got dark. My only concern was the cold. I was going to hike back to 95B and wait there if need be. I knew the gang would come looking for me if it got too late and it would be best to go to a place they could easily find me.

    It's amazing how quickly I flew down that mountain considering it was a little slick with the rain and all. Oh, on the way up I did take a few pics but on the way down I took one. I do wish I had taken a pic at the gate so then I would at least know how far I had gone. I kept hiking and hiking the same way I had come. Pretty country.

    At some point once I got down I decided to see if I could figure out where that darn road was on my GPS but I couldn't find it for nothing. So I decided to pull up the Hyde Mountain route figuring it could at least get me in the direction of camp. Fortunately I had loaded up the waypoints that Chumley had put together and there was one for HAZfest :D ; not the one we were at but the campsite he had originally planned which was almost right next to the TH. Sure glad he pointed that out on our way past it to the TH (a hop, skip and jump). So I said "GO" to Scout III and I would check the mileage to make sure it was getting less and it was.

    At 4:26 I came upon the 5B sign; the 95B sign. I looked to the south and by gosh, there was a road road. But I'm looking at the arrows on these signs that run east/west and just shaking my head. THIS road had to be the right road didn't it? HOW did I miss this sign?! ](*,) ](*,) ](*,) . You can even hear me berate myself in the video for it. All of that anguish over a stupid mistake on my part. Once again I pulled out Scout III to see that I was still inline for HAZfest. I checked the mileage; I think it said I had almost 3 miles to go.

    I had decided coming down the hill that I would not stop hiking until I got to a recognizable place or back to the road. But I was still anxious so I just took a restroom break and drank some of my Gatorade. The scenery was quite lovely the rest of the way and despite my weariness, it was nice to enjoy. The weather was also cooperating now so between that and my surroundings and the view, it soothed me. I came to a barbed wire fence that the gate was so tight, I could hardly budge it. I thot even if I could get it open, I will never get it closed so I decided to go over the wire; it looks like others had done that too. Surely a gate assist should be available with that and the gate on top.

    Now I was playing the GPS game guessing how far I had gone in a certain time frame. The trail had a bit of water still running thru it so I had to pay attention to my footing. Surprising it takes a long time to get down this long hill. And then you skirt the forest before coming to another fork in the road. I continue hanging left and finally I see the vehicles we saw this AM :DANCE: which means Tonto Jr will be right there. I assumed the others would have walked back to camp; I should have given them my keys. I saw that Karl's vehicle was still there. I took a pic of Scout III's screen; thot I had saved the track but :doh: and sipped on some Gatorade thanking my lucky stars that this all turned out so well.

    As I'm driving down the road a little after 6PM I see my rescue crew en route to come find me. We were all happy about that meeting on the road. Chumley & Lee say they had stocked up on beer and such if they needed to entice some of the quad folks for assistance. SO glad that wasn't necessary. SO glad I didn't totally panic; did think about giving up hiking forever though :lol: .
    The weather contributed to the problem; if it hadn't rained I would have easily met up with the rest of them. As it was, I ended up at the right place less than 2 hours after they did. I'm glad I have a pretty good sense of direction and I'm glad I had a gps and downloaded routes and waypoints. WISH I would have had a land map of some sort showing the roads.

    As Lee said, "that kind of experience makes you a stronger hiker". Anyway, I enjoyed my time with the other hikers on this trail. It really was a great day. I wouldn't mind going back and getting another look at those last two miles along the Apache Creek Trail.

    I have 4 videos for you, as of 9-16-2014:

    a bit of the trail drive, hiking Graver's Wash
    Graver's Wash, Apache Creek Trail and swimming hole
    Apache Creek Trail, the rain, 95A
    95B and some of my discussion with myself about the detour
    Graver Wash Trail #9904 - Prescott NF
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    Hyde Mountain - Apache Creek Loop
    Chum's and I had been tryin' to get in a hike, for what seems like forever. Our schedules never meshed. We'd both scoped out the Juniper Mesa and Apache Creek areas and had ideas on some hikes.

    We decided on a loop I'd put together, with an exploration portion for a future adventure.

    Somehow Toughboots, 9L and Boy with Dog found out and joined us.

    After they wrote letters to their moms, blew their noses and made sure to put on clean underwear, we were off ... slightly late.

    We started from the Camp Wood area. Some great camping areas back here! It's a 16 mile drive on a dirt road (FS21, ie Camp Wood Rd) off of Williamson Valley Rd. When dry, this road is doable by just about any vehicle.

    After the ladies got all their food, beverages, skirts, snacks, etc.. ready, we were off like a heard of turtles just after 8am. Blanco is a good dog an listens to everything lee says. He did a good job of pointing out the Fauna to us. Numerous deer, Rabbits, Squirrels, Lizards were spotted.

    The hike started by gaining 1/2 our daily AEG in the first 4.3 miles to the top of Hyde Peak at 7270'. The Hyde Mountain Trail #6 was slightly overgrown but easy to follow except one short section just below the Lower Saddle. 360 views from up top were just spectacular.
    The lookout building from 1936 has a brand new Generator Unit and never used outhouse, but the property does not seem to have been used for a year or more.

    Next down the 7 Up to Hyde Mountain Trail #5. This got us into some more tall pines, green grass at the Brown Spring area. At this point Hyde Creek was next to us on the pleasant walk in the pines on no longer used FR52. There was filterable water the entire length.

    Off of 52B and on to the Apache Creek Trail #9905. There is no indication for the southern TH. We built a few cairns just off the road for future hikers. The trail is obvious once you get in a 100'. The southern portion area is a bolder wonderland, reminiscent of theWilderness of Rocks trail.

    Once we got to Apache Creek we took some lunch and then took the .6 mile hike to what appeared to be a pool of water on the satellite views. We were all surprised to find lot of water on our way up there. For the highlight of the day, we arrived at 30' x 20' and 10' Deep pool of the best swimmin' water around. We took a 1/2 hour cooling off, jumping off the rocks and cooling down.

    It's now 2pm and we're only 10 miles into a 25 mile hike, time to move on.

    The scenery was not arizona-like at all. More water, pines, deciduous trees, grasses and tall flowers.

    We hit the Gravers Wash Trail #9904, and made the turn to the barn.

    FR 95A was a slog, but not as bad as first feared. There were views to be had, some shade and even water along the way. It was the ankle busters that get tiresome hiking on. Not everywhere, but enough in the final 8 miles to say... enough.

    Short Video from Hyde and the Swimmin' Hole :next: ... UA&index=3

    Chum's shared some of his private stock of Natural Lite with us at the end and it was appreciated!

    Good to finally hike with Chum's, 9L, Boy With Dog and again with Bootsie.

    Thanks for driving Chum's. We have unfinished business out there
    Graver Wash Trail #9904 - Prescott NF
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    Hyde Mountain - Apache Creek Loop
    When I learned that Joe had bequeathed an eagle to me while getting his affairs in order before heading out to go Bass fishing, I decided I better take it out and see if it could fly without him.

    I was happy to see that things went well. I had previously known that I can rely on him to do everything and all I have to do is show up. Worked great! I had come up with an alternate plan, but I'm glad we stuck with the original -- with a short detour just to get a little taste of the area I had proposed. Turned out to be a highlight of the day. And by highlight, I mean bright, pasty white, blinding, sunlight reflecting... Luckily the water was perfect and we spent a while diving, swimming, and just having a good time in the middle of our hike.

    Apache Creek was flowing for it's entirety, and the monsoon has obviously brought enough moisture here to spring this area to life. It was loaded with green grass and flowers everywhere. It appears to be a healthy ecosystem, with numerous deer sightings, tons of birds, and plenty of scat from coyote, bear, and kitties.

    The return portion of our loop was a long road hike that none of us were looking forward to. It ended up being much more tolerable than we thought, but I wouldn't want to attempt to drive it. No stock vehicle could do it. We did pass a group of 6 Jeeps that were making a day of it. I'd have to say that it won't be too many more years before not even Jeeps can make it.

    I drank 4.5 liters of water. I think Bruce said it hit 97 in the sun, but I don't think it was ever out of the 80s for real. There was plenty of shade to be found, the breeze kicked up when needed, and late afternoon shadows saved us from getting baked on the road hike. My GPS decided to take a nap for a while, so I'm stealing Bruce's stats.

    Great day. I'll be back here for certain.
    Graver Wash Trail #9904 - Prescott NF
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    After gathering juniper for beer the day before, we decided we had to visit the wilderness area right next door. Apache Creek is an amazing area, and I will definitely be coming back here to explore.

    Technically, only trail #9905 is a maintained trail, but there area handful of others, and as with the Juniper Mesa Wilderness a couple of miles north of here, all are very well marked with signs. It seems most of the visitation in this area is by hunters, possibly on horseback, but for whatever reason, the trails are well used, but the use is not indicated on the registers.

    There is also cattle grazing in the area, so some of the trails have signs of cattle use as well.

    Anyway, FR95A gets very rough and high-clearance is required to get to the trailhead, and possibly 4wd as well. The trailhead has no parking but is easily found a few hundred yards past a cattle gate you must drive through. The hike is gently downhill all the way to Apache Creek, where the high-desert scrub of pinion, juniper, and manzanita, opens up to a wide grassy meadow dotted with walnut, cottonwood, oak, willow, and ash. More cattle use is evident near the stream.

    We wandered upstream on 9905 to explore a bit before turning back, finding the official wilderness sign for some brewery wall photo-ops, and then making very good time back to the truck.

    I think this would make a great area for an overnight backpack trip during the right seasons. I'll report more next time after I get some more miles of recon.

    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 the intersection of SR89 and SR89A just north of Prescott, travel west on Pioneer Parkway 4.5 miles to its end. Turn right onto Williamson Valley Road and travel 33.5 miles. Shortly after crossing a historic truss bridge (built in 1913 and relocated from Calva, AZ) turn left onto Walnut Creek Road (County Road 125). Travel 1.8 miles and turn left onto FR95. Travel for 1.3 miles, crossing the creek and climbing a hill out of the Walnut Creek valley and turn right onto FR95A. From here you may drive 1.5 miles to the marked trailhead. Alternatively, you may choose to walk to the trailhead as the road condition steadily deteriorates.
    page created by joebartels on Aug 27 2014 11:13 pm
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