Short Connector on AZT
This is a short connector between two longer trails of the Mazatzals, Bull Spring and Red Hills, and its full length is well-maintained and part of the Arizona Trail. Its relatively short length makes it easy to blink and miss for thru-hikers. Starting halfway-up the climb from East Verde River towards the heights of Knob Mountain, Brush Trail offers some excellent views of the northern end wilderness and beyond.
The northern end starts when Bull Spring decides to leave the AZT, veering off to the west towards a certain back-country cabin of some renown, leaving most hikers to continue south. There's a bit of a drop as Brush Trail swings in and out of a few drainages. After this there is a decent climb, a gradual 600' haul up sandy switchbacks towards the saddle at 1.1 miles. Depending on the time of day this section, while steep, may be shaded.
Near the saddle there is a decent view of the northern end of the Mazatzal Wilderness, Hardscrabble Mesa and all. It's not quite as dynamic as this side of the East Verde River. Following the trail there is a bit of a drop as it swings along the side of 5610' and then bends sharp south, making a mostly straight line on the way to Brush Spring at 2.5 miles. After crossing one drainage it turns, finds another rocky drainage, and then follows that one upstream. Along the way there are some small stands spared from the Willow Fire.
At 3.2 miles the trail leaves the drainage and makes a steep climb over a rocky, rolling tread. Once on top of this ridge things change to a flatter, almost mesa-like geography. Also, the vegetation begins to change up here, shifting from the endless fields of manzanita to a more mixed variety of stubby trees and manzanita. After another gentle climb the San Francisco Peaks may be visible on a clear day. A short while later and the junction with Red Hills Trail takes over the AZT, letting Brush Trail end with its connection task complete.
Brush Spring is about halfway along the trail and may have water.
There are a few clearings near Brush Spring that make for great campsites.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.
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