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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Brush Trail #249, AZ

no permit
63 9 0
Guide 9 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson W
2.5 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 4.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,091 feet
Elevation Gain 997 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,661 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.04
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
47  2019-05-07
Red Hills - AZT #24
15  2017-12-29
Fuller Seep Loop
26  2016-05-11
AZT #24 City Creek to Doll Baby Ranch
22  2015-02-14
Mount Peeley to Twin Buttes
Author jacobemerick
author avatar Guides 31
Routes 71
Photos 795
Trips 96 map ( 1,037 miles )
Age 34 Male Gender
Location Gilbert, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Sep
Sun  6:14am - 6:23pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Culture Nearby
Short Connector on AZT
by jacobemerick

Likely In-Season!
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.

Water Sources
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.

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

2018-01-28 jacobemerick

    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
    Brush Trail #249
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    Mount Peeley to Twin Buttes
    I have been meaning to do hike since last Spring when I saw the sign just off Twin Buttes that said Mount Peeley 48 miles. The idea of a north to south or south to north trans-Mazzie hike really appealed to me and it would give me a chance to cover several areas of new ground in the Mazzies. There was also the added bonus of knocking out a couple sections of the AZ Trail, something that is still not really on my radar, but a little closer after this weekend.

    The HAZ network helped make this one possible. I ran into slowandsteady after Serena's event two weeks ago and she mentioned her and bifrost were also looking for a shuttle in the area. As it turns out they needed a car left at Peeley to complete a section of trail they were day hiking and would also be traveling to Flag later that evening. Therefore, they had no problem using my car to complete their shuttle then dropping it off at Twin Buttes on their way to Flag. I should mention though, all week I kept telling Karl yup leave it at the Pine TH, until he informed me that was not on Twin Buttes road and another 12 miles further into town. I am glad we cleared up that before I stepped off with the intention of my car being on Twin Buttes ;)

    My original plans were to do this in an ambitious over night trip. However, after mulling over the miles and AEG, I figured why not make it three days and utilize my Monday off? Even with the trip scaled back to three days, I had a bad feeling about bringing Cup along. I knew from the few areas I had hiked that although it was the AZ Trail, there were certainly some rugged areas in there and I felt with the warmer temps it just might be a little taxing on Cup, so it was just Blanco and I for this quick adventure.

    Even though I planned for three days and packed for three days, I told myself if day one went smooth, I would shoot for two days. I got kind of a late start on the first day, but still seemed to be making pretty good time, so I thought I would revert back to my original plan and just turn this trans-wilderness romp into an ambitious over nighter. I ended up about three miles past the Park at the junction of Red Hills and Mazatzal Divide Trail. 25 miles covered just over 11 hours of hiking and about an hour's worth of breaks and filtering water.

    I thought by hitting 25 miles on my first day, I was setting myself up for a pretty easy hike out to Twin Buttes. I got a much more FOTG approved starting time, however, the going just seemed slower all day on the second day. I was happy to cover some new ground but found Brushy Trail and Bull Spring Trail to be a tad underwhelming for stretches. However, I ran into several elk along Brushy Trail which was a pleasant surprise so there were some redeeming qualities about that stretch of trail. Tons of "goat heads," or what I call goat heads made life miserable for Blanco and myself coming up the initial stretches of White Rock Mesa. Cacti the dogs easily learned to avoid, but impossible to avoid this plant for the dogs, seems to be more prevalant in cattle country. Poor Blanco could barely make it 20 feet without getting several of those balls of spikes in his pad. He even laid down in frustration and gave up at one point. The trail finally got a little more scuffed up and rocky and the goat heads passed. The trail seemed to drag a little towards the end, it got pretty warm and a few of the short climbs kicked my pumpkin a little more then they should have. We reached TH and vehicle just after 5:30 p.m. Just over 22 miles covered on second day in a little over 11 hours with probably an hour of breaks and water refills.

    Overall, a nice little test of endurance and mettle. I wish I did not carry three days worth of stuff and such warm clothes. I certainly had to keep a steady pace, but it never felt too much like a death march, trails are a tad nasty in spots, but I enjoyed their ruggedness. Blanco was a perfect companion for this trip, no complaints, just hard hiking, he hit the wall a little on the first day, but led us out most of day two. In hindsight, I should have ended in Pine and knocked out that final AZT section in there, with the road miles it could still be done as an over-night I think.
    Brush Trail #249
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    With sub-100 temps, I decided to get in another Mazzy hike.

    I started out at the City Creek TH. The trail has been cleaned up from the TH to the Red Hills intersection. The CREC crew went a little past the Red Hill trail, but by then the trail is pretty wide open anyway. I went past the Red Hills trail and then the sky clouded over and a cool breeze started blowing.
    I then decide to go with my original plan and go to the LF Hilton. I double back to the Red Hill trail and took that to the Brush trail, to the Bull Springs trail.

    There was some recent activity on the Bull Spring trail. There were fresh footprints and cattle prints going to the cabin. I got to the Hilton, but they lost my reservation :sl:
    I took Bull Spring back to FR406. Some part of the Bull Spring trail had been cleared up. The Forest Service did some work at the Doll baby TH. They setup wire mesh cages full of rocks marking the wilderness boundary. They spaced the cages so horse and people could get through. BUT, they left the gate OPEN! :o

    The weather was perfect the entire day. The creeks were boon dry with an occasional small pool of water. The Bull spring looked more like a seep.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To City Creek Trailhead
    From Highway 87 in Payson, take Main Street west. Pavement ends after a couple miles, and road becomes FR 406. About 9 miles from end of pavement, City Creek trailhead and parking are on right. If you come to a ranch house and out buildings beside the road, you've gone about a quarter mile too far.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) - 97.0 mi, 2 hours 11 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) - 195 mi, 3 hours 41 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) - 116 mi, 2 hours 41 mins
    page created by joebartels on Jan 28 2018 4:29 pm
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