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

Pump Station Trail #296, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson N
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 5 of 5
Distance One Way 1.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,972 feet
Elevation Gain -286 feet
Accumulated Gain 259 feet
Avg Time One Way 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 2.36
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Perennial Creek
Backpack Connecting Only
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
Post the 1st photoset!
Author cdeperro
author avatar Guides 2
Routes 36
Photos 613
Trips 36 map ( 168 miles )
Age 48 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Preferred   May, Jun, Sep, Oct
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:31am - 5:50pm
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The trail goes missing half way through..
by cdeperro

Likely In-Season!
Warning
This trail is very quickly being taken back to nature (half of it was completely missing). Likely because there's a very sturdy gate about 1/8 mile before the actual Pump Station, and no indication whatsoever that this trail even exists.


History
This is from the US Forest Service/Tonto National Forest Website as of August 2019: "Homesteaders created this trail to provide access to the Highline Trail. It has been rebuilt by Boy Scouts. The pump, from which the trail receives its name, pumps water from the Blue Ridge Reservoir, above the Mogollon Rim, into the East Verde River, to replace water used by Phelps Dodge Corporation for mining purposes in southern Arizona."

Trail
Given that we saw no signs for this trail near the supposed southern trailhead, and a very sturdy metal gate way out at the intersection of Forest Roads 32a and 32b, we instead continued driving to the well-signed Washington Park Trailhead. This is a decent trailhead (part of the Arizona Trail comes through here) but with no restrooms; just parking for 10-15 cars. It's in a nice section of ponderosa pine forest, and is next to the East Verde River, which is just small creek at this point but it was lovely to hear the flowing water. You can access the river from the trailhead and just before you reach it, at several pullovers.

So from the pre-loaded maps in the Hike Arizona Route Scout app for both Colonel Devin and Pump Station Trails, we figured we could access the Pump Station Trail by traveling out the Highline Trail to the east for about 1/4 mile to the northern end of the Pump Station Trail. That worked! There was a footbridge for the Highline Trail over the East Verde River almost immediately after leaving the trailhead. We found the Pump Station Trail junction pretty quickly and it was well-signed.

The trail started off OK. The trail was visible, but could tell was lightly used; needed to look for a few tiny cairns, and generally was OK where it was still high and rocky and not under a lot of tree cover. The trail does then approach the west side of the river, where it gets much shadier. But the trail also disappears very quickly. We had a couple of backtracks, where after a little while we'd find the trail again, but would quickly lose it. Finally, under much shade and having only the preloaded GPS track from Route Scout to follow, we just made our own way to the pump station. You can hear it about 1/4 mile away. We had to climb over a lot of tree deadfall and we really, really looked for any semblance of a trail, but the south 1/2 mile is essentially missing completely. We made it to the pump station and then realized how much more water comes from the station and into the East Verde River, so backtracked and found a crossing back over the creek upstream of the station where the flow was much lower. There's no obvious trails to and from the creek at this end; no signs, no obvious anything. We bushwhacked around the station which was a pain, then walked back the road 32b and 32a to the car.

Synopsis
Honestly, if you want to enjoy the upper end from the Highline Trail just to hear the water and get under the trees, that's great, but I'd turn around when the trail goes away.

Check out the Official Route.

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.

2019-08-26 cdeperro

    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 $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    Washington Park is the main trailhead to access this trail as of this writing (August 2019).

    From Phoenix, take 87 to Payson. Continue on 87 north past the junction with 260 to Houston Mesa Road. Turn right on Houston Mesa road and take it about 10 miles to Control Road, in the small hamlet of Whispering Pines. Turn LEFT on Control Road. In less than a mile, turn right on NF 32, which is signed for Washington Park trailhead. Take that about 4 miles, following all signs for Washington Park Trailhead. At Forest Road 32a, turn right and then a quick left (you'll see the signs pointing o you there). After another mile, 32a dead-ends in the Washington Park Trailhead, which has a sign indicating that you've arrived.
    page created by joebartels on Aug 25 2019 9:49 pm
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