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Pocket Trail #38, AZ

no permit
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Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson S
5 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Round Trip 7.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,606 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,232 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5
Kokopelli Seeds 18.96
Interest Perennial Creek
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24  2017-05-16
Pocket Trail - North of Tonto creek
36  2016-11-12 topohiker
Author topohiker
author avatar Guides 13
Routes 112
Photos 4,377
Trips 1,727 map ( 27,613 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Mar, Nov, Oct
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:08am - 6:32pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
8 ball corner Pocket
by topohiker

The Pocket trail starts near the Soldier Camp / Soldier Camp creek. There’s a #38 trail sign off-of FR134 (close to the Soldier camp/Soldier camp creek) The first ~1.6 miles is an old Jeep road that fades in and out. At the Wilderness boundary the road turns into an old ATV trail, then it fades out completely.

It appears that the ranchers use this area for the cattle grazing. There’s cattle paths here and there. You’ll see the Pocket spring and the pocket tank. The trail crosses an un-named drainage and then it climbs to the east(right). Along the way there are red ribbons hanging from branches. About a third mile from the end you’ll see a black 4inch conduit PVC pipe lashed to a rock. The trail drops down a bit through some rocks and you take the plunge! You drop about 800 feet from this spot. You pick your own path (or poison) down. The terrain is loose scree rocks / dirt with shrubs. Don’t go past this point if you don’t like scrambling or sliding! It’s an energy draining drop, but the views are worth it. The Tonto creek looks like a mini Grand Canyon in this section of the Hellsgate Wilderness. There’s a lot to explore down in this Canyon.

The views are just amazing the closer you get to the Tonto Creek.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

This is a more difficult hike. It would be unwise to attempt this without prior experience hiking.

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2016-11-16 topohiker
    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 Review
    Pocket Trail #38
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I started out by the 76 Ranch. You need to call ahead to get permission and the gate code. Along the way I stopped at the Dead boy point, brushy tank and the Solder camp creek.
    The last third mile of this hike makes this the most strenuous hike I’ve done in a long time(maybe ever). The steepness and the loose ground almost made me turn around numerous times, but the sight of the Tonto creek snaking around the canyon walls made me continue. I was sliding down with every foot step. In fact I sat down to assess the situation and still slide down! I found a drainage to west (left) and took that down. I had to deal with brushes in the drainage and rock scrambling, but I made it down. It took me almost an hour to drop into the Tonto. I didn’t see any evidence of the Pocket Trail crossing the Tonto, nor is it on the Topo maps.

    Going up was a lot easier than expected. It took me about 40 minutes to climb the 800 feet. I did take numerous picture ‘breaks’ going back up.

    I didn’t see any people the entire day. The super-moon guided me all the way back to the Jeep. Awesome views within the Tonto’s version of the Grand Canyon and a moonlight hike out. :y:

    The high temp was 74 , low was 40 and the average for the day was 60.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    Soldier Camp TH: Follow Forest Road 129 west of Young approximately 6.5 miles to the junction of Forest Road 134. Turn left and drive down Road 134 approximately 12 miles through Soldier Camp to the trailhead. The south end of Pocket Trail 38 starts at this point.
    page created by joebartels on Nov 16 2016 9:00 pm
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