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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.

Houston Brothers Trail - Aspen Spring Access, AZ

no permit
45 9 1
Guide 9 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well
4 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 1 mile
Trailhead Elevation 7,295 feet
Elevation Gain -128 feet
Accumulated Gain 150 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 1.75
Interest Historic & Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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20  2019-06-13
Houston Bros Tr Loop via U-Bar Tr-FR139G
24  2018-07-18
Camp Grasshopper - Mogollon Rim-C/Site#3
7  2016-08-06 Dirt4dinner
4  2014-08-10 chumley
15  2014-05-17
West Cabin Loop
5  2013-08-24 matthewkphx
8  2013-06-15 Grasshopper
6  2004-05-13 chumley
Author Grasshopper
author avatar Guides 42
Routes 458
Photos 8,104
Trips 508 map ( 5,318 miles )
Age 74 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Oct, Sep, Apr → Any
Seasons   Late Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:12am - 6:23pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
..Shortcut to Access Cabin Loops - East & West..
by Grasshopper

Likely In-Season!
A highly recommended access "shortcut" TH Parking and Hiking Route to connect with the historic Cabin Loop - Houston Brothers Trail #171 at the original site of the Aspen Fire Cabin Complex and perennial Aspen Spring. Day Hiking or overnight Backpack access is via a short, scenic, and family friendly 0.5 mile "one way" hike on now closed to vehicle traffic but signed FR9738N. TH Parking (for 1 to 3 vehicles maximum) and TH Start begins from this easily missed intersection of FR139G/FR9738N (at way point coordinates 34.492092 -111.188192).

The Houston brothers were ranchers who used this connector Trail #171 for moving livestock from one part of their range to another. The Forest Service used the Aspen Spring Fire Cabin Complex adjacent to this trail #171 to move fire guards into a number of isolated forest cabins such as the remnants of this one at perennial Aspen Spring where they were on twenty-four hour duty during times of high fire danger. Evidence of both of these pages out of the trail and area history is visible at a number of locations along the Cabin Loop - Mogollon Rim trail system which provides an opportunity for Coconino National Forest visitors to relive an aspect of Forest history while they enjoy the area's natural beauty.

Day Hiking or overnight Backpack access to connect with Cabin Loop - Houston Brothers Trail #171 is via a short, scenic, and family friendly 0.5 mile "one way" hike.

Water Sources
Perennial Aspen Spring and perennial spring fed Houston Draw/Creek

This large area of Quaking Aspen, Pine, and Oak shaded "Aspen Fire Cabin Complex" with adjacent, perennial "Aspen Spring" is one of the most popular and scenic overnight backpack camp locations within the entire Cabin Loop trail system.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2013-06-25 Grasshopper
    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
    Houston Brothers Trail - Aspen Spring Access
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    West Cabin Loop
    Kyle and I decided on this as an easy overnight with the pups. I've always enjoyed this area, and this trip was no different.

    I brought my bike and rode the 4.5 miles along FR300 to save us from having to do that less interesting section on foot. I was surprised how green and wet everything is, especially with the early fire restrictions this year. It really is early season up there, with many aspen not yet showing their leaves, and the maples just getting started.

    Last time I did this section was in a freak April snow storm a couple of years ago, so it was neat to remember how things looked that day. Saturday was just borderline warm in the sun, but Sunday cooled off and was perfect, with cloud cover, breezy, and in the 60s.

    I always forget about the numerous little draws to cross on the southern half of Houston Brothers, it's such a different hike from the northern half.

    We stopped at Baker Butte on the way out. Shirley has been there for 18 years, and it's been at least 7 since I carried an antique sewing machine up into the tower for her, and she has since acquired a horse. The tower has been upgraded and now has new windows and doors and an outdoor walkway around it.

    The views were nice, but a little bit hazy today.
    Houston Brothers Trail - Aspen Spring Access
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Washington Park - Cabin Loop
    Had been wanting to do this trip for some time and decided to finally do it last weekend. Got a late start out of Phoenix Saturday morning and made our way up to the Washington Park trailhead. It was a warm day! Plenty of elevation right off the bat on the Colonel Devin trail. First part of the trail paralleled the pipeline then broke off into switchbacks climbing the rim to some looser rock closer to the top. Nothing terrible. Just got the heart rate up and the legs warm. From there we traveled over to the General Springs cabin and up the Haught trail. We were looking for good water sources up the trail but never found anything significant. The trail itself is easy to follow and the scenery was beautiful. Just not much in the way of water. Therefore we hauled it over to the Pinchot cabin then down Houston Brothers to Aspen Springs for the night, where we knew there would be water. Day 2 we ventured South on Houston Brothers down to Barbershop. Given that we needed to head back early Monday we were looking to place camp as close to the Houston Brothers/Barbershop junction as possible. We found a perfect spot at Barbershop Spring, just 10 minutes from the junction. We made camp, set up the tent and day hiked for the rest of the day. We took Barbershop over to Dane Canyon, then decided to head north to explore. Given how dry it has been, the canyon itself was very easy to navigate. I could see when the area gets wetter how difficult this area could get. There are many faint game trails and multiple ways to get around in there. We came across 7 elk in one area - a beautiful site. The day was getting late and we had decided to try and exit the canyon near Dane Springs. From the canyon, about 0.2 miles from the Springs we located a faint trail up the canyon - we took it up and it popped us out on the U-Bar about 1000 feet South of Dane Springs. We reloaded on water there - this is an awesome spring with an excellent flow of water. Back south on the U-Bar over to Barbershop and back to Camp.
    Monday morning an early start and back on the Barbershop over to Houston Brothers and then General Crook/Rim Road. In thinking about all of our mileage, I thought to myself - the section from Dane Canyon on Barbershop west all the way to Houston Brothers to Rim Road is pretty brutal. Constant up/down. The trail runs perpendicular to the land contour, so you are constantly going in and out of drainages. Feel the burn!!
    The crook trail. This trail is a nightmare. Tried following it using posted coordinates, and in places it is so overgrown or has dead and downed trees that it is almost impossible. There are white markers in some sections then in other areas there is nothing. It really was hard not to just go to the road and say the heck with it, but we stayed on the trail as much as possible, until the trail veered away from the tunnel/Colonel Devin trail. We took the road directly back to that trail and cut off the half mile back to the Springs cabin and then over to the marked tunnel trail.
    Overall it was a great weekend. Water was available, but mainly on the Central and Eastern side of the loop. Saw very few people up there and I feel like this area is a true gem for us Phoenix folks looking for a getaway in the Summer months. :)
    Houston Brothers Trail - Aspen Spring Access
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    For some years now I have wanted to post a new hike description for this lesser know "shortcut" access driving and hiking route to the historic, perennial Aspen Spring / Cabin area at the Cabin Loop- Houstion Brothers Trail #171 pass-by.. and now I have :)

    Aside from providing a short, family friendly parking and hiking access route to one of the most popular Cabin Loop historic, scenic, and easy access locations, this beginning hiking location could easily serve as an additional day or overnight parking option for accessing either the east or west Cabin Loop area trails via TR #171.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    From the Phoenix area: Hwy 87 to Payson and continue on Hwy 87 "past" Pine, Strawberry, Clints Well, Blue Ridge Reservoir, and the Blue Ridge Ranger Station to the next right turn intersection of Hwy 87/FR95. Turn Right (SE) onto FR95 and continue on FR95 eventually heading downhill crossing the East Clear Creek Bridge. Continue on signed FR95 to the intersection of FR95/FR139. Turn Left (SE) and continue to the intersection of FR139/FR139G (Note: from Hwy 87/FR95 "to" FR139/FR139G is approx 12.25 total miles). Please also see this posted GPS Driving Route for additional reference and download.
    page created by Grasshopper on Jun 25 2013 3:36 pm
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