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Colonel Devin Trail #290, AZ

no permit
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Guide 86 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson N
3.2 of 5 by 32
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,080 feet
Elevation Gain 1,166 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,166 feet
Avg Time One Way 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 5.89
Interest Historic & Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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18  2019-08-17 Nightstalker
10  2019-06-29
Cabin Loop - Mogollon Rim
2  2019-05-19
Highline Trail #31
8  2019-03-24 MountainMatt
13  2018-08-18
Rock Crossing Trail #18C - Blue Ridge
8  2018-07-19
Devin Haught Rim Romp
15  2018-05-06
Fred Haught via Washington Park
11  2018-05-06
Fred Haught via Washington Park
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 8
Author azdesertfather
author avatar Guides 12
Routes 59
Photos 1,185
Trips 789 map ( 6,447 miles )
Age 45 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:12am - 6:23pm
Official Route
16 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Great Gateway Hike with History Thrown In!
by azdesertfather

Likely In-Season!
Want a nice little hike up the rim with the pleasant sounds of the gently rolling stream waters next to you, and experience some of Arizona's history along the way? Then this is a trail to add to your list! With spectacular views, tall pines, majestic firs, and even at the right time of year some wild berries, how can you go wrong?

This trail is named after Colonel Thomas C. Devin, an Army officer who in 1868 pioneered the route down off the rim. Fort Whipple military personnel led by Col. Devin used a trail in this location on a maneuver to find renegade Apaches. At the north access to this trailhead at Rim Road, there in fact is an historical marker for the Battle of Big Dry Wash, where in 1882 U.S. troops defeated a band of Apaches nearby after attacking some ranches in the vicinity.

This trail is truly a great gateway hike. On the south end at the Washington Park Trailhead, this trail connects to the Highline Trail #31 and becomes part of the Arizona Trail at this point up to the rim's edge. On the north end at the Forest Road (FR300) Trailhead, there is access to a wealth of trails, including the General Crook Trail, Fred Haught Trail #141 (which has its south trailhead access adjacent to the north end of this trail), the Blue Ridge segment of the Arizona Trail, and many more. This trail also is the only established trail providing access to the historical Railroad Tunnel Trail #390, which terminates at an historic, uncompleted railroad tunnel and powder house remains. Despite the access this trail provides to other trails, I find this trail not to be heavily traveled. In fact on my outing I happened to see no one on the trail or at either trailhead.

The Col. Devin trail is accessible from trailheads at both its north and south ends. Since most I suspect will use the north access, the description here will begin from this trailhead ( reverse ). At the trailhead sign, on the south side of FR300 (across from the monument commemorating the Battle of Big Dry Wash), the trail begins. Follow the trail as it parallels the power lines to the west.

Trail reconstruction on some of the upper sections has changed some of the route. I suspect that the original trail followed the power lines all the way (as this is a water pipeline and powerline access road), but today the trail "officially" does not follow this road all the way (plus, it provides easier access to the Railroad Tunnel Trail). Deadfall from old fires lies scattered throughout the area; thankfully the forest has been returning and is quite beautiful again.

At the second power pole, don't miss the turn to the left (the trail leads away from the power line). Shortly after descending the rim and making this turn to the left, there is a gate on the trail; please reclose it on the way down! (Note: there is also another similar gate that goes perpendicular to and underneath the power lines. If you come to this gate, then you have just missed the turnoff; look back and to your left and you should be on the right path!)

Soon after passing through the gate, you will come to a small wooden sign noting the turnoff to the Railroad Tunnel Trail #390. There are also some switchbacks in this area. If detouring from this hike to the tunnel, it is another quarter mile of trail back up the rim and terminates at the historic, uncompleted railroad tunnel and powder house remains.

Continuing on past the Railroad Tunnel Trail turnoff, the path winds down, descending past another open-air rock structure before veering to the right and back to the larger path alongside the power lines. (For those coming up from the south, there is a small sign marking this turnoff veer to the right.) Soon, the trail will get much closer to and parallel a part of the East Verde river, as it descends to connect with Ellison Creek. Some of the most colorful and beautiful butterflies I have ever seen were in this south half of the trail, and others have reported at the right times of year to find wild berries (including raspberries, I am told) here as well. There are numerous little rushing waterfalls and rapids (key word "little", most of the time)...nothing big, but enjoyable to view and listen to, too. This part of the trail is less steep.

As you get close to the Washington Park Trailhead, you will encounter one section of the water pipeline that is exposed as it goes over a wash. Just before reaching the trailhead and parking lot, there is a turnoff to the right for those continuing on the Highline portion of the Arizona Trail.

Hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers are permitted on this trail, although the latter two are not recommended. This trail is steep with loose footing in several areas.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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.

2008-10-03 azdesertfather
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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 of 53 deeper Triplog Reviews
Colonel Devin Trail #290
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Decided to hit the Cabin Loop when it isn't raining for a change. Marched up the Col. Devin at 6:30am and hit the rim road down to Houston Bros. Quick stop at the B-shop turn off, then down to a favorite water spot for a refill. Some folks were camped at Aspen spring but Pinchot was empty and quiet. Continued on down the road to the turnoff for the lake and hiked into an empty spot. There were some folks camped a bit further down, but I like the first little spot. Hung the hammock and chilled, fished a little, caught 1 rainbow and lost two others on downed trees. I spoke to others that were catching "stockers" too. Quiet night, but the sun comes up early these days. The washout on FR95 is a pain. Fred Haught was quiet on the return as well.
Colonel Devin Trail #290
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Fred Haught via Washington Park
noticed this hike that @tough_boots had done a couple weeks ago
looked like a nice one
new territory for john and i
first time hiking from washington park
good roads getting there
got going a little after 0730, checking out the newly rerouted colonel devin trail
nice bridges and path on the lower section - well done
continued on an old roadbed after about a mile
took the detour over to the railroad tunnel, which was an interesting bit of history to visit
on up to the rim, then down a forest road to the general springs cabin where we caught the fred haught trail
very pleasant going through pine trees
water in the canyon at times
i greatly enjoy this terrain
found the cabin remains where we had a snack break
retraced our steps, except for accidently going down the powerline section :?
my bad
nice temps, good breeze, some high cloud cover
saw three people, all within a half mile of the trailhead
i've done pieces of all of the cabin loop trails, would like to hit what i've missed with a bigger hike
stopped for thai food in payson again
good hike with good company - thanks john :)

Colonel Devin Trail #290
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Highline - Myrtle - Devin Loop
Highline Trail #31 - Washington to Myrtle
First 3 miles exceeded my expectations. The balance was toast or just fair.

Myrtle Trail #30
Toast but a great lil ascent.

Colonel Devin Trail #290
Bumped it up from a 3 to 4 rating.

Weather was outstanding. Enjoyed the hike much more than anticipated. Not itching to do it again.
Colonel Devin Trail #290
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Highline - Myrtle - Devin Loop
Highline Trail #31
I needed this section of the Highline Trail, between Washington Park and the Myrtle Trail, to Gir-er-Done.
I was not expecting good trail conditions based on my last time out by the Myrtle Trail. I was pleasantly surprised by the excellent conditions all the way to FR144. Numerous sections have been redone/rerouted since the Highline fire of 2017. Great water was flowing along the way at the East Verde, Dude Creek, Bonita Creek and Hells Gate Canyon. Views along the way with aren't bad either. Evidence of the fire was there, but did not take away from the Trail.

Myrtle Trail #30
This trail at the intersection with the Highline Trail, took some fire damage. The old sign at the intersection is no longer around. [ photo ] It is a steady steep climb, giving you good reasons to stop, take a breath and take in the views.

Trail 300
With this trail being reopened, we expected to see plenty of activity. Not a single soUl was seen. The trail was wide, smooth and free of Cat Claw. Some of the best views in the state.

Col Devin Trail #30
Karl and I evidently did not know what the L was going on here. We met a solitary through hiker climbing as we were going down. He said he started 5 weeks ago. I LOVE the re-route.

Great day with near perfect weather.

Colonel Devin Trail #290
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
I must like this trail: over past 3 months I’ve spent 6 days on Colonel Devin trail :o so what’s one more day :lol:

Took some friends to show them the bridges, puncheons and the new trail.

There were a few nice fall colors though they were past prime. Near the top it got quite chilly but overall a great day.
Colonel Devin Trail #290
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Upper East Verde River
Wanted to find fall color with water involved without the crowds and I knew this area would offer some potential.

Upon reaching Washington Park my eyes caught a flame of red along the creekbed and I instantly knew I made the right decision.

I wanted to stretch my legs and check out the display further up so I decided to head on up to the RR tunnel since it was so close.
It was cool to finally see the tourist tunnel but unfortunately has so much graffiti coated on the walls of the entrance.

Temperatures on the rim have been absolutely perfect lately, comfortably warm during the day and nice and cool once the sun starts to set.
The remainder of the evening was spent underneath the canopy of foliage taking photos of one of the best displays of water and fall colors I have personally experienced.

Maples, Oaks, Sycamores and even some Aspens in the upper elevations are all rocking with color.
Some past prime but yet side by side next to green, rather strange foliage patterns.
Colonel Devin Trail #290
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
A group of us got together to complete the bridges along the new trail and add some signs further up the trail.

Day 1:
A large semi and trailer arrived at the trailhead with two 44 foot, 6000 pound bridges. Along with the semi is a 3 axle, 10 wheel truck and a rough terrain hydraulic crane. Cool!

Craning bridge 1: transfer the first bridge to the top bars on the truck, make the short drive down to the first crossing, unload and turn the bridge right way up, crane into place, threading the bridge in between all the trees! The bridge fit perfectly onto the abutment / bolts.

Craning bridge 2: transfer the second bridge to the top bars on the truck, make the longer drive up to the second crossing along the power line road including two steep rough sections! unload the bridge, crane into place, threading the bridge in between all the trees! And again the bridge fit perfectly onto the abutment / bolts after a bit of boulder modification.

The crane team depart, what a great company and team they are.

The rest of us start the remaining work of adding the 60+ planks for the tread. Bridges done.

Day 2:
Further up the trail, above the upper bridge, the trail again leaves the power line and heads towards the Railroad Tunnel trail. We installed new signs at the power line and at the Tunnel trail junction. Back near the trailhead we dig one hole for a new sign and then lastly we head over to Geronimo TH and install a metal AZT sign.

A very fun couple of days with a great group!
Colonel Devin Trail #290
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
After an early a.m. SoMo workout hike, it was off to Payson, where I knew I'd have time to fit in one more quick exercise. As I've done before, I decided on a quick out & back climb of the Rim on Colonel Devin. Temp was 92 at start. I was already walking pretty fast, when I started hearing approaching thunder. I just wanted to touch the top and get away from the edge before it got bad. So I pushed to the top and turned around. As quick as I could on that upper rocky section, then jogged all the way back to the TH. It rained, I got wet, it felt good. Shortly after I finished, blue skies appeared. Had I known it was going to be so mild, I would've enjoyed the downhill at a slower pace, oh well, I still had fun.
Colonel Devin Trail #290
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
This has been on my to do list for a couple of years. With a planned day off and a picture perfect weather forecast along the Rim, I decided to make it happen today.

I loaded (and followed) the official route up the Colonel Devin trail, not knowing that there was a reroute of the first mile or so. A nice reroute as it turned out, but I didn't notice until I was coming down.

The railroad tunnel to nowhere was fun, worth the trip. I wish I had come back down the same way; bypassing #390 on the way down was not the shortcut I'd hoped for.

The absolute highlight of the hike, though, was the Fred Haught trail. The word that kept coming to mind was tranquil. A nice easy trail with a canopy of pine through most of it, I felt like I could walk all day.

My legs told me otherwise at Quien Sabe Spring, so I turned around there and found a spot for lunch. After lunch it was time to go home. Out and back hikes do that to me.

I saw one person the whole day. A man was walking down the RR tunnel trail not far from the rim as I was walking up.

The weather was as perfect as the forecast. Gorgeous!
Colonel Devin Trail #290
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Devin Bear Fred Lasso
Not thrilled with the prospect of hiking somewhere that wasn't the Grand Tetons, Sierra Nevada, or Yellowstone, we set out despite it all to chalk up some miles in cooler elevations.

After a little hiccup with the new AZT cut we figured it out. Nicely done, but the signage needs to be updated. Footings for two foot bridges over the East Verde look ready to be poured, but aren't done yet. I was disappointed that the new cut only leads right back to the powerline road, and not all the way to the switchbacks of the railroad tunnel trail. Not sure if that's the next step or not. (@sredfield ?) Last night produced a prolific monsoon storm on the rim, and the main Devin cut and all side drainages were flowing with water all the way to FR300.

That was the theme for the day, and actually made this a really nice hike. We met Blanco and Cup near their camp and dropped down into Bear Canyon. It's fine. Absolutely ideal burn. I'd go so far as to say fire managers probably wished it had burned more.

Water, water, water. We skipped from Bear over to Fred Haught, where there was even more water flowing. Where we had previously managed dry crossings, that came to an end. General Springs Canyon was flowing nicely, and the AZT was a slushy mess in places. There were 3 mandatory wet crossings, and some others that weren't worth the effort to try to stay dry.

It was a real treat to see this area under these conditions. After sending the pups back to camp with their humans, 9L and I headed back down to WashPark as a light rain began to fall. No lightning and perfect temperatures so nothing of concern. Good day all around! :)

Permit $$

Map Drive
FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

To hike
From FR300 (Rim Road) TH (north access): From Payson follow AZ87 north past Pine and Strawberry to the Rim Road (FR300). Turn right onto FR300 and follow 12 miles. Just past mile post 12 is the monument for the Battle of Big Dry Wash. No designated parking area, but you can park alongside the road next to the trailhead.

From Washington Park TH (south access): Washington Park Trailhead is reached by taking AZ87 to FR199 (Houston Mesa Road, just north of the roundabout north of town). Turn east on FR199 and travel 10.3 miles to FR64. Turn west on FR64 and travel 0.7 mile to FR32. Turn north on FR32 and 3.3 miles to FR32A. The trailhead is located 0.5 mile north of FR32A. (Once you get into the Whispering Pines area at the north end of FR199, you will see the signs leading to the TH.) Upon reaching Washington Park Trailhead, continue past the kiosk approximately 100' to the beginning of Trail #290.
page created by azdesertfather on Oct 03 2008 12:18 pm
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