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Rock Crossing Trail #18A - Blue Ridge, AZ

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Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well
3.3 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 0.42 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,149 feet
Elevation Gain -338 feet
Avg Time One Way 15 min
Kokopelli Seeds 0.98
Interest Perennial Creek
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15  2019-05-04
Blue Ridge Reservoir - CC Cragin
7  2019-05-04
Blue Ridge Reservoir - CC Cragin
20  2017-06-24
Rock Crossing Trail #18
4  2016-07-16 arizona_water
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Oct, Sep, Apr
Sun  6:09am - 6:29pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Likely In-Season!

Author Full Detail Guide
Rock Crossing Trail #18 is split into three segments because it crosses Blue Ridge / C.C. Cragin Reservoir two times.

Segment #18A goes from FR751 near Rock Crossing Campground and descends 1/2 mile to the lake (-420ft). This is the most frequently used trail segment.

See also Segment #18B

See also Segment #18C

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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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 Triplog Reviews
    Rock Crossing Trail #18A - Blue Ridge
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Rock Crossing Trail #18
    Rock Crossing is a trail that preceded the construction of Blue Ridge Reservoir in 1965 (now CC Cragin Reservoir). The trail construction is absolutely phenomenal. National Parks don't build trails as nicely as this trail was built!

    Due to the reservoir filling the canyons which the trail previously crossed, the FS has officially divided the trail into three segments. Hiking the entire length would require swimming or using a flotation device to cross the lake between segments. At full pool, the distance between A and B at Rock Crossing is about 300 feet. The distance between B and C near the mouth of Bear Canyon is only 100 feet. Both crossings can be shorter at lower lake levels and the B-C crossing is often completely dry.

    I hiked Segment B out and back, followed by segment A from the out and back, and finally segment C out and back. The photos are in that order, which may be a bit confusing. The photos are geotagged so you can see their location on the map. The descriptions below are all described one way from north to south, which is also how the official gps tracks are set up.

    Segment A
    Starts at an unmarked pull-out along FR751, which is the main road leading to CC Cragin Reservoir. There's one long switchback and the trail ends at the lake on the east side of a small cove. Depending on the lake level, a little bit of room to picnic, dive, and swim is available. The west side of the cove features a nice campsite that is frequently occupied.

    Segment B
    Starts on the south side of Rock Crossing on a large flat area that features a couple of frequently used lakeside campsites. The track begins right next to a nice overhanging rock "cave" that has been made into a rain shelter for campers. The trail climbs gently to the top of Battleground Ridge and the intersection with the end of FR123 and a large pumping station which takes water from the reservoir and moves it to the East Verde river near Payson.

    The trail follows the road south for about 1/4 mile before a sign indicates the start of the route heading south to General Springs Canyon. It's another 1/4 mile along the old alignment of FR9709Q before the singletrack starts on the left and begins the scenic descent to the lake.

    Segment C
    This segment starts with a beautiful switchback that leads to a nice campsite above the junction of Bear Canyon and General Springs Canyon before following a steady traverse along the slope above Bear Canyon through a lightly burned fire scar. After a few minutes you reach an old double-track which leads the final stretch to the end of FR139A on Telephone Ridge. It's easiest to follow the double-track, but at the end it climbs more steeply than a nice hiking trail, because the original cut actually takes a more moderate route along a gentle grassy slope on the east side of the ridge. The cut here is indistinguishable except for some faint old blazes cut in the mature ponderosas.

    From the Segment C trailhead at end of FR139A, it's a short 1.5 miles to the Fred Haught Trail and the old Pinchot Guard Station cabin. I haven't been able to confirm this, but I believe the Rock Crossing Trail was originally connected to the Cabin Loop system and was part of a main trail leading from Washington Park to Blue Ridge. It can still easily be hiked that way now if you don't mind the two swims. You could even make a loop with the AZT which now largely parallels this old route, avoiding the two lake crossings.

    This one is a rarely used gem!
    Rock Crossing Trail #18A - Blue Ridge
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I stayed with a group of Flagstaffers at a cabin in Strawberry this weekend. The goal for Saturday morning was to leave for White Box at 8 a.m., from Strawberry. We didn't leave until 9:45. We needed to be back in Strawberry by 2:45pm, for a friend's wedding. Ambitious, I know.
    We were a mile and a half down FR142 before realizing the drive off the highway could be 45 minutes each way. I always push these itineraries hard to try to fit as much as possible in whatever limited time is available.
    I decided it was best to cut our losses and go chill at a "lake" for the remainder of our time.

    I had never been to CC Cragin/Blue Ridge before, and I had been wanting to checkout the Rock Crossing trail. We parked near the trailhead and didn't bother looking for the actual trail, but took off straight down the hillside towards the reservoir. As someone who works in statewide water planning, it was really interesting to see this reservoir for the first time. As many of you know, the Town of Payson will be sourcing a significant portion of their municipal water needs from this reservoir, beginning in 2018.

    Blue Ridge was not as busy as I would expect on Saturday in the summer, but we were in a mostly secluded arm of the "lake." That may have helped shield us from the more popular points. Next time I come here, I will have to bring a stand up paddle board! :D

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Clints Well go north on Highway 87 to FR 751 (about 4 miles, approximate milepost 295.2) and turn right (southeast). Drive about 3.6 miles to the trailhead located on the right side of the road.
    page created by chumley on Oct 14 2013 6:46 pm
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