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Rock Crossing Trail #18B - Blue Ridge, AZ

no permit
20 6 0
Guide 6 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well
3.7 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 1.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,720 feet
Elevation Gain 377 feet
Accumulated Gain 389 feet
Avg Time One Way 45 min
Kokopelli Seeds 2.7
Interest Perennial Creek
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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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
9  2006-07-02 chumley
11  2005-08-28 chumley
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
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Oct, Sep, Apr
Sun  6:12am - 6:23pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Likely In-Season!
Rock Crossing Trail #18 is split into three segments because it crosses Blue Ridge / C.C. Cragin Reservoir two times.

Segment #18B technically begins on the north arm of the lake, ascends Battleground Ridge, crossing FR123 at the pumping station, before descending to the south arm of the lake. However, most people access the trail from it's mid-point at FR123 and hike to either one arm of the lake or the other.

See also Segment #18A

See also Segment #18C

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    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 #18B - Blue Ridge
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Without a GPS to guide me, the navigation was more difficult than the "1" chumley set, especially when there are no signs. :lol:

    In my searching though I did find a dilapidated cabin, a tree chest/bear box?, and another shack, lost to time.

    Nice trail, but I don't think the forest service knows where it is. Seems to need maintenance by someone other than boy scouts.

    Both ends do require swimming to link up with the other segments, but I didn't come prepared for that.
    Rock Crossing Trail #18B - 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!

    Permit $$
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    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    Take the Rim Road (FR300) from Hwy 87 about 12 miles east to FR123. Travel on FR123 (Battleground Ridge) for about 8.5 miles from the Rim Road (FR300) to it's terminus at the reservoir pumping station.
    page created by chumley on Oct 14 2013 6:56 pm
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