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Barbershop Cyn Upper - Merritt Draw Upper Loop, AZ

no permit
115 8 0
Guide 8 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well
4 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Loop 5.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,435 feet
Elevation Gain 223 feet
Accumulated Gain 800 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4.5 - 5.5 ho
Kokopelli Seeds 9.9
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
28  2018-08-29
Barbershop Merritt Draw Loop
13  2018-08-12
Barbershop Merritt Loop
8  2018-05-12 MountainMatt
7  2017-08-25 Grasshopper
35  2014-06-29 tibber
40  2014-06-15 Grasshopper
25  2013-06-13
Barbershop Cyn Upper Loop - Mogollon Rim
Author Grasshopper
author avatar Guides 42
Routes 458
Photos 8,104
Trips 508 map ( 5,318 miles )
Age 74 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Co-Author HAZ_Hikebot
co-author avatarGuides 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, Sep, Oct, Jun
Sun  6:12am - 6:23pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
lots to see
by Grasshopper & HAZ_Hikebot

Likely In-Season!
Overview: Scenic, peaceful, filled with interesting points of interest including numerous perennial and seasonal named and unnamed springs, this moderate and mostly off-trail loop hike within our Mogollon Rim- Cabin Loop area with route finding skills required, offers a very pleasant remote hiking experience within the most scenic sections of Upper Barbershop Canyon and Upper to Middle Merritt Draw.

Hike: Follow the Official Route or wander at your own leisure. The loop follows Barbershop Canyon southwest to Barbershop Spring. Then returns northeast through Merritt Draw.

Warning: for Arizona "Monsoon Season" months of July, August, and into September.

History: This loop hike includes a short section of Barbershop Trail #91, one of the historic Cabin Loop Trails.

Water Sources: Numerous water sources with best availability for hiking months in May, July, August, and September.

Camping: Many lesser visited and primitive backpack campsites along this hiking loop route including numerous vehicle camping locations (see linked and "official" GPS hiking route with all key way points included)

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2014-06-20 Grasshopper & HAZ_Hikebot
    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
    Barbershop Cyn Upper - Merritt Draw Upper Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    1st Note:
    This loop hike does not include the Merritt Draw section but rather completes the hike description loop from Barbershop TR 91 by returning (with some off-trail) to the TH Start via FR139C.

    This was the sixth off-trail since 2010 that I have hiked this section of Upper Barbershop Canyon. Each hike year it seems that the off-trail, route finding 300ft drop (from the top off FR139C) into the canyon drainage changes due to new downed trees, washouts, and some re-routing of various game trails to follow.

    This sixth hike down to the canyon drainage from the top I did not do a very good job of following my recommended hike description GPS Route. I missed the recommended rock cairned waypoint entrance by about 60 yards which made our route down more difficult for my two friends who are active trail hikers but do little off-trail hiking.

    I do believe this Aug'17 visit had the most vegetation growth and water (both pooling and flowing) since first visiting here in 2010.

    It was still a good area hike choice and I'm sure I will be back for another round on a future year :D
    Barbershop Cyn Upper - Merritt Draw Upper Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Once again, Tibber has done a wonderful job of the writeup on this loop, and Grasshopper has done a bang-up job at creating it. I thought that it was the perfect mix of "puzzle solving" route finding and "easy peasy" walking. Always beautiful, and full of interesting sights, this is a sure winner if you're looking for an entry to off trail walking on the rim.

    I want to learn more about the fenced riparian areas, I'm curious as to how they're recovering and if it's mostly an issue of damage by elk (which aren't native here, and have a terrible impact).
    Barbershop Cyn Upper - Merritt Draw Upper Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    This was the second day hike WENDY picked for our ABC anniversary camp/hike weekend. I touched base with Hank regarding some of the logistics for this and knowing Wendy was a lot better than me at reading a GPS, we left ABC camp around 9ish I think.

    I hadn't driven the Rim Road here for quite a bit. It is narrower than I remember and the drainage ditches also seem deeper. However, the road is quite smooth and fortunately not much traffic once you get past Knoll Lake. The driving directions for getting to Grasshopper Campsite 2 were pretty straight forward and the roads in (after 300) were in decent shape. Once we got to the campsite, I remembered it from my last time up here with Jack and Hank (gosh, that was clear back in 2011 :o ).

    Now to figure out which way to go. We knew we would be heading in a clockwise direction per Hank's suggestion. It looks like a bit of a clearing to the north but you actually head south toward the canyon (across the fence) and pick up a game trail (at least that's what we did). We kept heading along the edge of the canyon and slightly contoured staying with the game trail until we finally reached a cairn. It's quite slippery contouring the canyon due to the pine needles mostly. And then it's almost straight down from there where you will eventually see the cairn marking your entry at the canyon floor. (It's like a double-layer climb down).

    Once at the bottom you are instantly rewarded with beautiful canyon walls and lots of ferns :) . So UP the canyon floor we go, many times following the elk track. They did a great job finding us the best way to walk in this canyon. And much to our delight, we encountered more water than we anticipated along with natural rock bridges for us to cross. We also saw turkeys, butterflies and one elk and a pretty intact elk carcass. Oh, and per Hank's trip report from last year:
    I noticed a significant amount of deer and elk activity via well worn use routes, droppings.

    The trees growing out of the rock of the canyon walls was interesting too; especially this one that the trunk appeared to be one with the rock wall. There were a couple meadow-like areas with clumpy grass along the way too and we did pass a spring with all sorts of greenery going up the side of the canyon. Wendy also made note of the campsites Hank had put on the GPS route and there are some nice ones that are somewhat elevated above the water areas.

    We came to the end of the canyon and walked over to the sign on the Barbershop #91 trail. I was surprised to see that we weren't too far from other trails I have read about. We went back a bit to have some lunch under the shade of some trees with a view down Barbershop. And then next, it was up a hill out of the canyon. THIS was much easier than what we had come down to get in the canyon; but after all, it was a trail ;) .

    This is a pretty little section of the trail. You eventually come to a gate and we continued walking anticipating a turn to the right. We felt we walked too far so we went back to the gate and headed up the fence line but not too long before we saw that the GPS said this wasn't right. Se we hiked back out to the meadow where the main trail was looking for a cairn or some indication of where to turn but we never did find it so we headed north up the meadow-like area. Wendy asked if we wanted to continue this way or head up the hill to get closer to the GPS track. I opted for the hill : rambo : and eventually we got back on the track.

    Soon you come to the road we had driven on and then you take a left. You follow the road for about a quarter mile where I spotted a cairn to our right. My one measly contribution to this track finding as Wendy did the most and deserves KUDOS; and I did one of these toward the end as she nailed it :worthy: . From here we more or less hiked thru the welcome spotty shade of the forest. We came to another small meadow and someone was at the campsite (9735) not too far from Whistling Spring. We walked along side the road for a bit and we came out to the first bigger and fenced meadow area (Upper Merritt Draw), Wendy had us stay to the left (west) to walk in the shade.

    We did see a couple chipmunks along the way here. They are always so comical when they scamper off. We also saw a Tanager. We finally came to the last enclosure and crossed over to the east side to walk along side it. I was in familiar territory now and knew we were getting close to the end. We were both a bit weary by this time. We stopped for a five minute break before heading up the hill along the fence line and arrived safely back to Grasshopper Campsite 2.

    After freshening up the best we could (FYI - not wearing sock liners because I was wearing tennis shoes instead of boots results in very dirty feet for me :yuck: ) we took the 139 to the 95 to the 87.... it seemed a long trip though I do remember taking that here in 2011. We stopped at El Rancho in Payson. I did try the Navajo Taco and it was just the right size and tasted delish (remember to get the green sauce with it).

    This is a great hike but you will need your GPS. There are some landmarks for some of the waypoints along the way such as the sign for Trail 91 (and there's a visible trail) and just past the gate after going up the hill from the Canyon, etc.

    Video 1 heading toward and down into and on the Canyon floor:
    Video 2 in the canyon ending at Barbershop Trl #91:
    Video 3 from Barbershop 91 to and thru part of Merritt Draw:
    Barbershop Cyn Upper - Merritt Draw Upper Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Father's Day 2014 : king :

    On my June'13 week camping & hiking trip to this area, I hiked a variation of this "lots to see" loop which included all but the very enjoyable return segment via Upper Merritt Draw. For this June'14 trip adding the return segment of this loop via Upper Merritt Draw was an excellent choice as it only added an additional one mile to the loop but added twice the scenic enjoyment.

    HAZ Hikebot and I both agreed that this new, moderate difficulty/route finding "off-trail" loop now in season was worthy of having more visibility via a new HAZ Hike Description for others to consider.

    I might also add that for those interested in sharpening their "on-trail and off-trail" GPSr Route Finding/Following/WP go-to skills, that this recommended loop would be an excellent choice. This author's posted picture set with detailed captions and recommended official GPS Route for download with all "key" way points included is for you.

    Also Note: This loop hike including driving to and from the Phoenix area should be easily doable in a long day and as a GPSr route finding/following learning experience (good or bad), this author feels that as a GPSr owner & user, you really should not be too disoriented trying to follow this downloaded, recommended and "official" GPS Route :)

    As I have now learned and as our HAZ-GPSjoe belived: "Become an experienced GPS User and it will set you free" ;)
    Barbershop Cyn Upper - Merritt Draw Upper Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    The last time I day hiked this two mile off-trail section of Upper Barbershop Canyon to its intersection with Barbershop Trail #91 was with GPSjoe in September, 2010. It was good to finally be back for a revisit. It did not disappoint in Sept'10 and neither did it this revisit :)

    This June 13th loop hike was a deviation from the original hike description write-up further explained in the "information notes" section of my posted 6/13 GPS Route.

    This visit I wanted to further document via photos and way point locations for all others qualified and interested, the possible and recommended overnight backpack campsite locations within this two mile section of Upper Barbershop Canyon. I located two to three possible backpack campsites that I would recommend. These campsite locations with views of and associated pic captions are documented in my geocoded picset with reference way points/comments also noted on my posted GPS Route (hiking up canyon, these two recommended backpack campsites are at elevations of 7336ft and 7424ft respectively).

    While hiking this lush green with seasonal/perennial water flow and pooling sections of Upper Barbershop Canyon, I noticed a significant amount of deer and elk activity via well worn use routes, droppings, and I also noticed more alcoves and minor cave areas up into the cliff walls. This canyon surely must be a very active early morning and evening/night mecca for wildlife and thus one of the reasons why I feel it would be an awesome location to spend the night. I can visualize waking up in the early morning and seeing : rein : outside my tent. I'm not sure what else might roam around from inside the numerous alcoves and caves :lol:

    This has been mentioned before by others, but I might repeat that for those who have exhausted hiking the standard Cabin Loop Trails in this area, that Barbershop and Dane Canyons should offer a pleasant off-trail minor challenge alternative for those qualified. In my opinion, Upper Barbershop Canyon (between U-Bar TR 28 & Barbershop TR 91) is a good choice for either day hiking or backpacking. Dane Canyon (between U-Bar 28 & Barbershop TR 91), the "center" section up canyon from Dane Spring being better for day hiking or backpacking with the "lower end" and "upper end" of Dane Canyon being better suited for day hiking.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To Mid FR139C the arbitrary/unofficial Trailhead
    From Phoenix
    Drive Hwy 87 north through Payson, Pine, and Strawberry.. approx 10.5 miles north of Strawberry on Hwy 87 at MP281.1, turn right at signed FR300 (the Rim Road). From this intersection...

    Utilize this GPS Driving Route "from" the intersection of Hwy 87/FR300 (Rim Road) at Hwy 87 Milepost 281.2 "to" the recommended FR139C TH Start at Camp Grasshopper-Campsite #3 (or #2).
    (Trailhead is generic)
    page created by Grasshopper on Jun 20 2014 1:22 pm
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