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General Crook Connector #104A / Cottonwood Tr, AZ

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Guide 2 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Show Low W
4 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 12 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,497 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,317 feet
Avg Time One Way 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 16.39
Interest Historic & Seasonal Creek
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
28  2017-08-07
Juniper Ridge LO/ Limestone ridge LO loop
15  2014-08-19
General Crook Connector / Juniper Ridge LO
8  2013-09-17
Not the General Crook Connector Trail
Author topohiker
author avatar Guides 13
Routes 112
Photos 4,377
Trips 1,731 map ( 27,689 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Mar
Seasons   Late Winter to Early Spring
Sun  6:05am - 6:25pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
the jekyll and hyde trail
by topohiker

GC Connector Trail
This trail connects the White Mountain trail system with the General Crook trail. It is the furthest west of the White Mountain trails. In order to connect to the General Crook trail, the Cottonwood trail is included in this description.

The trail goes through the burned out areas of the Rodeo-Chediski fire of 2002. The forest service put in some major trail maintenance and possible rerouting of these trails.

The General Crook Connector trail has 24 white reflective diamonds numbered 1 to 24. They are placed about every quarter mile. There are also blue diamonds on the trail to keep you on the trail.
It is very had to get lost on this trail. The trail is so well maintained, there is no obstacles on the trail. One good rule about this trail is if you have to cross over a log, your off trail! Every dead fall has been cleared from the trail. The FS even cut small 2 inch logs!

The trail starts from the campground and heads through numerous canyons and burn areas. You slowly climb and come across the Left Hand spring. Then you hike around and across the Left Hand canyon. Then you’re in a pine forest. Along the way you cross numerous roads and hike on abandoned roads.
The General Crook Connector ends at FR132 (Pinedale Ridge RD). There is a sign for the General Crook Connector, but not the Cottonwood trail.

Cottonwood Trail
Once you cross the road, the trail slowly starts to change. There are only blue diamonds on the trees, then brown posts with the diamonds and finally only naked brown posts. The Cottonwood trail is well maintain just like General Crook Connector until Bald / Butler points. Also at this point the trail cuts across a canyon there are steep ups and downs with loose footing. Then the trail gets messy and the brown posts serve as ‘connector the trail’ points. Then you wound up hiking on a road with naked brown posts. The brown posts take you down into the Cottonwood wash. The topo maps show the trail turning to the south before the wash, but I didn't see any evidence of a trail. I think 1 of 2 things happens here:
1) The FS stopped the trail maintenance/reconstruction
2) The FS rerouted the trail down the Cottonwood Wash road

I’m going with number 2 due to how the trail conditions went downhill and started following forest roads. Plus I saw one tree along the road with a blue diamond I believe the trail goes down the Cottonwood wash road to FR139.

The General Crook Connector is a fun trail, while the Cottonwood is blah. There is not a lot of shade on these trails. So hiking in the cooler months would be best.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2014-08-20 topohiker

    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
    General Crook Connector #104A / Cottonwood Tr
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    General Crook Connector / Juniper Ridge LO
    This was the bizarro weather day!

    I'm used to leaving PHX in the sun/heat. Then when arriving in rim country, it would rain from noon till I left.This time it was pouring rain when I got to Ord. In fact there was fog on the beeline. It poured to about Heber. The rain stopped and I saw some blue in the clouds.
    On the way home there was clear skies all way till I got to Mt. Ord.

    Now the hike!

    "A tale of two trails"

    Since its close to a 3 hour drive to the Lewis Canyon TH, I wanted to squeeze out as much hiking as I could. So I planned on doing the General Crook Connector/Cottonwood trail and the Juniper Ridge trail. Both start at the same place.

    General Crook Connector
    This trail been a mystery for me since I finished the General Crook trail. Last year I tried to find where it the Gen Crook ended, but I couldn't. I had the route in the GPS, but there was no trail.

    This time I started at the other end by Pinedale. I got the campground and found the trail-head. There was a really nice trail map sign.I would say it was the nicest map I've ever seen. There are pegs in it representing the trail markers.

    The hike out was nice. There was a light rain through the day. Only 3 times it rained so hard that I had to put my rain jacket on. After 6 miles, the Gen Crook Connection trail ended and the Cottonwood wash trail started. I saw 2 Gen Crook Chevron on 2 trees :? ! I thought Bruce was playing a joke on me :) . I think that the cottonwood trail might have been part of the Gen Crook trail at one time. This would explain why the Gen Crook connector trail doesn’t actually connect to the Gen Crook trail.
    The cottonwood trail by Bald / Butler points was steep and loose. The rain made it slick and I fell down once. The trail markers dumped me into the Cottonwood wash. This brought back memories of last year when I went the Cottonwood wash lookin’ for trail. It started to pour and the road/wash started to fill up with water. I saw the BBQ that I went past year and decided enough. I was concerned if it keep raining the wash would fill up and plus I had my mind set on going to the Juniper Ridge look out. I turned around. On the way back I avoided the slick trail by the Bald / Butler points by going around it on forest road.

    Juniper Ridge Lookout

    I got to the campground a little before 6 and was determined to hit the LO before dark. The Juniper Ridge trail has 2 loops within it. There’s a short and long loop. Then there's a LO connector. Due to daylight, I took the shortest route to the LO. The trail hops road to road and the last 1.5 miles is trail. The trail is super easy to follow. There are trail markers everywhere. I got to the LO just as it turned dark and got some pictures in. You can see the Show Low city lights from the LO. After the sun dropped, the stars came out and a bitter cold wild started to blow. I had to put on two jackets for return trip. The hike back in the dark was a blast. The trail markers light up from a far distance. I flew down the trail JJ style! It think it was easier hiking the Juniper Ridge trail in the dark. When I got to the Jeep, the temps dropped down to 52!

    It was a really fun hike. On the drive up, I was doubtful if I wanted to hike in a rain storm. Most of the hike had no shade, so the
    clouds /rain made the hike enjoyable (minus the slippery mud).

    So my motto for the hike was "When given lemons, make lemonade". My wife would say that I'm just too stubborn.
    General Crook Connector #104A / Cottonwood Tr
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Not the General Crook Connector Trail
    Sometimes hikes don’t go as planned.
    My goals were to finish off the Eastern end of the General Crook trail and then take the General Crook Connector trail to the Lewis Canyon TH and see what other trails are there.

    I had called the Black Mesa ranger station to confirm the trailhead. They confirmed that the TH was on FR139 and the road was singed on SR260. But the ranger would not confirm or deny the existence/ shape of any trails

    Well on the drive up my Jeep had a wardrobe malfunction. The bikini top broke strap on the bee-line and I made a McGuyer repair with a bungee cord.

    The trailhead is just a turn-about off of FR139 (right off of SR260). There were no signs or plagues. I kind of figured there was be something for the end of the General Crook trail. Just a chevron in the tree. No V stump marker either.

    I headed west to finish off the last 1.68 miles of the crook trail. I got to the turn that I missed last time. I moved one of fallen trail posts to shrub to make it easier to find.

    Both my Forest Service map and Garmin GPS showed that the General Crook Connector trail starts right were the General Crook Trail end across FR139. Just keep following the General Crook trail and you run into the Connector trail.
    Well there’s fence line on the east side of FR139. I walked up and down it. The fence starts at SR260 and heads south. I saw no trail on the other side of the fence. About a 1/4 mile from the TH was an un-numbered 4WD road with a gate. I followed the road and my GPS showed that I cross over the trail. There was no trail. The road paralleled the trail so followed the road until it hit Cottonwood wash. My GPS showed that the trail turned here. I hopped of the road and bushwhacked a looking for the trail. I found no trail. The supposed path of the trail didn’t make sense. It would have gone through some really tough and dangerous terrain with steep drops and steep climbs. I cut across back to the road. The road was on the east side of the wash and my GPS showed the trail was on the west side. Accordingly to my GPS I crossed over the trail about 8 times. I was convinced that the road was the trail. After another mile the road swung back to FR139! ](*,) When the forest gives you lemons you make lemonade. But what do you do if you get rotten lemons? I tried to figure out what happened. I pulled out the map and search around bit and came to the conclusion that he trail does not exist anymore.

    I spent some much time on this ‘trail’ that I didn’t have time to go to the campgrounds or check out the Juniper Ridge lookout tower. So, I ditched the rotten lemons and got a new batch. I did a loop to the Deer Spring lookout tower. I noticed that signage gets bad the further east you go. I had to use the FR map and the GPSs to double check the roads. Sometime one GPS showed roads that the other didn’t.

    Even though I didn’t make to the Lewis Canyon camp grounds and had to come up with an impromptu ‘Plan B”, it would up not being a bad hike. The temps were perfect and the only people I saw were campers.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Payson take AZ 260 (go past Heber) to Pinedale RD, Turn left and remain on Pinedale / FR130 to Lewis campground. The TH is at the far end of campground. The other terminus is at FR132, where the Cottonwood trail connects to the General Crook Connector trail
    page created by topohiker on Aug 20 2014 10:41 pm
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