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Kachina Trail #150, AZ

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1.5k 183 11
Guide 183 Triplogs  11 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Flagstaff > Flagstaff NW
4.1 of 5 by 71
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 5.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 9,500 feet
Elevation Gain -514 feet
Accumulated Gain 733 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.14
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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8  2019-09-03
Humphrey's Loop
3  2019-09-01
Humphreys Super Loop con Fremont Peak
18  2019-07-18 nancyesan
8  2018-10-08 david_allen_3
15  2018-09-30
Weatherford Trail #102
14  2018-08-26
Fremont - Doyle - Schultz
15  2018-08-04
Kachina - Weatherford - Humphreys Loop
8  2018-08-04
Kachina - Weatherford - Humphreys Loop
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 15
Author Desertboots
author avatar Guides 8
Routes 0
Photos 114
Trips 14 map ( 68 miles )
Age Female Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
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Preferred   Jun, Jul, Sep, Oct → 8 AM
Seasons   Summer to Autumn
Sun  6:11am - 6:31pm
Official Route
17 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Beautiful forest, great views
by Desertboots

Likely In-Season!
This trail is the Coconino Forestry Service flagship trail. I have hiked this is the middle of summer as well as in the fall. I would say the fall is definitely the best. The Aspen were just at their peak of fall color and the air was cool and crisp. Who could ask for anything more?

The hike is mildly strenuous because of the elevation. It starts out at 9300' and drops to 8800' at the end. It's best done in a two car shuttle. The second car can park at the Weatherford trailhead. I believe you can reach this trailhead from Friedlein Prairie Road, which is blocked off at a point. I don't think the walk is too bad though, and you can park where the roadblock is.

This trail is the best the San Fran peaks has to offer. There are beautiful fir, spruce and aspen forests, meadows. Early on the in hike, there is an interesting little cave, some basalt cliffs. You'll pass through Friedlein Prairie. This is visible from Flagstaff, it's that big triangle you see when you look up at the peaks. If I even make it this far, I'm lucky. This is a tougher hike that you might think because of the elevation. I have never gone all the way across as I suffer from elevation sickness and usually poop out at about 3 miles. At one point you start going uphill at a fairly respectable climb. It's in a meadow and the view is fantastic.

It's always a good idea to get acclimated to high elevations before a hike like this. One person in my hiking group this time had hiked in the Himalayas, so this was nothing for her. If you only have one car, Freidlein Prairie is a good place to turn around. It's the 4 mile mark. If you are gonzo, you can make it all the way to the Weatherford Trail trailhead and turn around, knock yourself out! I know it would me.....

Remember, please keep the dogs on a leash and if I catch you carving on an aspen, I'll pinch your head off.

Car Camping
Consider nearby FR 522, Freidlein Prairie. Designated sites are available.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2001-10-14 Desertboots
  • Courtesy Chumley
    guide related
  • FR22 Car Camping
    area related
    FR22 Car Camping
  • Kachina Peaks Map
    area related
    Kachina Peaks Map
  • book
    area related
  • 100 Classic Hikes - 2007
    area related
    100 Classic Hikes - 2007

Coconino FS Details
Most trails on the San Francisco Peaks head right for the top of this extinct volcano, the tallest mountain in the state of Arizona. The Kachina Trail breaks this pattern by setting an easy course across some of the mountain's more moderate topography. Don't let that discourage you if you think maximum altitude provides maximum enjoyment. This friendly pathway provides access to a healthy portion of the mountain's most beautiful scenery. Its gently rolling course winds along the mountain's middle slopes almost entirely within the boundaries of the Kachina Peaks Wilderness Area. It follows a moderate gradient through stands of whitebarked aspen and groves of tall mixed conifers separated by broad, wildflower carpeted meadows. Hikers who choose to follow it have an excellent chance of seeing some of the area's more spectacular wildlife residents, including hat-rack antlered elk and mule deer, as well as smaller but easier to see gray squirrels, Clark's nutcrackers, and Steller's jays.

At a number of points, the trail breaks free of the trees to offer good views both of the rocky upper slopes of the mountain and of the forests surrounding its base. Portions of the city of Flagstaff and its suburbs are visible as well. This hike can be especially rewarding in the fall when the scenery rings with the bugling of bull elk gathering harems for the breeding season, and when the mountain slopes glow with the gold of changing leaves. You'll want to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy while you take in all this scenery and don't forget your camera and your binoculars. Bring along a jacket, too. It gets cool up here.

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 55 deeper Triplog Reviews
Kachina Trail #150
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Humphrey's Loop
It’s been years since I have done this loop. Wanted to hike and run it to move as efficiently as possible. Had a pretty solid day overall. Made the summit in 1:53 and had it to myself. Gorgeous run down weatherford. Took somewhat of a beating on kachina but it was great anyway. Got rained on for the last mile.

Just a lovely day.
Kachina Trail #150
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Humphreys Super Loop con Fremont Peak
I have been wanting to do the Humphreys Super Loop and I have also been wanting to hike up to Fremont Peak, so I decided to both yesterday. I did not hike up to Humphreys though.

This was a true loop that I did clockwise. The hike began at the Humphreys Trailhead, and I took the Humphreys Summit Trail up to Agassiz Saddle. From there I took the Weatherford Trail to Fremont Saddle, and then went off-trail up to Fremont Peak, following the excellent route that @LindaAnn posted a week or so ago. From there I descended to the east, down to Doyle Saddle, and then picked up the Weatherford Trail again, taking it to the Kachina Trail, and finally followed the Kachina Trail back to the Kachina TH. Then I walked through a couple of parking lots back to the Humphreys TH.

The climb up to Fremont was not too difficult -- the terrain was good for the most part and the climb just under 600' in about 0.9 miles. The descent down the east side of Fremont was much more difficult than the climb up. You'll descend almost 1,000' in the first 0.6 miles. Part of this is very slippery, and there is a boulder field with large rocks and boulders to deal with. It would have been easier to go down the way that I came up, but then it would not have been a loop hike.

This was my first time on the Kachina Trail -- it was a diverse trail with some ups and downs; but after a long hike, there were more ups than I was really looking for.
Kachina Trail #150
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Kachina Weatherford Humphreys
I don't know what made me think of this, but sometime yesterday afternoon I got it in my head it would be fun. I checked some recent photos to see what the Wednesday snowfall had done on the peaks, and it looked like the upper Snowslide Canyon traverse would be quite manageable, having melted noticeably since my Agassiz trip 3 weeks ago.

I opted for the Joe and Bruce plan, starting on Kachina to avoid the cf that is 151 on a weekend morning. That turned out great.

Kachina was clear sailing. The aspens haven't leafed and the grasses were just starting to sprout some greens. Unexpected cloud cover made for cool temps.

I'd never hiked Weatherford between Kachina and Fremont Saddle, so this stretch was all new to me. That old road is an engineering marvel, and a pleasure to slowly stroll up a mountainside.

At the saddle we got a view of the snow in the IB, and it looked a little more daunting than my research indicated. Having been there a few weeks prior, I knew that from the IB trail up to the very last section would be easy going, but was concerned about the slope along the trail between Fremont and Doyle saddles. Just as I was considering heading back the way we came, two trail runners emerged from around the corner and informed me that despite it being very snowy, it was manageable.

I threw on my microspikes and gaiters, and grabbed my hiking poles for the traverse. It's definitely a little bit tricky and the deep snow and steep slopes slowed me down and each step took some care. But once I reached the IB junction, the slope moderates and it was just a pleasant hike in the snow until the Doyle Saddle where the sun exposed bare ground once again.

A few switchbacks later and I arrived at the crux on the day ... that couple hundred yard traverse across the steep, snowpacked slide path at the top of Snowslide Canyon climbing to the crest of the ridge below Agassiz. There had been two people who had obviously made the traverse earlier in the day, and it appeared an additional person yesterday. The snow was soft and easy to dig a good step deep into, and I made it across surprisingly quickly.

From there it was straightforward with only a few minor patches of snow from time to time. I decided to head for the summit and was pleased to see only 12 people over the next two miles. Late afternoon is a good time to avoid the crowds!

On the descent I moved quickly. The upper half is a muddy mess with the melt from last week's snow, but all the "old" snow from winter has melted from the trail, so in just a few more warm days, the entire 151 will be dried out and clear.
Kachina Trail #150
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I did Kachina Trail starting from the TH at the east end of Freidlein Prairie Rd (FR522). I planned to do an out-and-back, so I thought I'd prefer to do the "uphill" half first. I learned it doesn't make much difference on this trail -- it climbs and drops several times, as it crosses drainages coming off the high peaks -- feels about the same, going and coming. (I'll admit, though, that I was faster on the way east than I had been going west -- carrying less water as well as losing a bit of net elevation.) Doing Kachina in this direction gave me the chance to see what there is to see along FR522, which I'll use in future. That is a pretty rough road -- took about a half hour to do just about 3 miles. Besides having the chance to see the scenery along FR522, I had another benefit from doing the trail from east to west -- I ran into a Forest Service employee just as I was starting up the spur trail toward Kachina, and I'm glad I had the chance to chat with him about current fire activity and such. As for the trail, itself, some of the ferns along Kachina Trail are growing 5 feet+ tall! And in places they reach out from both sides and obscure the trail - but the trail doesn't make any dramatic turns in those areas, so if you keep on pressing through the ferns you can see the tread OK. I saw a deer or elk pretty early in the hike - not sure which because the animal was partly obscured in the trees - color was light tan. There are several dead trees lying across the trail, but only one was too big to clamber over easily. People have been turning uphill to walk around the end of that log, so I hope the FS or some lovely volunteer group will saw a chunk out of it before too long. (I guess that's extra tough in the Wilderness Area since chainsaws are not allowed!) It rained off and on (mostly on) for at least 2 hours, from about 1:30PM. And some little hail was included with the rain at times, for good measure. My feet got very wet, despite my fancy GTX-lined hiking shoes, because the ferns held a lot of water in their leaves, and showered me from the hips down all afternoon. My socks were wicking the water right down to my feet. So all in all, a perfect July day in the Kachina Peaks! :y: I did not quite get to the end of the trail at Snowbowl Rd, which is why I pegged the distance covered at about 10 miles. I can't be precise, so that's just based on time hiked, my usual hiking speed, and perceived effort on the day. (BTW, plenty of parking at the TH east end of FR522, and the spur trail is wide and well-marked with signs.)
Kachina Trail #150
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Humphreys from Hart Prairie
I was camped in Hart Prairie and trying to decide what to do for my Sunday. Having camped two nights above 8000 feet I figured I was acclimated enough to attempt Humphreys. I estimated it would take me more than half an hour to drive to Snowbowl, so I decided to just start hiking from camp. Hart Prairie in the morning was peaceful and serene. I must have seen over 100 deer in several herds each counting in the dozens. :)

Eventually I hit the AZT, and then the Nature Loop, though I cut a few of those useless switchbacks. The parking lot was busy, but the trail wasn't, which was nice. The register had 96 entries from Saturday. Presumably that would mean more than 300 people had hiked this trail the day before :o I was only the 8th entry at that point Sunday.

I made great time up the mountain, getting from the trailhead to the summit in 2.5 hours. From the saddle to the summit and back I wore hat, gloves, and a windbreaker as there was a cool breeze. The clear skies of early morning had turned to ominous clouds and it snowed for a few minutes while I was on the summit. I absolutely love dramatic clouds. I had the peak to myself but didn't stay more than 10 minutes before heading back down.

On the return trip, I took the higher traverse to the Agassiz Lodge where I was startled to find a line of people at least 200 deep waiting to ride the scenic chairlift. :o

I followed the maintenance road that traverses the ski slopes to the maintenance yard and continued down the powerline road. From there I turned downhill on an old road cut until it met up with the Kachina Trail and then did a little off-trail exploring in some nice glades with plenty of aspen. My route brought me out at Aspen Corner which was in absolutely prime color, and apparently half the population of Flagstaff was there to enjoy it.

I skipped the actual road/trail down Aspen Corner/Polar Aspen Alley to avoid the people and just dropped straight down toward camp below Alfa Fia for a fantastic day. There are some beautiful areas south of Snowbowl on the east side of the road, but it's easy to get caught in the wrong drainage too. There are a bunch of mountain bike paths too. I'd like to explore some of this area and get routes on a map as I'm sure there are some pretty good loops to be made in the shade of these pines and aspens.
Kachina Trail #150
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It had been a year and a half since Team Grey Duck (me, my daughter Sheila and our friend Alex) hiked together while Alex was off visiting all 50 states. We adopted the team name for the Phoenix Summit Challenge, we've done a couple of the seven summit variety. We've also done many other great AZ hikes, none if which I've posted, but that changes now.

Perfect day for a July 4th getaway to the Kachina Wilderness and a gorgeous 72 degree, 10 mile hike at 9000 feet. I've done Humphreys, Abineau/Bear Jaw, Inner Basin and a few others in the area and this ranks right up there with the best. Lots of green, great views and variety. We saw no more than a dozen people on the trail throughout the day which I thought was pretty amazing given the holiday. With no steady ascent, the effort is a little deceiving. The rolling elevation caught up to me and I was definitely feeling that last stretch from the registration box back to the car. I need more hikes at elevation this summer. Great hike though!
Kachina Trail #150
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F E R N A L U S C I O U S.

Needed to get a hike in to try and stay in some semblance of hiking shape. This hike is always a good one for that. The drive up the traffic was quite reasonable for a Sunday on a 3-day holiday weekend. I passed by the Bug Mesa fire area. The freeway made a nice fire break and the fire burned to the border of Cordes Junction. Outside of Flagstaff were some neon pink signs indicating a fire area; thot that was an interesting choice in color. The lot to the end of the Kachina Trail has been leveled and is quite nice now.

I started the hike around 9:45. It would be a beautiful day weather-wise and temperatures were even better when the sun ducked behind the clouds for a good portion of the hike which really helped with the movies. I have filmed this and taken photos pretty thoroughly now but I still took a lot of video as this new camera just rocks when it comes to stabilization. And this time I added my pics in with the videos, thus making them longer than normal. I've been using the Windows 10 photo editing programs for quick editing and other than my toning down the highlights too far sometimes, it really works well.

There were ferns right off the bat and they kept coming and getting bigger and lusher. I continued to be amazed and even more amazed as I worked my way down the trail. I still noticed the same things I always notice like the different trees or boulders or roots. And the white bark of the aspen really stood out from the vibrant fern covered forest floor :D . The trail still goes up and down and up and down all the way to the bottom. There were quite a few people in the morning (including several runners) but not so many when I came back up. As usual I tried to anticipate where the trail went next as it comes in and out of the forested sections.

Of course the views back toward the mountains is always impressive too especially as you look over the meadowy grass. That grass is a little course so I'm glad it didn't last long. You eventually arrive at Fern Field. In fact, I didn't even see a hiker coming because the ferns hid them. Here is a less than 3 minute video I took with Kemosabe that shows the field and walking thru the ferns: ... zRLA

I always like the match stix area altho I thot I might see more lupine but didn't. And then after the five mile mark you come to the tallest and thickest of the ferns. They are so thick they are laying over the trail so you can't see it and sometimes your feet get somewhat entangled. Finally I made it to the other side. A backpacker was passing by headed to the Weatherford for the first time so I suggested he try out the Doyle Saddle for his overnite camping.

I had a little lunch and then did my 22 pushups that ended up being 44 because I wanted the video to show the mountain in the background. Here is the video and I don't want to hear anything from the peanut gallery :stop: ... akto support (my long lost but now found cousin got me started on this). Oh if any of you want to volunteer to do the challenge 22 push ups for 22 days, PM me - I have 17 days left.

And now, it was time to return and up through the thick ferns I went. The grade going back up is not bad at all and of course with the scenery still capturing my attention, it made the hike seem to go a little faster. I wasn't awwwwhhhing as much now but still found the scenery inspiring. I would encounter a few hikers coming down and two people did pass me. We all ended up missing the turn at this one boulder section where it looks like you go straight but you actually curve to the right. That is the way I was going but the others had gone straight so I thot maybe that was correct but it wasn't. Curious as to where that leads though....

About mile 10, I was done... well my legs were. I kept drinking more water and had a little snack cuz I think my legs were hungry. At the wilderness sign, I ran into one of our Lifetime Group Fitness instructors and her family. I'm sure I looked a fright by this time as I was pretty drained but it was sure fun to run into her. Also, when I was at the other end, one of the other instructors (she's also my workout partner) was on the upper part of the trail as we were Facebooking (yes, there was internet access at the eastern TH) during my lunch break.

So a good day! The drive back was pretty good too. The pics are edited and movies are in production. However, I think a lot of the pics I've taken from my previous trips here on HAZ are sufficient and so are the movies but why should that stop me from posting more ;) :lol: .

Here are the videos and they were tough to edit due to the lighting conditions. The first two I chose not to use youtube's stabilizer because of the light flickering:
Part 1 - ... kKzk
Part 2 - ... j6Gs
here is a stabilized version of part 2 if you care to compare - ... r7Ro
Part 3, it's getting prettier - ... jntY
Part 4 - ... EWu0
Part 5 - the ferns did indeed get taller toward the bottom, starting back up ... akmQ
Part 6 - ... Om58
Part 7 - still beautiful ... cVWg

Ferns were substantial!!! Scattered lupine, a few mariposa lilys, some paintbrush.
Kachina Trail #150
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Kachina - Weatherford Loop
The Kachina would be more enjoyable if you didn't have to constantly monitor foot placement. Hence why the Inner Basin Trail is the aspen hike winner in my book. Kachina ( bless you ) fights back hard with meadow madness. You immediately feel the sun charbroiling your pumpkin crossing meadows. One of the large meadows has a view of Humphreys that begs photo attention.

I enjoy the Weatherford for it's many personalities up to the best switchback of any trail I've hiked. The history of the Model T's crosses my mind over and over on each visit.

16 days ago jj and I ascended off trail over 4-8 ft snow from the Inner Basin. We were seriously concerned about frostbite on the return. The sun has done it's magic, just a few 4 foot drifts alongside the trail now.

Bruce took a nap at the saddle while I hit the summit. The out-n-back just carrying a small collapsible water bottle was dreamy. Shockingly a bug-less ascent, maybe due to later afternoon?

Bruce really knows how to power nap. He forgot his age and turned into a version of jlpbobwally. Like a kid in a stolen Ferrari he was passing with a heavy right foot. Nearly died laughing when he raced out into the rock field blowing a switchback after passing a couple at 5 mph. Heck, I'm no angel, been there done that... a couple times. The key is to pretend it's a switchback and just keep rolling straight back.

Even more shocking, he wanted to do another hike on the way home without any planning. Great day!

the standard high elevation flowers are out
Kachina Trail #150
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Kachina - Weatherford Loop
This hike was Plan A for a couple of weeks ago. Plan A was saved for today, because of snow on the Weatherford Trail.

We arrived around 8am to Humphreys parking lot, which was close to 90% full. It appeared that there would be a constant line of ants marching to the peak.

We on the other hand were starting on the Kachina trail. There were only 3 or 4 cars in this lot, so we have much more solitude and would hit the summit trail later in the day after the crowds had thinned.

The Kachina Trail always amazes me. There's always more up and down than I remember, but he changing views make this a winner. Meadows, Peak, Aspens, Pines and big views.

The Weatherford Trail from Kachina to Doyle Saddle drags a bit some times, but the views make up for it. The 3.5 miles from Doyle Saddle to the Humphreys Saddle is probably one of my favorite sections of trail in the state. It just has that "FEEL".

There were some typical crowds at the Humphrey Saddle, but I'm sure it was way down from earlier in the day. I chilled at the saddle while Joe went for his 3rd summit in 4 weeks to the AZ top Spot.

The trip down the Summit Trail to the TH was the typical root skipping slog. Not my favorite trail, but it completes the loop. back to the trail head.

The weather on the day was nice in the shade and when the wind was blowing.
[ photo ]
Kachina Trail #150
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Bruce and Joe were headed up to Humphreys Peak on Saturday. Bruce has been getting after me for being too quiet and said I would turn into a mushroom if I didn't get out more. After a number of set backs in recent months, I targeted this day to get back out anyway, but I like his mushroom story better, so that's what I'm going with. Besides, my inactivity was causing some serious mushrooming around an already robust spare tire. Time to get out!!!

After driving up together, Joe and the Eagle headed up where only eagles dare, followed by a side trip to Walker Lake. I went to the other side of the parking lot and set off on the Kachina trail. I saw a number of people on Kachina and they were all happy, so I started imagining this as the happy trail. It's a beautiful trail from start to finish. I soon became one of the happy people, too. :y:

I followed the trail to Weatherford, turned south and followed Weatherford for about a third of a mile. Where the trail bends around to the left, I went off trail to the right in a SSW direction, heading for what I hoped would be a nice overlook. I was following what the FS Topo showed as an old jeep road. I saw no signs of the road but stayed on the track I drew up until I reached a well defined use trail that led me right to where I wanted to be. This trail eventually intersects with the Kachina Spur Trail #150A. I stayed on the use trail until I reached a parking area at the end of FR 522, then went off trail in a NNW direction to get back to Kachina. This parking area would make a great shuttle or key exchange hike for the Kachina trail.

The way back was every bit as delightful as the way in. It was warmer as I headed back, probably in the low 80's, but still very nice. With only one hike since January, though, my endurance was lacking and I started hurting with a couple of miles to go. The elevation gain on this trail is moderate, but it's a roller coaster with most of the gain on the way back. Two miles is a long way at that altitude when you have little left in the tank. As I trudged on, I was no longer one of the happy people. :stretch:

The end of my hike in no way diminishes the absolute joy I had for the majority of this hike. This is a great hike; I just wasn't ready to hike that much of it.

After I finished my hike, I drove over to Walker Lake to wait for Joe and Bruce. I had a nice book to read, so the time passed quickly. We loaded up on the $1 menu at Del Taco just before leaving Flagstaff, then enjoyed an easy ride back to Happy Valley. It was a great day!

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Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
From Flagstaff, head off east on highway 180 to the turn off for Snow Bowl. Follow Snow Bowl road to the top where you will see a trail sign and parking area. There is a large graveled parking area(on the right side of the road). It's approximately 300 yds from the Humphries Trailhead(which is on the left side of the road).
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