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Stewart Pocket - Balanced Rock Loop, AZ

Guide 6 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
  3.5 of 5 
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 4.37 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,797 feet
Elevation Gain 381 feet
Accumulated Gain 795 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.35
Interest Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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12  2022-05-21 John10s
4  2021-05-14
Boulders Loop Trail - PATS
22  2020-10-24
Stewart Pocket Grand Circle
11  2019-06-13
Balanced Rock Loop
3  2019-04-14 expphoto
5  2016-07-28 donqcryer
Author donqcryer
author avatar Guides 8
Routes 19
Photos 297
Trips 50 map ( 325 miles )
Age 73 Male Gender
Location Payson, AZ & Corpus Christi,
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
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Preferred Apr, Mar, Nov, Oct → 6 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:30am - 7:33pm
Official Route
2 Alternative

One of Payson's Best
by donqcryer

Sedona has its well-known Red Rocks, but few know how beautiful Payson's Pink Rocks can be. Stewart's Pocket area may very well rival Sedona for its scenic beauty. Flanked by Stewart Ridge on the South and the Mogollon Rim on the north, it not only contains the unique boulder formations of Granite Dells but numerous peaks or knolls, many topped by pink rocks.

This lasso loop hike on the south side of Stewart Pocket / Granite Dells may be another one of Payson's best hikes. Going counter-clockwise on the loop portion, this loop initially uses Stewart Pocket - South Loop trail that climbs steeply 1/2 way up Stewart Ridge and then meanders along the grade in and out of the cool forest and rock formations. The views north of the Dells, knolls, and Mogollon Rim are fabulous!

After 1.44 miles, right where SP S Loop turns N and descends, this extended loop branches off up to the Right (South). The intersection is somewhat hidden, but after 20 feet, the trail is well established. Just look around for it. The trail continues up & down east, but holding grade and following the rim contour. Soon you will see the huge Balanced Rock to your North / East. You can not miss it. After 1 mile from the SP S loop junction, after passing the Balanced Rock, the trail makes a descending 180-degree turn and passes even closer to the Balanced Rock (and near the upper S side of this trail loop.) After another 0.9 miles, the trail rejoins the SP S loop and continues back to the trailhead. This trail is primo for mountain biking. Throw in that the trail can not get muddy, seldom used, pretty shady, and no ATVs or dust, and you gotta luv it!

This trail was beautifully laid out and constructed by Payson's forest mountain bike gnomes. Unfortunately, they are a bit protective of the trail and try to keep the intersections with the SP S trail hidden (like they tried to do with that loop before many hikers discovered that loop...) Shame - this loop extension is too beautiful and so well constructed and laid out. Everyone should enjoy and appreciate the gnomes' efforts!

Water Sources
seasonal small flows

National Forest land

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2016-07-28 donqcryer
    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Phoenix Street Trailhead
    From AZ 87 Beeline Highway, in Payson, east on E Phoenix Street, up over hill and way down through new development and new Phoenix Street extension all the way to the end at the cul-de-sac. Park. Payson PATS TH sign.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) - 89.5 mi, 1 hour 41 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) - 187 mi, 3 hours 12 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) - 115 mi, 2 hours 15 mins
    page created by donqcryer on Jul 28 2016 1:13 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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