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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Maverick Canyon - Merritt Draw Loop, AZ

no permit
35 3 0
Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well
4 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,435 feet
Elevation Gain -308 feet
Accumulated Gain 648 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 8.44
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Historic & Seasonal Creek
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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6  2019-08-27 MountainMatt
29  2016-07-22 Grasshopper
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, Sep, Oct, Jun
Sun  6:10am - 6:27pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Likely In-Season!
A scenic and peaceful loop hike, which includes numerous perennial(4) and seasonal named/unnamed springs. This moderate and mostly "off-trail" loop hike close to our Mogollon Rim- Cabin Loop area trails with route finding skills recommended, offers a very pleasant remote hiking experience within the entire off-trail length of Maverick Canyon to intersect scenic, historic sections of Upper to the start of Middle Merritt Draw.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2018-07-14 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
    Maverick Canyon - Merritt Draw Loop
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Quick little late afternoon exploration in a slightly different part of good Ol’ Maverick.
    I’ve hiked all in and around the Merrit/Maverick area over the years and have always came across something of interest whether it be wildlife or water.
    Made a retreat back to the truck when I first started due to uncomfortably close lightning strikes but after it dispersed it was perfect hiking weather.
    On the way out of the canyon around 7pm I encountered a very healthy lone coyote that still has me questioning whether it could have been a rare Mexican Gray Wolf as the face was so much larger and rounded off than the typical yotes I always see.
    Although unlikely it’s not impossible as I have a friend with crystal clear game trail photos of a wolf near Heber and I’ve heard of various reports of them throughout the rim and as far west as the Miller Canyon area.
    I just saw some old photos of the high country jaguars taken by hunter Terry Penrod back in the 1960’s near Big Lake along with a few other cats on the Fort Apache Reservation which just gives fuel to my imagination that there could be a wolf or two out roaming the woods of Rim Country.

    And not to forget the very real “Mogollon Monster” ;)
    Maverick Canyon - Merritt Draw Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Mogollon Rim - Autumn 2016
    Not many hiking miles clocked today nor AEG, and a very long day with out and back driving miles, but so worth it for a beautiful cool, blue sky, Mogollon Rim day with plentiful Prime Autumn "Big Tooth Maple" colors :FG:

    A longtime friend of mine, a HAZ member, and a very active Arizona Outdoor Travel Club (AOTC) hiking member was interested in joining me for this Autumn day trip. Since all the areas I had hoped to hike were in the same general area, I thought it would be a nice idea to first visit my favorite Mogollon Rim vehicle campsite which my friend had not previously seen.

    I had four prime Autumn locations on my visit agenda this day, but one of the main ones I had hoped to view- Bear Canyon West Fork [ description ] , was presently closed for access due to the now active and managed "Pinchot Fire" viewtopic.php?t=9722 .

    So, as it turned-out, with the 3.5 hour drive up and a short visit to my favorite campsite #3, we really only had enough prime daylight time to visit the following three Big Tooth Maple areas noted below with hike descriptions linked above:

    (see posted 10/4/16 GPS Routes and Photo Sets for)-
    .. Upper Maverick Canyon- Autumn'16 [ photoset ]
    .. Upper Bill McClintock Draw- Autumn'16 [ photoset ]
    .. Upper Buck Spring Canyon- Autumn'16 [ photoset ]

    A special and rewarding day to visit our Mogollon Rim !!
    Maverick Canyon - Merritt Draw Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    This was a new (for me) and relatively easy "off-trail" loop hike that started/ended at Camp Grasshopper- Mogollon Rim-C/Site#3 at 7435 feet. This one was my first of two planned loop hikes on a nine day (7/20 to 7/28) vehicle camping trip (via Camp G/H style). I had originally planned to do this hike on my Aug'15 visit here but due to awaiting some minor surgery in Sept'15, I needed to postpone this one until my first return visit this July 2016.

    Fortunately, Oregon_Hiker who joined me for the Aug'15 visit did hike this similar loop and enjoyed it, so I knew I wanted to include this one for my July'16 visit. Also having his posted GPS Route to download and follow was a big help. I added a few additional points of interest hiking in the Merritt Draw section that are documented by my posted GPS Route with "key" way points.

    Maverick Canyon was the only close proximity canyon that I had yet to hike so I was really looking forward to this hike section. Maybe I was expecting a little too much, but comparing it to enjoyable hiking in middle/upper Barbershop Canyon, middle/upper Dane Canyons and the Bear Canyons, I was not that impressed with Maverick Canyon. I found it to be kind of too closed-in for much of the lower sections, heavy vegetation, with some slow going in spots due to rocks/downfall. A lack of scenic wall rock formations was also missing for me. I will say that the upper most section of Maverick Canyon before crossing FR9734P had a very nice, relatively large, quick access area of Big Tooth Maple that I bet would be a nice view location during our prime Mogollon Rim :FG: (~1st & 2nd weeks of October). To view this area in Autumn, the recommended plan would be to drive or hike access FR9734P from FR139 then hike down from the upper end of Maverick Canyon (see my "key" way point that marks this location of FR9734P/Upper Maverick Canyon). I should also say that Maverick Canyon does appear to have a few perennial springs seeping but I was only able to confirm one significant spring flow source in an upper section of the canyon that I did also mark with a labeled way point.

    After exiting out of Upper Maverick Canyon and following Oregon_Hiker's Aug'15 route down into Upper Merritt Draw, I took a slightly different route over to view perennial "Whistling Spring" box (not accessible due to being fenced into one of the three Merritt Draw Riparian Enclosures). I then continued north along the side of this Riparian Enclosure #1 to its end then continued north to view another "UN-named" perennial spring. I then continued north along Riparian Enclosure #2 to it's end at most always reliable flowing "Merritt Spring" Box. I was very disappointed this visit to find that Merritt Spring was a minor seep with no flow from the ancient built cement-rock spring box :cry:

    I had a late lunch at Merritt Spring which was cut short by a second monsoon rain storm I encountered this day.. the first being during my Upper Maverick Canyon hike section.. interesting what happens when you have a touch screen GPS (like my Garmin Oregon 600) & BIG rain drops hit the screen while trying to navigate off-trail :lol:

    I continued north along middle Merritt Draw passing along the side of Riparian Enclosure #3 to its north end then taking a 90 degree right turn up hill to hike the ridge-line that runs parallel to FR139C back to my Camp G/H #3 to complete this loop. I should mention that if you have Verizon Wireless, there are a few areas along this ridge-line where you can actually receive/send text messages.

    I did enjoy this 5.2 mile loop but would probably not plan to do the lower section of Maverick Canyon again (the middle to upper Maverick Canyon sections are nice and would be easily accessible for an "out and back" hike from FR9734P crossing with Maverick (see key way point location on GPS route).

    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 Sep 01 2016 3:34 pm
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