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Beaver Turkey Ridge Wildlife Quiet Area, AZ

no permit
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Guide 23 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Heber
4.4 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,686 feet
Elevation Gain 400 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3-6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Creek & Perennial Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
9  2019-08-10
Turkey Beaver Loop
12  2019-07-21
Turkey Gentry Open Draw
6  2019-07-19 MountainMatt
8  2018-10-25
Mogollon Color Run
10  2018-10-20
Fall Colors
25  2018-10-12
Turkey Beaver colors
12  2018-10-06 MountainMatt
15  2018-10-06
Horton Spring - Turkey - Beaver - Babe Haught
Page 1,  2,  3
Author chumley
author avatar Guides 74
Routes 667
Photos 13,162
Trips 1,416 map ( 10,534 miles )
Age 46 Male Gender
Location Tempe, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, May, Jun, Aug → Any
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:07am - 6:31pm
10 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
More bear and elk than turkey or beaver
by chumley

Likely In-Season!
This is a 3300 acre gem of protected land surrounded by some of the most popular recreation areas in the state. Its boundaries are Forest Road 300 on the south, Turkey Creek to the west, and Beaver Canyon to the east. The northern boundary ends at the point where Turkey Creek and Beaver Canyon join. However, the east and west boundaries effectively extend up to the ridges above the canyons where the primary access roads encircle the area; to the west FR115 and FR91, and to the east FR89. Maps often still show FR92 and other roads within the boundary, but these are all now closed to motor vehicle use. There are also countless other old road cuts within this area that provide paths of easy travel.

The old 92 road is an excellent way to access the heart of this area, but I highly recommend exploring some of the many old side roads, or simply making your own off-trail adventure in this fairly forgiving terrain. There are many wildlife use paths to be found, including well-worn paths in both Beaver Canyon and along Turkey Creek, both of which provide areas of perennial surface water.

History and the story behind WQAs
In 1983, the ASNFs and AZGFD began to collaboratively plan a habitat management program aimed at reducing impacts by establishing “wildlife habitat areas.” These areas were to improve the quality of habitat for wildlife as well as help protect soil, vegetation, and water resources. The expected benefits and objectives were:
• Reduce wildlife disturbance and stress, resulting in healthier animals and populations.
• Allow for the more effective use of all available and suitable wildlife habitats.
• Increase the value of the outdoor experience.
• Greatly improve the hunting experience.
• Lengthen the time big game animals stay in the area(s).
• Protect vegetation to help preserve soil and water resources.
• Reduce road maintenance costs.

In 1985, the first five areas were established and were called “wildlife quiet areas” (WQAs). Initial thinking was that the location of WQAs would be rotated across the landscape. In 1988 and 1990, WQAs and associated management objectives were evaluated. Findings included ongoing public support, increased use of the areas by big game and other wildlife species, and improvement in vegetation resources. Regarding rotation of WQAs, it was realized that re-signing new area boundaries every few years would be cost prohibitive. In addition, State game managers and forest biologists were observing greater affinity (numbers and amount of use) and fidelity toward the areas by wildlife, especially big game and other large mammals.

Over the years, WQAs have been eliminated when results were not achieved. Additional WQAs have been added as well, now totaling 8 areas encompassing 2.2% of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. Current proposals include the addition of up to 5 additional areas, reaching 2.8% of forest land.

The selection of areas consider the following:
• Young bearing and rearing locations
• High quality forage
• Good hiding (resting and travel) cover
• Critical wintering locations
• Location relative to heavily used recreation areas
• Need for security within overall heavily populated areas

Forest service reports indicate that visitors witnessed more wildlife in these areas than in non-WQA forest land including increased numbers of large bull elk and black bear.

As of 2017, the 8 WQAs on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest are: Beaver Turkey Ridge, Hulsey Bench, Middle Mountain, Open Draw, St. Peters Dome, Upper Coyote, Willow Springs-Horse Trap, and Woolhouse. Proposed areas include Bear Springs, Cottonwood Seep, Carr Lake, Palomino, and Hidden Lake.

Information for this description was found in the following forest service publications, which provide much greater detail to interested readers:

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2017-10-03 chumley
    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
    Beaver Turkey Ridge Wildlife Quiet Area
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Turkey Beaver Loop
    Close call, Turtle vs. Deer on the Beeline to begin the day just north of Rye. A big buck in velvet.
    No need for more coffee at this point.

    We did this loop CW, starting in Turkey Creek. Easy walikin' for the most part, through the wet morning foliage.
    The prevalent flora on the day were the large patches of Yellow Cone flower.

    We jumped out and up on a ridge to check out an area we'd been to last year, then back down into Turkey Creek.

    Once in Beaver Canyon, it was a "bit boldery" for a while. We would not hit the sidewalk like part for awhile.

    Closer to Beaver Park, we hit a steady rain for about 20 min.

    We decided to jump out, up a side canyon, directly back to the Car.

    This hike is an 8-9 in the fall with lower temps/humidity and the colors. This time of year, a 6-7 with sweaty temps in the 70's
    Beaver Turkey Ridge Wildlife Quiet Area
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Finishing off a segment of Gentry and Turkey Creek I had yet to do with a mile in Open Draw as well.
    I was originally going to drive to the intriguingly named “Alcatraz Point” but it made more sense to park where I did for a solid loop.

    Even above 7000’ it just seemed downright warm outside today and I had to take a couple more breaks than usual because my dog was feeling that AZ sun.

    Gentry was much drier than I hoped but luckily the sections that did have water were nice big perennial pools that my dog and I both cooled off and refueled in.

    The overall loop between Gentry and Turkey was a bit rougher than I had imagined, a lot of deadfall to negotiate and with logs, rocks and rollers for days but nothing too horrible.
    Plenty of easy segments also complete with scenic Coco Sandstone and plenty of wildlife!

    As always a great day in Rim Country.
    Beaver Turkey Ridge Wildlife Quiet Area
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Turkey-Open Draw-Gentry
    This was most definitely the winner hike for the weekend.
    Wildlife, water galore and perfect intermittent cloud cover with a cool summer breeze made Sunday the day to be outside.

    I dropped in near the headwaters of Turkey Creek and in the base of what I assumed was a seldom traveled portion of the canyon but sure enough there was some very fresh trash, a open coke, tea and some crackers no more than a few weeks old, certainly uncommon for this area.

    Other than that it was pure isolation and beauty the remainder of the day enjoying quite possibly some of the easiest and relaxing off trail hiking in the state.

    This is basically dog heaven with endless amounts of animal bits to snack on, easy terrain and plenty of water to drink and play in.

    Made a nice enjoyable loop with Open Draw and that is where I saw the most elk of the day and a very scenic place with aspens and maples for days.

    Great day to be outside!
    Beaver Turkey Ridge Wildlife Quiet Area
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Beaver Creek & Ridge
    Headed down the closed FR 92 down to Turkey Crossing and meandered up Beaver Creek taking my time soaking it all in.

    The abundance of water, shade and nicer benches were so much more pleasurable than hiking the nearby Willow Creek earlier in the day.

    An abundance of bones along the way had me going nearly all the way to Beaver Park which is where Payton and I spooked a decent elk herd, maybe just under two dozen, even got on of the big guys to let out a nice bugle on his way up the hill, probably mad at me because he had to move lol.

    Going that far put me in a weird spot and I did not want to do a out and back so I walked a very random loop back to my prime time camp far away from the crowds around Bear Canyon.
    Beaver Turkey Ridge Wildlife Quiet Area
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    A Turkey Beaver Fall
    This is now an annual go-to for fall foliage for me. I got info that the colors on the rim were nearing prime so I decided to head up and check it out. A few friends showed up and we made a full camping weekend out of it. I thought Oct 1st was a little early, but it was great last year the same weekend. It was definitely a little bit early, but still a ton of beautiful color. I would guess that the next two weekends will be great too. There's still plenty of green out there waiting to turn, and the leaf litter will be better in the coming weeks.

    We saw at least 30 elk including 6 or 7 huge bulls. They were everywhere and startled us a few times by running quite close while attempting to get away from us. Definitely the non-foliage highlight of the day.

    We hit some of the best spots from last year, and I mapped a few new color groves that were nice to visit too. Almost every draw in here is a colorful maple wonderland.
    Beaver Turkey Ridge Wildlife Quiet Area
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Rattlesnake Beaver Turkey
    I was looking for something around 10 miles and not too warm. Water was a bonus. This area always intrigues.

    I mapped a route that accessed the Wildlife Area from a different route ... in the canyons on either side of Rattlesnake Ridge. Turns out we decided to hit the road on the ridge on the return instead of staying in the drainage.

    Didn't see any bears or coyotes today (as we did last fall), but did see a couple of huge turkey feathers and also managed to sneak up on a nice herd of elk, managing to split them into different directions, including at least one big buck.

    Speaking of big bucks, we found one that a lion had gotten to relatively recently. I'd guess it was in the fall, with winter preserving the remains. Nice 11-point buck at one time. A pretty healthy guy based on my inexperienced knowledge of dental records!

    The aspens had mostly sprouted, but the oaks had not. And the grass was mostly still winter dormant, though it won't take more than a couple of weeks before it has fully greened up.

    Thanks to Kyle for driving. I can't remember the last time I was a passenger! :sweat:
    Beaver Turkey Ridge Wildlife Quiet Area
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Turkey Beaver Wander
    After hearing that the maples on the rim were turning way ahead of normal, I decided it would be fun to go check out some new areas. I put together a crazy track that bounced from one colorful grove to another knowing that the (might-as-well-be-a-wilderness) Turkey Beaver Wildlife Habitat is full of great cross country travel, easy ridges, open draws, and an absolute multitude of old roadbeds from the wayback machine that would make getting around pretty easy.

    I'm not sure what to say about the colors. Some are done. Some are prime. Some haven't even considered starting yet. I think next weekend will be great. And the weekend after. It might still be good in three weeks in some places. It's just so very odd based on my past experiences in this area. Nonetheless, there was an abundance of color and it was a great day to wander this non-motorized Wildlife Habitat.

    Speaking of wildlife, we managed to see a huge elk buck but I wasn't able to count how many points or get a photo. Next we crested a ridge and spooked a BIG black bear. Not too much later, we encountered three more bears (a mom and two cubs) who scurried up the opposite hill from us. Not three minutes later we saw three bears AGAIN -- a mom and two cubs. Were they the same we had just seen? I can't imagine there are two moms each with two sets of cubs in such close proximity! Then again, what kind of bear with two cubs who runs from five people and a dog drops back down into a draw just 1/4 mile away? I gotta believe they were the same, but still seems odd to me. (Not to mention they were meandering up the hill when we last saw them, but would have had to run at a pretty good clip to be where we saw them next. They are certainly capable of that kind of travel, but it doesn't fit with what we saw of them as they scurried away).

    So, anyway, next we saw two coyotes in the draw, with at least a half dozen huge turkey vultures above. Something smelled bad so I assume they were all feasting on a carcass of something nearby.

    I asked some hunters what the season was, and was told it's turkey and squirrel. We didn't see any turkey, but there were a lot of squirrel.

    Great day up here. I love this area, and I will be back for sure! :y:
    Beaver Turkey Ridge Wildlife Quiet Area
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    This was a real treat. No other way to put it. Turkey Creek is great from the top down for the first 4-5 miles before turning a bit dry and rocky. But once you turn south in Beaver Canyon it is nothing but joy.

    We got rained on for a few hours, but it was generally light. Twice I put on my rain jacket for 10-15 minutes, but otherwise it was nice to enjoy the rain without it. Thunder rumbled all afternoon, but only two strikes were under a mile so there wasn't ever much anxiety.

    By descending Turkey Creek and returning via Beaver Canyon, we followed the circumference of the Beaver-Turkey Wildlife area, established in 1985. The establishment of this area closed FR92, which we crossed at Turkey Crossing. This was once a "major" forest road, and 30 years of no use has reclaimed it somewhat.

    Beaver Park is bisected by 115kV power lines but they are surprisingly unobtrusive. The upper end of Beaver Canyon has an exclosure area, but it hasn't been maintained in many years and the fencing is down in several areas.

    We spooked a single elk that was probably trying to hide from us until we got too close and it finally decided to bail. It was less than 50 feet from us before we saw it, and it was a new experience for me to be hiking with two dogs who made no attempt to chase it! :whistle:

    Good trip. I'd like to check this area out some more. Thanks for driving 9L. I know that dirt and dog hair are not things that your Jeep enjoys. :)

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    Numerous opportunities for access exist around the perimiter of the area, but the main access is from the south via the old (closed) FR92. A gate and signage there indicates that you are entering the WQA. Half a mile west of FR92 large power lines cross FR300, and you can easily access the WQA via the closed access road under the power lines.

    From Payson, travel east on AZ-260 for 30 miles. Turn left onto the Rim Road (FR300). Travel 15.3 miles to FR92 or 15.9 miles to the overhead power lines. There is no established trailhead or parking, but plenty of room to park on the side of the road.
    page created by chumley on Oct 03 2017 10:43 am
    3 pack - loud whistle
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