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Monument Peak Loop - PATS, AZ

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Guide 17 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson S
2.3 of 5 by 7
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 3.15 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,647 feet
Elevation Gain 140 feet
Accumulated Gain 190 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.78
Backpack No
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11  2019-06-12
Monument Peak Loop
10  2016-02-28
Stewart Pocket Loop Payson
11  2015-10-27
Stewart Pocket - Monument Peak Loop & Summit
5  2015-04-05
Stewart Pocket Loop Payson
22  2014-09-11 CannondaleKid
23  2013-07-29 kingsnake
26  2011-10-18
Stewart Pocket Loop Payson
1  2011-10-11 donqcryer
Page 1,  2
Author Dschur
author avatar Guides 13
Routes 0
Photos 532
Trips 51 map ( 299 miles )
Age 58 Female Gender
Location Payson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov → 7 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:09am - 6:29pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Circle the Peak
by Dschur

Payson Area trails system (PATS) is an in-process interconnecting trail system. They will be using roads, sidewalks, existing forest trails and roads as well as new trails. There are some of the trails that are outside the city limits of the Town of Payson as well as going thru town.

Some of the trails are completed but there are still some that they are working on. The Monument Peak Loop trail starts at either a small pull off at the east side of the Granite Dells road. If that small parking area is full you can continue down the trail for about .5 miles to the Boulder Loop/Monument Peak Loop parking area. There is a bigger area here for more cars. The only thing about this area is that there are many trails that ATV's have used all around and you have to pay attention to the marked signs for the PATS system.

This is an extremely popular route for motorized vehicles, but all trail-users will enjoy the views. The Loop Trail follows the base of Monument Peak, covering territory in southeast Payson and the western portion of Star Valley. Users will pass through juniper thickets interspersed with pleasant open meadows and a large portion of the trail follows a seasonal streambed. There are beautiful views of Monument Peak, especially from the northern portion of the Loop.

The trail starts to either the right or the left of the parking area. I went backwards from the MP markers along the way. If you start to the south and go counterclockwise. Or to the north and go clockwise. I will describe it to counterclockwise. You are going around Monument Peak which you can see all along the way. The trail is very well marked easy trail with many trail signs as well as where the ATV's ride. Continue down the path you will see mile markers along the pathway. You will pass a little pond/tank next to the trail and then the path winds next to some houses before it comes on back around heading to the trailhead. Here the trail follows along a little creek. It runs along back and forth across the trail and on each side before it disappears into the ground as a little spring. It was flowing in June and was nice and clear. (no ATV's had run thru it yet). At one point it follows the trail itself. The trail then climbs slightly and back down to finish up at the road and the trailhead. The trail is made of decomposed granite and can be a little slick like ball bearings. The trail is a good one for all people and ages.

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2009-06-06 Dschur
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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
Monument Peak Loop - PATS
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Stewart Pocket - Monument Peak Loop & Summit
This was a mostly off-trail exploration into Stewart Pocket that ended up being a loop. I started from the end of Phoenix St and slowly wandered up the side of Stewart Ridge where I found a nice spot to assess the terrain and eat a little breakfast. Felt a little sluggish for the first couple of miles, almost like I wasn't fully awake yet. Headed back down and onto Cypress briefly before turning north and following a drainage wash to Hill 5085. Climbed Hill 5085 and it's two adjoining hills. Climbed down and traveled Northeast over to Monument Peak where I summited from the Southeast side by following game trails (theme of the day). Found some pottery pieces and took a few photos before heading down the ridgeline. Hopped back on Monument Peak Trail once back at the bottom and then walked the dirt road to Yerba Senta Butte. To my surprise there was an actual trail to the top of the butte, as well as a summit shelter on top. I took this unnamed trail back down to Cypress where I finished out the loop. Water was hit or miss. Some creeks where lightly flowing while others where bone dry. Skies where clear and sunny so views of the Rim were good. Although the weather was perfect, I didn't see another human all day.
Monument Peak Loop - PATS
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We wanted something new to us, a bit cooler temperatures, somewhere not too long a drive and most important, somewhere we could drive to with the low-clearance Fit. The PATS looked like a good fit for the Fit, so with a map of the trail system we set out for Payson.

Since it was on my list of peaks to bag, we started off with Monument Peak Loop. We did almost the whole loop clockwise before turning off the trail and following some game trails toward the peak itself. At first glance the climb did not look very inviting but the closer we got we were able to find a number of routes up... heck with deer/elk leaving their evidence along the way, we sure should be able to make it up.

Once at the top I took the usual pan photos but cut the video short to avoid the masses of flying ants. Usually I can ignore them long enough for a couple-minute video but they were landing all over me, in my ears, crawling across my face, then behind my glasses and on my eye-lid I figured ENOUGH and headed down.

Back to the car we drove just a little farther on to the trailhead for The Boulders Loop. This loop offered a variety of scenery, mainly boulders of course, but no water was to be found anywhere. Still, nice for a leisurely hike with solitude at the edge of Payson.

Photos for both loops are in the same set.

Monument Peak summit panorama video is here:
Monument Peak Loop - PATS
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I think I've settled on a pattern of one hike near Wilhoit, followed by one near Payson, repeat until January when the temp drops below 100°. So, yesterday afternoon, I looked around Payson for something I could do with my wife. I thought about the Houston Mesa lasso, but four miles is a bit much for her. Then I remembered I had not checked this out. So, I set it up so that we could do the loop together, then I would go off on my own to climb Monument Peak, and perhaps do some exploring.

The entirety of the Monument Peak loop is a jeep trail. The surface is granite pebbles, but not really slippery as there is no real elevation change to speak of. It would make a great, fast, MTB run. Now that I think about it, an MTB criterium would be really fun. Anyway, we passed a trio of ladies on nice looking horses. And two guys in one of those golf cart-like ATVs, just toodling along. Enjoying their beer and not tearing anything up.

At one point, on the north end of the loop, a spring literally sprang from the middle of the path. It wasn't just a wet spot in the path, I could see the flowing trickle of water (which eventually ran down to join up with the creek which feeds the Star Valley pond).

After completing the loop, my wife headed back to the car to do crosswords, while I continued up towards Monument Peak. What you have there is basically, though not exactly, a four-way intersection: Left is the clockwise loop, right is the counter-clockwise loop, and straight ahead is up a drainage between Monument Peak and the unnamed 4900-foot hill to it east. About half way up the jeep trail turns away from the drainage, but as elsewhere in the area, the bushwhacking is very mild due to pine needle beds and lack of under growth. When you reach the saddle between the two hills, you will be on the northeast slope of Monument Peak. That is the easiest way up. I dumped my pack and poles for the final 30 foot scramble. (A mild one, but I wanted my hands free.) Having previously lost my pack and poles -- maroon tends to blend in with terrain -- I wrapped my light blue Mickey Mouse bandanna ( the one I found two years ago on Walkin' Jim) around the handle then stuck it up in a rock. Ended up working like a charm.

While Monument Peak looks pointy, it is actually flat on top. And area of about 20' x 40' feet, with a boulder in the middle. I noticed some orange bee-like things kept landing on me, or trying to mate with my ear. They did not sting, or bite, so I carried on. I found a benchmark that was not noted on the topo. Great views from up there. I shot a 360° video pan. Then I noticed all the bugs hovering by the high point spike on the boulder ( ). :o

After 15 minutes on top, I climbed down, traversing the ridge to the northeast. The top of the far little hilltop actually showed evidence of motorcycle visitation. From there, I proceeded east down an obviously cut path, with many ribboned markers.
Monument Peak Loop - PATS
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Finished initial flagging and adding cairns. More to be added later. You will love this route IF you like OFF Trail and the sounds of silence. No ATV's, no dust... Because you are following washes on the Off trail parts, minimum stratches (I always wear shorts...) Pics this day were added to the original description... Foliage is peak for Stewarts Pocket; never exceptional, but nice near the streams and springs. Yellows are beginning to fade...
Monument Peak Loop - PATS
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more exploring for a direct route from PATS Phoenix Street Trailhead to Monument Peak Loop, not on ATV trail, and then over to Boulders Loop then back to PATS Phx TH. work in progress but 70% done! Rousted a large owl roosting! Size of a large hawk... Later almost stepped on a small (baby?) rattler...
Monument Peak Loop - PATS
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Started at E Phoenix Str PATS trailhead and took Cypress to Granite Dells, then down the road and did the PATS Monument Peak Loop then bushwhacked back following washes and drainages to find a better and shorter route back to E Phx trailhead. Found a much better way back, but needs more exploring...
Monument Peak Loop - PATS
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The Circle the Peak Trail Run/Hike took place on the Monument Peak section of the P.A.T.S. (Payson Area Trail System) trails. There were about 40 runners/hikers on this partly cloudy day. The start was at the Granite Dells rd and went back up the road to the Trail head for the Monument Peak Trail. We did the loop in a counter clockwise direction. The trail is mostly decomposed granite and is used by ATV, horses, bikes, and hikers. We traveled around the loop past a small pond and to the water stop just before the halfway mark. Then going on thru and next to a small stream continued down the trail back to the road and then to the finish line. My time was 65 minutes for the 4 miles. (not the last at least) There was a post race refreshments done by Safeway stores for funds for the Prostrate cancer research. The temperature was really nice for the race at about 60 degrees...

Permit $$

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
From the junction of highways 87 and 260 in Payson, head east on highway 260 for 0.3 miles to the Granite Dells Road stoplight (next to Safeway). Turn right onto Granite Dells Road (Forest Road #435) and follow it for 1 mile on the pavement it changes to dirt. There go 2.5 miles to the trailhead on the left, or continue down .5 miles to the big parking area.
page created by Dschur on Jun 06 2009 2:19 pm
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