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

Merritt Draw Upper, AZ

Guide 1 Triplog  1 Topic
  3 of 5 
no permit
10 1 1
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 2.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,153 feet
Elevation Gain 519 feet
Accumulated Gain 569 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.8
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
feature photo
Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
12  2022-07-16
Merritt Maverick Shop
10  2018-08-29 markthurman53
28  2018-08-29
Barbershop Merritt Draw Loop
author avatar Guides 187
Routes 826
Photos 9,755
Trips 658 map ( 5,627 miles )
Age 69 Male Gender
Location Tucson, Arizona
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
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Preferred Jul, Aug, Mar, Apr → Early
Seasons   Early Spring to Early Winter
Sun  5:41am - 7:19pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2019 Hart Fire5k
🔥 2017 Bear Fire11.68
🔥 2016 Pinchot Fire3.9k
🔥 2009 Tucker Fire2.6k
🔥 1990 Dude Fire21.4k
🔥 View (All) - over Official Route 🔥

Canyon or Draw - what's in a name
by markthurman53

 Likely In-Season!
Not sure why some canyons get called a Draw and others a Canyon, but this one is a Draw. At least we don’t have to deal with the term gulch on the rim. Merritt Draw ends where it empties into Barbershop Canyon and its origin to the south at Forest Service Road 139 (FSR139). This description covers the upper portion from Maverick Canyon to FSR139 and starts just downstream of Maverick Canyon and heads upstream. The trailhead on the upper end is along FSR139, and the lower end is along 139c. This route is mainly off-trail, but there are some sections where you can follow along old logging roads. When old logging roads are mentioned, they are closed to motor vehicles; Forest Service Roads (FSR) are open to vehicles.

From FSR139c, I took an old logging road to the rim of Merritt Draw and then headed downhill into Merritt Draw just downstream of where Maverick Canyon enters. Looking down into Merritt Draw, it appears it would be easy to navigate as the Canyon is relatively wide with level portions on either side of the creek. I will soon find out this won’t be the case for long. I ran into a bear at the junction with Maverick Canyon, and since we were 50 yards apart, we spent a few seconds checking each other out. I was able to get some pictures. Heading upstream From Maverick Canyon, the route gets very choked up with trees and tough to navigate. Merritt Canyon was not running at this point. At first, I tried navigating the canyon bottom, but this was too difficult. Then I tried climbing up the canyon's west wall a bit to try to get around the debris in the canyon bottom, and this wasn’t any better. After 0.4 miles from where I entered Merritt Canyon, I called it quits. For the hardy die-hards, you could continue up the creek and wrestle with the logs and brush. I headed up the East side of Merritt Canyon to an old logging road and followed it as it paralleled the creek for about a mile, where it then crossed Merritt creek. It looks like you could drop back down into the creek a little before this, but I opted not to. Once at the crossing, I headed back up Merritt Creek, which by now I would call Merritt Meadows. From here to FSR139, the creek follows a large open meadow, which reminded me of the Kaibab Plateau and the large meadows there, only not quite as big. On the lower end of the meadow is Merritt Spring, and the upper end is Whistling Spring. Tall fences have been put around two portions of the meadow to keep animals out. There were also some fences around what looked like apple trees. Shortly after the meadow ends, you follow a dirt road to FSR139, where Merritt Draw has its origin.

Like most Creek hiking, you want to pick a time when they are not running too full or too dry. Too full makes them hard to navigate, too low, and they aren’t quite as scenic. I like the monsoon season a few days after a good rain. On this route, the upper half portion where it travels through meadows, winter with snow on the ground would be extraordinary.

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2018-08-31 markthurman53

    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    Mogollon Rim Road Forest Service Road 300 to FSR139. For the upper end of Merritt Canyon FSR 139 to NF9735p. for the lower end of Merritt Canyon FSR139 to 139c to NF9735p. NF9735p is closed to vehicles park at junction with FSR139c.
    page created by markthurman53 on Aug 31 2018 1:53 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool

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