Isabella Trail #377, AZ

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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 1.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,750 feet
Elevation Gain 648 feet
Accumulated Gain 657 feet
Avg Time One Way 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 3.49
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5
Author Mike
author avatar Guides 5
Routes 0
Photos 249
Trips 12 map ( 4 miles )
Age 63 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred May, Oct, Sep, Apr → 9 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  5:35am - 7:37pm
Official Route
19 Alternative
Nearby Area Water
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Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
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A walk in the pines
by Mike

The Official Route and statistics on this page are for Isabella Trail #377. The description below forges on to Spruce Mountain. The pin marker on this route indicates where #377 ends and includes the full route described below.

Although it's upper half does duty as a segment of the famous Groom Creek Loop, the Isabella Trail (#377) is probably one of the lesser-known trails in the Bradshaw Mountains. It begins just above the upper Hassayampa River and from there climbs up to, then follows, South Spruce Ridge to its terminus at the summit of Spruce Mountain. At the summit is a lookout tower overlooking the Prescott area. The trail makes for a nice summer hike since it never leaves the pine forest, and the lowest point is the trailhead at about 6750 feet. The tower is at 7693 feet, and there's usually a nice breeze blowing there. The first mile and a half of the trail sees little use and is sometimes faint, but not difficult to follow. After the junction with South Groom Creek Loop, the path gets used more and is easier to follow.

From the trailhead, follow an old jeep track for a short distance uphill. Watch for a cairn of medium sized rocks on the left. The trail takes off here and begins its moderately steep climb to South Spruce Ridge. When I last hiked this trail a few years ago, the trail began further up the road, but there are now private residences along this road. The Forest Service rerouted the first half-mile of the trail to avoid the private property. About a half-mile in, the trail drops into a drainage, crosses it, and makes a sharp turn to the left. From here on, you're back on the original route, so pay close attention to this spot so that you don't miss this turn on your way back. Keep your eye out along the next mile or so for signs of area mining history.

At just over a mile, the trail begins to level out, and you'll reach the first of several junctions, this one with the South Groom Creek Loop trail. Bear right here to stay on trail 377. Just beyond the junction, you'll see a sign marking the South Spruce Ridge Helispot. The helispot is to the left (west) of the trail. A little further on, you reach a junction with a cutoff trail that heads off to the left and eventually junctions with the north Groom Creek Loop. A sign here indicates the lookout is another mile and a half further. Just past the sign, you cross through the first of two horse gates. From there, the trail is a relatively level walk along South Spruce Ridge with one short climb before you finally reach the summit of Spruce Mountain. This stretch of the trail was the busiest since it is part of the Groom Creek Loop. Before the gate, we only encountered two other hikers, but after the gate, we encountered about a dozen hikers and two groups on horseback.

When you reach the summit, you'll first cross a saddle where a road comes in from your right. There are picnic tables and restrooms in this area. Across the way and uphill a short distance is the lookout tower. Take the road up to the tower and enjoy the views from the rocks below the tower. If the tower is manned, you may be allowed inside, as were we this time. From the summit you'll have a 360 degree view of Prescott & Granite Mountain, the northern Bradshaws, Prescott Valley & Lynx Lake and more.

Word to the wise... watch for snakes around the rocks! The ranger in the tower told us a hiker earlier in the morning had spotted a rattler enjoying a chipmunk breakfast. He went down and found it. He said it wasn't one that he'd caught earlier this year and painted a spot on. So, he decided to put up a little sign to warn folks to be careful!! We didn't see any snakes but did see some pretty big lizards. They wouldn't hold still long enough for me to get a good photo, sorry!

Once you've had enough of the views and breeze at the tower, turn around and return the way you came in.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2002-08-27 Mike

    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 $$
    no fees or permits reported

    if incorrect tell us about it

    Prescott Forest
    Prescott National Forest Pass

    Only trailheads with six "amenities" have fees. Amenities are picnic tables, trash, toilet, parking, interpretive signing and security.

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To Isabella Trailhead
    Directions - From Phoenix take I-17 north to the Cordes Junction exit. Take SR 69 west towards Prescott. Pass through Prescott Valley and turn left on Walker Road, which is the light just west of the Costco. Continue on Walker Road for about 10.5 miles to Potato Patch, bear right. Just beyond Potato Patch, watch for a dirt road heading off to the right (do not turn on this road, it accesses the cabins in the area), followed by a sign for the Isabella Trail. The trailhead is a pulloff on the right side of the road about 20 yards beyond the sign.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 99.0 mi - about 2 hours 6 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 204 mi - about 3 hours 34 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 2 hours 5 mins
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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