south side solitude
The Coleman Trail #108 connects the top of Mingus Mountain to the Black Canyon Trail #114 and forest road #413. This hike provides some nice views of the rolling, forested country of the southern Black Hills. The last segment of road to the trailhead is closed from fall to early spring, so if you're hiking during that time, you will need to park at the Mingus Campground trailhead, and hike 0.7 miles south along forest road #104A to access the trailhead (mileage given for this hike is from the #108 trailhead on forest road #104A).
From the trail #108 sign on the west side of forest road #104A (where a powerline crosses the road), start hiking south through the pines, along an old, rocky road. At 0.1 miles, you will come to a trail marker and weathered wooden sign on your left (34.68640 N, -112.12007 W). Turn left (southeast) here, as the trail leaves the old road behind. The Coleman Trail now begins a gradual descent through the pines and junipers on the southeastern arm of Mingus Mountain. The Coleman Trail is little more than a faint path in most places, but many cairns mark the way.
At about the one mile point, the trail passes near the east rim of Mingus Mountain, where some nice views of the Verde Valley and a campsite can be found. By 1.25 miles, the pines have given way to junipers and pinyons, and the descent becomes more pronounced. The Coleman Trail soon reaches the southern lip of Mingus Mountain, where the final descent begins. The trail drops over the rim here, and plunges into the thick brush of a south facing slope. The rolling, green hills and forested canyons of the southern Black Hills can be seen here, as the Coleman Trail switchbacks downward.
At the bottom of the hill, the trail enters pine forest again, and soon arrives at forest road #413 (Allen Springs Road). Return the way you came, or hike west along forest road #413 and take trail #9037 or the Gaddes Canyon #110 trail back up to the top of Mingus Mountain.
Prescott FS Reports Typical of this pine-covered high-elevation area, there are good views of the Verde Valley, the Cottonwood area, and the red rock country above Sedona.
Maps, other resources: Prescott National Forest, east half; U.S.G.S. topographic 7.5' quads for Cottonwood.
Trail layout: Leaving the area near the radio facilities, the trail descends gradually to the southeast, staying above the rim. At about mile 1.35, however, the trail turns sharply to the south and begins a steep, twisting descent to where it ends on FR 413. From here it is only about 0.4 miles west on FR 413 to the trailhead for TR #114 at Gaddes Canyon.
Precautions: The steep portions of this trail below the rim may be badly eroded and horseback riders need to be especially cautious.
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.