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North Mingus Trail #105, AZ

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Guide 69 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Cottonwood
3.3 of 5 by 23
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,200 feet
Elevation Gain 1,740 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,335 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 6.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 20.68
Interest Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
14  2019-09-14
Mingus Inner Basin
13  2019-09-14
Mingus North - Mint Julep Loop III
18  2019-05-30
Upper Mingus Figure-8 Loop
13  2018-04-22
View Point-North Mingus Loop
17  2018-04-12
View Point-North Mingus Loop
21  2018-04-07
North Mingus Loop
8  2017-10-21
Upper Mingus Butterfly & Martin Woodchute Loop
15  2017-10-21
Upper Mingus Butterfly & Woodchute Martin Loop
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 149
Photos 5,534
Trips 1,317 map ( 6,690 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Jun, Sep, Oct → Early
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:13am - 6:33pm
Official Route
18 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
the hard way to Mingus
by PrestonSands

Likely In-Season!
The North Mingus Trail #105 climbs the north slope of Mingus Mountain, in Arizona's Black Hills. Two stories exist concerning the naming of Mingus Mountain. One story claims the mountain was named for the Domingus brothers, who reportedly had a sawmill on top of the mountain. The other story reports that a man named William Mingus had a mine somewhere in the area. According to Will C. Barnes' Arizona Place Names, Mescal Gulch, (which the hike follows for its first couple of miles) was the site of a bloody, two day battle, between the Hualapai and Yavapai tribes, sometime in the distant past. This hike describes forest road 338, and the North Mingus Trail. If you have a four wheel drive vehicle with high clearance, and choose to drive to the end of forest road 338 (I wouldn't recommend it) instead of hiking it, you can cut 3.6 miles off of the round trip distance.

From the Prescott National Forest sign next to Highway 89A, cross the highway, and begin hiking down Mescal Gulch on forest road 338. Forest road 338 stays on the south side of the creek. At 0.65 miles, the road comes to Mescal Spring, which is enclosed by a low rock wall, near a large box elder tree. There is a parking area here that would be a good stopping point for those without four wheel drive. The road forks here; go right, up the steep, rocky road. Forest road 338 soon rounds a corner, levels off somewhat, and passes a small, overgrown cemetery on the right. Shortly past the cemetery, at the one mile point (34.72335 N, 112.13492 W), the road forks again; make a hard left and cross the creek bed. FR 338 now contours along through the forest on the north slopes of Mingus Mountain, and becomes increasingly primitive. Views to the north include the meadow at Mescal Spring, and the reddish, rocky canyon of Mescal Gulch. At 1.78 miles, road 338 reaches the northern end of the North Mingus Trail. A cairn and a brown fiberglass signpost mark the junction (34.72342 N, 112.12363 W). There is a turn around/parking area a few hundred feet beyond here, for those who have driven this far.

Turn south onto the North Mingus Trail #105, and follow it up the slope through the thick oak brush. The summit of Mingus Mountain comes into view, as the trail makes a gradual descent to a canyon bottom filled with tall ponderosa pines. The trail soon crosses another small, maple filled drainage, before starting to climb up a brush covered ridge. Woodchute Mountain comes into view here, as the trail switchbacks up the ridge. At 3.1 miles, the trail climbs around another steep drainage, directly below the summit of Mingus Mountain, before meeting up with trail 105A in a lofty saddle.

The North Mingus Trail now heads south up the ridge, and enters the forest on Mingus Mountain's north face. Outstanding views of Jerome, Sycamore Canyon, and the Sedona area exist here, as the trail switchbacks up the ridge. Aspens, bigtooth maples, and beautiful fir trees shade the trail along this stretch. The trail soon reaches the flat top of Mingus Mountain, and heads south into the forest. About 0.2 miles after hitting the top, the trail arrives at a double rock cairn (34.70651 N, 112.11435 W), where the trail splits. Take the left fork to the east. The North Mingus Trail soon reaches the sheer eastern edge of Mingus Mountain, where the awesome views return. A couple of hang glider launch ramps are passed, before the trail comes to an end at forest road 104. This location serves as the upper trailhead.

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2007-05-05 PrestonSands
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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 of 38 deeper Triplog Reviews
North Mingus Trail #105
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Mingus North - Mint Julep Loop III
A good loop that few will try. Other Mingus loops rank higher. This one has plenty of character. I'd guess 40% or more is along or under tree cover. Most will leave with memories of pines. Gamble Oak has a solid presence for autumn foliage opportunity.

1 hour in we passed a rafter of turkey hens. Neither of us captured one for the annual 4-H county fair exhibit.

#550, #549 and west #503A offer pleasant hiking. Best-of destination slayers might ponder if options run low.

In addition to countless redos we have a reason to try and loop up Mingus. However, no trace on satellite. FR500E needs to be utilized in a Woodchute Loop too.
North Mingus Trail #105
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Mingus Inner Basin
A return to the Mingus area for cooler temps.
This hike features tall pines, decent trail and some off trail. A start in the 60's was perfect.

There was some smoke in the area in the AM, that dissipated in the afternoon.

Goal on this loop, was to try and find a way down from the dead end of the Powerline Trail. I'd seen on satellite, what appeared to be undocumented sections of a trail. Bingo, we found it and it was a much easier way down than the Ravine. Next time, I need to find where this goes up to? This is an old trail with great tread. I'd love to know the history of this one.

Now on the Mescal Gulch-Hull Canyon Trail, this one is fading away on the south side of the ridge. The steep north side of the ridge, has seen some recent and welcome love, all the way to Walnut Spring.

Out of the tree cover for the most part, we followed the old Jerome-Prescott Wagon Road, back to the TH.

A couple miles from the finish, some poor sole had lost a tire (not wheel) on his Silverado, and wound up 10' down/off the trail.

A good day for wildlife. 2 miles in, 3 deer with the buck still in velvet. 3 miles in, a dozen turkey lazily sauntered away from us. 12 miles in by Walnut Spring, a couple of Javelina.

The rain held off until the drive home.
North Mingus Trail #105
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I like this little loop hike, so I decided to do it again -- with a meetup group this time. Like my last hike here, we started at the Mescal Springs TH, which is where FR 338 exits off of Highway 89-A. We saw no other hikers the entire day, and the only people we saw were some hang gliders pilots who were preparing to launch at the hang glider launching pad. I know nothing about hang gliders, and it was interesting talking to those guys.

This is a nice hike imho. On the way up to the top of Mingus, you have nice views of Sedona, the San Francisco Peaks, and Kendrick Peak. On top of Mingus, you can look down below at Cottonwood, and also see the Bradshaw Mountains in the distance. On the way back down, we saw some smoke off in the distance west of Flagstaff, which I think was a prescribed burn.
North Mingus Trail #105
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Tracie, my intrepid hiking partner, and I decided to make our first trip up to Mingus Mountain on a windy Thursday.

We parked on Highway 89A, just across from where Forest Road #338 turns off of 89A. We started a lollipop look hike by first hiking on FR #338 for about 1.7 miles until we came to a turnoff for North Mingus Trail 105. We took Trail 105 for another 1.7 miles, and came to a junction with Mingus Trail #105A at a saddle below Mingus Mountain. From there we began a counterclockwise loop by continuing on Trail #105 until we go to the top of Mingus Mountain. We stopped at the top next to the hang glider launching area and enjoyed the views to the south of the Bradshaw Mountains. From there, we continued south through the Mingus Mountain Campground until we got to a parking area. From there we took Viewpoint Trail #106 until we came to a junction with Trail #105A, and we then took 105A back to the junction with Trail #105, thus completing the loop. Then we retraced our steps by taking Trail #105 back to FR #338, and we took FR #338 back to the parking area.

As other trip logs have mentioned, Trail #105 was the best of the trails on this hike. Trail #105 had some nice scenery and it had a good bit of shade and some filtered sun from numerous large trees that were along the trail. Trail #106 was a bit steep and slippery, and it had a lot of sun exposure.

We did not see any other hikers all day. We did see one person who was parked in a car near the hang glider launch. On the way back we saw someone driving a 4WD vehicle on FR #338 -- and you would need a 4WD vehicle on this road.
North Mingus Trail #105
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North Mingus Loop
I love hiking on Mingus and this was the first time we hit the north side trails. Gallydoll and Jan met me at 5am to depart Phoenix in the dark to arrive at the Prescott National Forest sign/parking area/trail head. We followed Forest Road 338 out to Trail 105 and took that straight up to the top of Mingus. Trail was easy to follow and offered plenty of tree cover. Not that we needed any help for shade on the way in as the mountain was doing a great job keep the sun off our shoulders. We spent plenty of time enjoying the views from the handglider launch before heading down to Trail 106. Trail 106 was plenty sunny and absent of trees. It was crazy hot and slippery and steep. 106 takes you over to Trail 105A which is a short jaunt back to the Trail 105 split. Felt like forever heading back to the truck and more uphill then I remembered coming down on the way in.
North Mingus Trail #105
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Upper Mingus Butterfly & Woodchute Martin Loop
The Upper Mingus loop portion of this hike consisted of a CCW track along
View Point Trail #106 :next: North Mingus Trail #105 :next: Mingus Trail #105A :next: FR 104 :next: Coleman Trail #108 :next: FR413 :next: Gaddes Canyon Two Trail #9037 :next: Gaddes Canyon #110 :next: Back to the Truck.

Gaddes 9037, 106, 105A, 105 are my favorites.
Coleman 108 needs some love.

Missed prime color by at least a week.

Ate lunch on the way over to Martin Canyon/Woodchute.

We did this one CW. FR106D :next: Martin Canyon Trail #103 :next: Rick Tank Cutoff Trail #104 :next: Woodchute Trail #102.

Martin Canyon's oak tunnel is the highlight as well as the area around Woodchute Tank.
Rick Tank Cutoff is a steep 1000' climb.

40's to start, 70's to finish.... Perfect
North Mingus Trail #105
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Upper Mingus Butterfly & Martin Woodchute Loop
Mingus always delivers. Well past Autumn foliage prime we got crunchy oak leaves for large stretches. Outstanding cool weather throughout the day.

Coleman Trail #108
Rocky and is starting to get overgrown again. Hope this one sees a clipper and rake crew before summer.

Only passed 2 hikers all day. Consumed a whopping 1.2 quarts water.

The area is a good 7-10 days past prime.
North Mingus Trail #105
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Mingus Butterfly Loop
Met up with Kyle for another hike up north. We wanted to hike in the desert but it was still too hot so we decided to return to Mingus. The hike went well. We made a clockwise figure eight and the temps were pleasant. Later in the day Lee and Carrie arrived with the pups so we did some short hiking with them before returning to the valley. I really enjoy the hiking on Mingus. It’s easy going and the views are nice plus it’s a great way to get out of the heat. Thanks Kyle for driving!
North Mingus Trail #105
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Black Hills Loop
I started my hike from rge Prescott National Forest sign at the large pullout on the west side of AZ-89A, opposite Mescal Tank. I headed east on the jeep trail, through some nice shade. This, and all jeep trails, foot trails and cross country, throughout my loop, showed ample evidence of recent heavy rain. Some jeep trails appeared to have channelized runoff, with downslope sand patterns, and shifted small accumulations of dead grass. On flatter parts of the jeep trails, the ruts were either muddy or still held water. Off trail, the soil was quite loose, with even large rocks poor candidates for a solid foot hold.

A half mile into the hike, on the south side of the trail, there are the ruins of a stone-walled building. Just past the ruins is Mescal Spring. There is a dry spring box, and the springs are fenced off. I always wondered why some springs are fenced, and today the reason finally occured to me: So that animals would not pollute the water, at its source, with their droppings. I may be off base, but it makes sense.

A half mile up FR 338, hidden back in the tree line, I checked out the small graveyard. There are three anonymous graves there, although apparently one cross once had the name “C. Jones” on it ( ... .htm ).There is a collapsed mine shaft not far away, so perhaps it is a miner & his family?

Back in Mescal Gulch, the path up the ridge looked, to me, less like an MTB path than a Roman footpath, with a (now scattered) rock surface and rocks lining much of the sides. An obvious old road crossed the path halfway up the ridge.

On a clear day -- there was a lot of wildfire smoke in the Verde Valley -- the view from the ridge top would have been nice, but I could still cealry see the Verde Central Shaft and Jerome High School.

I could not find a path south off the ridge top, so I bushwhacked. Despite the lack of manzanita and cat claw, it was still slow going. It took me 15 minutes to go 250 yds. and descend 150 ft., until I bumped across a powerline right-of-way, where I was able to pick up a defined foot path. At the bottom of the ridge, in Hull Canyon, the trail splits. Going right would take you to the Jerome waterworks; I went left up a wash.

Up the wash, I found an old mine. The oddest part, at the collapsed shaft, was all the firm yellow foam laying about. It looks like the miners used it to keep pipes and posts in place.

At first, I thought the Jerome municipal water tank was the most massive cattle tank I had ever seen. I also took a look at the chlorine purification plant. (When I was in the Army, I was in Civil Affairs, so we got to tour waterworks and sewage plants, which was fascinating.) Heading out to AZ-89A, it appears I may have been on mining company land. :-$ In my defense, there was no fence or sign of any sort the way I came in, over the ridge.

Nearly noon, I was ready to call it a day, but couldn't get ahold of my wife for pickup, so trudged onward, up the old FR 503A wagon road. I got to the top of the climb, near the intersection of FR 500E, where I took an extended break. Unfortunately, I did not bring lunch, or even an energy bar. (I was expecting to be in Jerome drinking beer at lunch time.) As much as I like salt & vinegar chips, they are a poor source of energy.

After that I ground out the miles to Hull Canyon, where the shade was welcome. Heavy clouds and drizzle also brought some relief. The best part of the hike is through the trees from Hull Canyon back to AZ-89A, mostly through forest. Just before the highway was the one of the coolest cairns I’ve ever seen: A finely balanced single rock-wide tower. I’m surprised wind hadn’t blown it over!

An out & back hike from the Mescal Tank trailhead, up FR 503A direct to Hull Canyon — the opposite of the direction I travelled — would be a great six mile, 900 AEG, walk in the woods.

Hike Video, Pt. 1: [ youtube video ] : cemetery, ruins, ridge, mine
Hike Video, Pt. 2: [ youtube video ] : waterworks, FR 503A, Hull Canyon
North Mingus Trail #105
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Mingus the Butterfly & I
what do you do when life offers you robin eggs? hold your hand out...duh

i unexpectedly got thursday off so i checked the list of hikes i wanted to do and texted Count Tacula, consulted Gumdrop and next thing you know, we had a plan!

great hike in a totally new area to me. i'm sure this hike is awesome in summer and fall and hopefully i will see it during those times too, but i always enjoy spring in the mountains. everything is waking from it's winter slumber and there is such a different feel to it. the early views towards Sedona were cool and the Peaks with snow topping was an awesome sight as well

i enjoyed all the trails, though the final big climb up the Gaddes trails was probably my favorite. great weather and nice to hike with the boys again.

Permit $$

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
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
LOWER TRAILHEAD ALONG HIGHWAY 89A (34.73095 N, 112.14121 W): From the Highway 89/Highway 89A junction just north of Prescott, head east on Highway 89A, towards Jerome, for 21.9 miles. At the bottom of Mescal Gulch (milepost 339.6), there is a pulloff area on the left, near the Prescott National Forest sign. Forest road 338, which is marked by a brown fiberglass signpost, starts on the right side of the highway here, and heads down Mescal gulch.

UPPER TRAILHEAD ON MINGUS MOUNTAIN (34.70259 N, 112.11641 W): From the Highway 89/Highway 89A junction just north of Prescott, head east on Highway 89A, towards Jerome, for 18.9 miles. At the top of the mountain (milepost 336.6), turn right onto forest road 104 (dirt-can be muddy after wet weather), and follow it for 2.5 miles to the Mingus Campground. Turn left (north) at the "T", and follow forest road 104 for another 0.7 miles to its end, where the North Mingus Trail begins.
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