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Sycamore Basin Trail #63, AZ

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Guide 29 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Perkinsville N
3.5 of 5 by 13
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 11.15 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,645 feet
Elevation Gain -332 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,029 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 14.58
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Possibly Connect
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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9  2018-11-11
Taylor Cabin via Dogie Trail - Sycamore Canyon
20  2018-11-11
Taylor Cabin via Dogie Trail - Sycamore Canyon
15  2017-03-24
Taylor Cabin via Dogie Trail - Sycamore Canyon
14  2017-02-25 friendofThunderg
12  2016-07-01
Casner - Taylor Cabin - Sycamore - Dogie Loop
5  2016-03-26
Taylor Cabin via Dogie Trail - Sycamore Canyon
14  2016-03-26
Taylor Cabin via Dogie Trail - Sycamore Canyon
11  2015-02-22
Yew Thicket Trail #52
Page 1,  2,  3
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Feb
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:12am - 6:32pm
Official Route
8 Alternative
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby

Originally used to move cattle and horses.

This trail is the main access to the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness. It offers spectacular views of Sycamore Canyon and the surrounding red rock bluffs. It receives regular use by horseback riders and hikers. The trail ends at its junction with TR #70, Winter Cabin Trail, on the Coconino National Forest. TR #70 continues on to Winter Cabin, another 5.1 miles. As you approach it from the south trailhead, Taylor Cabin is located on the trail at about mile 9. Constructed of quarried sandstone by local ranchers in 1931, Taylor Cabin was used for many years as a winter line camp. The cabin is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but is open to visitor use.

Recommended season of use: Fall, spring, winter (depending on weather). The bottom of Sycamore Canyon can be stifling hot in mid-summer with little air movement in the canyon. Mid-summer use by hikers is not recommended.

Maps, other resources: Prescott (east half) and Coconino National Forest Maps; U.S.G.S. topographic 7.5' quads for Sycamore Basin, Loy Butte, ansd Sycamore Point.

Trail layout: The lower section of trail is relatively level through Sycamore Basin at an elevation of about 4,500 ft. The trail approaches Sycamore Creek at about mile 5, and from there stays either in or close to the canyon bottom until about mile 11.2. Here the trail becomes Coconino National Forest Trail #70 and leaves the wilderness climbing over 2,000 ft. to Winter Cabin.

Precautions: There is no dependable water on this trail during summer; in winter, however, the flows can be heavy. It is not recommended for summer use.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    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 of 15 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Sycamore Basin Trail #63
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    Kyle and I headed out to the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness for a few days in the backcountry. Our original plan was to make a clockwise loop spending night one at Taylor Cabin and night two at Buck Ridge Cabin and then return via Casner Mountain. Our plan changed when the mostly dry Sycamore Creek rose 2-3 feet overnight. We decided to play it safe and hike out.

    We drove out on Friday morning and navigated FR525 and 525C to the Dogie Trailhead. The roads were a bit wet and 4WD helped with traction. The hike in went well. The trail was muddy but drying out as the sun shined overhead. We made our way and were eager to see the creek. Roughly four miles in the creek comes into view and we could tell it will not be an issue. It's mostly dry with sporadic large pools. We continued on and found the creek dry at the crossing. The last three miles to the cabin began to drag but we pushed on and arrived around 3pm.

    The rest of the afternoon was spent setting up camp and relaxing. We were the only ones at the cabin and selected the prime campsite behind the corral. The site is shaded and has a nice fire ring. Water was a short walk down trail. There was a huge pool just below camp. The creek had a slight trickle. Our plan for day two was to hike up canyon where we had to cross the creek at least five times and then make the big climb towards Casner Mountain. We settled in for the evening with a nice campfire and pleasant temps.

    I went to sleep relatively early and thought to myself how quiet it was. I could barely hear the creek trickle. I fell asleep and slept hard. At some point in the night I woke up to the sound of the river raging. I wondered if it was the wind but had a feeling it was the water. I went back to sleep and decided to check on conditions in the morning. I woke up around 7:30am and headed out to check the creek. I noticed right away it's way higher. I would guess it rose 2-3 feet overnight. Our plans were in jeopardy.

    Kyle and I took time in the morning. We got the fire going again and had breakfast and talked about our options. We were confident we could get across the river if it doesn't rise any higher. The thought of five unknown crossings up canyon was not in our best interest. We decided to play it safe and hike out. Once that was decided we packed up and doused the fire and started the hike out around 9:30am.

    The return hike went well. The hike started with puffy clouds and the sun shining through. We made good time as we paralleled the creek. It had a strong flow but we could tell the crossing was doable. We continued on and arrived at the crossing. We scouted the crossing and decided to cross just below the trail. I brought hiking poles for this alone and they proved very helpful. I made my way across and had water up to my knees. Kyle worked his was across and Lily crossed like a pro. She went up creek just a bit from Kyle and swam diagonally as the current carried her down roughly 15 feet. She eventually climbed out with no incident. Kyle completed the crossing and we took a short break.

    The final five miles were very enjoyable. The cloud cover built and a light rain fell. It was perfect hiking weather. Roughly a mile from the TH we passed a couple with two dogs. I recognized the guy as Elias Butler. He coauthored Grand Obsession which is one of my favorite books. I went a little fanboy on him but kept my cool. It was great meeting him in person! The last mile flew by and we headed back to Phoenix. The road out was mostly dry and easy going.

    This was a great trip and good company. It was too bad we couldn't make the loop but it was truly the best option for us. It gives us a reason to go back another time. I really enjoy this area and could see myself making a trip every year or so.
    Sycamore Basin Trail #63
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    I had been wanting to backpack in to Taylor Cabin since last year's day hike out there. A New Years attempt to backpack in was foiled by high water, so I started thinking of alternative routes in to the cabin that were not at the mercy of Sycamore Creek and came up with this one from Sycamore Basin Trail's trailhead.

    We drove up on a Friday night to mitigate, or eliminate the length of the drive on Saturday. The drive ended up being very slow going and rough, but we persevered. We slept in a little at the TH and then I coaxed Jackie into getting ready with a quick fire, a very chilly morning, below freezing. The backpack in went pretty quickly and the trail was in pretty good shape. We hit the Doggie Trail intersection after 4.6 miles and the cabin at 8.7 miles, maybe a better way in as far as the hiking goes than Doggie Trail in my opinion. We camped at the cabin and visited the main attractions in the area after set up and nap time. There is a ton of water flowing down Sycamore right now, with several deep pools near the cabin and some picturesque little areas now enhanced by the presence of water. After visiting some of the close stuff, we pursued a lead on a cliff dwelling in the area. I stumbled across one dilapidated site during this endeavor, but we did not find the site we were looking for. The early evening exploring had us running late on camp chores and dinner so I think we may have hit 9 p.m. for the first time in a long time. The overnight was nearly perfect and not as chilly as we had anticipated after our cold car camp.

    With lighter packs, the hike out went even quicker and we made the trailhead in less than four hours. The drive out went quicker, but it's still a slog, however, its annoyance was easier to take after such a nice little backpack. The ruins, the destination and the views from Sycamore Basin Trail really made this a nice little overnight backpack. In fact, I would probably put this trip near the top of my list of memorable over-nighters. I definitely will be back to this area to follow up on that ruin lead, visit a few other attractions and to hike some of the trails we passed this weekend, but I don't be back from the same TH.

    Some HAZ appreciation to @Oregon_hiker for the driving route and rock pile lead.
    Sycamore Basin Trail #63
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    Casner - Taylor Cabin - Sycamore - Dogie Loop
    I've wanted to do this loop to Taylor Cabin for the longest time. After a dayhike down Dogie to Sycamore Creek last year and some fooling around on and around Casner this year I did some more homework and opted to do the damn thing from the Casner approach...

    After camping near the Casner mountain trailhead, I got an early start just before 6 AM. I opted to drive a little further to the "ROAD CLOSED" gate under the power lines that run up Casner (this is the right of way gate for Casner Mountain). Getting the climb up Casner done first before the heat of the day sets in is recommended. Despite carrying 5L of water the climb wasn't too bad with trekking poles. The views going up are wonderful but the novelty of peeking down into Sycamore Canyon to your left AND the edge of Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness to your right is just fantastic. Pictures won't do it justice...
    After spotting Mooney trail snaking up from the edge of RRSM wilderness I came to the junction with both Mooney and Taylor Cabin. The shade of this somewhat overgrown descent was quite appreciated. Taylor Cabin trail is cairned in abundance all the way down to the creek.

    I did a dumb thing and boulder hopped ALL THE WAY from Taylor Cabin trail to Dogie trail, stopping at Taylor Cabin with quite a bit of help from Gaia GPS. My entire excursion boulder hopping was exhausting, hot, and dry (I would not recommend) however it did save me the anxiety of bushwhacking and trying to find the cairns marking the trails comings and goings thru Sycamore Canyon. My extra dumb choice was boulder hopping this in running shoes (read: not boots or even trail runners) it would be a hell of a place to slip or twist an ankle... Personally, I can rationalize exhausting and dangerous boulder hopping as "more direct" but ultimately it's just a preference and again, I wouldn't recommend this to another hiker unless as a last resort.

    Taylor Cabin was cute. If you go TAKE A COUPLE PENS AND PENCILS. There are no writing implements for the log book. On my visit there was one pan of clear water that had run off the metal roof (about one liter) after the recent light showers in the area. Don't count on seeing water on this loop though, pack enough to safely execute your hike without finding water on the route. I almost packed less water because of the recent showers and I'm so glad I thought better of it. There is a binder with information about Taylor Cabin inside, it's worth flipping through if you like historic details. An intrepid hiker may also find the nearby gravestone of "Jak" (a cattledog I presume), the corral ruins, and adjacent storage cave. During my visit, mice seemed to have set up shop fairly well in the cupboards.

    The boulder hop down to the Dogie junction was slow and exhausting. The junction is unsigned and easy to miss as the cairns are spread wide on either side of the wide canyon floor. I set a GPS waypoint on my track for this junction. Dogie trail felt like a moving sidewalk after all the boulder hopping. The trail is in good shape and has plenty of camping spots between the creek and Sycamore Pass tank.
    Sycamore Basin Trail #63
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    We wanted to get together for a moderate hike and set our sights on Taylor Cabin after reading some recent triplogs. The mileage & AEG sounded good for us. We were looking at 18-19 miles & 2,300 AEG. There were also reports of water at the cabin. We decided to give it a go and it turned out to be more effort than we signed up for. The mileage came in over 19 miles but the AEG was over 3,300. It was great hike but the day hike pushed it a bit for our group.

    Claire & I met FOTG, Kyle & Jackie at the Happy Valley Park n Ride at 6:30am. We were surprised that Joe & Bruce's vehicles weren’t there. We made the two hour drive to the trailhead via Cottonwood and found the dirt road (525 & 525C) in excellent condition. We were glad to see a vacant parking lot when we pulled in.

    The hike in went really well. We made steady progress and enjoyed the views. The area fells like Sedona without the crowds. We took a break at the dry creek bed roughly 4-5 miles in. From there we continued on and headed for the cabin. This hike has a good mix of high speed sections with a mix of rocky areas as you drop in and out of washes. There are a handful of climbs but they’re relatively short.

    We reached the cabin and took our lunch break. FOTG and I set out to find water. He went down canyon and I went up and we both found water soon after. The up canyon pool was only a few minutes from the cabin and it should last another month or so. It will dry out by summer if we don’t get rain soon. We both returned to the cabin where our group took lunch in the shade. The cabin is very cool and we discussed returning here in the fall/winter for a backpacking trip.

    After lunch we started the hike out. By this time it was early afternoon and the sun was beating down. All the ups & downs were starting to take a toll on our group. We took another break at the creek and then continued for the exit. It became obvious that the hike was going to be over 19 miles & over 3K AEG. The last mile or two were a grind but everyone got out okay and we were back to the TH around 5:30pm. We loaded up and stopped at Panda Express/Taco Bell in Cottonwood and then made the drive back to Phoenix.

    This was a great hike but took more effort than anticipated. This is a perfect area for backpacking just make sure there is water at the cabin. Thanks everyone for going with and thanks FOTG for driving!
    Sycamore Basin Trail #63
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    I am very happy I took John's invite on this hike. I nearly bailed because I was worried about the high miles on my left knee, which was run a little ragged on my big backpack over spring break and has kind of been slow to recover. But I figured worst case scenario I could turn around early and John assured me it was not a very difficult 18 miles.

    The route ended up not being that difficult as both Dogie and Sycamore Basin were in pretty good shape, however, we were all ready to be done by the end, as it ended up being a thousand feet more aeg than expected and a little warm at times due to the lack of cover and heat radiating rocks. But overall there was a pretty consistent breeze and the conditions remained close to ideal for the most part, with some sporadic shade to provide relief from the sun. No water though! Only two modest pools at the cabin in the creek bed. A long dry hike for the four legged ones, use caution bringing them out there this time of year.

    Other than the dry conditions, it was an awesome hike. This area really exceeded my expectations. I have been known to be a little anti-this section of the state, but I was very happy with this hike. A four star hike for sure! The views into Sycamore were great and the surrounding scenery was very worthy as well. I loved the stands up hardy pines and juniper and the mixture of white, red and coconino type looking terrain features and rock formations in the distance. The cabin is a great destination and I feel the area may offer some great backpacking opportunities during the cooler, wetter months.

    We took ample breaks and did not start overly early, but were still done by 5:30. Blanco did fine with the warmer temps and lack of water, but they were certainly not ideal conditions for him. A lot of ups and downs on this one, a little relentless at times, but just short little take your breath hills, no big climbs. Great hike, great trails, terrific views and a worthy destination at the end, highly recommended. Choose a cool day.
    Sycamore Basin Trail #63
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    Excellent lasso loop from the Parson Springs trailhead - north on Packard #66 and Sycamore Basin #63, then counter-clockwise loop up Yew Thicket #53, down Unknown #61 (aka Lonesome Pocket according to the sign) and back east on Henderson #53.

    I had a little trouble finding the Yew Thicket trail where it supposedly meets Sycamore Basin, but after a little wandering in the general direction it became clear. I doubt this trail gets much use but it is in surprisingly good condition, with a huge number of well-spaced cairns taking you up steeply to the rim and onto a lonely mesa with big views. The intersection with trail #61 was unmarked but very obvious.

    Trail #61 down to Henderson Flat follows a loose, rocky ridge through open scrub, and would be very unpleasant in the uphill direction under hot sun. The west end of Henderson #53 is faint and overgrown in spots, but improves greatly as it travels southeast along the base of gorgeous red rock cliffs.
    Sycamore Basin Trail #63
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    Really nice hike out and back to the Taylor Cabin. It was overcast the entire day which made the longer hike all that more enjoyable. The folding chairs at Taylor Cabin were a welcomed treat as we relaxed and had lunch. After taking some pictures we headed back. Saw 3 javelina and the largest jackrabbit I have seen in a long time. Enjoyed beers and eats at Oak Creek Brewery and Grill.
    Sycamore Basin Trail #63
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    took two days each way and took our time along the way. Beautiful forgotten about trail! Brought our dogs, just be mindful, it is mountain lion country!!! Also, no water until dropped below basin into the Sycamore canyon. Great Hiking in the winter, summer time it is too hot for me and even more dry. Beautiful area, it is like your own private Sedona. It is a bit of a drive in, but the road is not too bad. 4x4 not needed unless the road gets wet, then it would be good thing to have.
    Sycamore Basin Trail #63
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    Casner-Taylor-Dutch-Sycamore-Dogie Loop
    I've had this loop in mind for awhile now. Time to escape the heat in the valley.
    The injured Teva said he would join me, but had two requests.
    1) No Rock Hopping - Oops
    2) No Bushwhacking - Double Oops

    We parked at the Trailhead at the end of 525C and started our 1.25 mile Counter Clockwise road walk over to the Casner Mountain Trail. This is the recommended way to go, (You were right)
    getting the major climb out of the way in the beginning of a long day (2000' in 2 miles). The 4 mile walk across the top of Casner Mountain, yielded views that gave you a great overall feel for the Sedona landscape. At some points you are walking on a ridge that's 30' across, with views off both sides.

    Be careful when making the turn off Casner Mountain and on to Taylor Cabin trail. The finely groomed trail appears to go straight and to the left. We wasted 20 minutes after it just dead ended. After back tracking, make the semi-hidden right, once off Casner Mountain.

    The Taylor Cabin Trail was gorgeous, and reminded me a bit of how the Grandview trail drops into the GC. For the next hour the prominent feature is unnamed peak 6416. During this time, you make the 3 mile steep decent to Sycamore Creek. You'll pass through both conifer and deciduous trees and pass through smooth red rock narrows, while following the drainage.

    Once at the bottom, at Sycamore Creek, the trail goes straight across. Two faded Taylor Cabin signs are the only clue. From here to the 1/4 from the cabin, you'll be skirting Sycamore Creek. The trail is almost gone in many places. This is the one area that it'd would have been nice to have long pants. It's a 2 mile hike to the Cabin from here.

    Taylor Cabin is a place that has to be seen to appreciated. There's a lot of history there.
    The chimney on that fireplace is something I've never seen before. There are some food stuffs, Water in containers, propane, etc stored about. If you feel like doing some cleanup while you are there, please make use of the Wheel barrow and shovels.

    From here you take the 8.5 Mile Dutch Kid Tank / Sycamore / Dogie Roller coaster back to the Start. Yep... there are many more gorgeous views along the way....

    We finished up just as we were going to need headlamps. We had two other side trips we were thinking for this day, but they will have to wait for another time.

    On the way home, Joe talked about his Contractors.
    Thanks for joining me, and I'm glad your foot did not fall off.
    Sycamore Basin Trail #63
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    Casner-Taylor-Dutch-Sycamore-Dogie Loop
    This is good loop. Glad I finally got to tackle it after knowing about it for so long. Casner seems under rated to me. The best views of the loop are from the top in my opinion. The sweetest part of the hike is going down Taylor through the thick forest. A lot of dead fall, luckily it's relatively easy to get over. The worst part is from when Taylor enters the creek over to a quarter mile before reaching the cabin. Either friendly or lazy backpackers have left over ten bottles of used coleman fuel in the cabin cabinet. Overall it's a cool little area and well maintained. The most enjoyable part of the loop was on the short Dutch Kid Tank Trail #54.

    Believe the only water seen all day was in the creek about a mile ENE of the cabin near-ish 34.996719, -111.973172. Personally I wouldn't count on water down there much ever.

    Our temps ranged from 43 to maybe 75. Any warmer at the bottom would have been hot. The rocks radiate the heat back with such little shade.

    Wildflowers: one sprig of blue dicks, wallflowers on a couple occasions, indian paintbrush maybe a dozen times and a few other varieties I'm unsure of on the identification

    First serious hike now 16 days after the foot injury. At times it wasn't too bad, at times it was quite painful. Obviously not the wisest choice yet I have no regrets.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    Access and trailhead location: Hikers generally start their journey at the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness boundary at the junction of TR #53 and the end of FR 181. The best access is either by way of Chino Valley or Drake. From Chino Valley take the Perkinsville road (FR 354) approximately 23 miles to FR 181; take FR 181 east about 6 miles to Henderson Flat. Continue southeast for another 5 miles to the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Boundary. An alternate approach from Drake is to take FR 492 for 11 miles to FR 354, then south on FR 354 for 2 miles to FR 181. The latter route is longer but is paved as far as Drake.

    Travel time: Approx. 1 hr. 30 min. from Chino Road condition: High clearance vehicle
    $17 3L Hydration Bladder
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