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

Overland Road Historic Trail, AZ

no permit
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Guide 9 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Flagstaff > Flagstaff SW
2.6 of 5 by 5
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Distance Round Trip 25 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,576 feet
Backpack Yes & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
14  2017-08-08
Bear Springs via Overland Rd Historic Trail
12  2017-04-02
Sycamore Canyon Rim Loop
8  2017-03-11
Paradise Forks
18  2014-09-07
Sycamore Canyon Rim Loop
15  2014-09-07
Sycamore Canyon Rim Loop
3  2010-11-26 ssk44
11  2010-11-26
Bear Canyon - Kaibab NF
7  2008-07-12 Randal_Schulhaus
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   May, Oct, Sep, Apr
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  6:10am - 6:37pm
4 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Culture Nearby

Likely In-Season!
This route was laid out and built in the summer of 1863 by the Army. It connected the Beale Road with the growing community of Prescott, which experienced a short-lived gold rush. This road left the Beale Road near where Flagstaff is today, and continued west through Garland Prairie to Lockett Spring. Then, it turned southwest to cross Hell Canyon and from there south to Prescott. About 30 miles of the route is located on the Kaibab National Forest. The road was used by the military, immigrants, and freighters between 1863 and 1882, when the railroad was built across northern Arizona. As with the Beale Road, much of the Overland Road has been covered over by the present-day Forest Service road system, but portions are still visible.

Traveling from east to west, one first encounters the wide grasslands of Garland Prairie. Dotted with hardscrabble homesteads, both active and deserted, its vistas still inspire visions of hardy pioneers. Farther along, the old road enters the trees and passes the remains of an old way-station which even boasted its own post office for a time. The foundations of a few cabins are still visible here.

The markers that blaze the trail then wind on through the forest, past remains of a narrow gauge railroad bed and an abandoned logging camp, past scenic Pomeroy Tanks and historic Whiting Ranch. Along the way, you'll see evidence of a Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps camp and the course of the Bear Springs Sheep Driveway that tens of thousands of animals once traveled over the edge of the rugged Mogollon Rim.

Mountain biking is good on FR 57 between FR 354 and Bear Springs. Horseback riding is recommended anywhere along the trail between FR 141 and FR 139, although it may become rocky in the Pomeroy Tanks area.

Trail Layout: The Forest Service has developed the Overland Road into a recreational trail. The route makes use of forest roads and trails which have been marked with rock cairns, brass cap markers, tree blazes, and 4" by 4" wood posts. A treadway has not been cleared on the trail sections, so it can be a challenge to follow. Trailheads with interpretive signs are provided. The trail sections are open only to hikers and horseback riders. Portions of the historic route that are part of the forest road system may be accessed by any means, including motor vehicles and mountain bicycles.

Length: 25 miles

Hiking Time: A variety of access points provide for hikes of varying length and time.

Rating: Easy to moderate.

Trailhead Location: There are a variety of trailheads (please see forest recreation map for details). An accessible vault toilet is available at Pomeroy Tanks Trailhead.

Recommended Season: Late spring, late fall.

Use Restrictions: Travel by motorized vehicles on sections of the Overland Road located off of Forest Service roads, is prohibited.

USGS Map: Bill Williams Mtn. SW, Bill Williams Mtn. NE, Garland Prairie

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
    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 Triplog Reviews
    Overland Road Historic Trail
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    Claire and I headed up to Flagstaff for a night and started with the Sycamore Rim Loop hike. We parked on the northeast side of the loop and started with climb up KA Hill. It was a warm and sunny day as we made the climb. After we topped out it was smooth sailing as we descended towards Pomeroy Tanks which proved to be a really cool area with several pools of water. We continued on and reached the start of the canyon which is really cool. We took a variety of pics and took a break as we hiked along the rim. The views are nice and it’s very easy hiking. We eventually turned away from the canyon and headed north and made our return to the jeep at our trailhead. This was a really nice hike and we were off to a good start. Afterward we headed over to Williams for beers and lunch.
    Overland Road Historic Trail
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    Note: Miles and AEG don't agree with my GPS route due to combining two hikes. Okay, I thought I was on the Sycamore Rim Trail. I don't find that here on the HAZ list. I find Overland Road Historic Trail and Sycamore Canyon Rim Loop. Take your pick. We went to Sycamore Falls. There's no water in them, duh. But they would be pretty spectacular if there was water. The canyon is spectacular anyway. We also stopped at another trailhead and hiked, so I am going to add in the miles for that, but I forgot to save it in my GPS. We were looking for the trailhead to do a short walk to the falls, so we went back and drove down and found the correct trailhead.

    Main thing is that I was wearing my new boots. After hiking a couple miles or so total my feet were fine in these boots. I will have to now do a 4 mile hike to see what happens. Maybe I can be a hiker again after all. I'll post photos later. I have time for a hike before I go to Grand Canyon today for my job. Yeah, life is tough.
    Overland Road Historic Trail
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    Friday was my hike day while on our yearly Unit 8 elk hunt campout. It seems like someone always gets drawn within our group every year so the trip is almost guaranteed. I never truly had high expectations for this canyon. I've just always had a feeling that something good was down in there. Topo and Google Earth research was inconclusive, however I still had to satisfy my curiosity. The hike started out average at best. I was pleased to find that canyon flow from Bear Spring was very good with numerous large pools. I rounded a corner about a 1/2 mile down from the trailhead and viewed the canyon immediately drop into a deep gorge with multiple drops. WOW!! I never imagined this was coming. I get so exited when I find an obscure hidden gem that few have experienced. Exploring has its perks.

    The first waterfall, although steep and nasty had a manageable down climb route. The second waterfall dropped into a deep beautiful grotto with sheer cliffs and all sides. The lower grotto was stuffed with large oak trees. This setting would be sooo nice in the summer! Getting down this big waterfall was not an option without rope. There were zero safe bypass routes. I wanted down there so bad that I didn't care if it took me the rest of the day to find a way in. I backtracked to the first waterfall and scrambled up to the canyon rim. I began to look for a way in from above. The options were limited, however I spotted a manageable way down that was within my comfort zone. I noticed some skid marks in the ground from deer. If they can make down, so can I... Before reaching the canyon bottom, there was a lower bench with a nasty cliff that needed to be dealt with. The deer found a steep narrow notch between two cliff faces lined with spindly oak and mud that worked just fine. I was in!! I hiked and scrambled no more than about 200 yards up canyon and arrived at my destination. I just love this stuff! The setting was so special and the waterfall was a beautiful combination of running water and ice sickles. I had so much fun with the upper gorge that I didn't even bother to finish my hike into the lower canyon. My day was complete.

    Bear Canyon likely has more to see. That will be saved for another day. I'm personally really looking forward to a summer revisit. Adding thick summer foliage should be irresistible. Not having to slip and slide down icy boulders and rock faces will be a welcome bonus also. Arizona has so much to offer. I love this state!

    Warning: Do not drive to this trailhead after heavy rain or snowmelt without four-wheel drive! You might not make it out. I barely did...

    Note: Following the primary canyon route is class 3, however with some ambition, most obstacles can be managed without rope and specialty equipment .
    Overland Road Historic Trail
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    Bear Spring Segment

    Explored a short segment of the Overland Road during my visit to Bear Canyon. Saw some nice evidence of early Arizona history. I'm surprised at how much I found in a short amount of time. The area near Bear Spring must have been a key point along the route. Pretty cool!

    Overland Road Historic Trail
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    Overland Road Historic Trail via Garland Prairie

    When I was researching the hike description for the Beale Wagon Road Historic Trail, the Kaibab National Forest also included some material related to the Overland Road Historic Trail. Interesting I thought at the time, got to put it on the "TO DO" list for some day.

    Well "SOME DAY" came today after a visit to Government Prairie. From the I-40, we took the Garland Prairie Road (exit#167) near Williams and headed southeast along FR141 until we reached FR109. Continuing south on FR109, and just past the intersection with FR139, we came to a crossing for the Overland Road Historic Trail as denoted by the distinctive pack mule signs (Beale Wagon Road has distinctive camel signs marking the trail).

    We had time for a short reconnaissance mission before the rains came. Heading back to FR141, we soon came to the intersection with FR13 and Dow Spring. Dow Spring was a regular way station for travelers on route to the gold fields near Prescott. At one point this settlement boasted its own post office. Cabin ruins and an old bridge give testament to former glory. My map indicated the remains of a sawmill and a narrow gauge railroad, both active in the 1920's nearby. We failed to locate these remains. More rain, so we continued the loop along FR141 back to the Garland Prairie Road (exit#178) interchange with the I-40 near Parks.

    Just a little taste of this historic trail - I'm sure we'll be back soon for more exploration...

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    Access: There are several trailheads which provide access to the Overland Road hiking and equestrian trail. Interpretive signs with information about the history of the Overland Road can be found at the trailheads. This route has been marked across the Kaibab National Forest with closely-spaced rock cairns, distinctive brass caps, tree blazes, and 4" wood posts. Most of these roads are suitable for passenger vehicles.

    Travel Time: 20 minutes to an hour from Williams depending on particular access point.

    Road Condition: This historic route is south of and roughly parallel to Interstate 40. About 25 miles of paved, cinder and gravel surfaced roads intersect the Overland Road. Most of these roads are suitable for passenger vehicles. A high clearance vehicle is recommended for FR 57, FR 747, FR 14, FR 139, and FR 354.
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