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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.

Barnhardt Trail #43, AZ

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3.2k 360 12
Guide 360 Triplogs  12 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson W
Rated
3.9
3.9 of 5 by 84
 
43
Statistics
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 12.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,200 feet
Elevation Gain 1,912 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,132 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 7.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 23.06
Interest Seasonal Waterfall
Backpack Yes & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Collective Slideshow
Inaugural Calculation next Tap
9  2018-10-28
Mazatzal Peak Summit
trekkin_gecko
24  2018-10-28
Mazatzal Peak Summit
chumley
19  2018-10-04
Mazatzal Peak Summit
DixieFlyer
15  2018-06-03
Barnhardt - Sandy Saddle Loop
jacobemerick
5  2018-04-28 mt98dew
12  2018-03-30 KBKB
21  2018-03-29
Mazatzal Peak Summit
DixieFlyer
2  2018-02-18
Mazatzal Peak Loop
The_N
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 27
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Oct, Nov → 9 AM
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:56am - 5:23pm
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Official Route
 
58 Linked
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Barnhardt - Sandy Saddle Loop
Barnhardt - Sandy Saddle Loop
same trailhead
15.0 mi
4,735 ft
Barnhardt Canyon
same trailhead
6.0 mi
2,000 ft
Club Cabin
Club Cabin
same trailhead
34.5 mi
Half Moon Trail #288
Half Moon Trail #288
same trailhead
4.1 mi
552 ft
Mazatzal Peak Loop
Mazatzal Peak Loop
same trailhead
15.0 mi
3,200 ft
Mazatzal Peak Summit
Mazatzal Peak Summit
same trailhead
11.8 mi
4,400 ft
Shake Tree Trail # 44
same trailhead
5.4 mi
2,350 ft
Y Bar Trail #44
Y Bar Trail #44
same trailhead
5.6 mi
2,994 ft
Horse Camp Seep - Mazatzals
0.0 mi away
19.3 mi
3,754 ft
North Fork Falls of Deadman Canyon
North Fork Falls of Deadman Canyon
0.0 mi away
18.0 mi
3,169 ft
[ View More! ]
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Thick juicy steak for hungry thighs!
by Fritzski

Likely In-Season!
1998-03-17 Joe Bartels named the large waterfalls in the tributaries along Barnhardt Canyon that split off of 7403 as Big Kahuna and Hawaiian Mist on St Patty's day 1998.


Barnhardt Trail is considered to be one of the "expressways" to the Mazatzals. It starts at Barnhardt trailhead and proceeds westward to the ridge of the Mazatzal range or "Divide" where you intersect the N-S Mazatzal Divide Trail which is part of the Arizona Trail. It's considered an expressway in that it connects up with numerous other trails in the system that could keep a backpacker busy forever. One note of warning, however, the trails are many and can be confusing. The Mazatzal Peak topo quad shows trails that no longer exist and doesn't show many that do. Many of the ones that are shown are misnamed. Here's your best bet if you want to get a descent handle on this area: The Forest Service office in Mesa has a nice plasticized Mazatzal Wilderness map for $7 that shows all the numbers with the names on the back. Check out Joe's map below. Put the two together, shake well, add a pinch of luck and you're on your way (remember: author not to be held responsible for resulting chaos:).

Alrighty then, this hike goes from the trailhead up to Chilson Springs and back. The first thing you'll probably notice about this hike is its a "climber". The good news is this: the beauty simply overwhelms any pain and there really isn't much pain because the grade is so "friendly" (moderate and consistent). "If you're in descent shape and your legs are thirsting for a little action, it just feels awful (good! that is)." Likewise, coming back down is surprisingly easy on the knees.

Starting out you'll be ever so briefly in desert scrub before entering Pinon Pines and Juniper. At about a half mile in you'll come to a sign denoting the Wilderness Area boundary. Shortly after that you may notice a side trail dropping down to the right. I'm guessing this MAY be one of your few access points to the canyon floor.

As you continue to gain elevation you'll gradually come into Ponderosas and small Oaks. The climb contours high along the Barnhardt Canyon wall in some very creative ways making for great views from small promontories and ledges. You get a hawk's eye view of the panorama and the canyon far below which has many unusual features and inviting, but inaccessible pools. I found myself looking ahead thinking "no way the trail could go up there" and indeed it did through what I consider to be some very ingenious routing.

At about 1.5 miles you will turn south and begin a series of switchbacks into a secondary canyon. At this point you'll find a very aesthetic rock formation making a great rest spot. As you begin the switchbacks you may notice your last chance to access the creek bed from a small break in the trees. A side trip up this canyon bottom would bring you to a point where the water must descend a very large wall but is well hidden from sight on the trail, although the sound is very noticeable.

At about 2.5 miles is one of the highlights of the hike in the form of a seasonal cascading waterfall with a sheer drop of about
twenty feet at the bottom. Its in a grotto tucked back from the trail about twenty yards and enclosed by sheer rock walls on three sides. Tried my best to figure a way to the upper levels, but didn't have the guts to try the climb unprotected.

From here the climb continues unabated for another mile until you reach the Sandy Saddle trail at 6000'. From the falls to the 4mi point is mostly bush with Manzanita predominant. At about 4mi you'll come to a rather nice Ponderosa forest, but it bothered me that so many were dying. Don't know if this is from disease or past drought, but didn't notice it elsewhere on the hillsides while driving back.

At 5mi you top out at about 6200' and at 5.5mi is the intersection with the Mazatzal Divide trail entering from the south (this is not shown on any but the latest revised maps).

From here you begin a descent on what is now technically Mazatzal Divide trail into Chilson Spring which is a nondescript little well on the north side of the trail. From this spring they piped the water all the way down to Chilson Camp which you can reach by cheating and following the pipe or continuing till you hit the Brody Seep trail, take a left and go a quarter mile. The Camp is a very scenic open area that was
obviously once used as a cattle corral. It is an ideal spot for an overnight or just some lunch.

The return goes a little faster and offers many views you may have missed on the way up. A very enjoyable hike and I personally look forward to the opportunity to explore this area further. I just may have to break down one of these days and buy a backpack! Take care, and may the winds be always at your back (and strong enough to blow away those darn gnats!)

Fritzski
    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 $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From the corner of SR87 & SR260 in Payson go south on SR87 for 14.5 miles to the signed turnoff for Barnhardt trailhead (forest road 419). Follow FR419 5 miles to its end. The parking area is fairly large. Barnhardt trailhead is located at the west end of the parking area.

    From Phoenix take SR87 north out of Mesa to Payson. The turnoff to the trailhead is 4mi north of the 188 intersection. (think rest stop)
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