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

Chesley Flat Trail, AZ

107 18 0
Guide 18 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Safford
3.5 of 5 by 6
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 9,272 feet
Elevation Gain 758 feet
Accumulated Gain 835 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.75 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.18
Backpack Possible & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
4  2017-10-22
Swift Trail (State Hwy 366)
1  2016-06-05 friendofThunderg
10  2016-06-04
Webb Peak from Ash Creek TH
15  2014-10-16
Pinaleno Mountains - GET #10
9  2014-10-16
Pinaleno Mountains - GET #10
15  2012-10-29
Webb Peak Big Loop
13  2011-05-07
Pinaleno Grand Tour
7  2010-11-14 PrestonSands
Page 1,  2
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
Expand Map
Preferred   Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep → 9 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  6:07am - 6:18pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
High mountain meadows
by PrestonSands

Likely In-Season!
The Chesley Flat Trail begins in a picturesque meadow high in the Pinaleno Mountains where an old dairy farm run by the Chesley family was located. It is one of four different routes to the top of 10,000 foot Webb Peak. This trail is seldom used and is especially difficult to follow on its top half, due in part to fire line construction which obliterated parts of the trail.

Consequently, you will need some route finding skills. A topographical map and gps are helpful. Also, the section of the Swift Trail that accesses the Chesley Flat area is closed to traffic from November 15 to April 15, due to heavy snowfall. Look for the historical marker along the Swift Trail as soon as you enter the Chesley Flat meadow, as this is where the Chesley Flat Trail begins. The approximate gps coordinates for the trailhead are: 32 degrees 42.951' N, 109 degrees 56.379' W.

From Chesley Flat, begin following the unsigned but well defined path along the meadow's eastern edge as it heads for the trees. A short distance after entering the dense forest of engelmann spruce, you will arrive at a signed trail junction for the Chesley Flat Trail #311 and Blair Canyon Trail #304, near an aspen tree with a large tumor-like growth. The trail signs for the Chesley Flat Trail indicate it is 2 miles to the top of Webb Peak, but it is actually closer to 1.5 miles. Leave the Blair Canyon Trail behind, and turn right on the Chesley Flat Trail. The trail now begins ascending the west side of Webb Peak through a forest of spruce and aspen. After a steady climb up a drainage, the trail arrives at the southern edge of the 2004 Nuttall Fire. The trail, which is well defined up to this point, disappears among the burned areas, grassy meadows and woody debris left over from fire crews cutting a fire line to stop the Nuttall Fire's progress. Use the fire line as your trail marker, and follow it as it climbs higher up the western ridge of Webb Peak. It's nice to see lots of young aspen shoots and grasses coming up in the burned area. Behind you are views of Grandview Peak and the Pinaleno ridgeline. At about the 0.75 mile mark, the trail pretty much levels off and follows the pleasant grassy mountain top through open forest, leaving the fire line and log debris behind. On the return hike, this area offers more views of the northern Pinaleno Mountains, and the distant Santa Teresa Mountains.

At around 1.2 miles the Chesley Flat Trail joins up with forest road 88 on a curve in the road. Turn left (uphill) and follow the road for 0.3 miles up to the top of Webb Peak. Just above the end of the road is the Webb Peak fire tower, and 360 degree views. Heading back down, you can return the way you came, or take one of the two branches of the Webb Peak Trail #345 and make a 4+ mile trek back on the Swift Trail to Chesley Flat. Whatever route you choose, it's beautiful!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2007-01-04 PrestonSands
  • description related image
    guide related
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 14 deeper Triplog Reviews
Chesley Flat Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Met up with Chad bright and early after another all-nighter working at the telescope on Mount Graham, and we started up the Swift Trail. The focus of the day was to tour the Pinalenos and see first hand the effects of the Frye Fire of June 2017. Our first stop of the day was at a small canyon that I had passed so many times without ever stopping to explore it. This little hidden gem was loaded with changing maples and flowing water.

As we passed the top end of the Shake Trail, we entered into the main burn area of the Frye Fire. Pitchfork Canyon looked like it had been skewered by the Devil’s flaming pitchfork. A mountain side of black sticks where a lush stand of mature firs had once provided dense shade. The Arrow Tree still stood.

Stop 2 was at Snow Flat. Most of this area had fared well, with the exception being the back road to Treasure Park (Treasure Park via Snow Flat hike is charcoal city). Hospital Flat had some damage but is still beautiful, I think.

Stop 3 was Grant Hill Trailhead. Grant Hill was almost entirely consumed in a crown fire. Hopefully aspens will thrive here in the coming decades, but it looks pretty bad right now, and the trail loops on it are closed for the foreseeable future. We talked with the Squirrel Girl here, and heard the latest Red Squirrel census, which was pretty grim (35 found during the post-fire count, I heard).

The Grant Creek area didn’t look too bad, with only moderate fire damage, as we approached Stop 4: Cunningham Campground, next to the western trailhead of the Cunningham Loop. We talked with some
Forest Service employees briefly, and checked out the the Grant Creek Trailhead before continuing on. The Moonshine Creek area fared well, with fall aspens and ferns adding some color.

The Fort Grant overlook revealed Grant Creek Canyon to have a mosaic burn pattern, with plenty of green forest left intact.

Approaching Columbine through the singed spruce-fir, we turned down Bible Camp Road toward the Deadman-Highline Trailhead. Bible Camp Road had seen mosaic burn, and while there was heavy damage in places, there were some patches of surviving spruce-fir. I knew that much of Deadman had been thoroughly torched, but I had hope that my trail sign might have survived. As we rounded the first corner of Deadman, there was the trail sign I had made in 2010, perfectly undamaged among burned logs. I couldn’t believe it, and it was one of the few sights that day that made me smile. I unbolted my soot-covered creation to bring it home, as Deadman-Highline, my favorite Pinaleno trail, will probably not ever reopen.

The next stop was one Chad and I were both apprehensive over: Columbine Corral/Ash Creek Trailhead. We had heard that Ash Creek and Webb Peak were severely burned and a sea of black sticks. Sadly, that was true. The jewel of the Pinalenos was completely devoid of green, save for some small aspen and raspberry sprouts in places. Heartbreaking. On to the next spot...

Soldier Creek Campground looked great, just like old times.

As we drove toward Chesley Flat across the black skeleton slopes of Webb Peak, we wondered if any of the top was untouched by this mega-fire. Fire damage beyond Chesley Flat was less severe, and finally ceased at the turnoff for Riggs Lake. There is some ground fire evidence on the east side of Riggs, but very minor. We walked around the lake on the Lakeshore Trail, finally able to see a healthy, familiar favorite.

We continued down the last mile plus of the Swift Trail through the unburned forests of old, to the Clark Peak Trailhead, where we started the CP Flat Loop hike. The west end of the Pinalenos was deserted and we enjoyed a great hike through the aspens and mixed conifer woodland.
The rugged cliffs of Grandview Peak above Hell’s Hole looked amazing with a small strip of golden aspens clinging precariously.

Making our way home, I pulled over at Chesley Flat to check out the upper end of the Blair Canyon Trail and the old “spooky woods” area. This area was on the edge of the Webb Peak inferno and sustained heavy but not total damage. Still some survivor trees, including the tumor tree, and the ancient Blair Canyon Trail sign.

We continued back down the mountain, discussing our findings and thoughts on the matter, and made one final stop at the upper Shake Trailhead to see trees caked in red retardant from the fire.

Back on the straightaway at the base of the Pinalenos, Chad headed for home, and I grabbed a sandwich at Mount Graham Market for dinner on the road to home.

A few observations, which are totally my opinion...
Most of the burn area, which includes the majority of the top of the Pinalenos, appeared to me to have about 50% tree mortality. Of that 50%, a large portion of these trees were covered in dead needles with no sign of green (heat scorched trees, rather than burn, maybe?). The most severe burn areas appeared to be Pitchfork Canyon, Grant Hill, Ash Creek, and Webb Peak. The least severe/most green areas appeared to be Snow Flat, the area north of Hospital Flat, and Grant Creek watershed. The top of Graham Ridge between Shannon Campground and the summit of Mount Graham was severely burned, with almost total tree mortality. Severe erosion scarred most of the drainages and creeks on top. I won’t discuss my personal feelings here, other than to say the burn was worse than I had feared. I still love the Pinalenos, and always will, but they sure do look rough right now. I might post a photo set.

Chad, thanks for another great adventure! Much better to see sights like this with a like-minded friend.
Chesley Flat Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
My final trip up to the top of Graham to survey the damage left from the Frye Fire before the November 15th winter closure. I met up with Preston and together we headed up the mountain as we have done so many times before. Plan was to survey as many sites as we could and also get in a hike at the end of the Swift Trail. We drove the entire road to it's end and this is what we saw & know .....

We first stopped on the way up for a quick trek up "secret canyon" for some fall colors, looked good and is only gonna get better. A return trip up will be made soon.
Second stop up was made at Ladybug Saddle to show Preston where & how I dislocated my shoulder last week, I was in need of some sympathy.
Then around to the backside/top and into the burn -

Snow Flat - Road down to the CG hit with med intensity burn, campground unaffected and beautiful.
Treasure Park CG - Road down med burn, meadow and CG mostly unaffected and beautiful, the "back" CG hit hard and now gated with "forest closed" sign.
Cunningham CG - Intact, but high burn all around CG. The trail-head for Grant Creek & Moonshine has "closed forest" sign. We could see golden aspens down in Moonshine and a later overlook view showed that lower Grant Creek from Ft Grant TH was unaffected, the upper trail has burned. At Cunningham we talked with a high up Forest Service employee who gave up permission to hike a bit into Ash Creek for a look a little further up the road.
Soldier Creek CG - One of my favorites and I was very happy to see an intact CG with minimal burn around it. The Grant Goudy Ridge (and Ice Caves) TH is open with the standard "caution burn area" sign.
Deadman-Highline Trail - The feel good story of the day! We drove down Bible Camp road to see if the trail-head sign that Preston made and posted back in 2010 made it through the fire. We hiked a bit up the trail through a hard hit area to find burn all-around the perfectly intact sign! It damn near brought a manly tear to my eye to see Preston's joy that it made it through -
[ photo ]
Columbine Corrals CG - From the happiest part of the day to the saddest. We parked at Columbine visitor center and hiked in across the road to the corrals. This whole area is closed including Webb Peak & Ash Creek due to high intensity burn. As stated earlier we had permission to hike a bit in. We took the trail just to where the switchbacks start down and that's about as far as you can go. Of all my trips up since the re-opening, this one punched me in the chest the hardest. I just could not believe I was looking down Ash Creek Canyon ..... black sticks as far as I could see down and on both sides of the canyon. We were told by Forest Service earlier at Cunningham that a decision was made to close and not work on Ash Creek & Frye Mesa Trail (where the fire started) for at least the next 3 years. Webb Peak is also black sticks, but was told that a loop may be re-opened next year.
Riggs Flat Lake - After Ash Creek we continued down the road through much more burn until finally reaching Riggs where the west end of the fire came to an end. We drove down to the lake that does have some minimal burn down, then through the campgrounds & ended with a nice hike around the lake on the Lakeshore Trail. Riggs Lake area for the most part was unaffected by the fire. Merrill Peak was hit on top and I'm sure the backside was too. There is a "burn" sign posted for the Jesus Babcock Trail behind the campground.
CP Flat - Finally on to the end of the road to hike CP Flat. A very needed break from fire damage with an autumn walk through Letty's Grove. I knew we were late for the golden aspen leaves up high, but just as beautiful hiking on the golden leaf road!
Blair Canyon - On the drive back out we stopped at Chesley Flat to see how Blair Canyon fared and as expected ..... not well. High burn and I'm sure Chesley Flat to Webb Peak looks the same.
Quick last stop at the Shake Trail to show Preston the red slurry covered trees at the start of the trail, this entire trail survived and is one of the very few left unaffected.

Our trip ended on the straightaway where Preston dropped me off at my truck, we said our good-bye's & I drove home still processing what I saw on top.

I have now seen the entire top of Graham and have a good understanding to the condition of the majority of the forest & trails. As stated in other logs - I am still shook, bitter & angry over this fire. The damage is much worse then I ever expected. There is still a lot of green up there and I have found a few places that still holds some un-burned beauty that will keep me looking for more. I have spent my entire life going up that mountain and this will take many years to come to peace with ..... I just hope someday I will get there.
I understand that most don't want to read about others personal hardships as I honestly don't like reading them myself. What has happened has happened and I cannot change it only move on - This will be my last log about the Frye Fire of 2017!

To close I just want to thank Preston for taking me up the mountain to view the destruction with me. Seeing it with a good friend made it more bearable. There will be many more great trips up & around Ole' Graham my friend!!!
Chesley Flat Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
](*,) After an extensive search of vehicles, camping gear & home, it was determined that an item was left somewhere in the middle of the Chesley Flat Trail from our hike one week earlier ](*,)

We headed back up the mountain this morning to search by re-hiking the route starting with the Webb Peak Trail :next: Chesley Flat Trail :next: Swift Trail :next: Grant Goudy Ridge :next: Ice Caves :next: Swift Trail.
We were unsuccessful in finding the item ..... :pk:
Oh well, what we did find was a fire lookout tower, meadows full of wildflowers, raspberries, cool cave to explore, a heavy flowing waterfall, hawks & vultures in the sky, white-tail doe & 4 Abert's squirrels on the ground and a whole lot of quiet, never saw another person or vehicle on the upper mountain all day!

Learned 2 things today -
#1 loosing stuff sucks!
#2 Hiking upper Graham in August ..... Primo!
Chesley Flat Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
After packing up camp from our 2 night stay at Riggs Lake, we headed back down the mountain making our 1st stop at Chesley Flat for a hike. We first took the Blair Canyon trail down a bit to visit the spooky forest, then backtracked up and onto the Chesley Flat trail. This is one of my upper mountain fav's, lots of wildflowers & raspberries to see through the meadows on our way up to Webb Peak. Took the service road & Swift Trail back down to complete the loop.

Stop #2 was made at Solider Creek for lunch and to show the girls the "ice caves" along the Jesus Goudy Trail.
The camp hosts & locals on the mountain always send hikers to these IMO very overhyped "caves". This was my 3rd visit and the girls 1st. I guess they are worth seeing once, the granite formations in the area are very cool.
None of us were very impressed on this visit.

After the "caves", we ended our 3 day 2 night camping trip atop the Big Island with a beautiful slow drive back down the ole' Swifty. Great getaway with great people and as always a great desire to get right back up there and do it again !!!

The meadows are full of yellow sunflowers along with other colors & raspberries.
Chesley Flat Trail
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
We only did half of the Chesley Flat trail from Webb Peak the prior day and I wanted to do the other half to officially check it off the list. Although, I accidentally passed where we had progressed the day before and added in a little bit of an extra climb, much to Jackie's chagrin. The trail is in pretty good shape and relatively easy to follow. It is cairned well and marked with several blue ribbons. The trail could possibly get a little obscure due to tall grasses late in the summer, as you near Webb.
Chesley Flat Trail
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
As I start this, let me say that nothing IMO beats the Arizona Trail. I have tons of awesome memories from it for life. But if you want to do a long-distance trail that is truly RUGGED? More rugged than the AZT? Then get on the GET. So far I've done 11 segments of the GET, and 2 of them already have been more difficult than any segment of the AZT, solely factoring distance and elevation. That's not even considering the route finding and bushwhacking; most if not all of the segments (once the GET leaves the AZT in segment 5) have these challenges, since no one maintains the trails and they are so remote. This segment was by far no exception, with a number of miles of route finding and, in some places, fairly dense vegetation.

A few other HAZ people working on the GET wanted to go but we couldn't get the dates nailed down, so JJ and I did it. As usual, we hiked in opposite directions. Anticipating this might be a doozy, I was able to find a marathon runner friend in town (Norm) to go out and do this one with me.

Left the house at 3:30am, swapped Jeeps with JJ at 5:45 in Thatcher, and I was hiking a few minutes before 7am. There are a few places on this segment where the trail is almost gone, but by far the worst of it is in the first 12 miles. Slowed us down more than we anticipated. JJ was a monster machine, we ran into him just 10 miles into our trip. We finally reached Webb Peak at 4pm, and started the 8.5-mile descent.

Other than underestimating the route finding, Norm and I did make one crucial oversight; he didn't have the GPS track on him and we didn't have walkie talkies or anything to communicate. He and I are opposites in that he is fast on climbing elevation but slow on the downs; I'm fast on the downhills but not on the uphills. Because he didn't have a track, 2-3 times he had to wait for me to catch up to him to let him know which direction to go for a total of about an hour wasted. If he hadn't had to wait for me, I could have caught up to him going down. Then, going down I waited for him, which put us both doing the last part of this segment in the dark, and became very slow. We didn't finish until a few minutes before 8:30pm and didn't get back home until midnight.

Through this segment we saw a number of piles of bear scat, especially on the western side, and even fresh bear paw prints in the water around Ash Creek. JJ's right, the waterfalls and flows in Ash Creek were pretty awesome. We also saw tons of those balls that when you step on them, they put out green smoke. Do you know what I'm talking about? Everywhere! :)

Thanks JJ for getting us going again; it's been too long. 11 segments, 32% of mileage completed (69% of Arizona).

Aspen groves were gorgeous.
Chesley Flat Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Last year I hiked this loop stopping at the big "Fort Grant overlook" and set up a fire ring with plans of returning the following week to camp at the spot for a night. One year later on this trip, I made it back and as a very nice bonus, I brought along my Roper Lake SP girls (Addie & Lauren).

Day 1 - We arrived at Grant Hill in the mid afternoon and chose the counter clockwise route for the quickest time to the site as the light was gonna get low soon on this south side of the mountain. My fire ring was still intact, had been used since last year, but was set up nicely with firewood for a new night. We set up camp, gathered more firewood & settled in to our amazing overlook site under the supermoon. Fire, conversation, laughs and awesome night views of Fort Grant below with light monsoon storms hitting the valleys & mountains in the southern distance. Twas a most wonderful night with friends that ended at 4am. I settled into my sleeping bag with 50deg temps and a gentle wind through the pines excited about the next day!

Day 2 - Awoke after 4 hours of sleep, had an energy shooter for breakfast, broke camp and then completed the rest of Grant Hill Loop. We then switched the backpacks for day packs and drove up to Columbine for the days hike. Light rain started to fall as we made our way down the Ash Creek trail, but ended by the time we made it down to the boiler/Webb Peak Y. The Ash Creek trail looked amazing, would have loved to continue down to the falls but Webb Peak was the destination for the day, Ash Creek ..... see ya next week!!!
The highlight of the climb to Webb came half way up when we watched a big black bear race through the forest just before we entered the meadow he was in. We sucked wind the rest of the way up to the peak and rested under the fire lookout tower at just over 10,000ft.
From Webb we then took the Chesley Flat trail down to the Swift Trail. The Chesley Flat section was my fav for the day, just a beautiful hike through sunflower filled meadows that I could have went back & forth through all day!
We then walked the Swift Trail back to Columbine completing a wonderful Loop.

The monsoons have hit the Pinalenos well this year. The big island is green, green, green. Water flowing down every creek and drainage, rainbow of flowers on every trail and yellow sunflowers fill every meadow. Wildlife spotted on our 2 day trip - Black bear, 14 white-tail deer, 4 Aberts squirrel and many vultures & hawks above.

I'll remember this one for years, can't wait for our "finale" next week!!!

Yellow mountain sunflowers across every meadow, many other colors along the trails & a good variety of mushrooms in the low light sections.
Chesley Flat Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Webb Peak Big Loop
Half day trip on top of Graham with the 10,000 ft Webb Peak fire lookout tower being the main attraction for this hike. Started the loop from the Columbine corrals by first taking the Ash Creek trail down -

ASH CREEK - Still a lot of deadfall along the first .5 miles down to the boiler and Webb Peak spur. All of the aspens have dropped their leaves along this section.

WEBB PEAK - Took the spur around and up to the peak. There is now a short locked fence around the first segment of the fire lookout ladder, but is easy to climb up over. There was no sign telling you not to do this like Heliograph Peak has, so I climbed up half way before strong wind gusts forced me back down. Not sure if the tower box has been locked up too. I then took the service road down and jumped on the Chesley Flat trail just off the road.

CHESLEY FLAT - Favorite trail of the day! Half of this trail goes through an old burn, but has a cool look to it and some good expansive views to the north. Found a few nice golden aspens along the way before taking a short side trip down Blair Canyon.

BLAIR CANYON - The HAZ Yeti showed me this trail last year and I decided to revisit just the first .75 miles of this dark, cold & spooky canyon. The entire trail down was completely covered in aspen litter and I will have to put this one on next years autumn list!

SWIFT TRAIL - I then completed the loop by walking the Swift Trail (Hwy 366) back to Columbine. I'm often asked "what is the best trail in the Pinalenos?" and I always answer - It's the road that takes you up there, the Swift Trail!!!

MOONSHINE - Before leaving the mountain, I made a short stop on the drive back down and hiked the out-n-back to the very scenic Moonshine overlook.

AUTUMN OBSERVATION - Disappointing, but expected. I knew going up this year that the colors were going to be below average. There were some good patches of color, but most looked dull & flat instead of the crisp & vibrant colors of the past. I believe that the intense summer heat we had this year had a lot to do with this. I still have high hopes for some of the lower canyons which are just now starting to "peak"!

Although the fall colors were disappointing, my main goal on this trip was to visit Webb Peak and I thoroughly enjoyed all of the trails I used to complete this loop!
With the top of Graham set to close Nov 15 for the winter, this was probably my last trip to the top for 2012 and what an awesome year it was!!!
Many thanks to the Blam & Yeti for the good times shared up high this year on my favorite hill! :D
Chesley Flat Trail
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Pinaleno Grand Tour
preston and i have been talking about this hike for years and it seemed like the appropriate time to finally do it. i nicely invited bob (like i always do) and met the boys at the turn off for swift trail. i downed my mylanta and up we went...

...into the awesomeness of the pinaleno high country on many wonderful trails and off trail hiking through parts unknown, seeing magnificent sights, struggling through the elevation gain and randomly taking turns falling, and generally having an outstanding time of it. at one point, the yeti stood on the edge and thundered a wail of achievement...

this is a hike to remember and turned out even more awesome than i would have ever thought. perfect day on some epic trails in some special mountains with some good dudes. how can it get better than that? :y:
Chesley Flat Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Pinaleno Grand Tour
After being on our "to-do" list for years, we decided it was time to do the ultimate Pinaleno hike. Nick, Bob, and I met at the Swift Trail turnoff early Saturday morning, and began the twisting, climbing journey up into the Pinaleno Mountains. We parked Nick's ride at Chesley Flat, then shuttled over to Hospital Flat in my truck. The three of us quickly disappeared into the pleasantly cool forest on the Big Creek Trail.

Near the end of the Big Creek Trail we changed course, and began a lengthy off trail hike into wild country, following the tracks of what must have been an enormous bear. The scenery and the views of the desert valleys far below were spectacular. After a frightening traverse along the top of a rocky canyon, we emerged from our off trail journey and stumbled onto the Deadman-Highline Trail. We enjoyed an incredible view from a rocky overlook, and then headed downhill among the tall trees to enjoy a well deserved lunch break. Our adventure thus far had been a tough and tiring one, but there was still a long ways to go, so on we went.

Arriving at the bottom of the Deadman-Highline Trail, we turned and followed Forest Road 508 (Bible Camp Road) back up to the Swift Trail, enjoying the sights and the easier travel. Next, we headed north, onto the Ash Creek Trail. Spring was just beginning along Ash Creek, and skunk cabbage plants were sprouting. At the old boiler, we hung a left onto the Webb Peak Trail.

Being the first high altitude hike of the year for the three of us, we were breathing hard. The north slope of Webb Peak still held a few patches of snow despite the extremely dry winter. The summit of Webb Peak brought an end to the climbing, and we enjoyed the view from the fire tower in the chilly wind. A lone hiker soon approached the tower. "That looks a bit like AZWaterRat", I thought. It was. We talked for a few minutes then went our separate ways.

The last leg of our journey took us down the Chesley Flat Trail, among grassy mountain top meadows, and through dense spruce-fir forest. Our grand tour ended at the always picturesque Chesley Flat, where we climbed into Nick's truck. Nick drove us back to my truck, and we began the journey home.

Thanks for making the long drive out to the Pinalenos, guys. It was a great adventure as always! :)

Permit $$

Coronado Forest
MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
From Safford, head south on U.S. highway 191. Turn west onto state highway 366 (Swift Trail). Follow highway 366 (which turns into forest road 803) approximately 31.2 miles to Chesley Flat (this is about 2.6 miles past the forest service's visitor center cabin at Columbine). The unmarked trail begins on your right, near the historical marker, as soon as you enter the meadow.
help comment issue

end of page marker