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

Railroad Tunnel Trail #390, AZ

no permit
419 57 1
Guide 57 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson N
3.2 of 5 by 25
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 1 mile
Trailhead Elevation 7,245 feet
Elevation Gain -370 feet
Accumulated Gain 490 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 3.45
Interest Historic
Backpack Yes & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Will recalculate on button tap!
18  2019-08-17
Colonel Devin Trail #290
14  2019-06-29 kenandjude
15  2018-09-29 Nightstalker
15  2018-05-06
Fred Haught via Washington Park
11  2018-05-06
Fred Haught via Washington Park
5  2017-10-21
Upper East Verde River
27  2017-08-17
Colonel Devin Trail #290
12  2017-06-11
Devin Tunnel Haught Rim Romp
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,812
Trips 4,252 map ( 21,403 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → 9 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:09am - 6:31pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
All Aboard the Historic Journey
by joebartels

Likely In-Season!
Long ago a man named James W. Eddy had a dream to construct the Mineral Belt Railroad. The rail was to cross the state North to South. Starting in Nogales and up though Globe, then up the rim passing through Flagstaff continuing on up to the Utah border near Lees Ferry(the launching area for rafters into the Grand Canyon). In August 1883 work began on drilling a 3,100 foot tunnel to ascend the Mogollon Rim. 42 men labored all summer. After running low on funds twice the railroad was abandoned. Today the entrance to the railroad tunnel keeps the story alive.

Via North - 1.0 mi RT ( description below )
Via South - 3.5 mi RT

At the edge of the Rim is the trailhead. The trail goes straight down and the footing is loose. Sand and loose rock make the going tricky.

Pass the second electric poll and cross the wash to your left. There is a small sign with a hiker about 50 feet AFTER you are on the correct trail. This junction is easy to miss.

The wind takes advantage of the natural depression of the Rim. The day I hiked the trail seconds after leaving the Rim the wind kicked in. Once returning the second I stepped up on the Rim the wind ceased. The trail is steep heading down and curves to the junction with the Railroad Tunnel Trail. You have been following the Colonel Devin Trail #290 from the Rim and the Tunnel Trail is a spur trail that starts 0.37 mile down. From the rim you have just dropped 380 feet. From the junction it just over a tenth of a mile up to the tunnel. The trail is steep in sections so please be careful. A dark black rock formation tricked my senses into believing I was near the Tunnel. Well not much further over the tunnel came into view. What appears to be a recently constructed ruin is on the east side of the entrance. Upon first examining the tunnel, extensive graffiti is sad to see. Cool air inside makes the tunnel a great resting spot! The floor is fine grain sand. Sit back and imagine the man power it must have taken to drill it in the 1880's! Return back to the trailhead. Enjoy the ride home through the dense Ponderosa Pines along the Rim.

10/03/08 - dshillis adds "The building next to the tunnel is the remains of a powder house."

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

1999-05-26 joebartels
  • guide related image guide 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 27 deeper Triplog Reviews
Railroad Tunnel Trail #390
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Took the team up to Payson this weekend and my up with Mel and Mark who joined us to visit the old Railroad Tunnel. 59 degree start to the hike was well welcomed. We weren't on the trail long before we veered off to explore the area around the old hatchery. Ponds still riddle the landscape with pipes and other pieces of the old laying around. Tons of ripe blackberries hang from the ends of thorny vines in that area. Made our way back to the trail and off to the tunnel. After visiting the tunnel we explored some direct routes to the top. The girls and I retreated back to the Colonel Devin trail and met up with Mel and Mark at the top. Enjoyed the views for a bit and headed back to Washington Park trailhead. A very photogenic butterfly visited with us for quite some time, many pictures were taken.
Railroad Tunnel Trail #390
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
The girls were out so it was time for the boys to escape the heat and do a trail that's been on my wish list for ages. There was even a smoldering fire on the rim road. Was surprised the road was still open. Had a great time and even took a detour and went to the fire guard cabin. Thank you Joe for providing the history of this tunnel!
Railroad Tunnel Trail #390
rating optionrating optionrating optionrating optionrated 1
Fred Haught via Washington Park
noticed this hike that @tough_boots had done a couple weeks ago
looked like a nice one
new territory for john and i
first time hiking from washington park
good roads getting there
got going a little after 0730, checking out the newly rerouted colonel devin trail
nice bridges and path on the lower section - well done
continued on an old roadbed after about a mile
took the detour over to the railroad tunnel, which was an interesting bit of history to visit
on up to the rim, then down a forest road to the general springs cabin where we caught the fred haught trail
very pleasant going through pine trees
water in the canyon at times
i greatly enjoy this terrain
found the cabin remains where we had a snack break
retraced our steps, except for accidently going down the powerline section :?
my bad
nice temps, good breeze, some high cloud cover
saw three people, all within a half mile of the trailhead
i've done pieces of all of the cabin loop trails, would like to hit what i've missed with a bigger hike
stopped for thai food in payson again
good hike with good company - thanks john :)

Railroad Tunnel Trail #390
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
This has been on my to do list for a couple of years. With a planned day off and a picture perfect weather forecast along the Rim, I decided to make it happen today.

I loaded (and followed) the official route up the Colonel Devin trail, not knowing that there was a reroute of the first mile or so. A nice reroute as it turned out, but I didn't notice until I was coming down.

The railroad tunnel to nowhere was fun, worth the trip. I wish I had come back down the same way; bypassing #390 on the way down was not the shortcut I'd hoped for.

The absolute highlight of the hike, though, was the Fred Haught trail. The word that kept coming to mind was tranquil. A nice easy trail with a canopy of pine through most of it, I felt like I could walk all day.

My legs told me otherwise at Quien Sabe Spring, so I turned around there and found a spot for lunch. After lunch it was time to go home. Out and back hikes do that to me.

I saw one person the whole day. A man was walking down the RR tunnel trail not far from the rim as I was walking up.

The weather was as perfect as the forecast. Gorgeous!
Railroad Tunnel Trail #390
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Another glorified dog walk. Started at Washington, climbed to the rim, took Fred Haught down a couple miles, or so. Plenty of water, plenty of squirrels to chase. As with what is expected for this time of year, we ran the final tenth of a mile to the car to beat a down pour and nasty little storm cell.
Railroad Tunnel Trail #390
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Devin Tunnel Haught Rim Romp
Needing to beat the heat and have been seeing a lot of posts about the Rim lately so a 4:30AM drive up the hill started my day. Gabby and I began at the Washington Park TH. I really started feeling that elevation difference the first mile and a half. Even my sneezes couldn't get a full breath! Colonel Devin mostly follows an old road under the power lines the whole way up. Also, this desert cat didn't bring a sweater and the wind blowing almost had me freezing my pumpkin off. I wanted that AEG climbing up the Rim but what's it worth if I didn't enjoy it? Railroad tunnel - check.. Made it up top in one hour. Passed General Springs Cabin and there were several cars at the Fred Haught TH. Anyone remember that movie 'Ferngulley'? Pretty sure it was filmed on location on this trail. (Nevermind it was animated, ok?) Sooooo many giant ferns everywhere it was very lush and beautiful. The trail crosses the creek several times as it heads north away from the Rim. The AZT signs every 500 ft were a little excessive. Went just past where the AZT splits off and then had to turn around due to time and commitments. Saw several elk that scattered immediately when they saw us. Was not looking forward to the return trip down the Rim but the views were really great and the sun felt great. Never thought I'd say that in June. No Mogollon Monster sightings today, but Gabby did walk right over a gopher snake crossing the path, I was really surprised she didn't even smell it. Really enjoyed the forest and nice weather today.
Railroad Tunnel Trail #390
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Had a good hike up to the railroad tunnel during the twilight hours. Not too bad of a hike, a little steep but short. Once turning off onto the Railroad tunnel trail off of the railroad tunnel loop 390 trail, it became VERY necessary to look at my GPS constantly (got lost a few times). In the daylight on the way back it was just fine, but getting up there with nothing but flashlights was tough. The tunnel itself and powderhouse/moonshine spot was really interesting. Don't know if that was the best place to put a railroad, but it sure helped the next morning when it started hailing/raining at about 5 am to get out of the water's way. Overall, a great trip and an enjoyable place to hike/camp at! Having spent a lot of time in the East Verde, it was great to be able to see where it starts! Definitely worth a return trip.
Railroad Tunnel Trail #390
rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
My parents were visiting from Southern Oregon this weekend. They wanted to see some historic sites and hike on the Rim. We started the day with Montezuma's Well and Castle, and after a late lunch, headed out to FR300. I originally recorded my track on Route Scout, but when I got home to upload, it wasn't showing up on the app :-k

The Colonel Devin Trail seemed like a good combination of Mogollon Rim views mixed with a bit of a creek hike. We started on FR300 and headed south, almost all the way to the Pieper Hatchery Spring. I missed the actual trail on the way down, which lead to a steep descent of the old power line road that follows the East Verde wash. Building that power line must have been a tremendous task to take on. On our return, we followed the actual trail and linked to the Railroad Tunnel spur trail. I wish I would've read the history of the tunnel before we arrived. But it's still interesting in retrospect!

The most exciting part of this hike, for me, was seeing the headwaters of the East Verde and the many springs that seep, and sometimes gush, down the canyon and into the channel. Fascinating to think about the links between surface and groundwater!

Overall, fun and simple hike to end a chill day of sightseeing. Oh but wait, there's more! Had to stop at That Brewery on the way home ;)
Railroad Tunnel Trail #390
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Bear Canyon - Cabin Loop via Washington Park
Headed off to Cyle Kountry for some cooler temps and tall pines.
Temps on the day ranged from 71 to 91, The Coolest in the morning after the climb to General Spring Cabin. The warmest at the Railroad Tunnel in the late afternoon. It was in the 80's most of the day and perfect in the shade and with a breeze.

First time driving to the Washington Park TH and any vehicle could easily make it there.

Colonel Devin Trail #290, is as steep at the top as I remembered from doing AZT #27. We took a cool down snack break at the cabin and then headed SE through the woods to Bear Canyon Upper. I'd done this portion before. There are quite a few areas that the game have provided a nice path to follow. It's a lush area with tall cliff walls that is very picturesque. The places where the game had not left a trail was slow going and takes a toll on you. After 5+ miles we cut our track short and scrambled straight up and out of the the creek bed.

On to the ridge line, we ran across a long ago tree cleared roadbed, that made navigating the forest to FR719 a breeze.

Once on the Fred Haught Trail #141 it was clear sailing in the pines. Here we ran into HAZ Lurker Samantha, who gushed about the Web Site and an unlikely member. "Do you guys know AZChumley" :sl:

On the way down, we decided to check out the Railroad Tunnel Trail from the top. Neither of us had been on this section before. Some might want to use this as an alternate route to the top, as it is a less steep alternative.

On the way home, while gassing up, we ran into the before mentioned AZ-Chumley, one of his partners little Johnny 8K, Jackie who was watching after the Leemobile that had be commandeered, and Linda aka Lindaagm. Great to meet you. Be careful of the company you keep. :o
Railroad Tunnel Trail #390
rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
Bear Canyon - Cabin Loop via Washington Park
Upper 70's looked refreshing so the adventure was on. Devin is a straight shooter and gets you to Kyle/Hank country quick. Stopped at the first cabin heading in and out to rest and enjoy the cool breeze.

The meat of the hike was Bear Canyon. It's nice. Big pines, occasional water and such. Nearing six miles negotiating downed trees with no prize on the horizon was losing it's lure. We agreed to forego the next two miles and jump out. It was steep. We stumbled upon an old long gone road on a finger of a ridge. Based on the stumps and trees in the road it looks like it was logged back in the 50s.

Then onto FR719 thinning is obvious in areas that include countless slash piles. Semi amazing as this is a blip of an iota in a sea of canyons and ridges on the rim.

Out General Springs with a stop to the Railroad Tunnel utilizing the upper trail we've never hiked. Ran into the gossip wagon heading

a few nice specimens are out, several large areas of Wild Bergamot

Permit $$

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
From Payson follow 87 North past Pine and Strawberry to the Rim Road (FR300). Turn Right on to FR300 and follow 12 miles. Just past mile post 12 is the monument for the Battle of Big Dry Wash. Park here or on the south side of FR300 next to the trailhead is a space or two.
3 pack - loud whistle
safety first
help comment issue

end of page marker