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Horsethief Lookout, AZ
mini location map2010-06-02
23 by photographer avatarThe_Eagle
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Horsethief Lookout, AZ 
Horsethief Lookout, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 02 2010
The_Eagle
Hiking6.60 Miles 1,061 AEG
Hiking6.60 Miles   4 Hrs   7 Mns   1.60 mph
1,061 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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Ladyeagle
This is triplog 2 of 3 from the Prescott Nation Forest including Horsethief Basin Rec Area and the Castle Creek Wilderness.

This hike included two marked trails:
#217, Kentuck Trail TH 34.1750 -112.2768
#31, East Fort Trail TH 34.1630 -112.2615

About 2 miles further up FR52 from Horsethief Lake is the Kentuck Campground and the TH for the Kentuck Trail.


The description I found says "The trailhead is located on the inner circle of Kentuck Springs Campground between camp spaces #14 and #15." I saw no indications that showed camping space numbers.


Through parts of this trail you see indications of the fires in 2008, but the area seems to be coming back. The trail itself is faint in spots but is cairned and taped for the most part. I'd recommend a GPS track to help you. I lost the trail for about 1/4 mi. once I got to the ridge that goes to the Tower, but you can see the tower at this point, and that is your first destination.

The views at 6702' from the Horsethief lookout are just incredible in all directions. The sign said they were open at the time I was there, but there was no answer and a lock on the hatch when I tried going up. You get a pretty good sense of the damage the fires out here caused.

Here's a somewhat shaky 360 from the Lookout.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohzY8a1TA-Q

From here I hiked down the FR .8 mile to get to the TH for the East Fort Trail #31. This hike starts on an old 4x4 track which ultimately dead ends at the Castle Creek Wilderness gate and a nice trail getting to the top. It is a bit over a mile long to get up from the TH. I'd swear the area back in here is right our of an old cowboy movie. This is the place all the Bad Guys went to hide out. Once again the views at the top are great. At the top are the East Fort ruins. It's basically a series of rock walls that are up to 12' tall in sections and run about 40' long. I spent 20 minutes or so playing around and exploring at the top, taking pictures, turned off my camera, and then started down.

I took 2 steps off the top and came face to face (20' away) with my first Mountain Lion!!!!

I took me 2 or 3 seconds to take in how cool this was, and by the time I even thought about getting the camera out, he turned around and scampered back down the mountain. I was really bummed that I got no pictures, but happy I'd seen one, and that he went back down the mountain instead of coming closer!

The rest of this portion of the hike was uneventful on the loop back to the car.
Culture
Culture
Fire Lookout Structures
_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
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