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West Fork Trail #628 - Black River
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mini location map2010-08-06
20 by photographer avatarDarthStiller
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West Fork Trail #628 - Black RiverAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 06 2010
DarthStiller
Hiking7.10 Miles 811 AEG
Hiking7.10 Miles   2 Hrs   33 Mns   2.78 mph
811 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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We spent the weekend with my neighbor Marty and his family and 3 other families camping this weekend in the White Mountains just by Reservation Lake. This hike was on my to-do list and I almost did it last year with Wally while we did the Indian Spring Loop.

The first 2 miles of this are very level and through some pretty dense forest. There was a lot of wet vegetation from the rain the night before as well as some steam rising in spots. There are two meadow and a lava flow that the trail crosses before it descends into the canyon. Before the lava flow there are some nice views that open up of the canyon and river below.

Once you get to the bottom, there are meadows all along the stream that look fantastic. Down in this area this trail intersects with the Thompson Trail 629. There is also a 2.3 mile loop that is made up of trails numbered 628A and 630. These trails and their numbering are found on the Apache-Sitgraeves NF website for the link to the description of the Thompson Trail. The map for this trail shows this loop and the numbers. This loop wraps around a meadow that has a stream in the center of it snaking down the valley. We did this loop counterclockwise and towards the end of it we found a sign that seemed to label the stream as Stinky Creek (?). Trying this loop clockwise might be a challenge as the trail gets very faint in spots near the West Fork Black River. I've uploaded the track of our hike if anyone wants to try this.

The junction of this trail, the Thompson Trail and the 628A/630 loop can be a bit confusing. There also seems to be a 5th trail that says it's 2.7 miles back up to FR116, which is also where the Thompson Trail starts from. Not sure if this unnamed trail connects separately to FR116 or if it intersects back with the Thompson Trail. Another marker along the Thompson Trail about a half mile away says it's 2.4 miles from the Thompson/West Fork Trails to FR116. Certainly reason to go back and explore some more hopefully next spring or summer.
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