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Turkey Trail via Geronimo, AZ
mini location map2013-07-29
14 by photographer avatarguyinthewoods
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Turkey Trail via Geronimo, AZ 
Turkey Trail via Geronimo, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 29 2013
Hiking8.78 Miles 2,087 AEG
Hiking8.78 Miles   5 Hrs      2.07 mph
2,087 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
1st trip
Partners none no partners
My last few hikes have been somewhat leisurely, so this time I wanted to challenge myself a little more. I've never explored this area before, and figured that this hike would be pretty interesting, so I loaded up and arrived at Geronimo TH just before 8am. After crossing Webber creek, the Highline trail headed through some ferns and blackberries on the way to the junction of trail 240. This area seems to be very well signed, which I guess probably has something to do with the close proximity of the scout camp. Despite a few heavily eroded areas and side paths departing the main trail, I had no problems finding my way to the start of Geronimo trail after about 1/4 mile of walking along the Highline.

There isn't much to say about Geronimo trail that hasn't already been stated on this website many times over. It's a mostly non-noteworthy jeep trail that wanders past Camp Geronimo. I was distractedly walking along, thinking about how bland the past couple miles had been, when I approached the sign indicating the junction of a trail that headed uphill to the west. I had just started to read "BSA Milk Ranch trail" that was carved into the wood when I perceived a large brownish mass heading directly toward me from right behind the sign. It took me a second to comprehend what I was seeing, and I jumped back a few steps when I realized that a huge black bear was closing to within 15-20 feet of me. Of course, as soon as it saw me move and noticed I was there, it turned around and took off up the hill. It emerged back onto the trail about 100 feet away to stare me down for a few seconds, but I was too slow and couldn't get a picture before it strolled away into the trees.

So that close encounter definitely got the adrenaline flowing for the serious climb I was about to get down and dirty with. Another 1/8 mile past the BSA trail junction is where trail #217 begins. It starts out fairly gentle as you cross the trickle of water that originates just a bit uphill at Turkey spring. After passing the West Webber trail junction a couple hundred yards up, things started to get steeper and steeper. The ample shade of lower elevations gradually disappears as the trail switchbacks up into what looks to be an old burn area. Just when your legs really start to burn from the past 1000' of elevation gain, the massive rock outcropping appears off the side of the trail. It's a great place to stop for a drink of water and take a few pictures. If you decide to climb it, like I did, beware the vertigo-inducing nightmare that awaits you at the top.

Once you continue past the outcrop, assure yourself that most of the tough climbing is behind you as the trail levels out passing over the edge of the rim. The views are great from the top, but don't stop there. It's worth it to keep going to the end of the trail at Dickenson flat. I ate lunch while sitting on a stump at the edge of a picturesque grassy meadow, which was a nice surprise to see after a pretty brutal ascent. I have no idea how some of you guys on this site manage 20+ mile dayhikes in this area, you must have bionic legs. Anyway, the way back down to the lower trailhead was much quicker than going up. I used my favorite downhill technique that I'd describe as a "controlled stumble" which saved almost an hour off my return time. I arrived at the car a few minutes after 1pm to see another vehicle at the trailhead with a HAZ sticker on the back. Didn't see any other hikers on the trail all day, however.

I really liked this hike and I'm planning on returning in the fall, probably for a lasso route connecting to West Webber trail #228 or an out and back hike up East Webber trail. Turkey trail is pretty fun, and I'd recommend it to anybody who is willing to work up a sweat for some awesome views of the rim.
Named place
Named place
Dickenson Flat

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Turkey Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Trickling near the source but flowing better at stream crossing immediately before 240/217 junction.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max West Webber Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Murky brown water from recent rainfall
HAZ Member
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