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Union Davis Loop via Yankee Doodle, AZ
mini location map2017-06-24
14 by photographer avatarNightstalker
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Union Davis Loop via Yankee Doodle, AZ 
Union Davis Loop via Yankee Doodle, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 24 2017
Hiking6.66 Miles 1,668 AEG
Hiking6.66 Miles   4 Hrs   27 Mns   2.15 mph
1,668 ft AEG   1 Hour   21 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
1st trip
I put together this nearby valley loop above 7000' to try to beat the summer heat. My regular hiking crew joined me at 5am for the 90 minute drive up the I17 to 69, through Mayer and Breezy Pines. Chased a flock of turkeys, both young and old, up the road between Breezy Pines and 5 points until my hiking companions jumped out and shooshed them off the road. Once up to the 5 points intersection, take the hard right onto Big Bug Mesa road, trailhead is about a mile up the road on the left.

There's a nice little parking/camping area at the Yankee Doodle #284 trail complete with a fire ring. A typical forest service carbonite sign marks the beginning of the trail. The Yankee Doodle and Dandrea trails are multi use; hiking, biking, horseback riding, motorcycle, and ATV. We would not see another soul on the trails today.

Yankee Doodle trail quickly ascends the side of Mount Davis through an infinite number of switchbacks. The surrounding low brush affords little shade in the morning on this eastern slope. After about a mile tall trees provided some much needed relief from the already blazing sun.

We took a side trip on Mount Davis trail to check out the views. Did I say trail? Yeah, there's no trail. There is a nice thick patch of knee high cat claw to get you started. Fortunately, it doesn't last very long and you find yourself wandering under a delightful canopy of pines until you get to a pile of rocks at the top. I searched around a bit for a summit register but didn't find one. There's great views over to Mount Union and up Walker Road to the north.

Down off Davis and back on Yankee Doodle, it's a short walk to the 4 way Dandrea Trail intersection. There's a shady clearing with a log bench to relax on and pick the debris from the Davis excursion out of your boots. Just a little over 0.5 more miles up Yankee Doodle a side trail splits off to the right and takes you to the Mount Union Lookout Tower road. The side trip to the tower rewards you with 360 degree views and some interesting banter with a 20 year veteran of fire lookout service. After filling our packs with Smoky the Bear swag we retreated back to the main trail, slipping and sliding our way down to Forest Service road 261. Just across the road we found the Arizona Trail Riders dirt bike club doing a Yankee Doodle trail maintenance day with the Prescott National Forest. They were doing trail restoration on the section of Yankee Doodle between FS 261 and Senator Highway.

We, however, would follow FS261 about 1 mile to its intersection with Dandrea Trail #285. Most of this road section is loose and rock with little shade. Dandrea gains about 400 feet in 0.6 miles to rendezvous back at the lovely intersection with Yankee Doodle. A sign at the beginning of Dandrea stated it was closed due to deadfall, however, it was clear all the way up to Yankee Doodle.

It was hot, we were tired, and most importantly, there was talk of stopping in Rock Springs on the way back to Phoenix for some pie and ice cream. We made haste back down Yankee Doodle to the truck and fired up the AC. I couldn't believe to find that it was already 96 degrees at 11:00AM at 7100'!

It felt an eternity until we pulled into the Rock Springs Cafe parking lot. Tip for any future diners, if there's a long line, you can sit at the bar and get full service, as we did, and be eating before you'd be seated waiting for a table.
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