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Fred Haught Houston Brothers Loop, AZ
mini location map2018-07-24
23 by photographer avatarmarkthurman53
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Fred Haught Houston Brothers Loop, AZ 
Fred Haught Houston Brothers Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 24 2018
Hiking19.60 Miles 2,535 AEG
Hiking19.60 Miles   9 Hrs   3 Mns   2.73 mph
2,535 ft AEG   1 Hour   52 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
1st trip
My original plan was to spend three days hiking near Payson doing a loop on the Bearfoot/Pine trail and a couple in the Webber Canyon area. The weather was too hot in Payson so I opted for some hikes on the Cabin Loop Trail. The high temps were in the mid 80's, although in the sun it was a bit hotter (and Humid). The Cabin Loop trails are fairly level even though overall there is a 2500 foot AEG. Started this hike at the Rim Road and the Houston Brothers trail head and proceeded in a clockwise direction. I chose this direction because I wanted to do the General Crook Trail early in the morning so I wouldn't have to do it in the heat of the day.
Following the General Crook Trail wasn't too difficult even though I got off trail a few times. With the V markers and visible remnants of the road I was able to do OK. The GPS Route I downloaded was a big help. Toward General Spring I lost all V markers but I followed the GPS route. I noticed later on that the V markers enter General Springs Cabin from the south along the road from the rim road. Not sure what route is correct but I'm guessing the GPS route.
The Fred Haught Trail from General Spring Cabin to almost Fred Haught Spring follows the same trail as the Arizona trail. This trail is easy walking and can easily do 3 miles per hour if it wasn't for the fact that it is just so scenic that you are constantly stopping to take in the scenery or take pictures. Unlike when I did this trail in the spring and the creek was running the only water was in pools. There were plenty of dewberries to nibble on along the trail. The remaining part of the Fred Haught Trail to Pinchot Cabin was easy to follow. After crossing over Bear Canyon I realized I will have to come back and check out this Canyon. I saw some GPS routes posted that go up this canyon, I assume they are routes and not trails.
Pinchot Cabin is at the junction of the Fred Haught, Houston Brothers and U - Bar Trails, all of which are part of the Cabin Loop Trail System. I arrived here at about 1230 and took a half hour lunch break before heading south on the Houston Brothers Trail. The trail along Houston Draw is easy to follow and almost as scenic as General Springs Canyon. Aspen Spring and Cabin along with McFarland Spring are encountered in the first couple miles. There are a couple of riparian areas that are fenced off to keep man and wildlife out so they can study the affect wildlife has on these areas. Near McFarland spring one of these fenced off areas was breached by some animals so the study may be compromised. Looks like they made a jail break except they were busting in. Draws in my mind are short canyons but Houston Draw is long or at least it seemed that way, seemed to go on forever. Since the draw head up toward the south you might say it has a Long Southern Draw. Once out of Houston Draw the trail follows along Dick Heart ridge crossing over countless ravines that dip toward Bear Canyon, gets kind of tiring after a while. I wandered why they just didn't follow along on the ridge and skip all the ups and downs but if they did that it would be just a trail that follows a road (FRS139). 139 is just off to the east a couple hundred yards.
This is a really nice but long loop trail. Probably would be better if done in the spring when it isn't so hot and humid but either way well worth the time. Driving the Rim Road to the trail head at sunrise is also part of the experience, Never get tired of the views. I quit counting Elk after hitting 30 (didn't literally hit them), about a quarter of them were this years model.
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