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South Fork - Gold Ridge Loop
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mini location map2019-05-11
21 by photographer avatarDixieFlyer
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South Fork - Gold Ridge LoopPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 11 2019
DixieFlyer
Hiking13.80 Miles 3,420 AEG
Hiking13.80 Miles   6 Hrs   32 Mns   2.53 mph
3,420 ft AEG   1 Hour   5 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
I had originally planned to hike up to Promontory Butte today, but with a weather forecast of likely rain and thunderstorms on the Rim, I instead decided to do this hike, which I had previously done about 15 months ago.

This turned out to be a great hike, and I liked it much better than when I previously did it.

We started the hike at the Deer Creek TH; took the Deer Creek for a short distance to the junction with the Gold Ridge Trail; went up the Gold Ridge Trail until it ended at FR 201; then we took FR 201 for a short distance to the junction with the South Fork Trail; then took the South Fork trail down to the junction with the Deer Creek Trail; then took the Deer Creek Trail back to the TH.

The Gold Ridge Trail has an AEG of about 3,000' over roughly 6 miles, and you get a good workout on the climb up. It is really green right now, and there are still several wildflowers blooming. There are really nice views along the trail.

The South Fork Trail was the highlight of the hike for me, and I enjoyed it much more than on my previous hike. The creek was flowing pretty good, and there were a number of waterfalls along the way. Joe and The_Eagle did this hike about 6 weeks ago and they reported that wildflowers were really prolific on their hike. I figured that the wildflowers would largely be gone, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were LOTS of wildflowers still blooming along the trail, which was an unexpected bonus! There are a fair number of downed trees along the way, but the deadfall was much less than on my previous hike. The deadfall was generally easy to get around, and I did not think that it was too bothersome. The trail is a bit difficult to follow in places, but there are lots of cairns and ribbons on tree branches that are helpful. Having a GPS track would be useful on the hike however.

This hike is a keeper imho, and I will definitely do it again sometime!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
There were still substantial wildflowers along the South Fork Trail. Wildflowers on the Gold Ridge Trail were more in the moderate/isolated category.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Pigeon Spring Dripping Dripping
I did not see how the water flow in the spring was, but the tank was full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max South Fork Deer Creek Medium flow Medium flow
There was a good flow of water in the creek -- there were a number of waterfalls and clear water was in the pools. However, it was not a problem to get across the numerous creek crossings on the South Fork Trail.
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I'd rather die of exhaustion than die of starvation.
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DixieFlyer's
337 Photosets

  2019-06-22
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