|Hiking||7.15 Miles|| 5 Hrs 50 Mns ||1.35 mph|
|1,131 ft AEG|| 33 Mns Break|
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||no linked trail guides|
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|We have been hiking the Woodchute trail about once a year for many years. I was surprised to find that no one has posted the route that we usually take, so here it is. It's a fairly easy 7.2 mile out and back hike on a well-worn trail with great views and a variety of habitats. I forgot to re-calibrate my GPS altimeter so it doesn't accurately show the total AEG, which I think is more like 700 ft. The only negative I can think of is that one year in August we picked up a few chigger bites. These tiny mites feed on plants most of the year, but in late summer they cling to tall grass and wait for mammals, including us, to brush against the grass and pick them up. They crawl up to where they find a tender spot of skin, draw some blood, and then drop to the ground. The itchy welt appears the next day and lasts about 2 weeks. Bottom line: avoid all tall grass in this area, including on Mingus Mtn., in August. |
To reach the trailhead take SR89A to FR104 and turn left. After 0.3 mile go left at a sign pointing to Woodchute trailhead, then continue into a circular area with a vault toilet. Look for the sign for trail 102 and continue driving down this dirt road another mile to the actual trailhead with ample parking.
See pictures for the trailhead and various views along the trail. It starts in a shady wooded area, then a sunny recovering burn area with a steep drop on the right side with bushes and young trees. Occasionally breaks in the trees provide great views of Mingus Mtn. and beyond to the east. Further on you occasionally see great views to the west. After 1.8 miles you reach the Woodchute Wilderness boundary. Here the forest is dense and shady with a creek and sometimes a little water. After another 0.2 mile you reach a sign for trails 103 and 104. Rick's Tank is at the bottom of one of these trails which declines steeply. Woodchute Tank can be seen by following a narrow path northwest about 0.1 mi. from the sign. Continuing on 102, the trail becomes steeper as you climb up to the top of the mountain. Once on top it is relatively flat and you only have an easy mile to go to reach the overlook, but when you reach the Y in the trail at about 0.8 mi., take the path to the right. The one to the left continues steeply down the north side of the mountain. Even before reaching the overlook you see the fantastic view to the east. Enjoy your lunch sitting at the overlook while viewing the towns and mine works below and San Francisco Peaks in the distance northeast. Coming back down the mountain there are more great views to the west, including one of Woodchute Tank and many miles beyond. This trip we stopped at the tank to check out the plants and wildlife there.
If you have time after returning to the trailhead, you might want to check out the campground on the way out, or the many backroads in the area. Continuing on FR104 on the other side of SR89A you will find immediately on the left a paved area with vault toilet, picnic tables and grill, plus many other recreational facilities further down the road on Mingus Mtn.
||Wildflowers Observation Light
Threadleaf Ragwort - f
Redroot Buckwheat - f
Mesa Tansy Aster
White Sweet Clover - TR536
St John’s Wort
Autumn False Tansy-Aster