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Mingus Butterfly Loop, AZ
mini location map2021-05-01
21 by photographer avatarJohn10s
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Mingus Butterfly Loop, AZ 
Mingus Butterfly Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 01 2021
John10s
Hiking16.23 Miles 2,810 AEG
Hiking16.23 Miles   8 Hrs   9 Mns   2.54 mph
2,810 ft AEG   1 Hour   46 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
With hotter temperatures in the valley, we headed north for some cooler weather and returned to Mingus Mountain for a longer loop-version of a hike we did in Gaddes Canyon last fall. We mapped out a figure-eight loop of ~19 miles and planned to take a detour over to Geronimo Cabin, which would add ~ one more mile. We started at Mingus Rec Area in the middle of the "eight" and started clockwise down Coleman Trail to FR 413 and connected with Gaddes Canyon Trail. We had some nice views looking east over Cottonwood from the overlook near the parking lot and at various points along the trail, but it was a hazy/smoky morning, and the colors were very muted looking toward Sedona.

Partway up Gaddes, we left the trail and cut up the side of the canyon toward Geronimo Cabin. We eventually connected with a drainage and started making our way back south with a plan to move west toward the cabin once we were at the right elevation. The route may have worked, but between increasingly thick brush and lots of bouldering, it was slowing our pace enough that we decided to save the cabin for another day from a faster approach so we could keep moving and get more mileage in on the loop. It would have been interesting to see the cabin, but we headed back to Gaddes, passed the lookout tower, and completed the southern loop, which was ~8 miles total.

For the upper portion of the figure-eight, we started counterclockwise from the rec area and passed the TV/radio towers and the hang-gliding launch area. There were a few nice overlooks along that stretch, including some views of Jerome and the San Francisco peaks, but the colors were still very washed out and faded in the haze even in the afternoon sun. We could also see smoke from a wildfire burning in the distance to the northeast.

We started down the switchbacks at North Mingus and could tell that we weren't going to have time to complete the full northern loop as we'd planned, and rather than get to the bottom of the canyon just to turn around and start back up and see the same scenery, we opted to turn back early and start clockwise along the loop to see Butterfly Spring. Back on top of Mingus, it was easy hiking through the forest, and the trunks of a lot of the trees were marked with bands of orange spray paint around eye level, presumably for future thinning. We saw some deer on the way to Butterfly Tank and Spring, which were both dry. There was one tank with some water (not named on any maps that I've seen) near Butterfly Spring. We turned around at the dam near FR 104, where a single tree stump on the ground was covered in neon graffiti.

We headed back to the starting point at the Rec Area and checked out the overlook one more time. We didn't finish the full-figure eight thanks to the time spent on the detour toward Geronimo Cabin, so the hike turned into one southern loop and two shorter out-and-back routes to the north. But we still got some decent mileage, the temperature was perfect, and the views were nice.
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