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Kelsey Springs Trail #3
12 Photosets

mini location map2021-05-28
10 by photographer avatarGrangerGuy
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Kelsey Springs Trail #3Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar May 28 2021
Hiking12.40 Miles 2,880 AEG
Hiking12.40 Miles   8 Hrs   20 Mns   1.99 mph
2,880 ft AEG   2 Hrs   6 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
1st trip
The road:
Forest Road 538 up to FR 538E would have been passable even with my Toyota Corolla. The first part of 538E from 538 to the intersection at 538G did require high clearance but didn’t really require four-wheel-drive. The intersection of 538G and 538E is a good place to stop for this loop. Although I only walked the roads from here to both trailheads, Kelsey and Dorsey, both 538E and 538G were passible with high clearance, and no need for 4x4.

The hike:
I slept in my car overnight in order to get a 5:15 AM start, doing the loop counterclockwise. It took me about a half hour of road walking on 538G to get the Kelsey trailhead. This was practical, since I was walking the complete loop. There is plenty of parking at the trailhead.

It turns out the counterclockwise loop is the way to go. The trail drops pretty steeply from the Kelsey TH, and the climb back up Hog Hill is gentle. There is decent camping in the vicinity of Kelsey Spring. All the springs had warnings to camp at least 200’ away, which was not an onerous requirement.

There was old bear scat in the vicinity of Babe’s Hole Spring, and a lot of mole activity as well.

The Little LO (LO means Lookout, according to the Forest Service Map) trail is pretty steep, but always a good quality trail. From the bottom of the canyon, I turned right up the canyon a bit for some good pictures. There is poison ivy in the vicinity of Geronimo Spring.

The Kelsey Trail is challenging at times. The north-south section from Babe’s Hole Spring through Dorsey Spring , down to where it turns east toward Winter Spring can be very ambiguous. Pay close attention to the blazes on the trees and you will do fine. There is about a mile of trail in the east-west section north of Winter Cabin where the trail is very overgrown with scrub oak. You will want to have long sleeves and long pants when going through this section. I sent a note to the Forest Service. Perhaps they can do something.

It is surprising to find Winter Cabin within the wilderness boundary. I guess it is old enough that it doesn’t disqualify the area for wilderness.

The Hog Hill trail is the remains of an old road, but it feels more like a wide trail than a road.

I encountered two bull elk just after starting out, but not too much interesting after that.
There was lots of elk scat and prints along the Kelsey trail north of Winter Cabin.
I heard woodpeckers on the Little LO trail.
I was insulted repeatedly by a Stellar’s Jay on the Hog Hill section.
Lewis Flax
Named place
Named place
Kelsey Spring
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
It was a great time to do this hike. Lots of wildflowers in bloom including:
Yellow Ragwort
Lewis Flax (Linum lewisii)
Desert Penstemon [Beardtongue] (Penstemon pseudospectabilis)
New Mexico Locust (Robinia neomexicana)
Golden Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha)
Ceanothus fendleri
Lithospermum (not sure which species)
Arizona Lupine (Lupinus arizonicus)
Wild Currant (Mahonia trifoliolata)

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Babes Hole Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Spring is flowing. Plenty of clear water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Casner Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full
Casner tank has plenty of filterable water in it.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Dorsey Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Dorsey Spring was flowing less than a liter per minute, and there is great camping nearby.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Geronimo Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Geronimo Spring is flowing at gallons per minute. The best access is from the bottom of the canyon, and not where it first comes out of the hill.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Kelsey Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Kelsey Spring is flowing at gallons per minute. Spring box is full of clear water.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Winter Cabin Spring Dripping Dripping
Winter Cabin Spring was stagnant and unappealing, but would be available to the desperate.

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