|Verde Valley LO - Mingus LO - Hyde LO, AZ|
|Verde Valley LO - Mingus LO - Hyde LO, AZ|| |
Verde Valley LO - Mingus LO - Hyde LO, AZ
|2,992 ft AEG|
|I decided to head into the Prescott NF on the last day that it is open before closing due to fire danger. I did 3 different hikes and bagged 3 fire lookouts that I had not done before: the Verde Valley Fire Lookout; the Mingus Fire Lookout; and the Hyde Mountain Fire Lookout.|
Verde Valley LO
At an elevation of 3,980', this is the lowest of Arizona's 120 Fire Lookouts(past or present). Actually this lookout no longer exists and at the site you could not tell that a lookout was ever there -- the site has been graded and leveled. A road now goes just below the site of the former lookout -- the hike was 383' in length with 13 feet of elevation gain. It is obvious that they don't really want you up there, so I did not tarry -- it took me 108 seconds to do the hike, so this was my quickest hike ever.
Based on what I can gather, this lookout was in use as early as 1931, and a cabin was built in 1938 at this site between Jerome and Clarkdale. The land was donated by the Upper Verde Public Utilities Corporation.
Mingus Mountain LO
I had been by the Mingus LO several times but had never hiked up to it. It is a trivial hike to get there, but I decided to make a legitimate hike out of by doing a CW loop on the Coleman Trail, Gaddes Canyon Two Trail, and the Gaddess Canyon Trail. I started at the day use recreation area near the top of Mingus Mountain.
Mingus Mountain was first used as a daily patrol fire lookout in 1911. A tower was first built there in 1921. The current tower is still in use, although I not sure when it was constructed. The Mingus Lookout complex was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
Hyde Mountain LO
The LO Cabin is at the Hyde Mountain Summit. I did an out-and-back hike on Hyde Mountain Trail #6. Not surprisingly, I did not see any other hikers. I did not see any wildlife, although there was a fair amount of bear scat in some sections of the trail. I like this area, and wouldn't mimd going back out there and do some more hiking in the area.
The windows in the cabin/house are boarded shut. I located the benchmark and both reference marks, which are on the east side of the cabin. There are great 360 degree views at the summit.
The lookout is a cabin/house instead of a tower. It was constructed in 1937 or 1938 and is no longer in use. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
I have now been to 34 fire lookouts in Arizona -- only 86 more to go. I doubt if I will get to them all, but I should be able to do 70-80 of the 120.
Distance and elevation gain for the Mingus and Hyde hikes are below. Stats above are the sum of the two.
Mingus: 7.7 miles with 1,535 feet of elevation gain
Hyde: 4.8 miles with 1,457 feet of elevation gain
|May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Edward Abbey|