The Best Hikes of AZ Lake Adventures

966 Triplog Reviews in the AZ Lake Adventures
Most recent of 337 deeper Triplog Reviews
8.42 mi • 1,848 ft aeg
 Weather forecast showed chance of showers along the rim, so I carried a windbreaker with a hood to be prepared. Arriving at the trailhead at the Hatchery it was sunny and warm, so coming prepared once again changed the weather. The top of the rim looks very high from the trailhead, especially considering it's less than two miles of trail. The trail is pretty steep, but unlike the Promontory Butte trail that we did a couple weeks ago it's pretty decent footing and much easier despite similar elevation profile. That's a relief! The steep hike up was in the sun and worked up a sweat. Lots of lizards on the trail. The views along the trail were great with no tall trees blocking the view. It didn't take too long before we reached the top.

At the top we were in a pine forest with mostly medium sized trees. No real tall ones. Passed a woman with a dog heading back down. They had been trying to get to Knoll Lake but took a wrong turn and gave up. I recommended the Route Scout app to her and explained that not only does it let you download a map of your route to your phone, but it also warns you if you get too far off the route. She thanked me and we continued on. There were definitely spots where the trail faded out, and it helped having multiple people to figure out the right way to go. We managed to stay on the trail and Route Scout didn't have to warn us.

As we approached the road we started hearing gunshots which was a little unnerving. Through the trees we could make out people at a pickup truck at a turnout not far from the trail doing the shooting. We made some noise to let them know that hikers were passing through. They didn't acknowledge us, but they didn't shoot us either so that's a win. Crossing the road the trees are much older and larger. The trail crosses streams that were flowing with water a few times. We also saw a few patches of snow which was a little surprising.

We stopped to let a couple of hikers going the other direction pass us just before reaching the lake, and it turned out to be a large group of about maybe 20 people. When we got to the lake we had the place to ourselves! Knoll Lake is super pretty! We walked around the short clockwise around the lake and found a nice spot next to the water for lunch. From there we could see other people setting up a campsite across the lake from us, a guy fishing in an inflatable boat, a handful of kayakers, and a group with several kids fishing from the shore. Even though we could now see other people, they were far enough away not to take away from the feeling of privacy on the shore. I really enjoyed the beauty of the place and look forward to coming back again.
11.5 mi • 2,526 ft aeg
Knoll Lake lasso
 Couldn't think of anything fun to do at the last minute, and wanted to check out the continuation of Babe Haught north of FR300, so I decided to head up to the Fish Hatchery TH and go to Knoll Lake from there. The Babe Haught climb was nice, poked around a couple of little side trails. One of my favorite rim climbs.

Once on the rim, it was actually slightly chilly, and there was still a decent amount of snow in the canyons. The trail was surprisingly easy to follow all the way to the lake.

Decided to circumnavigate the lake, which was far more difficult than I expected. Not really any trail, and the slopes are so steep that you have to either be side-hilling or a couple hundred feet above lake level - which I didn't learn until I was on the 2nd half. That's a one and done for me.

Got back to the car, and decided against adding on any bonus miles on Highline.
10.13 mi • 1,958 ft aeg
 The lower section of Babe Haught has been worked on some since I'd last did this hike. Every other section is the same. Once crossing the rim road and descending toward the lake, there are a bunch of new deadfalls and still quite a few big snow patches. Passing through each of the Eastside camps made me somewhat abashed to be a human. WTF is wrong with people that they can't carry out their own garbage, pathetic! Rednecks with riffles, I suppose. The lake was essentially full with every side drainage still seeping into the basin. At the north end, water was spilling over the causeway where a lot of flotsam and jetsam has accumulated. Took a quick break near the boatramp to enjoy a banana and cold beer. When we crossed back over FR300, a lone motorcyclist passed us, so I'm assuming the road is now open. We saw nobody else on the entire hike.
3.6 mi • 225 ft aeg
 Went on a 3 night camping trip to Woods Canyon Lake with my son-in-law (Lloyd) and grandson (Michael). I arrived early on Thursday, 5/4/23, and snagged a first-come-first serve (FF) campsite in the Crook CG. It was the only CG on Woods Canyon Lake Rd that was open. The other CGs, Aspen & Spillway, opened the next day for FF. Opening day was uncertain due to delays for cleaning up fallen trees and snow. The plan was to join my grand children's Home School group on Friday for their annual Nature Study outing at Woods Canyon Lake. Three other dads and their kids joined us at the campsite for 2 nights. It was not my usual experience of camping with HAZers but it was fun to see the kids having such a good time exploring the woods around our campsite and coming back with arm loads of wood for the campfire needed to keep warm. It was an unusually cold 3 days with icy cold winds during the day that could penetrate a fleece top and nights down to the low 30s.

Friday while the kids were having fun with the other home schoolers at the lake, Lloyd and I hiked the loop around Woods Canyon Lake. The three teens in the group, which included my oldest granddaughter, had done this loop in the morning with the goal of completing the 3.6 mile loop in 45 minutes - they finished in 59 minutes. Still a good time considering there were snow drifts to negotiate along part of the route. The best I good do was 1hr-51min. The trail was in good shape except for the snow drifts. There was the usual detour on the northeast side of the lake to avoid disturbing a nesting eagle.
26.8 mi • 3,000 ft aeg
 Enjoyed an extended weekend in Prescott National Forest.

All the trails were in good condition. I spent time fixing drainage issues on Smith Ravine Trail. Highlight of the trip was eating lunch on Spruce Mountain while deer were grazing 50 feet away.

Lots of friendly people out and about on the Lynx Lake Loop. The southern portion of the Homestead trail would make for a good backpacking trip right about now. Found a new trail to add to HAZ during my wanderings.
3.23 mi • 520 ft aeg
 Deb and I headed up to Mormon Lake and the Double Springs area for a short hike and some lunch.

A few sprinkles to begin with, but temperate albeit a bit muggy after that. The breeze kept it nice. Mixed Oaks and conifer kept it decently shaded.

Not a long enough hike to make this be the reason to drive up here. If you are in the area though, the payoff off is the excellent views of Mormon Lake.

We stopped at the Mormon Lake Lodge for lunch. First time here, but I'll be back.
Very good food and large portions.
8.7 mi • 2,319 ft aeg
Babe Backpack
 I loved this trip. Had a group of 15 for a quick overnighter. The first 1.5 miles felt like a mini Grand Canyon Proxy, and is really cool to look back over where you started when you reach the top of the rim. We got through that part while it was light. Was super grateful for the cairns available for the flat part. Was able to navigate without much issue despite hiking in the dark (thanks to a spotlight flashlight).

It was a little chilly, probably touching 32 degrees overnight as my water sink had about a millimeter of ice frozen over. I took my fishing pole, but didn't see any rising/ feeding nor any birds hunting. No action on the pole either. So must not be any fish in the lake :).

Loved camping in the pines, with the lake not too far. Some patches of snow nearby.
8 mi • 1,246 ft aeg
A few trails in the Prescott National Forest
 Got to the trailhead at 1pm. It was a bit hot heading out, but once I got into the woods, it cooled down quickly.

My initial plan was to follow the Bean Peaks loop, which initially started out incredible. The creek it follows is one of the lushest areas I've ever seen in Arizona. Simply incredible! At the point where it meets up with the logging trail though (~1.5mi), I mistakenly started following the road. I ended up heading up the hill and back down the other side, before realizing that I had been continuing on not only the wrong route, but also the wrong direction! After backtracking the mile or so to rejoin the proper route, I started following the trail on Route Scout.

This took me back to the creek I was following before, but there was definitely no trail to be found. I was essentially bushwhacking up the creek. After .4 miles of this, I decided to turn around and hike back out the same way. My phone was close to dead and I did not have a suitable map for off-trail hiking. Plus, I only had a few hours of daylight left. I'm looking forward to trying this again once I have more time and a good topo map as a backup.

I arrived back at the parking lot and started to take off my boots, but there were still two hours of daylight left and I saw a few other people parking in the lot. I was inspired to get back out on the trail and try something I had done before (since I was mapless) to increase my mileage and time on the trail. I ended up doing 372 :next: 373 :next: 375 :next: 376 and looping back to the parking lot.

All-in-all, while the issues with the Bean Peaks Loop were disappointing, it was a great hike!
17.05 mi • 4,517 ft aeg
West Riggs Traverse
 Chumley put together this out and back over to Clark Peak and Riggs Lake. Starting from camp we had to drop 1300 feet to Taylor Pass before then gaining 2000 feet up to Clark Peak. The peak is off trail but not by much and very easy to bag this peak from the trail. After the peak we kept hiking on the trail towards Riggs Lake with great views on the ridge classic Sky Island hiking! Eventually we made it to Chesley Flat trailhead and followed the road to Riggs Lake. Of course being a holiday weekend there were many people there enjoying the lake. But we found a nice grassy spot to enjoy lunch and relax before heading back.

On the way back it felt like a different hike even though it was the same trail. The trail is in great shape so we cruised back enjoying the views heading the opposite direction. Several fern meadows along the way followed by the steep drop back down to Taylor Pass. Then back up 1300 feet to camp to finish off the day hike.
17.05 mi • 4,517 ft aeg
West Riggs Traverse
 The real purpose of our quick overnight to the Pinalenos was my desire to hike the Clark Peak Trail between Riggs and West. Having seen it from West Peak on a couple of previous trips it just appeared intriguing to me.

Previous trip reports seemed to indicate some route finding issues, but we had little problem keeping on the tread the whole way. The little attention it took to follow the route made it more interesting and enjoyable for me. I enjoy the "challenge" of finding/following old or little-used trails.

We encountered another couple about 1/4 mile from the Chesley Flat trailhead, but otherwise, not a soul except for those at Riggs Lake where we took a nice break in the grass along the shore. I had only carried two liters of water so I was a little disappointed to learn that the water at the campground was turned off. I filtered an extra half liter from the lake but ended up not needing it anyway.

It looks like there are a few old and underused trails out at this end of the range, and since the other side is a crisp fritter, I might need to check some of these others out.

It was a solid day, and I really, really enjoyed this trail for variety, views, and solitude. A real winner in my book!

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