Hiked my favorite trail in Flagstaff yesterday! Went up Abineau and down Bear Jaw. The fall colors are definitely at peak or even past peak at higher elevations on Waterline Road. A ton of leaves have already fallen and there’s pockets of trees that are already bare. Best display of color is coming down Bear Jaw as you turn off Waterline.
Not very many people on the trail. We started a bit later in the day to avoid crowds. Probably passed four groups as we were hiking up Abineau, saw four mountain bikers on waterline and one other hiker and that was it.
Also found a few fresh piles of bear scat off trail in Bear Jaw canyon. I’ve ran into a few bears in the area before so not surprised.
Great weather and tons of solitude on the trail. Headed up yesterday because a windstorm is supposed to be coming through Flagstaff. Not sure how long the leaves will last in the wind.
Autumn Foliage ObservationSubstantial Most aspens have turned with only a few lower elevation ones that still have pockets of green closer to the trailhead. Waterline Road is peak or slightly past peak. Bear Jaw is at peak.
Headed up to the PNW for some Labor Day weekend hiking. Our first stop, Hidden Lake. Before getting into the trail it’s important to note the road conditions. Hopped in with a friend who has a Jeep so we made it just fine but there were multiple people stuck, people being towed out, and vehicles off the road. It’s a very narrow road with high clearance necessary.
Now to the hike, started at about 7:30 a.m. Amazing temperatures, dew was glistening all over the plants and ferns in the forest. As we made our way up the switchbacks I was thankful we were in the morning shade. Every view was a treat as we were quickly above the clouds. We soon made our way to the first ridgeline and were rewarded with views of Mt. Baker peeking through the clouds.
Along the ridgeline the trail evens out which was a nice way to gain some distance quickly. Soon you head above the tree line. There’s some great campsites right at tree line.
Then you cross two snowfields which are right next to a great campground next to a creek of snow runoff. Ice cold water! Head up the boulders and you’ll be rewarded with views of Hidden Lake at the saddle.
But, don’t stop here! Continue up the saddle and then start the slog up the boulder field to the fire lookout. 365 degree views await you at the top!
Had beautiful weather the entire day, sunshine and no rain!
Easy hike down once you’re over the boulder field. The worst part of heading back was the drive, got stuck behind a Tesla that had tried to make it up the road and was needing to get towed out. Managed to squeeze past their disabled vehicle only to be greeted by two more disabled vehicles on the 4 mile dirt road down.
Working remote sure has its perks. Decided to work remote in Payson and hit up Horton in the late afternoon. Not busy at all and had a little sprinkle of rain but otherwise pleasant.
About 2.5 miles in I heard a bunch of branches crackling and managed to see a little black bear about 100 feet away running the other direction. Continued up the trail but didn’t get another sight of him.
At the springs there were actually a decent amount of mosquitos, not sure if it was the humidity or what but was glad I had used bug spray.
Ran across a pretty good size elk about a mile from the TH on my way back. I think I scared him more than he scared me! Definitely way better to do this trail on a weekday.
Gorgeous overcast day for Tramway Maxwell. Only saw two other people in the canyon. Nice and muddy drive in to the TH junction where we parked. Pretty muddy walk over to the Tramway where we dropped into the canyon.
As soon as I got to the canyon floor I ran into a big black rattler. He scurried off through the brush pretty quickly though. Water was nice and chilly. Trail was overgrown per the usual. Stopped for a snack near the petroglyphs and played in the water at one of the deep swim areas. So many good campsites down there. Nice climb out of Maxwell and an easy walk back to the car once we got up to the rim.
Quick little loop with my yorkie and goldendoodle, who both aren’t the biggest fan of hiking. Super easy walk in the woods. Ferns are abundant and tons of little squirrels around for the dogs to admire. I’d recommend this for someone who has hike adverse dogs or young kids.
Beautiful rainy day heading to See Spring and then up See Canyon. Had about an hour thunderstorm in the middle of the hike which was nice, definitely cooled us off in the middle of the hike. As usual with this hike, encountered a few other hikers on the way to See Spring but as we headed up See Canyon didn’t come across anyone else. Trail is decently overgrown as you head up See Canyon, definitely kept an eye out for snakes. A few thorny bushes gave my legs some Arizona pinstriping as we got further up the rim.
Encountered some bear tracks and on our way back down ran into a huge elk. The animals are definitely out right now! Stopped at Christopher Creek as we headed back to the car and hung out in hammocks near the water for a bit as the sun set. Great hike with lots of solitude!
Had a gorgeous hike at Ice Lakes Basin. Trail is nicely maintained and the pine forest you hike through to get to the meadow and tree line is beautiful. Nice and cool in the morning but definitely warmed up once we were above the tree line.
Was pretty crowded at Ice Lakes but had Fuller Lake all to ourselves. Took a nap at the lake and got a tad sunburned. Ridge line was beautiful and crowds had definitely thinned out by mid afternoon. So many gorgeous side trails that we explored. The creek going through meadows was beautiful and there were tons of wildflowers.
Definitely recommend as a quick weekend trip for all of us Phoenicians who are wanting to escape the heat.
Wildflowers ObservationModerate A ton of blue Columbine were found along the shores of ice lake
Decided to head up North Wilson. When I parked in the lot around 7am for the picnic area plenty of spots. Started up the hike pretty quickly, only saw a few others on the trail. The lower section is very lush this year, nice to see a lot of regrowth continue to happen in this area after the 06 Brins Fire. The switchbacks were brutal, as usual.
After going past first bench the vegetation along the trail was very thick going up to the top. May need some trail maintenance at some point this year. So much pollen and flowering plants! (My allergies are definitely in full gear because of it!)
It was pretty windy at the top, which is usual in May, June. Not too many people at the top. Strung up a hammock to sit in and eat lunch. Always a nice view and great weather at the top of Wilson.
Hiked both lookouts and also just walked around off trail for a bit looking for wildflowers. All in all, great day!
Of course, when I made it back to the car in the afternoon, Oak Creek Canyon was a total cluster. Was glad to be driving out of the canyon, looked like a 2 hour traffic jam of creek seekers were trying to get into the canyon with their coolers and floaties. Sigh.
Headed out around 1:00 p.m. Gorgeous day! Only saw one other person on the trail. Went up Abineau and down Bear Jaw. A few downed trees along the trail but hardly what I would call blowdown. At approximately 10,000ft elevation there’s still some patches of snow but very easily navigable and no crampons required. Highest point of the trail was 55 degrees and sunny! A few light sprinkles of rain on the way down.
Trail is in great shape for being the start of the season for higher country hiking. Hung up my hammock to watch the sunset in the aspens. Great loop in pines and aspens.
Headed down around 10am. Trail is pretty overgrown right now and lead to a lot of micro cuts and thorns stuck in your legs. If you can stomach wearing pants in the heat I’d highly recommend long pants for the hike in and out of the canyon.
Once down to the creek you can change into shorts and water shoes. It’s a boulder hop to get to the falls with a lot of creek crossing. The poison ivy is out in full force and was plentiful along the trail.
Once at the falls we made our way down a game trail to the bottom. Ivy all over a tree near the beach of the pool of the Big Dipper. Water still flowing and deep. Was still pretty chilly in the shade.
Hike out seemed faster but again, trail is pretty overgrown. None of us ended up with poison ivy but we did have battle scars all over our legs and arms from the Catclaw and scrub oak attacking us along the trail. All in all a really fun day! Shocked we only saw one other group being it is Memorial Day weekend. Other group did not swim and didn’t stay very long but were nice nonetheless!
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.