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Rock Crossing Trail #18B - Blue Ridge - 3 members in 6 triplogs have rated this an average 3.7 ( 1 to 5 best )
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May 04 2019
chumley
avatar

 Guides 78
 Routes 679
 Photos 14,868
 Triplogs 1,537

47 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Blue Ridge Reservoir - CC CraginPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 04 2019
chumley
Backpack5.55 Miles 1,754 AEG
Backpack5.55 Miles2 Days         
1,754 ft AEG
 
Partners partners
BiFrost
dyellab
John9L
Spent the weekend backpacking and kayaking at CCCragin. The lake is down 12-18" from the high it reached a few weeks ago, and the spillway is no longer flowing, but it's basically still 100% full. There's quite a bit of debris in parts of the lake, usually collected into specific areas by surface winds. But it's certainly not a place you can run a motor without being attentive.

In addition to the various hiking adventures, I managed to tally exactly 9.99 miles in the kayak too. This is always a fun destination!
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Championing breakfast since 1994.
4 archives
May 04 2019
BiFrost
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 356
 Photos 7,656
 Triplogs 911

51 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Blue Ridge Reservoir - CC CraginPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 04 2019
BiFrost
Backpack2.60 Miles 600 AEG
Backpack2.60 Miles2 Days         
600 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
chumley
dyellab
John9L
Fun weekend but not too much hiking. The CCCragin reservoir was great and I've never kayaked on it before..only hiked in the area. The lake was basically full from the winter snow so conditions exploring the reservoir were very nice. Chumley was looking for a volunteer to get one of the kayaks to our camp spot so I joined in on a short hike and enjoyable kayak back to camp. We had a combination of kayaks, floaties and pack raft to chose from for floatation so there was no shortage of water opportunities.
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1 archive
Aug 06 2017
nonot
avatar

 Guides 93
 Routes 236
 Photos 2,001
 Triplogs 477

male
 Joined Nov 18 2005
 Phoenix, AZ
Rock Crossing Trail #18B - Blue RidgePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 06 2017
nonot
Hiking2.80 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking2.80 Miles
800 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Without a GPS to guide me, the navigation was more difficult than the "1" chumley set, especially when there are no signs. :lol:

In my searching though I did find a dilapidated cabin, a tree chest/bear box?, and another shack, lost to time.

Nice trail, but I don't think the forest service knows where it is. Seems to need maintenance by someone other than boy scouts.

Both ends do require swimming to link up with the other segments, but I didn't come prepared for that.
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Jun 24 2017
chumley
avatar

 Guides 78
 Routes 679
 Photos 14,868
 Triplogs 1,537

47 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Rock Crossing Trail #18, AZ 
Rock Crossing Trail #18, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 24 2017
chumley
Hiking6.62 Miles 1,744 AEG
Hiking6.62 Miles   2 Hrs   57 Mns   2.24 mph
1,744 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Rock Crossing is a trail that preceded the construction of Blue Ridge Reservoir in 1965 (now CC Cragin Reservoir). The trail construction is absolutely phenomenal. National Parks don't build trails as nicely as this trail was built!

Due to the reservoir filling the canyons which the trail previously crossed, the FS has officially divided the trail into three segments. Hiking the entire length would require swimming or using a flotation device to cross the lake between segments. At full pool, the distance between A and B at Rock Crossing is about 300 feet. The distance between B and C near the mouth of Bear Canyon is only 100 feet. Both crossings can be shorter at lower lake levels and the B-C crossing is often completely dry.

I hiked Segment B out and back, followed by segment A from the out and back, and finally segment C out and back. The photos are in that order, which may be a bit confusing. The photos are geotagged so you can see their location on the map. The descriptions below are all described one way from north to south, which is also how the official gps tracks are set up.

Segment A
Starts at an unmarked pull-out along FR751, which is the main road leading to CC Cragin Reservoir. There's one long switchback and the trail ends at the lake on the east side of a small cove. Depending on the lake level, a little bit of room to picnic, dive, and swim is available. The west side of the cove features a nice campsite that is frequently occupied.

Segment B
Starts on the south side of Rock Crossing on a large flat area that features a couple of frequently used lakeside campsites. The track begins right next to a nice overhanging rock "cave" that has been made into a rain shelter for campers. The trail climbs gently to the top of Battleground Ridge and the intersection with the end of FR123 and a large pumping station which takes water from the reservoir and moves it to the East Verde river near Payson.

The trail follows the road south for about 1/4 mile before a sign indicates the start of the route heading south to General Springs Canyon. It's another 1/4 mile along the old alignment of FR9709Q before the singletrack starts on the left and begins the scenic descent to the lake.

Segment C
This segment starts with a beautiful switchback that leads to a nice campsite above the junction of Bear Canyon and General Springs Canyon before following a steady traverse along the slope above Bear Canyon through a lightly burned fire scar. After a few minutes you reach an old double-track which leads the final stretch to the end of FR139A on Telephone Ridge. It's easiest to follow the double-track, but at the end it climbs more steeply than a nice hiking trail, because the original cut actually takes a more moderate route along a gentle grassy slope on the east side of the ridge. The cut here is indistinguishable except for some faint old blazes cut in the mature ponderosas.

History
From the Segment C trailhead at end of FR139A, it's a short 1.5 miles to the Fred Haught Trail and the old Pinchot Guard Station cabin. I haven't been able to confirm this, but I believe the Rock Crossing Trail was originally connected to the Cabin Loop system and was part of a main trail leading from Washington Park to Blue Ridge. It can still easily be hiked that way now if you don't mind the two swims. You could even make a loop with the AZT which now largely parallels this old route, avoiding the two lake crossings.

This one is a rarely used gem!
_____________________
Championing breakfast since 1994.
Jul 02 2006
chumley
avatar

 Guides 78
 Routes 679
 Photos 14,868
 Triplogs 1,537

47 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Rock Crossing Trail #18B - Blue RidgePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 02 2006
chumley
Hiking1.20 Miles 380 AEG
Hiking1.20 Miles
380 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Headed from the pumping station down to the south arm of the lake. Nice exploring down here. Brought my Sevylor and did a little paddling too.
Culture
Culture
Campsite
Meteorology
Meteorology
Rain
_____________________
Championing breakfast since 1994.
Aug 28 2005
chumley
avatar

 Guides 78
 Routes 679
 Photos 14,868
 Triplogs 1,537

47 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Rock Crossing Trail #18B - Blue RidgePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 28 2005
chumley
Hiking1.20 Miles 380 AEG
Hiking1.20 Miles
380 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Took 18B down to the north arm. Fantastic day. Awesome water. Great swimming. The camping area down here is one of the best around. But you do have to fight for it (it's not exactly a secret!)
Culture
Culture
Campsite
Named place
Named place
CC Cragin Reservoir
_____________________
Championing breakfast since 1994.
average hiking speed 2.24 mph

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.

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