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Cabin Loop - Mogollon Rim - 52 members in 181 triplogs have rated this an average 4.1 ( 1 to 5 best )
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181 triplogs
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Sep 02 2022
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 Triplogs 1

female
 Joined Aug 29 2022
 Tucson, AZ
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Sep 02 2022
cjvg79Triplogs 1
Backpack29.93 Miles 5,615 AEG
Backpack29.93 Miles3 Days         
5,615 ft AEG46 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
1.25 miles - 10:52 am
Creek is flowing

2.77 miles - 1:47 pm
Meadow is a perfect place to camp!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Aug 13 2022
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 Guides 7
 Routes 160
 Photos 701
 Triplogs 198

39 male
 Joined Nov 30 2015
 Phoenix, AZ
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Run/Jog avatar Aug 13 2022
ShatteredArmTriplogs 198
Run/Jog22.50 Miles 3,327 AEG
Run/Jog22.50 Miles   5 Hrs   59 Mns   4.01 mph
3,327 ft AEG      22 Mns Break
 
no photosets
Originally was gonna go camping but was too lazy, so I headed up to Washington Park to run a cabin loop with some friends. Probably have done this one at least a half dozen times, but it's always worth another go. Started at around 8:30 am hoping to get done before the storms hit, but wasn't confident in that.

I always like to get the Rim Rd section over with first; luckily with the recent rain it wasn't too dusty. Tried to follow the Gen Crook trail tread a couple of times, but it's spotty.

Everything is nice and green now, some of the small drainages on Houston Bros had water, but surprisingly there wasn't any more water at Aspen Spring or Pinchot Cabin than there was a month or so ago. Started hearing thunder at Bear Canyon or so, but the storms seemed to be moving in a favorable direction, and we managed to avoid them. Didn't get any rain until after we left the trailhead.
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1 archive
Jul 16 2022
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 Guides 7
 Routes 160
 Photos 701
 Triplogs 198

39 male
 Joined Nov 30 2015
 Phoenix, AZ
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Run/Jog avatar Jul 16 2022
ShatteredArmTriplogs 198
Run/Jog17.01 Miles 2,362 AEG
Run/Jog17.01 Miles   4 Hrs   5 Mns   4.22 mph
2,362 ft AEG      3 Mns Break
 
no photosets
Partners none no partners
Creative juices ran dry after last week, needed some miles on the legs, so decided to go with something close(ish) and familiar. I've done this loop about a billion times now (three, to be exact), it's always worth coming back to. Saw ~3 backpackers, two runners, and a couple of UTVs on the Dick Hart ridge.

Threatened to rain for the last ~6 miles, but it never really materialized. No energy the last few miles, so lots of walking at the end there.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Barbershop canyon creek Light flow Light flow
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May 14 2022
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 Guides 9
 Routes 818
 Photos 10,969
 Triplogs 1,939

66 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Long - Bear - Quien - Houston - Rock Crossing, AZ 
Long - Bear - Quien - Houston - Rock Crossing, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 14 2022
The_EagleTriplogs 1,939
Hiking14.32 Miles 1,693 AEG
Hiking14.32 Miles   6 Hrs   5 Mns   2.64 mph
1,693 ft AEG      40 Mns Break14 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
I received an invite to hike with the Moe, Curley and a couple of their friends Ryan and Hillary.

I met them at their campsite just south of CC Cragin at the crack of 8:30am. After setting up the shuttle, we started hiking a bit after 9:00am. 9L, Ryan and Hillary were just doing Long Draw, General Springs Canyon with us. They were going to float around on the lake after that.

Chums and I headed up Bear Canyon. We'd actually seen quite a bit of bear sign to this point. We opted to add a couple of miles and hike up Quien Sabe Draw (Translated - Who Knows Draw) to the Fred Haught #141 at the spring.

After lunch at Pinchot cabin, we headed down Houston Draw. Easy walking to begin with, and the draw turned more canyonlike the closer we got to the lake. The only semi tricky portion was the 100 yards when the lake started, on the sidehill traverse to get to the ridgeline going up.

Chums took a dip in the lake and chatted up the campers fishing there.

Up Telephone Ridge from the lake for the steepest climb of the day. Down Rock Crossing 8C to 8B and up to FR123 to finish a fun day in Rim Country.
Named place
Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Well Tank
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bear Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Quien Sabe Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Well Tank 1-25% full 1-25% full
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout
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There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry 🦅
May 11 2022
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 Guides 46
 Routes 95
 Photos 847
 Triplogs 375

78 male
 Joined Dec 24 2005
 Phoenix, AZ
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 11 2022
MEWhitemanTriplogs 375
Backpack26.37 Miles 4,564 AEG
Backpack26.37 Miles3 Days         
4,564 ft AEG22 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Tom and I decided to do another backpack after only a 3 week break from our last one to keep up our conditioning. The cabin loop on the rim was appealing because of the cool temperatures and our desire to return to the rim for more hiking; it had been over 10 years for each of us. I always had the desire to do the loop as a backpack ever since GPSJoe and Grasshopper introduced me to it.

Planning the trip was a little confusing since different sources gave very different results for elevation gains for the same distance and direction of travel. We decided to hike counter-clockwise from Pinchot Trailhead and deal with whatever the gains were.

Day 1: Fred Haught Trail from trailhead to General Crook Cabin. 7.12 miles and 1,247’ aeg. A great hike along a shaded trail with streams full of water and numerous campsites. We camped in the vicinity of the cabin on a very windy night. A few AZT northbounders passed by the cabin while we were there. Morning temperatures were about 30 degrees.

Day 2: FR300 (Rim Road), Houston Brothers Trail and Barbershop Trail to Coyote Spring. We couldn’t locate the track north of Rim Road so opted for a road walk which turned out better in my view. The forest north of the road had a lot of dead trees. The road walk offered great viewpoints and a gradual 4.5 mile uphill climb. The short segment of the Houston Brothers trail had a lot of blowdowns to navigate. The Barbershop Trail also had a lot of blowdowns and three canyon crossings. 10.96 miles and 2,075’ aeg. We camped near Coyote Spring which had plenty of water. The morning temperature was about 30 degrees.

Day 3: UBar trail to Pinchot TH. This was a really nice hike with gradual ups and downs until the Dane Canyon crossing. It was mostly shaded and there was plenty of water in the springs and crossings, There were fewer blowdowns until about a mile from the end where numerous trees were down in the same area. We met a party of 3 backpackers doing the loop in the opposite direction at the blowdowns. We had planned on spending the night near Pinchot Cabin and day hike on Saturday, but opted to call it a trip and head back to Phoenix. We were both tired and I was catching a cold plus I didn’t sleep well both nights. We also hadn’t spent much time planning for the day hike.

It was a great trip and we plan to return to the area, car camp and hike many of the other hikes described in guides on this website. HAZ puts some iPhone apps to shame.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Mostly dandelions

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Barbershop canyon creek Medium flow Medium flow
Water flowing

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Barbershop Spring Dripping Dripping
Dripping where trail crosses spring runoff. Better flow up the hill from the trail.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Coyote Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Water flowing

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Dane Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Steady stream from pipe

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Fred Haught Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Flowing stream

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max General Springs Quart per minute Quart per minute
Spring itself was full but water was light brown. Water was somewhat clearer and flowing at the north end of the fence north of the cabin.

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Aug 20 2021
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 Photos 20
 Triplogs 1

50 male
 Joined Jul 08 2021
 surprise, az
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Aug 20 2021
ntl_hikingTriplogs 1
Backpack29.00 Miles
Backpack29.00 Miles2 Days         
32 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Did the trail CCW, started at General Springs, although the Rim is nice and worthy of some good pics and views I didn’t want to end it with a 4.5 mile road walk, and when we finished I think that was a good decision. First day we made it to Dane springs and camped, there are several camp sites and even a decent tree to hang your food if you are bear hanging. The pipe by the cabin was pushing probably 3-4 liters of water a minute. Total miles was about 14 miles, all trails navigation and iPhone were pretty close but the all trail map itself said it was only 12 miles.

Day 2 started early we continued up through McClintock draw which was our goal for day 1 originally had all trails map been accurate. If you can plan accordingly this is a great spot to camp, I will come back just to camp this site. The hike down in and out of this spot was kinda a butt kicker but very beautiful. From there went to Pinchot cabin and stopped for lunch, beautiful place to stop and a good campsite as well. Coming out of Pinchot onto Fred Haught we passed the road wash out, yes there is a way around just FYI the west side is pretty steep so mind your footing. After leaving this spot there’s one more elevation push and then it’s pretty smooth sailing from there down the AZT/Fred Haught, this section is kind to you and runs you down though the valley the rest of the way back and for the last 4-5 miles takes you on a beautiful stroll along the river back to General Springs cabin. This day All trails navigation said 14 and Apple Watch said 15? I’ve seen people say it’s 30-33 miles but we clocked it at about 28-29 total.

Campsites
There are literally established campsites just about everywhere I wouldn’t stress you’ll find something that matches your desired daily distance

Water
Barbershop had plenty of water not as clean as I expected but totally drinkable with a filter

Coyote springs was flowing nicely.

Dane springs was flowing great and easy access

McClintock draw had tons of water

Pinchot cabin area had plenty of water

Water flowing at the road washout, I forget the name of this creek but just a mile or so past Pinchot spring.
The last 3 or so miles heading south run through General springs canyon along the river with plenty of water.

There were many other smaller sources that may be due to the rains in the last couple weeks but the above seem to be pretty solid sources to count on for now.

We each carried 3 liters on us but other than the general springs to barbershop spring we probably would be fine with 1 or 2 liters (2.2 lbs a liter) but do you.

Wildlife
Didn’t see any bears or scat
Heard a pack of coyotes at dusk
Saw a few elk and lots of elk track/scat

This is a great trail and we highly recommend it has a great variety of terrain and is gorgeous currently after the monsoon rains
I am 49 and my wife 42 and we did it in 2 days we originally planned 3 days 2 nights but decided to punch it, totally doable, Have Fun!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Barbershop Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Coyote Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Dane Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Fred Haught Canyon Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max General Springs Gallon per minute Gallon per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 McClintock Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Pinchot Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Quien Sabe Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
1 archive
Aug 15 2021
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 Photos 901
 Triplogs 259

48 female
 Joined Mar 09 2010
 Chandler, AZ
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 15 2021
azlaurieTriplogs 259
Hiking7.44 Miles 627 AEG
Hiking7.44 Miles   23 Hrs   43 Mns   1.81 mph
627 ft AEG   19 Hrs   36 Mns Break22 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
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♥ Timing is Everything ♥
Jun 13 2021
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 Guides 9
 Routes 395
 Photos 5,164
 Triplogs 3,585

64 female
 Joined Nov 17 2008
 phoenix, az
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 13 2021
trekkin_geckoTriplogs 3,585
Hiking17.25 Miles 2,519 AEG
Hiking17.25 Miles   6 Hrs   20 Mns   2.87 mph
2,519 ft AEG      19 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
johnlp
the east cabin loop has been on my radar for a few years
along with @tibber, mary jo and wade, did parts of barbershop, u-bar and houston brothers five years ago
john agreed to hike it with me, and suggested driving up saturday afternoon to car camp
early dinner at the thai restaurant in payson, then took fr 95 to where fr 139 crosses u-bar trail
found a very nice campsite nearby and had an hour or so to enjoy being in the pines
started hiking around 0630 on u-bar, going counterclockwise on the loop
checked out pinchot cabin, then the area around aspen spring
continued on houston brothers trail
somewhere close to the barbershop turnoff, john flushed a mama turkey and several little turkeys from a drainage where they were getting a drink
i had never seen a group of little ones before, pretty cool
took a left on barbershop, then a left on u-bar four miles later
u-bar was my favorite of the day, just a nice stroll through the forest for several miles, with a stop at dane spring and cabin before the drop/ascent at dane canyon and barbershop canyon
finished up and had a smooth drive home with another stop for thai food - love that place
it was nice to see how everything fit together and complete the loop
water in several places if needed
we saw several elk, including two young ones
quite a few downs and ups at canyons and drainages
miles of relatively flat, pine needle covered trail too
a nice getaway with good company
thanks, john!
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hazhole
2 archives
Jun 13 2021
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 Guides 1
 Routes 12
 Photos 5,311
 Triplogs 4,328

65 male
 Joined Mar 16 2008
 chandler,az
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 13 2021
johnlpTriplogs 4,328
Hiking17.25 Miles 2,519 AEG
Hiking17.25 Miles   6 Hrs   20 Mns   2.87 mph
2,519 ft AEG      19 Mns Break
 no routes
Partners partners
trekkin_gecko
Kelly invited me to do the east cabin loop. With the soaring temps in the valley, it sounded wonderful. We decided to go up Saturday evening and car camp in the cool pines.
We got started at 0630 which is about as early as we can get going while camping. Temp was about 50 degrees. Felt great. The trails are in very good shape. A fair amount of deadfall on Houston Brothers, easy to get around. Barbershop has a lot of ups and downs unlike the other trails which have some long flatter sections.
We startled a turkey and her poults, which could barely fly. We also flushed up two elk cows and their calves.
First time doing the east loop. Good times. Thanks Kelly. :)
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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“Good people drink good beer.” Hunter S Thompson
Jun 05 2021
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 Guides 1
 Routes 5
 Photos 163
 Triplogs 7

62 male
 Joined Sep 02 2003
 Phoenix, AZ
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Jun 05 2021
johnmc22Triplogs 7
Backpack16.50 Miles
Backpack16.50 Miles3 Days         
28 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Backpacked the East Cabin Loop (Barbershop/U-Bar/Houston Bros) over the weekend, starting at the intersection of FS139 and the Barbershop Trail and taking the loop counter-clockwise. Total distance for the loop was 16-17 miles and we did it in a leisurely 3 days/2 nights. Camped at Dane Spring on Friday night and at Aspen Spring on Saturday. There was plenty of water at Dane Spring with a steady flow coming out of the pipe. Aspen Spring was also flowing fine, but the shallow water level of the stream meant you needed to go down stream a little (to just beyond Aspen Cabin) to collect out of one of the larger pools. Around the loop, there was water at Barbershop Spring, Dane Spring, Barbershop Canyon Stream, Pinchot Spring, Aspen Spring, McFarland Spring (low flow), and Houston Draw Head.

While temps were 100+ in the Valley, the Cabin Loop remained hospitable throughout the weekend. High temperatures were around 80 all 3 days, making it warm in the sun, but since the loop is 80% in the shade, it wasn't a big deal. Overnight lows were in the low 50's. Overall, the loop was wonderful and not terribly crowded. We only saw 3 other people on Friday (at Dane Spring) and zero on Sunday. As you might expect, Saturday was the busiest where we crossed paths with a dozen or so people, but it still wasn't bad. We had one other camper at Dane Springs on Friday night and one other group of 5 at Aspen Spring on Saturday night.
Meteorology
Meteorology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Sunset

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Aspen Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
A moderate flow out of the spring, but it's difficult to collect near the source since the stream's only about 1 inch deep. Downstream a little from the Aspen Cabin was a pool big enough to fill a collapsable bucket (although it was a bit cloudy).

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Barbershop canyon creek Light flow Light flow
Some nice pools in the creek bed with light flow. One of the more gorgeous campsites was nearby.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Barbershop Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Hard to say what the flow rate was, but there were a few large pools to filter from and a nice campsite (or 2) nearby.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Dane Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
A nice steady flow coming out of the pipe right next to the U-Bar Trail.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Houston Draw Head Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
A nice big pool by the source with a flow down the drainage for about 100 yards.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max McFarland Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
The spring is lightly flowing, but there's only a few places where it would be deep enough to collect water for filtering.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Pinchot Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Some decent pools near the spring and flow all the way from the spring down to the Pinchot Cabin.
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Jun 04 2021
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 Guides 3
 Routes 13
 Photos 231
 Triplogs 15

male
 Joined Sep 27 2020
 Tucson, AZ
Cabin Loop de Loop, AZ 
Cabin Loop de Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Jun 04 2021
andrewpTriplogs 15
Backpack36.45 Miles 4,620 AEG
Backpack36.45 Miles2 Days   21 Hrs   6 Mns   
4,620 ft AEG
 
1st trip
I came up with a combination on-trail / off-trail approach to the Cabin Loop area as I suspected that the real treasures of were in the canyons. I'm really happy I did it this way as the trails, while beautiful, didn't begin to show off what the area has to offer.

I wanted to do at least 3 days and knew that I wouldn't want to be making the 5 hour drive back to Tucson after a full day of hiking so I added a 4th day and made it purposefully short. This ended up being a smart move as the drive home was taxing enough on a Monday morning, so I can't imagine it on a Sunday night after a full day of hiking.

Day 1 - Pinchot Cabin to Coyote Spring
VERY early start from Tucson and took the back way up through Globe and along Roosevelt Lake rather than the route through Phoenix that Google really wanted me to take. Uneventful drive up, parked on FR139A at the Fred Haught trail intersection, and was ready to start hiking around 11am. Spent a few minutes at the Pinchot cabin and waited for another hiker to get going on the U-Bar trail so that we weren't right on top of each other. We ended up leapfrogging each other all day. Chatted a bit at Dane Spring... nice guy. Pointed him here as he was looking to abandon Alltrails app.

U-Bar trail starts out a bit ho-hum, but improves in terrain and scenery on the approach to Barbershop Canyon. Steep descent and climb out ended up being a workout that I wasn't expecting. Stopped in the canyon bottom for lunch and continued on to Dane Spring. I had originally planned on camping at Dane, but ended up continuing on as there was still some daylight to burn and there was already a group camped there.

Finished off the U-Bar trail and ended up making a campsite for myself on the hill above Coyote Spring. On the way down to the spring to get some water I found the skeletal remains of what appeared to be an elk and this was a little offputting. There only appeared to be remains of one animal so I assumed that this wasn't a popular dinner spot and hoped that I didn't have a visitor overnight. I didn't.

Day 2 - Coyote Spring > Merritt Draw > Camp Grasshopper #2 > Barbershop Canyon (upper-middle??)


Broke camp early and continued on Barbershop trail to Barbershop Spring where I refilled my bottles. After a bit of route finding I found FR139C which I followed a bit to a drainage that dropped into the head of Merritt Draw. Once into the draw I was treated to a really pleasant meadow walk for a mile or so. The riparian exclusion zones erected by the Forest Service appear to have gotten larger from those shown in previous photos and they take up almost the entire width of the draw. They also enclose the springs so pulling water with the current flow levels wasn't possible.

After the open meadow I continued on the abandoned FR9735P which is now a grade which is slowly going back to nature. This area is beautiful and it was interesting to watch the open meadow of Merritt Draw turn into a deep canyon. I continued walking the road around the nose of the ridge and to its intersection with FR139C. I stopped at Camp Grasshopper #2 for a quick lunch and then found the elk trail down the ridge into Barbershop Canyon. The trail was fairly easy to follow, but having the GPS track was definitely nice.

Where the elk trail dropped me, Barbershop was a deep and narrow drainage with a small, dry creek at the bottom. I started upstream in the creek bed and came to some pools within a few hundred yards. The water came and went for the rest of the journey. The canyon remained narrow with hardly any room for a consistent use trail and what little trail was there crossed the stream constantly. This area was beautiful and although there were a number of forest roads about 300ft above I felt like I was miles from civilization.

My intended stop for the night was one of the primitive campsites identified by @Grasshopper , but upon reaching the planned site I realized that it wasn't going to work for me. I was hammock camping and the tree arrangement was such that my hammock would have to span over the use trail. I imagined being awoken in the middle of the night by an elk colliding with me suspended in mid-air. I continued on and after a short distance the canyon opened up a bit and after about 1/2 mile I found an excellent spot on a high bench overlooking the stream.

Made camp, had some dinner, and hit the sack early.

Day 3 - Barbershop Canyon upstream to Rim > Houston Bros > Aspen Spring

I had been awake for about 15 minutes when a crash to my right alerted me to an incoming elk making her way down the ridge. She saw me (or my hammock) and froze. As I reached for my phone to get a photo she bolted back up the hill and from the sound of it she was stepping on every piece of downed wood she came upon!

Broke camp and headed up Barbershop Canyon with the intent of continuing all the way to the rim. This was the highlight of the trip by far as the upper section of Barbershop is absolutely beautiful. From my campsite this was an easy hike and once I reached the head of the canyon it was an easy walk across FR300 to take in the view off the edge of the rim. Spent some time here soaking it up and also took advantage of the cellular coverage to share the view with my wife via FaceTime.

Set off with the intent of following the General Crook trail to Houston Bros and although I was successful for a stretch I eventually lost the blazes and just hiked cross country in the approximate direction. I completely missed the trail and overshot it a bit then in backtracking got turned around. A quick check of GPS put me back on track, but it was an entertaining couple of minutes while I walked in circles.

The initial section of Houston Bros is quite pretty and the broadleaf trees in the drainages were a nice change from all of the pine and fir that I had been seeing for days. There were some good ups and downs in the first half of this trail and it was a bit more of a workout than I was expecting.

Once into Houston Draw the character changes and I was treated to alternating forest and meadow sections. This was easily one of the more enjoyable trail sections of the entire trip and I loved every minute of it. My intention was to camp at McFarland Spring, but after inspecting the area I decided that the area was too overgrown with too much deadfall to make for a pleasant evening.

I continued on and found an excellent site at Aspen Spring just east of the meadow in the side drainage. Nice site with some nice scenery. Setup camp, relaxed a bit, had some dinner, and then hit the sack.

Day 4 - Hike out and drive home

Very early start with a quick hike out to Pinchot cabin and my waiting truck. I was ready to hit the road a little after 8:30 and was very pleased that I had structured the trip this way. The drive home was long and tiring which was made worse by the closures due to the fire. Ended up taking AZ87 to the Bush Hwy and then picking up US60 in east Mesa and finally the straight line of AZ79 back to Oracle junction. Made it home by 1:30, which wasn't too bad at all.

Parting Thoughts

This was my first time in the area and I honestly wasn't sure what to expect. I knew that the trails were heavily forested and feared that the lack of views would get to be a drag after a while. That was absolutely the case and I'm so glad that I planned in the off-trail sections. If I had only done a trail hike I might not have a strong desire to go back, but after this experience I'll gladly make the drive again to explore more of the canyons.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Aspen Spring Dripping Dripping
Very light flow, but enough to create some shallow pools in drainage. MSR pump filter had no issues, but other methods might require some creativity.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Barbershop canyon creek Light flow Light flow
Fair amount of water at the U-Bar trail crossing. Light flow with large pools.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Barbershop Spring Dripping Dripping
Very, very shallow trickle with some small pools. Was able to draw with my MSR filter, but other filters would have trouble. Nearby Barbershop Canyon had large pools and light flow.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Coyote Spring Dripping Dripping
Hard to tell actual flow as it's just a large pool with a trickle down slope. Water was crystal clear which suggests a reasonably consistent flow.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Dane Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Strong flow. Easily qt/min, probably more.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Houston Draw Head Quart per minute Quart per minute
Light flow but created fair amount of surface water in drainage.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max McFarland Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Good flow with pools to draw from

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Pinchot Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Good flow. Lots of pools downstream
7 archives
May 31 2021
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 Guides 17
 Routes 50
 Photos 246
 Triplogs 139

33 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 31 2021
KingLeonidasTriplogs 139
Backpack7.12 Miles 1,598 AEG
Backpack7.12 Miles   3 Hrs   12 Mns   2.50 mph
1,598 ft AEG28 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Day 3 of a 3 day backpacking trip on the Cabin Loop - Mogollon Rim. We heard some odd animal cries last night, I suspect a mountain lion in the vicinity upstream but we didn't see anything.

Again we had a leisurely breakfast, we were slowly getting better and got underway at around 10am.

This was the last and easiest day of the trip. The water was more prevalent in this section and there were a few pockets of wildflowers. We saw few other hikers on this day. Likely because everyone going clockwise would be at the General Crook Trail by this time and few people would be starting their trip with the weekend/holiday almost over.

The trails:
The days hike was the entirety of Fred Haught Trail #141. It was mostly through pine forests. All of the water sources had deep pools at the very least (if not actual flow). At a section that crossed a forest road we saw a mother elk and a calf which was pretty cool.

At FR-95 (I think) the road was washed out. By washed out I mean completely gone the ~6' diameter culvert running under it appears to have gotten plugged by a tree during a flash flood effectively creating a dam behind a bend in the road. Given that it was not designed to be a dam the road and ~20 of earth from where the road was to the top of the culvert was washe away completely. All that remains in the Culvert, ironically, still crushed and plugged up with a tree. Needless to say there were barriers in place and a social trail had developed and was apparent around the unexpected obstacle. It was a pretty apparent display of the power of nature.

Other than that it was a tranquil walk in the woods back to General Springs Cabin and the cars.

On the whole this trip was not the most interesting or exciting it definitely had its moments but I don't think it lives up to the hype. I saw this route listed a good introductory backpacking route, I would believe that. If anything were to go wrong you are never far from a forest road and could probably flag down help without too much trouble. There were a couple of pretty spots that I would likely return to for a an overnight but camping on edge of the Mogollon Rim has more appeal.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Box Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Pools all along the trail

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Fred Haught Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Lots of pools

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Fred Haught Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
lots of pools
_____________________
May 30 2021
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 Guides 17
 Routes 50
 Photos 246
 Triplogs 139

33 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 30 2021
KingLeonidasTriplogs 139
Backpack12.39 Miles 2,005 AEG
Backpack12.39 Miles   5 Hrs   57 Mns   2.43 mph
2,005 ft AEG29 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Day 2 of a 3 day backpacking trip on the Cabin Loop - Mogollon Rim. As the first of the group awake I got to see a herd of deer on the east side of the meadow we camped in by Barbershop Creek. Sadly I left my camera and phone in the tent and did not manage to get any photos.

As with the first day, we had a leisurely breakfast (still too leisurely, we didn't get underway until ~11), broke camp, and started our 2nd day of hiking. While we were breaking camp and getting breakfast another group of backpackers came by looking for water they liked the conditions of Barbershop spring and stopped to filter some. We also took the opportunity to get some details on our planned water sources for that night namely Pinchot (near the cabin) which they confirmed had plenty of water. Between our own water making the night before and the morning top off of both groups Barbershop spring was visibly lower in level than it was when we arrived and did not seem to be refilling.

We saw several other groups once we started hiking and for some reason every single one of them were opting for a clockwise route of the cabin loop (rather than counter clockwise as we were doing). I am not sure why (perhaps there is a description on alltrails or some other popular site that suggests going clockwise) but for the entire 3 days we were the only ones going in this direction.

Our plan for day 2 was to hike the remainder of Barbershop trail #91 and the entirety of U-Bar trail #28 to Pinchot Cabin and spring.

The trails:
I am actually going to group these two trails together as the conditions were similar. Basically the day's hike involved descending and then re-ascending the ravines containing Barbershop Canyon Creek and Floyd Spring (or its tributaries at least), hiking in parallel north for a few miles alongside them, and then turning east and hiking back down and up them again. This was challenging but at least predictable and was the most strenuous of the day's 3 hikes. This wasn't helped by the fact that I made a wrong turn right at the end and added an extra 3/4 of a mile to the day's already long run, oops.

We also noticed several game/trail cameras starting with one at Coyote Spring (presumably to capture wildlife stopping to drink). Further on the trail cameras seemed to be directed at the trail specifically so I am not sure if they were trying to capture shots of wildlife or get a headcount on the number of hikers doing the loop. Naturally we smiled for the camera each time we passed one by.

Near the beginning of U-bar we saw an area alongside the trail that was fenced off with high fences (presumably to keep deer out). The enclosed area wasn't large and there didn't seem to be anything unusual in it which was curious. our best guess was that there was some sort of experiment wherein some particular type of (probably native) vegetation was being grown and they didn't want the wildlife to interfere with the experiment. It also could have been a clandestine pot farm but it was a bit too obvious and accessible for this (and we didn't see anything like that growing there). Anyway curious.

The prettiest part of the hike was the part where we Crossed Barbershop Canyon Creek. This was a large running source with lots of water and even a few minnows swimming about. It was really pretty and fairly easily accessible from FR-139 with multiple campsites along the creek. I will have to revisit this spot in the future for some car camping. We were sorely tempted to stop here for the night.

Pinchot was also full of clear water and was, as expected, a good place to end our day. We were not entirely alone at the cabin. Another couple were camping there intending to tart the loop the following day and there was another vehicle parked there that presumably belonged to another thru-hiker.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Barbershop canyon creek Light flow Light flow
lots of clear pools with some flow. Some minnows swimming in it.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Coyote Spring Dripping Dripping
very little flow but a clear pool suitable for filtering. also a trail camera for some reason.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Dane Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Decent flow from the pipe, certainly enough to gather and filter for drinking.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Pinchot Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
nice clear pools with a gradual flow
_____________________
May 29 2021
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 Guides 17
 Routes 50
 Photos 246
 Triplogs 139

33 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 29 2021
KingLeonidasTriplogs 139
Backpack8.09 Miles 1,465 AEG
Backpack8.09 Miles   4 Hrs   35 Mns   2.26 mph
1,465 ft AEG31 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Day 1 of a 3 day backpacking trip on the Cabin Loop - Mogollon Rim. Out party of 5 started the trip by car camping Friday night in the meadow in front of the General Springs Cabin. After some mishaps involving forgotten sleeping bags (replaced with surprisingly good bags from the Payson Walmart) we all got together around 11 pm.

The following morning we had a leisurely breakfast (a little too leisurely, we didn't get underway until noon), broke camp, and started our 3 day loop hike.

We planned to do the larger loop in a counter clockwise direction. Day 1 would follow General Crook Trail #130 along the rim, Houston Brothers #171 north for a bit and then start on Barbershop #91 to either Barbershop spring or Coyote Spring farther on. We ended up camping at Barbershop Spring on the first night as we were pretty tired and there was enough water for filtering.

The trails:
General Crook Trail #130 was a complete pain navigation wise. I downloaded the official GPS route and on the map had an alternate historical route overlaid. Neither was even remotely correct for a significant amount of time and we initially wasted a lot of time picking our way of difficult terrain hoping things would get better if we stayed precisely on the gps marked route. They didn't so I eventually started disregarding the gps and doing regular pathfinding. This worked better. The trail in general is faint to non-existent in this area with forest fires having altered the forest significantly. We were able to spot some white metal chevrons nailed to trees which were apparently the trail markers. These helped somewhat as in theory you could generally spot the next chevron while the nearer was still visible. There were some sections where the fires had taken out the trail markers and some sections with no trail markers at all. Path finding was definietly more efficient than following the GPS though.
I was hoping this trail would wind along the rim an give us great views off the edge but it generally kept farther inland and we had to go off trail to get any good pictures. On the whole, this portion of the trip wasn't that great and I certainly wouldn't look the hike a more extensive section of the General Crook Trail if the conditions are likely to be similar.

Houston Brothers #171 was refreshingly straightforward after the navigational shenanigans that was General Crook. The path was clear and had some pretty steep inclines which were a good workout (a bit too good for some of the group). We stepped across some water draining from springs at the bottom of some of the ravines near Barbershop so we were optimistic bout finding water there. There scenery changed from rocky and sparse/burnt pine forest to thicker canopy with some broadleaves (particularly in the low areas). It was nice to get some shade and have a walk in the woods.

Barbershop #91 was similar to Houston brothers for the short distance we were on it and as hoped, we did find water at Barbershop spring where we opted to call it a day and pitch our tents. Ironically if we had gone a bit farther we would have fond much more water at the bottom of the canyon draining from Barbershop Canyon Creek but the campsite at the spring was nicer and had better shade.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Barbershop Spring Dripping Dripping
There was very little flow though the water was nice and clear. Between our group and another that came by we basically drained it filtering water for the next day's hike

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Dude Lake 1-25% full 1-25% full
Water level was pretty low and there wasn't an easy way to to collect some for filtering without wading through deep mud. best to look elsewhere

dry General Springs Dry Dry
just some wet mud
_____________________
May 28 2021
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 Guides 3
 Routes 233
 Photos 5,149
 Triplogs 422

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 28 2021
ddgrunningTriplogs 422
Hiking26.78 Miles 5,881 AEG
Hiking26.78 Miles1 Day   4 Hrs   28 Mns   
5,881 ft AEG
 
1st trip
My youngest daughter graduated from high school on Thursday and wanted to celebrate with an overnight backpacking trip. :y: She picked out the Cabin Loop, which is an area that has long been on my radar, but hadn't quite made it to the top of the list.

With some help from the HAZ forum (thanks!), we mapped out a tentative itinerary for the eastern loop. We changed our minds several times about starting location, but ultimately settled on starting from Buck Springs cabins. We were happy with our choice. On the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, we were the only ones at the TH and enjoyed an amazing amount of solitude.

We took Barbershop over to the U-Bar trail and then started a counterclockwise loop. Didn't see a soul until we reached Pinchot Cabin, where one group was setting up camp and we were passed by a few vehicles.

From there, we decided to take a side excursion up to the southern leg of CC Cragin Reservoir to make our camp. Total solitude all along that path and at our campsite overlooking the dregs of the reservoir, which in that area has been reduces to spotty pools. While we were hoping for a more scenic view of the lake, it was still a nice spot and we enjoyed the evening.

The following morning, we packed up, retraced our steps to Pinchot, and then continued the loop down Houston Brothers. We stopped for an early lunch at Aspen Spring and really enjoyed this area, with the cabin remains, and beautify meadow. I can see why this would be a popular camping area. One of our favorite sections of the loop. We hung up the hammock and relaxed for a while before continuing on.

After Aspen Spring, we enjoyed the continuous meadows and stream/springs along HB, which then gave way to a very nice, canopy-covered fir forest.

By the time we were approaching the HB-Barbershop junction, we were ready to be done, but still had about 5 miles of hiking to go. We grinded it out! Thankfully, the scenery kept us distracted from the tired legs, with 27 miles and a Grand Canyon's worth of elevation gain.

Arriving back at Buck Springs, we were still the only ones there and no other entries in the register. As we drove out, FR 300 was more of the expected crowd of Memorial Day weekend traffic.

Got back to the valley around 6:30 pm and hit the hay early ....

Great trip and more priceless memories with my daughter!
Named place
Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Aspen Spring Houston Draw

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Aspen Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
flowing nicely

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Dane Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Pinchot Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Didn't check out the source, but plenty of water in the creekbed
_____________________
May 22 2021
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 Routes 4
 Photos 333
 Triplogs 27

male
 Joined Sep 13 2019
 
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 22 2021
Nobody01Triplogs 27
Backpack23.00 Miles
Backpack23.00 Miles   9 Hrs      2.56 mph
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
The goal was to complete the circumference trail in one day but decided to find camp in Barbershop Canyon after being a little too cold and tired. A very quiet and breezy night and also very cold for late may. According to the thermodrop it dipped to a low of just above 22 degrees. Chilly for sure. Woke up pretty early and headed back to General Springs in the morning. Probably could have pushed this one a little harder but there is always next time. Didn't see any wildlife on this trip.
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Embrace the suck.
May 15 2021
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 Guides 4
 Routes 396
 Photos 9,095
 Triplogs 1,070

52 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Run/Jog avatar May 15 2021
BiFrostTriplogs 1,070
Run/Jog16.20 Miles 1,562 AEG
Run/Jog16.20 Miles   5 Hrs   5 Mns   3.19 mph
1,562 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Car camped with Chumley and 9L on the rim. They went and did another hike and I decided to attempt trail run of the Cabin Loop. We were camped out on the ridge between west and east Bear Canyon so I had to off trail to the Cabin Loop. It was fun but not fast. Once on the Cabin Loop it was a nice run with quite a few backpackers and day hikers on the loop. I did the eastern half crossing Barbershop, Dane canyons, and following U-Bar Trail. On the north end of Cabin Loop I followed road over to Houston Brothers Trail before off trailing back to camp. Still nice on the rim with water in all the drainages!
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1 archive
May 10 2021
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 Guides 70
 Routes 651
 Photos 10,844
 Triplogs 708

male
 Joined Jan 07 2017
 Fountain Hills,
Pinchot Cabin, AZ 
Pinchot Cabin, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 10 2021
DixieFlyerTriplogs 708
Hiking13.40 Miles 1,775 AEG
Hiking13.40 Miles   6 Hrs   2 Mns   2.90 mph
1,775 ft AEG   1 Hour   25 Mns Break
 
I decided to head up to the Rim for a couple of days of hiking and one night of car camping at Camp Grasshopper Site #2. After setting up camp, we hiked over to Pinchot Cabin and back. When we got back to the campsite we decided to climb up the ridge to the west of the campsite and check out the Merritt Draw Riparian Area.

It was a nice day to be hiking up on the Rim. We saw a mountain biker at Pinchot Cabin, but did not see anyone else all day. At Pinchot Cabin we started hiking on the Houston Brothers Trail, thinking that we might go back to the campsite that way. However, after a bit of reflection, I figured that route would be longer than I wanted, so after a short distance on the Houston Brothers Trail, we turned around and went back the way that we came.

The Merritt Draw Riparian Area was really nice and is worthy of some more exploration.

The campsite was clean except for some TP that some moron had left not too far from the fire ring. You'd think that people could do better than that, but I guess not.

This is a nice area, and I hope to get back there later in the summer.
Named place
Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Pinchot Spring
_____________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Edward Abbey
May 09 2021
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 Photos 901
 Triplogs 259

48 female
 Joined Mar 09 2010
 Chandler, AZ
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 09 2021
azlaurieTriplogs 259
Hiking17.29 Miles 2,592 AEG
Hiking17.29 Miles   24 Hrs   22 Mns   2.12 mph
2,592 ft AEG   16 Hrs   12 Mns Break23 LBS Pack
 
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
So my hike idea. Cabin Loop. We started at FR 139 Barbershop TH. Ccw, destination was Aspen Springs. I thought it would be 12-13 miles. And relatively flat. 14.3 miles later, 2600 ft ele gain, we arrive. Mind you, im carrying 23 lbs and Don is 30. Longest backpack day we've done thus far. 70% of hike was up then down then up then down. We were pretty tired. Set up camp, collected firewood, ate dinner, sat w fire, and out at 8:00 pm. I woke up at 1:00 am to a... Noise. Then another. I was positive either animal was in our food that was hung 30 feet away or simply heading towards tent. I wake up Don... And he agrees. We sat motionless for about 5 mins... Then heard snapping tree limbs. We concluded it was Elk. So, we just cautiously fell back asleep. Next morning sure enuf, fresh Elk poop about 20 feet from tent. What do you do? Can't see crap out of tent, it's completely pitch black. Nerve wrecking to say the least. Next day was only 4 miles hike out, which was nice. Saw 7 people total.
Just me and my soulmate... Once again. ♥
Named place
Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Aspen Spring
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♥ Timing is Everything ♥
2 archives
May 02 2021
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 Guides 84
 Routes 694
 Photos 17,480
 Triplogs 1,703

49 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Barbershop Trail #91Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 02 2021
chumleyTriplogs 1,703
Hiking15.81 Miles 3,134 AEG
Hiking15.81 Miles   6 Hrs   7 Mns   2.81 mph
3,134 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 
1st trip
With perfect weather in the forecast and both of us looking to knock out a good mileage day that wasn't a straight mountain climb, we headed for the east loop. It was a tit nipply with a brisk wind as we got started and we found some lingering snow almost immediately. :y:

There was a little bit of water flowing in most of the drainages, but definitely not as wet as I've seen at this time of year before. I had forgotten how much up and down there is on the east side. Fred was lazy. Babe was not!

After climbing out of Barbershop on the north end and hit 139G, we decided to clip the corner and knock a couple miles off our loop by skipping Pinchot and instead headed directly toward Aspen Spring and reconnecting with the trail there. We passed three separate pairs of hikers between Aspen and our start point, the only others we saw on the day.

For an old standby, this one rarely disappoints.
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two scoops!
1 archive
average hiking speed 2.52 mph
Salida Gulch Trail #95 - Bradshaw ...
Salida Gulch Trail #95 - Bradshaw Mountains - Prescott Arizona
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