Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
Kelsey-Dorsey Loop Day Hike
when Trip Report : October 20, 2018
  Trip Report : August 9, 2014
where Sycamore Canyon / Coconino National Forest
the hike     This will be a counterclockwise loop hike both on and below the east rim of Sycamore Canyon, hiking through tall ponderosa pine and enjoying great views of Sycamore Canyon. We will start from the Kelsey Trailhead on the canyon rim and immediately begin a short and steep descent below the rim, following the Kelsey Trail west and then southwest. Continuing a gradual descent below the rim, the trail swings to the northwest before finally reaching Babes Hole Spring and the junction with the Dorsey Trail, one mile from the trailhead.
    Turn left on the Dorsey Trail and follow it south and southwest along a broad bench between the upper and lower rims of Sycamore Canyon. This section of the Dorsey Trail alternates between pine-juniper forests and chaparral-covered slopes which provide the best views into the canyon. At 1.6 miles from the start of the Dorsey Trail, we will reach Dorsey Spring and the junction with the trail to Winter Cabin. Make a left turn here to continue on the Dorsey Trail. The trail eventually starts climbing a ravine back to the upper rim of Sycamore Canyon and ends at the Dorsey Trailhead, 1.4 miles from Dorsey Spring.
    From the Dorsey Trailhead we follow a road for 0.6 miles to another junction and then stay left. Continue hiking for 0.5 miles to the junction with Forest Road 538G, where we bear left again. From here it’s an easy 1.3 mile walk along the road through towering ponderosa pine forests back to the Kelsey Trailhead we started from earlier in the day. We’ll stop for a rest and lunch break roughly half-way through the hike. We are in the middle of monsoon season, so be prepared for afternoon thundershowers and make sure you have proper raingear with you.
•  Sturdy hiking boots
•  At least 3 liters of water
•  Rain poncho
•  Hat, sunblock, sunglasses
•  Lunch or snacks
•  Camera
distance 6.5 miles
time 4-5 hours
EC +-1370' elevation change
elevations 5,880 to 7,000 feet
type loop
starting at Kelsey Trailhead
on trail 100% — 4.1 miles on trail, 2.4 miles on forest road.
rating "C"     Rate yourself as a hiker.
dogs allowed no
cost Sharing gas expenses with the driver.
The club also allows voluntary contributions of $5 per non-member.
weather Flagstaff
meet in
6:30 AM in the Fry’s parking lot on the SW corner of I-17 & Bell Road. Park behind Denny’s, near the entrance to the Deer Valley Park & Ride.
meet in
If you are meeting us in Flagstaff, be at the Target parking lot at the corner of Milton and University (just north of I-17) in the corner of the lot next to the traffic light, by 8:45 AM.
•  From Phoenix, drive north on Interstate 17 to Flagstaff.
From Flagstaff drive west on West Route 66 and turn left on Woody Mountain Road (Forest Road 231).
After 13.7 miles, turn right onto Forest Road 538.
Drive for 5.3 miles and turn right onto Forest Road 538G.
Drive for another 0.6 miles and then stay right at the junction to remain on FR 538G for another 1.3 miles to the Kelsey Trailhead. No restroom facilities at the trailhead.
High clearance vehicles recommended, since we have about 20 miles of potentially muddy forest roads to drive.

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updated October 29, 2018 © Copyright 2018, Arizona Trailblazers.  All rights reserved.