|when?||Trip Report : June 21, 2014|
The Oaks & Willows Trail may be the best hike you never
heard of. It's located in the Juniper Mesa Wilderness, in the northern part of the Prescott National Forest. The drive to get there is
a bit long but the scenery is great and the solitude is outstanding. It's also a
part of Arizona not many people have seen.
The trail begins with a climb to the top of a small mesa. From here you can see Aztec Peak, an important early pioneer route. It then then drops into the heavily-wooded George Wood Canyon, enters the Juniper Mesa Wilderness, and follows a small drainage to the north.
A mile and a half from the trailhead a series of switchbacks climb half a mile to the top of Juniper Mesa. The trail then turns sharply to the right and continues with a flat and easy walk along the broad mesa.
After two miles on the mesa the Oaks and Willows trail meets the Juniper Mesa Trail. We'll continue on the Oaks and Willows, descending 800 feet in two and a half miles to Pine Spring, where the trail ends. At that point (or earlier, depending on the group) we'll stop, have lunch, and turn around.
After climbing back to the mesa we'll continue on the Juniper Mesa trail and finally return to the trailhead via the Bull Spring Trail.
Click here and here for descriptions and photos of similar hikes in this area.
The best map seems to be National Geographic 857, Apache Creek and Juniper Mesa.
There are no water or facilities at the trailhead. Water may be flowing at Pine Spring and Juniper Spring but neither is pure or reliable. Although most of the route is wooded, the tops of the mesas can be fairly exposed. Prepare for dry conditions and pack plenty of water.
Speaking of being dry, on the way home we'll probably head into Prescott for a bit of whistle-wetting.
• Sturdy hiking boots
• At least 3 liters of water
• Rain poncho
• Hat, sunblock, sunglasses
• Lunch or snacks
|EC||+-2088 feet elevation change|
|elevations||5950' (FR 150 Trailhead) to 7070' (Trail Junction)|
|type||Loop and spur|
|rating||"B+" A few stretches are steep and rocky. Rate yourself as a hiker.|
|cost||Sharing gas expenses with the driver.
The club also allows voluntary contributions of $5 per non-member.
Note, however, that we'll be hiking 1000-2000 feet above the elevation of Prescott.
Temperatures will probably be about 25° below Phoenix.
6:30 AM in the
Fry’s parking lot on the SW corner of I-17 & Bell Road. Park along the
wall behind Denny’s, near the entrance to the Deer Valley Park & Ride.
To meet us at Cordes Junction, Prescott, or the trailhead, please contact the leader to finalize a time and place.
|Schedule of Events||Arizona Trailblazers Home Page|
|updated June 23, 2014||© Copyright 2014, Arizona Trailblazers. All rights reserved.|