Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
Oaks & Willows Day Hike


when? Trip Report : June 21, 2014
where? Prescott
the hike    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.
Required:
•  Sturdy hiking boots
•  At least 3 liters of water
•  Rain poncho
•  Hat, sunblock, sunglasses
Recommended:
•  Lunch or snacks
•  Camera
distance 11.88 miles
time 6-7 hours
EC +-2088 feet elevation change
elevations 5950' (FR 150 Trailhead) to 7070' (Trail Junction)
type Loop and spur
starting at
FR 150 34° 56.455' N,  112° 57.119' W  [NAD27]
on trail 100%
rating "B+" A few stretches are steep and rocky. 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 Prescott
Note, however, that we'll be hiking 1000-2000 feet above the elevation of Prescott.
Temperatures will probably be about 25° below Phoenix.
meet 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.
drive
  1. From Fry's, take I-17 north 87 miles to AZ-69.
  2. Take AZ-69 north 22 miles.
  3. Near the Prescott Golf & Country Club, which will be on your left, turn right (north) onto Fain Rd.
  4. Fain Rd. becomes Pioneer Parkway and then Williamson Valley Road. Drive. 37 miles from AZ-69 the pavement ends and the road becomes FR 6.
    Note: The gravel road is very well maintained and passable to all vehicles.
  5. Continue north on FR 6 for 14 miles until you reach County Road 125 (FR 95).
  6. Turn left onto CR 125 and continue 1.5 miles to the Walnut Creek ranger station.
  7. Continue west on FR 150 for 3.7 miles to a fork in the road.
  8. Veer right and continue on FR 150 for 2.8 miles to the signed trailhead.
The total distance on gravel is 22 miles. Total driving time from I-17 & Bell is two hours and twenty minutes.


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updated June 23, 2014 © Copyright 2014, Arizona Trailblazers.  All rights reserved.