|when||Trip Report : October 11, 2014|
|Trip Report : November 12, 2011|
|Trip Report : May 5, 2001|
|Trip Report : October 16, 1999|
|where||Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area, north of Cottonwood/Clarkdale|
This cool and refreshing riparian hike along Sycamore Creek in the lower
end of Sycamore Canyon features a wide variety of trees (including massive,
towering sycamores and cottonwoods), abundant bird life, deep inviting pools,
and fascinating geology. The trail quickly drops for 200 feet into the canyon
and, sheltered by high walls of Devonian period limestone, continues upstream
for almost four miles to Parsons Spring, a wide marshy area. The abundance of
running water and plentiful shade from large sycamore and cottonwood trees
makes this a great hike during late spring and early summer months.
The cooler temperatures of November should put us close to peak fall color
season in the canyon.
The red rock walls rise higher and become steeper, as we hike deeper into Sycamore Canyon, but the trail remains fairly level as it runs parallel to Sycamore Creek, which usually flows year-round. Parsons Spring Trail was rebuilt about ten years ago, after being completely washed out in several places by previous flash floods. Subsequent flash floods have since created a few new obstacles like large log jams to navigate around.
The trail crosses Sycamore Creek a number of times before reaching the springs. Most are easy crossings, but a few will require some boulder-hopping and some may be hard to find if the rock cairns have been washed away and not yet replaced. The water level in the creek should be low this time of year, but if there have been recent rains in the canyon, crossings will be more difficult and we may get wet. We will stop somewhere near the Parsons Spring area for a lunch and rest break before returning along the same route.
Parsons Trail is featured as Hike of the Month in Arizona Highways, vol.87 #9, September, 2011, page 54.
• Sturdy hiking boots
• At least 3 liters of water
• Rain poncho
• Hat, sunblock, sunglasses
• Lunch or snacks
|distance||7.4 miles round trip|
|EC||+-1000' elevation change|
|elevations||3598' (Sycamore Creek) to 3830' (across from Packard Mesa)|
|on trail||100% — Parsons Trail #144|
|rating||"C" Rate yourself as a hiker.|
|cost||Sharing gas expenses with the driver.
The club also allows voluntary contributions of $5 per non-member.
|meet||7:00 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.|
Drive north on I-17 toward Flagstaff. Take the Camp Verde Exit (#287)
and head northwest on AZ260 for about 12 miles to Cottonwood. From
Cottonwood, take 89A northwest for about four miles toward Clarkdale
to the Tuzigoot National Monument turnoff on your right. Turn right
onto Tuzigoot Road and follow it over the Verde River Bridge.
Take the first left past the bridge (Sycamore Canyon Road) and
continue driving along the east bank of the Verde River for four miles.
At this point the road becomes Forest Road 131. Follow FR 131 for
another 6.5 miles to the Parsons Spring Trailhead.
PLEASE NOTE: High-clearance vehicles are required for the 10.5-mile stretch of road from the bridge to the trailhead since this road is graded only infrequently and can become extremely rutted at times, especially after heavy rains.
|Schedule of Events||Arizona Trailblazers Home Page|
|updated July 24, 2016||© Copyright 2016, Arizona Trailblazers. All rights reserved.|