Trip Planning Guide
Trip Report Index
Calendar of Events
Imagine hiking along streams and through massive stands of oak, walnut, boxelder and wild canyon grape vines atop the Mogollon Rim and just 60 miles north of Phoenix! Just the ticket when the weather starts getting warm and you don’t feel like driving to Flagstaff, right? Sounds too good to be true? Well, check out the Grapevine Trail #4 near Mayer, AZ.
This tail is a largely unknown wonder. The Forest Service doesn’t include it in their list of trails for the area, but I ran across it on Facebook and decided to give it a try. Leafy trees and running streams in cool temperatures on top of the nearby Mogollon Rim? Well of course!
The first challenge is getting there. You start off northbound on I-17, exit on AZ-69 as if you were going to Prescott, and then travel 12 miles through the town of Mayer. Then, just before you get to mile marker 274, turn left onto an unsigned road secretly named AZ-87A. Chaparral Blvd. will be on the right. Continue on AZ-87A about two miles on the unpaved road (which crosses a wash at one point) and park at the unsigned and unofficial parking area. It’s like a big turnoff on the left side of the road.
The official trailhead is another two miles down the road, and you can drive there if you want, but you’ll need a high-clearance vehicle that’ll probably get scratched up. Most write-ups therefore recommend making those last two miles part of the hike, and that’s what we did.
A typical map kiosk marks the actual start of the Grapevine Trail. Going out it’s 2.4 miles, nearly all uphill, and coming back is of course the same.
The Forest Service has designated Grapevine Creek as a Protected Botanical Area but day hiking is allowed. (Camping is not.) But with year-round running water and cooler temperatures than Phoenix, it’s easy to see how things might grow here.
There appears to be no marker at the end of the trail, or at least not one we found. It’s supposed to connect with FR 103A, which we didn’t find either. But the distance was right and as you can see in the photo below, we definitely reached a point where water stopped oozing from underground and the soil above was totally dry. So we took a vote, formed a consensus, and decided this was it.
Not only was this the turnaround point but near midday and therefore time for lunch. So we found a clearing, waited for everyone to catch up, chowed down, explored the area a little bit, and then headed down.
The last few hikers arrived late because Barb had shown them a side trail that led to a wonderful series of clear pools and waterfalls. The rest of us wanted to see that too, of course, and Michael, who’d made the stop on the way up, was able to find it for us. And lovely it was! We spent quite a bit of time just standing around, enjoying it, and chatting.
After the hike, and at the suggestion of Barb, we repaired for rest and recuperation at Left-T’s Steakhouse & Grill, which is about eight miles north on AZ-69, at the far side of Dewey. The outside isn’t fancy but the inside is cowboy-comfy, the food was good, and the service was friendly and attentive. No wonder it’s the best restaurant in town!
I’d certainly like to hike in this area again. Cool, wooded, close by, reasonable distance and total elevation; what’s not to like?
|Top of Page||
Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
Comments? Send them to the AZHC .
updated October 8, 2017