Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
Houston Brothers Trail #171 Day Hike
when Tuesday, May 17, 2022
where? Coconino National Forest / Mogollon Rim
the hike     For much of its length the Houston Brothers Trail wanders along the bottom of Houston Draw, a picturesque little valley through which a spring-fed perennial stream flow. The scenery here is mostly pastoral with a few photogenic rock outcrops and aspen groves to remind you that you’re in Rim country. It offers an incredible combination of dense forests, lush meadows and a spring-fed stream that attracts all kinds of wildlife.
    This trail served several purposes during a heyday that stretched over most of the first half of this century. The Houston brothers were ranchers who used it for moving livestock from one part of the range to another. The Forest Service used the trail to move fire guards into isolated forest cabins where they were on 24-hour duty during times of high fire danger. Evidence of both pages out of the trail’s history is visible at several locations, including a cabin site which Gifford Pinchot, father of the U. S. Forest Service singled out for its peaceful beauty. This trail is part of the Cabin Loop trail system, which provides an opportunity for Forest visitors to relive an aspect of Forest history while they enjoy the area’s natural beauty.
    We begin the hike at a parking area where FR95 intersects Houston Draw. We travel up a side trail that leads to the Fred Haught Trail #141. We follow the Fred Haught trail towards its terminus at the Pinchot Cabin. We will take a group photo in front of the cabin.
    After visiting the cabin, we move down the Houston Brothers Trail #171 past a sign and hiker registration. We cross the stream to the west side of the draw and hike parallel to the stream amid pines and broad meadows. Deer droppings are abundant so if we are quiet, we may see wildlife up the many side channels leading west or across the draw on the opposite contour.
    About ¾ miles from the cabin, we will drop down off trail to visit Pinchot Springs and our second photo op.
    Leaving the spring, we climb gently up the canyon side and follow the contour for ¾ mile leading to Aspen Springs cabin. We will pause for pictures of the cabin and springs before proceeding up the draw.
    As we continue up the draw, we encounter large piles of white rock. Upon closer inspection, we see that the rocks are being used to slow erosion in the stream channel.
    After a mile a tall fence appears ahead. The area inside the fence is designated a Coconino National Forest restorative riparian area. The fence is designed to keep wildlife, livestock, and humans out of the area in attempt to restore and improve the health and sustainability of the canyon floor.
    After passing the second riparian fence, we find large logs crisscrossing on the side of the trail. This marks our turnaround point and we return the way we came.
distance 7 miles
time 5 hours
EC +-500' elevation change
elevations 6968' (Trailhead) to 7100' (Houston Draw)
type round trip
starting at
Trailhead north of Pinchot Cabin 34° 30' 23.5" N,  111° 11' 40.1" W 
on trail 10% Fred Haught Trail #141, 90% Houston Brothers Trail #171
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 Happy Jack
leader     Email the leader to confirm.
meet 6:30 AM in the parking lot of the Target Center on the south side of Shea Blvd., about a mile west of Highway 87 (Beeline). For those leaving their cars behind, please park up against the north curb away from Target.
meet at
9:00 AM
•  From Payson, continue driving northeast on AZ 87 for 47.2 miles to FR 95.
Turn right (SE) on FR 95 and continue driving for about 10.2 miles. At 4 miles, cross a bridge over East Clear creek in Barbershop Canyon. Stay on FR95 ¾ miles past the junction with 139G you see a “Houston Draw” sign the parking area should be on your right.
Note: The road is washed out a couple of miles past our trailhead.
FR 95 is maintained and suitable for all vehicles. There are no facilities at the trailhead.

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updated May 3, 2022 © Copyright 2022, Arizona Trailblazers.  All rights reserved.