Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
Houston Brothers #171 South Trailhead to Aspen Springs
when Trip Report : June 18, 2022
where Coconino National Forest, Cabin Loop System
the hike     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. 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.
    The scenery here is mostly pastoral with a few photogenic rock outcrops and dense forests of Arizona Maple, Sycamore and Fir Trees.
    The hike will begin at the Southern Trailhead near the junction of the Rim Road (FR300) and FR139. We follow a trail across several draws with lush meadows and several spring-fed streams that attracts all kinds of wildlife. The destination of this hike is the Cabin and Springs at Aspen Springs.
    After a short distance, we cross a fire road (3731). We hike parallel to another fire road (3738X) heading north towards East Bear Canyon about 1 mile before turning east to cross the road. We descend into a draw carpeted by Bracken Fern and cross to a short climb to a plateau crossing another fire road (3738Y).
    We descend another draw and hike next to a preservation area before climbing up to Dick Hart ridge. We cross another fire road and follow a trail strewn with fallen trees criss crossing the trail. We cross another draw then come to the junction with the Barbershop Trail (#91).
    We travel parallel to the East Bear Canyon for 1½ miles as it drops away from the trail. We descend into another fern meadow, dotted with wild strawberries before crossing Telephone Rd. (FR139A).
    We drop into Houston Draw following a water course until it emerges after about ½ mile. We travel ¾ mile next to 2 preservation areas coming to Aspen Springs.
    We will rest and explore the spring and cabin that still stand and return by the same route.
distance 11 miles
EC 1378' elevation change
elevations Houston Brothers Southern Trailhead 7800' Aspen Springs 7175'
time 7-8 hours
type In and out
starting at
Houston Brothers Southern Trailhead 34.418286, -111.215185
on trail Houston Brothers Trail (#171) 100%
rating "B"     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
meet 6:00 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.
Trailhead: 8:30 AM
•  From Payson take AZ-260 W/AZ-87 N 26 miles to Rim Rd (FR300).
Turn Right South 16.5 miles to the trailhead (sign on the left) just before the Junction with FR139.

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updated June 26, 2022 © Copyright 2022, Arizona Trailblazers.  All rights reserved.