Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
Stewart Pocket Day Hike
when Trip Report : June 17, 2022
where Payson
the hike     Part of the route is in the Payson Area Trails System (PATS). This scenic loop hike takes us through the eroded granite formations of Payson’s Granite Dells. The rest is “social” trails. Though this loop hike is practically inside Payson, it is in the Tonto National Forest, so you get both the convenience of being near town and a wilderness experience!
    Gibson Peak’s rugged facade towers high above to the south. Along the route, there are stands of Ponderosa Pine, Rocky Mountain juniper and Arizona Cypress, as well as some open, boulder-studded fields, so we will have both sun and shade along the route.
    The trail ranges from easy to moderate, a dirt/crushed gravel trail bed with sections of large slabs of granite here and there. There are a lot of undulating ups and downs, most of them minor. Some are a bit slippery (due to pea-sized gravel acting as ball bearings), so hiking poles might be good for some.
    I “pre-hiked” this Monday, 6/13. Gorgeous, 10-15° cooler than Phoenix and breezy.
    Good portion shaded. Alas, no significant water.
    Having just hiked this solo, I took a paperback, an audio book and earbuds (only used on stops). I like to enjoy the scenery. I’ve learned how to lean my pack against a tree in the shade and get as comfortable as in a lazyboy.
    We can have an early lunch afterwards on the patio at Macky’s Grill if you want (201 W. Main St., just 7 minutes from the trailhead). Unless someone has a better suggestion.
•  Sturdy hiking boots
•  At least 3 liters of water
•  Hat, sunblock, sunglasses
•  Lunch or snacks
•  Camera
distance 7.8 miles
time 4-6 hours
EC 600' elevation change
elevations 4560' to 5200'
type Loop
starting at Stewart Pocket Trailhead
on trail 100%
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 Payson
meet in
Trailhead by 6:30 AM. I will meet you there. Call 602-686-0506 if you’re lost.
meet in
Fountain Hills
5:00 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. I’m not arranging the carpool.
•  Right on Shea. Left (north) on AZ-87. Go 60.7 miles to Payson.
Turn right onto E. Phoenix Street, 3 streets past the Mazatzal Casino stoplight and take that street to its end (about 2.3 miles) at the cul-de-sac.
There are no trailhead signs, and no restrooms, so I recommend making your restroom stop at the Circle K (at corner of AZ-87 and E. Phoenix St.)
The parking area at the Trailhead is a bit small, so carpool as much as possible. Plan on a 60-90 minute drive from Target to the Trailhead.
No facilities or trailhead signs at the trailhead.

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updated June 19, 2022 © Copyright 2022, Arizona Trailblazers.  All rights reserved.