|when||Saturday, December 3, 2022|
|where||Prescott National Forest|
Join me on a hike on the sunbaked, semi-desert grasslands of the Prescott National
Forest south of Camp Verde, where we will encounter plenty of desert water loving
willows, mesquite, and hackberry trees, many of whom are entwined in morning
glory and scarlet creeper vines.
The trailhead starts from the dirt parking areas near the junction of Cherry Creek Road and Forest Road 323. The hike begins by hiking 1.2 miles west on Forest Road 323, a rutted 4 by 4 road that makes for an easy uphill climb, revealing gorgeous Verde Valley vistas.
During monsoon season, views are disrupted by showy summer wildflowers, including the sacred datura and prickly poppies that add pops of white among a gray-green fringe of scrub oak and cliff rose that attract Arizona’s major pollinators. At the half mile point the road crosses a major wash, veers left and ascends the face of a boulder-lined hillside. Soon the first of the willows appear, where Little Hackberry Wash spills over the road in view of a small corral area and cattle guard.
Just before the cattleguard a rough unsigned road spins off to the right that is Forest Road 9004J that begins the second stage of our hike. The ragged road makes a gradual climb, crossing the wash several times where the willows make their best showings. As the hill closes in on the road, desert hackberry trees, although present as midsized shrubs earlier in the hike, suddenly appear as robust trees.
At the 2.5-mile point, metal blades of the Little Hackberry Well windmill reach above the canopy of the hike’s granddaddy hackberry. At least 20 feet high, this massive specimen hangs over the windmill and a small enclosure with a water tank and concrete well that is a haven for birds, wildlife, and domestic cattle that roam the surrounding rangeland.
The road continues for another mile and a half, passing by another hackberry tree with a huge raptor nest at the 3-mile point that terminates at Little Walnut Spring at the head of a shallow canyon. We will head up this shallow canyon, stop for lunch after five miles, and then turn around.
This hike is posted on Mare Czinar’s blog and in the Explore Section of the AZ Republic featured on 9/17/22.
|EC||970' elevation change|
|elevations||4,706' to 5,399'|
|starting at||The junction of Cherry Creek Road and Forest Road 323.|
|rating||"B" Rate yourself as a hiker.|
|cost||Sharing gas expenses with the driver.
The club also allows voluntary contributions of $5 per non-member.
|leader||You must email the leader to confirm. Limit of 18 hikers.|
|meet||8:00 AM in the Macdonald’s parking lot on the northeast corner of I-17 & Carefree Highway. Park away from the restaurant.|
|Schedule of Events||Arizona Trailblazers Home Page|
|updated September 27, 2022||© Copyright 2022, Arizona Trailblazers. All rights reserved.|