From far below I could make out a faint line of road heading south with a cluster of houses. I was still cold from the morning and not yet sweaty from the hike, which could have been due to my ridiculously light pack or the high starting elevation or just excitement over visiting the eastern Mazatzals. I kept a close eye on these cuts and looked for any sign of water. A long view west to Table Mountain and Horseshoe Basin beyond. It takes the Barnhardt Trail to about the 4 mile point, freestyle your way to the top, then a fairly direct route down to the Y Bar Trail for the return. This route can be made into a loop with the addition of the Y Bar Trail. Old sign near saddle junction with Mazatzal Divide, Large campsite at the Y-Bar/Divide junction. The Park of Mazatzals: Retreat down Barnhardt. I set out along the trail under the impressive cliffs of Mazatzal Peak, half-trotting along the wide and easy path on an easy descent. Worried about how much I was sweating under the hot, dry sun I added some electrolytes to my water before drinking. 74 Miles 119 Kilometers of Trail 1 Recommended Route 0 Easy Trails ; 4 Intermediate Trails ; 2 Difficult Trails ; Trail Run Project is built by runners like you. I finished readying the rest of my backpacking gear, took one last swig of hot coffee, and set down the trail. Mazatzal Peak Loop 15.1 mi 24.4 km • 2,868' Up 874.13 m Up • 2,841' Down 865.98 m Down. Offering expansive views throughout the heart of the Mazatzal Wilderness, this long path follows the prominent set of mountains between Mount Peeley and North Peak. Started by lightening, the Willow Fire burned up 120,000 acres over the course of a month and even got within a few miles of Payson. This trail (also known as Shake Tree) circles around and climbs the south flank of Mazatzal Peak. They soared up behind me, seemingly far to the southeast, when they had been looming above me for so long. And it all starts with Y-Bar and a predawn start. 39 Deer Creek 182. This was my first bail option, a quick and easy descent that goes straight back to the parking area. I was finally out of Shake Tree Canyon, had climbed the upper length and was now just a swing and a climb away from the Mazatzal Divide Trail. Compare. Sheer bluffs plunging down from Cactus Ridge. I told them about the clear spring along Y-Bar before we parted ways, them heading down and along the base of Mazatzal Peak and me pushing uphill to the saddle ahead. I had just climbed close to 3000' from Barnhardt Trailhead and was well over an hour ahead of schedule. I had two liters of water, more than enough to last me until Chilson Camp some four or so miles away, as long as I didn't dawdle or sip it away. In terms of "prominence," which simply put is the difference from the base to the peak of a mountain, Mazatzal Peak is the thirteenth tallest in Arizona. To stay on this loop hike, go left here. With more than 25,000 acres of wilderness stretching from evergreens to saguaros and few visitors in any season, this corner of Arizona is a perfect fall retreat. Much of the burn area was within the Mazatzal Wilderness, which explains all of the charred stumps and half-repaired trail system. Mazatzal (MAH-zaht-ZAL, locally Ma-ta-ZEL)- the origin of the name remains obscure but one possibility is that it is from the Aztec language meaning “place of the deer”. Jacob headed out for a backpacking trip intending to do this loop plus another 30 miles but was turned back early by an ill-fitting pair of new hiking boots. 43 Rock Creek 198. Maybe the Eastern Mazatzals saw more maintenance than I planned for. I was feeling pretty good about the hike so far. It may have been the elation of visiting a new area or the fantastic views around me. The new boots were feeling comfortable thanks to some shorter break-in adventures over the last few weeks. Below me was more twisted, charred remains of Pinyon, and in the distance was rows upon rows of straight dead pine trunks. This hike was steadily getting more and more painful with each passing mile. If I hiked all the way to Club Cabin and decided to bail tomorrow I'd have a hell of a time coming back up here. Jacob headed out for a backpacking trip intending to do this loop plus another 30 miles but was turned back early by an ill-fitting pair of new hiking boots. The trail began to climb again as I approached Windsor Spring, one last push before the end. It was a hot, exposed business, the morning sun beating directly on me in the sheltered and windless Y-Bar Basin. Scrappy remains of a burnt Pinyon Pine forest. For more information. It looked more like the narrow view along Deadman Creek than Davenport, though I couldn't quite tell for sure. On the south side was a hitching post and empty water trough, obviously broken, with a great view of Mazatzal Peak. The van was parked at Barnhardt Trailhead, an hour's drive from Phoenix, right on the edge of the eastern Mazatzals. And then the saddle showed up. Going right will take you to the Siphon Draw trail via the Prospectors View Trail. Closed a pull request at shutterstock/public-api-javascript-sdk. In the drier, sparser lands of the Western Supes a trail can last as long as a cairn can stand. The plan was to push on from Windsor Saddle, follow the Mazatzal Divide trail north to Chilson Camp, and then take the Davenport Trail down to Club Cabin. I pushed on and was surprised to bump into a pack of women coming from the north. Well, maybe it was a bit closer. 37 Chopper Camp Creek 172. At 4000' it was a bit chilly up here - the van's thermometer claimed it was only a few degrees above forty. That must be AZ-188, the road that heads down through Jake's Corner to Roosevelt and, eventually, Globe too. 36 Squaw Flat 168. I trotted up the slope, pushing forward with my poles and leaning into the climb. This fire was lightning caused and is currently 100% contained at 550 acres due to rain over the last few days. Mazatzal Peak in the Mazatzal Wilderness. Basic HTML tags allowed (a, b, i, pre). Resources. Can you guess which mountain is … Now, instead of towering cliffs of rock piled high to look forward to there were barren rolling hills. Also, what had this place looked like before the fire? BLM Information Center maps. Before that fire this wilderness had been relatively lush with tall Ponderosas and twisted Pinyons, and now it was all stumps and manzanitas and the only an occasional stand. Even the temps were cooperating - it couldn't have been more than sixty out yet. A few miles along this trail and maybe things would make more sense. With the elevation of this hike I had been worried about altitude weirdness, something both Chris and I have experienced when hiking Four Peaks, and I was already as high up as Brown's Saddle. Other features found on this map include: Coconino National Forest, Fossil Springs Wilderness, Horseshoe Reservoir, Humboldt Mountain, Mazatzal Wilderness, Mogollon Rim, New River Mountains, North Peak, Pine Mountain Wilderness, Prescott National Forest, Tonto National Forest. That pack of women from earlier today had mentioned this campsite and also a nearby Bear Spring, which was not marked on my map. Chilson Camp sits on the bottom right of the hill and Davenport Trail was supposed to run a line along the base of it. Mazatzal Trails The Mazatzal Wilderness contains over 252,500 acres of the Tonto and Coconino National Forests. I was almost level with sections of Cactus Ridge, which had seemed so menacing and lofty earlier, and the flat plains around Barnhardt and Rye were ridiculously far below. Loop hike with the Cornucopia trail and the Thicket Spring trail in the Mazatzal wilderness, Arizona. Barely six in the morning…. During wet months, you may see a waterfall there. Cussing like a sailor I pushed through the thicket and made it back into a clear stretch, bleeding from a half-dozen tiny wounds. A few things were a bit off. Hiking, web development, best practices, and general awesomeness. As I headed down the path I glanced north and got a good view of the trail's long, looping route. Other high peaks in the Mazatzals include the 7,657' Browns Peak, and the 7,128' Mount Ord. Before I knew it I bumped into another trail junction, this one with the northern end of Brody Trail, and turned down it towards Chilson Camp. For the most part they sucked in with the cuts and did a good job with preserving elevation. Tweeted | @brad_frost Thank you for sharing. A few hundred feet of climb at most. Details. Now there was only waist-high manzanitas that did little to block me from the hot sun above. And that was just the first day. Chris and I will probably be trying it soon. Talk about a plant thriving and on a mountain, there are 2 … Continue reading Mazatzal Peak – Central AZ (12.30.15) → The climbing will peak at Green Boulder where it splits to the left or right (JCT 2L on the map). As far as I could tell it'd be a long time before I found another cluster of trees that had been spared from the Willow Fire of 2004. The highest point of Mazatzal Wilderness, Mazatzal Peak, is surrounded by a triangle of trails. The Bull Fire located on the Bull Mesa Flat in the Mazatzal Wilderness, 15 miles west of Payson and started on 8/16/2020. This trail does circle around a massive mountain, of course, and there are deep cuts for the drainage off of it. A well deserved pause. It ends on Windsor Saddle on the Mazatzal Divide Trail at 6550', near a reliable spring and with a relatively easy downhill path forward (for those heading north to do the popular loop around Mazatzal Peak). The gain is worth it. Hiking, web development, best practices, and general awesomeness. No more shade. A mix of trees and cactus along the trail. There were a few things to take care of - change to dry socks, eat some breakfast snacks, filter that dirty water I had collected from a spring - so it wasn't a complete break, just a pause from hiking. Bear Spring, and Chilson Spring coming up soon, were some of my last confirmed water sources before Club Cabin. The manzanitas clogged up everything and forced me to make wide, avoiding loops, constantly wandering on and off the plotted route. As hot as it was getting this option did not sound even remotely tempting. Reaching the summit of Mazatzal Peak is no easy task. 42 Mazatzal Peak 194. Mazatzal Wilderness 162. There must have been a fire along here at some point. If we could climb up from the parking lot before it got too deep in the night, that is. Along the way I bumped into a spring flowing across the path, creating a wide section of muddy trail with several small pools and trickling falls below. Thank you so much, Jacob. 15 miles of rocky trail that is either going up or down left my knees and ankles fairly destroyed but hey I’m an old man, form your own opinion. Over the next few days I wanted to make an ambitious fifty mile loop around the Mazatzals, circling up and down the ridge and eventually coming back to Barnhardt Trailhead without a single double back. Comments may be removed if they are deemed inappropriate. "Mazatzal" is an Aztec word meaning "an area inhabited by deer." Worried I doubled back, swooping to the west, looking for any evidence of Davenport Trail. The path is wide and rocky at first as it heads through a stile then begins following the south side of the drainage of Barnhardt Creek through a scrub forest of emory oak, alligator juniper, scrub oak, one seed juniper & prickly pear. But this? Ascending Mazatzal Peak from the saddle ahead is one of the main routes up, and with a bit of luck and careful route finding you could probably spend a few terrible hours doing it. I had heard that this is a good place to camp and watch the evening sun play on that peak, just hadn't expected it to be aligned this well. Y-Bar Trail was just the beginning of my weekend. There was no place to rest on the saddle and I really needed a water break, so I pushed on quickly until I found a flat rock along the trail some fifty yards further. Most of the surrounding vegetation was leafy instead of prickly or pine-y, and there was plenty of charred remains of twisted Pinyon pines. The 'basic' loop is still 15 miles long and has a ton of exposure and elevation difference. One thing I did not see over here was Brody Trail. It climbs up to the highest trail-accessible point (over 7100!) I walked under tall trees, through another area that had been spared from the fire, and kept my eyes peeled for trail signs or cairns or anything. Payson, AZ. After the thick thorny patch of trail it swung back out and began a steady climb. I pulled out a water bottle and a snack and had a short break under the heating morning sun. Instead all I found was a nice clearing, half-rotten table, large firepit, and one huge water cache. Striking cliff faces thrusting out from Mazatzal Peak. And there wasn't many cairns out here. Map Scale = 1:70,000; Sheet Size = 25.5" x 37.75" I had made it up the Mazatzals and was sitting on a saddle at 6550', over five miles into the day and feeling great. It followed the curve of the mountain in, sucking close to the steepness of Mazatzal Peak, before heading back west and ascending a minor ridge. I saw tons of deer prints out there, but I think it should be “place of the Manzanita”! It has an accumulated gain of about 3000' over 5.5 miles, making it one of the steepest trails around. Hike through all three watersheds— and savor eyefuls of the near-perfect pyramid-shaped peak—when you circle it on a four-day, 44-mile loop. It had also curved even more around Mazatzal Peak and I was now walking north with the sun on my back. I was not doing the popular loop, or at least was not planning to. There are switchbacks to climb up before the next phase - ravines. I thought it sat right next to the trail and would be easy to find, a metal drum sunk in the ground with water filtering through it, but there was nothing there. A thick wall of brush blocking the way to Davenport. All I had to do now was follow the Divide Trail a few miles to the north, more down than uphill, before the next big challenge of the day showed up. The Tonto National Forest, encompassing 2,873,200 acres (1,162,700 ha), is the largest of the six national forests in Arizona and is the fifth largest national forest in the United States. I had mapped out an ambitious route so it only made sense that I kept a schedule while making decisions on how far I could get each day and when it made sense to make shortcuts. And the trail was well-defined. I doubled back and returned to the half-rotten table. The only sign near Barnhardt Trail junction. After a short rest at the saddle I continued forward, following a slanted trail along the slope of Mazatzal Peak in and out of numerous cuts. Nothing. This camp sits near the junction of a few trails and is clearly marked on most maps with nearby water. I've hiked through Ponderosas a handful of times in Arizona - namely, along the Cabin Loop on the Mogollon and in Reavis Valley - and while they don't stand a chance against the thick pine forests of Michigan they are still enjoyable. Mountain bikes are prohibited in the Mazatzal Wilderness. Once I finished rounding the base I got my first good view of Shake Tree Canyon and was pleasantly surprised. I kept a close eye out for the promised deep, sandy pools, which showed about a half-mile further on the trail. I looked down with excited eyes and saw… Devastation. Hot morning sun lighting up Suicide Ridge. The Park of Mazatzals: North of Hopi Spring, The Park of Mazatzals: Retreat down Barnhardt. This was closer to insanity. I could probably filter it, though I was thankful that I was already at full water capacity and should just keep going. I also munched on a snack and eyed up my route ahead. I was almost looking down the Davenport valley… almost. Search Wilderness Connect For Practitioners Search Wilderness Connect For Practitioners > ATA Passage 23 Mazatzal Peak Loop. Plus, as I changed out my socks while resting, I found that I had developed a huge blister on my right Achilles would be a real problem soon. The Mazatzal Wilderness Area is true wilderness, once you leave the area of the Barnhardt Mesa parking lot. Jacob headed out for a backpacking trip intending to do this loop plus another 30 miles but was turned back early by an ill-fitting pair of new hiking boots. The one thing that didn't get any closer was Mazatzal Peak and Suicide Ridge. Scraggy growth clinging onto Mazatzal Peak, Recently scorched campsite above the pines. You got this. 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