Mazatzal Peak Loop
ElevationAscent: 2,868' 874 m
Descent: -2,841' -866 m
High: 6,547' 1,996 m
Low: 4,176' 1,273 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 37% (20°)
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“A really tough run in places with some nice views especially near the Barnhardt Creek Canyon.”— Steve Jackson
The next day, we set out from our camp at 7:30 for water and another campsite. The run on this part of the Barnhardt Trail #43 was a narrow brushy path which was very tough to run through. We followed the contours towards the intersection of the Arizona Trail (AZT). On our map there was a trail shown that rolls down towards the creek but this was blocked and looked like it hadn't been used in many years.
When we reached the trail intersection with the AZT, there is one trail on the map that is missing at this intersection. We went south, left, on the AZT and immediately we were on a wide and well defined trail. Running south, we again stayed on the contour heading towards the Mazatzal Peak. The trail at time was narrow but not brushy. On the way, we saw lots of manzanita blooming and rocks of all shades including red, purple, yellow, and blue. This area has big veins of quartz running through the cliffs which are evident along the Mazatzal and across from where we camped.
We came accross an AZT through-hiker just at the beginning of the ascent at the base at Mazatzal Peak. He started at the border and was going to finish at Flagstaff.
We reached a saddle and saw that we had to run just below the steep ridge and ascend up to another saddle. This portion of the trail became narrow and brushy. I am not sure if horses could traverse this section. Once we reached the saddle, we searched for a listed spring but there was no water.
We then joined the Y Bar Trail #44 which would turn out to be a very troublesome trail. We couldn't find water at the last 2 marked water locations so we decided we had to make it back to the trailhead. This last 4 miles was downhill on a rock trail with large rocks, no switchbacks, and a very difficult base. By the end of the run my feet were sore. The Y Bar Trail #44 might be scenic but you couldn't tell since you had to be watching the trail right in front of you due to the rockiness and not wanting to lose your footing.I don't know that I would run the Y Bar Trail #44 again. The Barnhardt Trail #43, however, was very nice in comparison.
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Dogs Allowed, Runner Notes, History & Background
Land Manager: USFS - Tonto National Forest Office
Oct 30, 2019: Tonto Christmas Tree Permits Available November 18