Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildlife
Need to Know
There are no parking fees or wilderness permits required. There are no restrooms or public water supplies anywhere that I have found within many miles.
This trailhead has a paved road all the way to the starting point, and it gives you good access to a rarely walked section of the AZT. The trail follows the upstream along the course of an unnamed stream, about 0.75 miles to the AZT.
Access to the trailhead is along the old Beeline Highway, prior to building Highway 87. To get there, drive Highway 87 from the Phoenix area toward Payson. About N33° 55.288' W111° 27.311', 4.7 miles past Sunflower Ranch, the old highway comes in from the left. Turn onto it and stay on the paved road almost to the very end. The trailhead is shown on the Forest Service map, but its location is ambiguous. It is at N33° 54.549' W111° 29.021'. Parking is immediately across the paved road.
As you start up the trail, you'll first see the large metal AZT sign, shortly beyond a wooden sign giving some distances. The first 0.25 mile is a trail unto itself, the Little Saddle Trail. After that, it merges into the AZT - Passage 22 - Saddle Mountain
As the trail leaves the road, the exact location soon becomes a little unclear. Watch for large cairns, and stay generally in the floodplain, and you'll not get lost.
At about 0.3 miles, there is a gate. The trail to the left through the gate is a shortcut to the large parking area just south of the trailhead, but the parking is fully surrounded by barbed wire fence. Keep the creek on your left. There may be a spring flowing in the creek bed here, and it is very pleasant in the trees, with good camping.
There is a gate at 0.5 miles. Pass through and bear right. Keep the fence on your right as you head up the hill, and meet the AZT at 0.7 miles.
Shared By: Granger Guy