Passage #24 - Red Hills
Location: The Park to the East Verde River
Length: 13.6 miles
Southern Trailhead: The Park
- GPS Coordinates: 34.14989° N, 111.49976° W
- Access: From Payson on AZ 87 drive west on Main Street. Stay
on the main road past a golf course, where the pavement ends and the road becomes
FR 406. About 10 miles from AZ 87, park at City Creek Trailhead on the east side
of the road. Hike southwest up the Mazatzal Divide Trail #23 for approximately
5.75 miles to the junction of the Mazatzal Divide trail and the Red Hills Trail.
The Arizona Trail follows the Red Hills Trail north from this junction and the
Mazatzal Divide trail south from this junction. The Park, where AZT Passage 23
ends and AZT Passage 24 begins, lies 3.0 miles south of this junction.
Northern Trailhead: The East Verde River
- GPS Coordinates: 34.22915° N, 111.51299° W
- Access: East Verde River (LF Ranch), via Doll Baby Trailhead: From
the town of Payson at the intersection of AZ 87 and Main Street; take Main Street
west for 2 miles, which turns into Country Club Drive. Near the end of Country Club
Drive, the road passes a sanitation plant, crosses a creek and continues on paved
road for another 6 miles. This newly paved road is referred to as Doll Baby Ranch
Rd. or LF Ranch Rd. depending on which map is being used. At this point it becomes
a dirt doubletrack (FR 406). Continue on FR 406 for approximately 3 miles, passing
City Creek Trailhead and Doll Baby Ranch, eventually arriving at the locked gate.
This is the Doll Baby Trailhead; parking and camping are allowed. From the
trailhead, walk around the gate and hike on the doubletrack for 3.9 miles.
The road will wind around the hills and eventually level out in the valley near
the ranch. The AZT will intersect the road from the west as a faint singletrack.
Trail Route Description: This passage begins at The Park at the
intersection of the North Peak Trail (#24) and the Mazatzal Divide Trail
(#23). From here the trail heads northwest, crosses the upper ends of two
City Creek side canyons, passes Knob Mountain, and drops down to the junction
with the Brush Trail (#249). Following this trail it crosses a drainage,
climbs up the other side and then curves around to the north and drops down
to Houston Creek. After crossing several drainages the trail reaches a
saddle on Bullfrog Ridge and then switchbacks down into Bullfrog Canyon. It
climbs part way out, becomes an old two-track road and then begins descending
along the side of the canyon. It turns to the right and becomes a trail again.
The trail works its way past Copper Mountain and comes to a road. This is
the entry to the LF Ranch. The trail loops around to the east of the ranch
and then reaches the East Verde River.
Season(s): All year. Snow can be present at higher
elevations after winter storms and lower elevations can be quite warm in
summer (current weather forecast)
Water: The only reliable water on this passage is the East Verde River.
There may also be seasonal water in some of the drainages the trail crosses.
All water along this passage should be purified prior to use.
Mountain bikes are prohibited in the Mazatzal Wilderness.
USGS Topographic Maps: North Peak and Cypress Butte.
Tonto National Forest map.
BLM Information Center maps.
For more information, contact:
Current Trail Information: