Passage #25 - Whiterock Mesa

The 'white rock' of White Rock Mesa Location:  The East Verde River to Twin Buttes

Length:  11.4 miles

Southern Trailhead:  The East Verde River
- GPS Coordinates:  34.22915° N, 111.51299° W  
- Access: 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.

Northern Trailhead:  Twin Buttes
- GPS Coordinates:  34.35914° N, 111.55736° W
- Access: From AZ 87, turn west into the town of Strawberry and continue west on Fossil Creek Rd. for 2.8 miles. Turn left (south) onto FR 428 and continue for almost one mile and then turn right onto FR 194. Follow FR 194 for 4.2 miles. AZT markers indicate the end of Passage 25 and the beginning of Hardscrabble Mesa, Passage 26.

Trail Route Description:  Starting on the north side of the East Verde River the trail follows the Rock Creek drainage up to Polk Spring and then climbs up on Polles Mesa. It reaches Red Saddle Tank and a gate, another gate, turns to the east and comes to Whiterock Spring. There is a steep climb back to the west and then the trail begins working its way across Whiterock Mesa. After crossing a drainage the trail climbs again along Saddle Ridge. There is another gate and the trail continues mostly north to the wilderness boundary and another gate. The trail passes through Saddle Ridge Pasture, another gate, and then reaches FR 194.

Difficulty:  Moderate

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:  Water can usually be found at the East Verde River, Polk Spring and Whiterock Spring. Water can sometimes be found in some of the stock tanks along the route.

The trail in a meadow on Polles Mesa Notes/Warnings:

  • All water along this passage should be purified prior to use.
  • Mountain bikes are prohibited in the Mazatzal Wilderness.
  • Please respect all livestock operations in this area.


  • USGS Topographic Maps: Cypress Butte and Cane Springs Mountain.
  • Tonto National Forest map.
  • BLM Information Center maps.

For more information, contact:

Current Trail Information:

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