Passage #25 - Whiterock Mesa
Location: The East Verde River to Pine
Length: 22.7 miles
Southern Access Point: 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: Pine Trailhead
- GPS Coordinates: 34.37432° N, 111.44310° W
- Access: Drive south of Pine on AZ 87 for 0.6 miles and turn
left (east) to reach a large parking area and the trailhead.
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.
The route follows FR 194 for ~1.2 miles before turning right (southeast) onto a
two-track running under a powerline. The route follows this rocky road in a southeast
direction, then turns to the right onto FR 251 and veers away from the powerlines
and then back towards them. The route turns to the south and descends to a barricaded
gate, turns east past East Tank and through another barricaded gate. The trail
descends past Ridge Tank and around to Oak Spring and a trail junction with Walnut
Trail (#251). From here the trail climbs out of Oak Spring Canyon, runs more-or-less
level for nearly a mile before descending past Bradshaw Tank to Pine Creek. A short
ways downstream the trail heads east again and loops around to Highway 87. After
crossing the highway it passes a resupply box near a fence corner and then quickly
hits a junction (stay left through a heavy steel gate) and loop back to the Pine trailhead.
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, Whiterock Spring and at Oak Spring. Water can sometimes be found in some of
the stock tanks along the route.
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, Cane Springs Mountain and Buckhead Mesa.
Tonto National Forest map.
BLM Information Center maps.
"Day Hikes & Trail Rides in Payson's Rim Country" by Roger and
Ethel Freeman, Gem Guides Book Co., Baldwin Park, CA., ISBN
For more information, contact:
Current Trail Information: