Arizona Trail Conditions

UPDATED:  October 29, 2014

Users of the Arizona Trail are advised of the following Arizona Trail conditions. Please contact the Arizona Trail Association’s passage stewards listed on the ATA website for the most current information.
 
If you are out on the trail and see a problem that you think we should be aware of, please use our trail conditions report form to let us know about it.
 

Passage #1 - Huachuca Mountains
Passage #2 - Canelo Hills East
Passage #3 - Canelo Hills West

The AZT along the AZ/Mexico border continues to be impacted by illegal border crossers. Many new side trails are being created by the border crossers. And AZT users should avoid mistakenly taking illegal trails intersecting the Arizona Trail, as the illegal trails are often quite distinct. Trail users may meet illegal border crossers and are advised to not hike alone in these areas. Also, overnight users are advised to camp away from the trail as far as possible.

In the Huachuca Mountains passage trail users should be alert at all trail junctions as signs may be occasionally damaged by bears, wildfires, or winter weather. South to north hikers must go left (not straight) at the Carr Peak Trail junction to follow the AZT.

Passage #8 - Rincon Valley
The crossing at Marsh Station Road has not been completed yet. CAREFULLY cross the highway, step over the guard rail, go under the high trestle and pick up the trail on the other side of the fence. Mountain bikers and equestrians should go around the end of the guard rail.

Passage #9 - Rincon Mountains
Users are reminded that camping permits are required in Saguaro National Park. It is approximately nine miles from the south Park boundary to Grass Shack Campground, 13.8 miles to Manning Camp and 17.7 miles to the north Park boundary, the next camping options northbound. Because of sensitive cultural resources near Hope Camp, strict enforcement of NPS camping regulations is expected. Outstanding camp locations exist along Rincon Creek south of the park boundary. If camping off the AZT right-of-way a State Recreation permit is required. For information on permits, go to the state land website.

Passage #11 - Santa Catalina Mountains
The northern end of this passage is not recommended for equestrians. It is narrow, steep and rocky in places.

Pusch Ridge Wilderness Bypass
There are some trees down north of San Pedro Vista. Equestrian travel may be difficult on the first part of the Crystal Spring Trail.

Passage #12 - Oracle Ridge
The southern end of this passage (on the Mt Lemmon and Wilderness of Rocks trails) is not recommended for equestrians. It is narrow, steep and rocky in places. The northern end of the ridge has some steep rocky two track motorized traffic sections. This was constructed as a fire break and trail by the Forest Service after the 2005 Oracle Fires.

Passage #13 - Oracle
Oracle State Park is open weekends only year round, Saturdays and Sundays from 8am-5pm. However, the Arizona Trail through the park is open seven days a week, and accessible weekdays at the park's Trail head/Parking Lot off American Avenue. For more information, see the park's website.

Passage #19 - Superstition Wilderness
Hikers report a beehive next to the trail about ¾ miles north of Reavis Saddle, at 33.46077 N, 111.46077 W.

North of Walnut Spring the trail descends and quickly ascends 1,000 feet over a horizontal distance of 1.8 miles. Equestrians have had problems in this steep area. Near the north end of this passage, the trail passes through rocky and narrow Cottonwood Canyon for 3 miles, and tends to suffer from the summer monsoon floods and encroaching brush. The tread has been repaired numerous times, yet continues to change as it crosses from side to side through the canyon. The trail here is passable by hikers using care; however, equestrians should scout the passage before attempting it with stock. Additionally, equestrians caution that the north end of the passage at the Roosevelt Bridge is not equipped for loading or unloading stock. They suggest loading or unloading at one of the access points—Frasier Trailhead located approximately 2 miles south of the Roosevelt Bridge on the west side of Highway 188, the Cemetery parking lot just north of the residential area or the lower parking lot outside the gate at the FS Visitor Center—and completing the ride to the north end of the passage as an out-and-back.

Passage #20 - Four Peaks
A late-summer fire burned approximately 3 miles of the trail just south of Pigeon Springs TH. The fire affected limited stretches of this section of the trail, burning hot and exposing soils to severe erosion in spots. The trail is open but users should watch for downed trees, decaying trail conditions and tricky footing in wash crossings. Even the smallest washes are subject to flash flooding. Users should not linger in burned areas while it is raining and should avoid them altogether in severe weather.

Following years of overgrowth stemming from fires in the late 1990’s, the passage corridor has been completely cleared and is quite passable for hikers along its entire length. Equestrians are advised to scout narrow and exposed spots mid-passage before attempting with stock. A recent report by experienced riders on very capable horses is that the passage is EXTREMELY challenging owing to narrow stretches on steep side-slope with one set of steep, sharp, dangerous switchbacks.
Note impressive trail improvements by youth crews and the Passage Steward between Mills Ridge and Lone Pine Saddle trailhead spring of 2013. Water conditions vary throughout the year. Users are advised to have adequate navigation aids and skills before hiking this Wilderness passage.
Current information can be found on the passage 20 blog.

Passage #21 - Pine Mountain
A portion of this passage has been closed in the Four Peaks Wilderness due to the Browns Fire, first detected on July 26. The lightning-caused fire is burning on the north side of Browns Peak, 10 miles south of Tonto Basin.
A closure order has been enacted for the area affected by the fire and includes: Forest Road (FR) 648, Lone Pine Trailhead, Forest Trail (FT) 130 (Four Peaks Trail), FT 133 (Browns Trail) and FT 134 (Pigeon Trail).
Visitors and residents will see light-to-moderate smoke from the surrounding communities and as far away as Payson. The possibility of smoke settling in the Tonto Basin overnight exists.
For further information, please call the Tonto Basin Ranger District at (928) 467-3200. Residents can also stay updated on prescribed fires at www.fs.usda.gov/tonto.

After years of neglect passage 21 was cleared of brush last year including the really dense brush in Boulder Canyon. After the winter and summer rains the cat's claw is growing back in many spots along the trail but is not too bad. Boulder Canyon remains very passable. Crews will be working this season to once again cut back the cat's claw.

When crossing Sycamore Creek from either side, look downstream ~50 yards for cairns marking a boulder-hop crossing that is passable during normal flows.

Passage #22 - Saddle Mountain
Much of this passage north of the Cross F connector trail was burned by the 2012 Sunflower Fire. The trail is open and passable but effects of the fire are severe in places. One is reminded that the fire is only the beginning of a lengthy process - erosion, flooding, regrowth, etc. continue long after the flames. Limited trail rehab work was completed in the spring of 2013 between the Cross F connector trail and the Mormon Grove access trail; watch for impressive switch back construction by American Conservation Experience youth crews. For the latest information, contact the Tonto National Forest at 480-610-3300.

Passage #27 - Highline
The Highline Trail is prone to lighting storms every year and has suffered from fires and consequential monsoon damage over the past 10 years. This has caused severe drainage 'blow-outs' and a major slide west of Bray Creek. Additionally, there is a considerable amount of deep tread erosion across the passage. The dangerous East Bray Creek crossing has recently been rerouted resulting in a major improvement, especially for equestrians. Currently the ATA, VOAZ, and USFS are completing a total assessment for the passage; most likely resulting in a significant amount of realignments over the next few years.

As of March, 2014 there are four large trees across the trail in the following locations:  one at 0.4 miles from the Pine Trailhead, one at 2.6 miles, one at 5.9 miles, and one at 6.8 miles. Hikers and bikers should be able to get around them, they might be an obstacle for equestrians.

Passage #28 - Blue Ridge
The Mogollon Rim Ranger District had closed a portion of the Arizona Trail due to the General Fire. It is now open again but rangers want to remind trail users to be alert for possible burned out stump holes and weakened standing trees when they are on the trail and when they are getting off the trail looking for campsites.

The Rock Crossing campground, located off Forest Road 751 near Blue Ridge Reservoir, is closed due to problematic bear activity. This campground is right by the Arizona Trail and trail users are advised to take precautions in this area. For more information, please read the news release.

Passage #30 - Mormon Lake
There is a report of trees down on two sections of the trail near FR 132. This is north of the Dairy Springs Campground. One is south of that road and one is north of it. Please exercise caution when going around any downed trees.

Passage #34 - San Francisco Peaks
The forest service is conducting a forest thinning project in the area of Hart Prairie Meadow. Areas along the trail are being treated by mechanical thinning methods to remove conifer trees that have encroached into historic meadows. Expect to encounter heavy equipment removing trees if you are in this area. For more information, contact the Flagstaff Ranger District, Coconino National Forest at 928-526–0866.

Passage #37 - Grand Canyon - South Rim

The Tusayan Bike trail (which the AZT follows) ends 0.3 miles north of Tusayan. From that point the AZT is signed across the old Moqui Lodge area, about 0.5 miles to a new gate in the GCNP boundary fence. From the gate the route is signed all the way to the South Kaibab Trailhead.

Passage #41 - Kaibab Plateau Central

Pending favorable weather conditions, North Zone fire managers will implement a prescribed fire treatment in the Jacob Ryan South project area at the Groupsite Unit, which is 471 acres in size. The Groupsite Unit is located within the North Kaibab Ranger District (NKRD) and is bordered by Highway 89A on the north, Forest Service Road (FR) 205 on the east, FR 634 on the south and Highway AZ 67 on the west. For more information contact the NKRD at 928-643-7298.