- East Verde River to Pine
- 22.7 miles
Southern Access Point: The East Verde River
- GPS Coordinates: 34.22915° N, 111.51299° W
- NOTE: This trailhead is not directly accessible by vehicles. The nearest vehicle access point (34.21468° N, 111.48250° W) is 4 miles east of the trail at the wilderness boundary.
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
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.
All year. Snow can be present at higher elevations after winter storms and lower elevations can be quite warm in summer
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 1-889786-24-1.
For more information
- The Passage Steward
- Tonto National Forest, Payson Ranger District, 1009 E. Highway 260 Payson, AZ 85541 (928) 474-7900.
- BLM Information Center (602) 417-9300.
Current Passage Info
Photos from the Arizona Trail Association’s Flickr galleries, for this specific passage. View the entire Flickr account.