Backpacking the Amazing Arizona Trail, Day 5, Part II: Southern Kaibab Plateau (Passage 40), Part I

In the land of Arizona
Through desert heat or snow
Winds a trail for folks to follow
From Utah to Old Mexico

It’s the Arizona Trail
A pathway through the great Southwest
A diverse track through wood and stone
Your spirit it will test

Oh, sure you’ll sweat and blister
You’ll feel the miles every day
You’ll shiver at the loneliness
Your feet and seat will pay

But you’ll see moonlight on the borderlands
You’ll see stars on the Mogollon
You’ll feel the warmth of winter sun
And be thrilled straight through to bone

The aches and pains will fade away
You’ll feel renewed and whole
You’ll never be the same again
With Arizona in your soul

Along the Arizona Trail
A reverence and peace you’ll know
Through deserts, canyons, and mountains
From Utah to Old Mexico

“The Arizona Trail,” Dale R Shewalter

Hiking south on Passage 40, the backpacker crosses Telephone Hill, where the pines and aspens offer a respite from the Kaibab winds. Dropping down the back side, the trail passes Crane Lake and proceeds south through a meadow before gradually ascending into aspens and pines once again. Aspens and conifer covered hills dominate the remainder of the route, rolling across hills hiking south toward Little Round Valley.

Relive Video, Part II
Hiking past Crane Lake on the AZT
Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Aspens beside trail near Crane Lake, backpacking the AZT
Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Aspens at Crane Lake, hiking the AZT
Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Aspens & Pines cover rolling hills beside the AZT & AZ-67, backpacking the AZT
AZT, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
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Backpacking the AZT near Crane Lake
Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking the AZT south of Crane Lake
Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Reentering woods south of Crane Lake, hiking the AZT
Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking past aspens on AZT south of Crane Lake
Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Hiking past aspens along the AZT south of Crane Lake
Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
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Backpacking through aspens on the Arizona Trail
AZT Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Hiking through aspens on the Arizona Trail
AZT Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking through aspens on the Arizona Trail
AZT Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking through aspens on the Arizona Trail
AZT Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Hiking through aspens on the Arizona Trail
AZT Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
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Backpacking through aspens on the Arizona Trail
AZT Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Hiking through conifers & aspen forest
Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking through aspens and conifer forest on the Arizona Trail
AZT Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking the Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
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Hiking through meadows, aspens & pines
Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking past meadows, aspens & pines
Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking through aspens on the Arizona Trail
AZT Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Hiking through aspens along the AZT
Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking through aspens on the Arizona Trail
AZT Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
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Hiking through aspens along the AZT
Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking through aspens on the Arizona Trail
AZT Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Hiking through aspens along the AZT
Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking through aspens on the Arizona Trail
AZT Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
Hiking through aspens along the AZT
Arizona Trail, Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
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Backpacking through aspens on the Arizona Trail
AZT Passage 40
Kaibab National Forest
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National Park Quest: Tonto National Monument

Backpacking the Arizona Trail’s Saddle Mountain Passage from near Saddle Mountain to Sycamore Creek at the start of the Pine Mountain passage. More magnificent Arizona mountain views of the central Mazatzal peaks and ridgelines, and a gorgeous Arizona sunset.

Logistics, trail journal, and magnificent mountain scenery.

Backpacking the Amazing Arizona Trail – Inspiration Point to Roosevelt Cemetery (Passages 20 & 19, Four Peaks to Superstition Mountains)

Backpacking the Arizona Trail’s Saddle Mountain Passage from near Saddle Mountain to Sycamore Creek at the start of the Pine Mountain passage. More magnificent Arizona mountain views of the central Mazatzal peaks and ridgelines, and a gorgeous Arizona sunset.

Logistics, trail journal, and magnificent mountain scenery.

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Arizona Trail Backpacking Logistics – AZT Gateway Communities: Tonto Basin

Backpacking the Arizona Trail’s Saddle Mountain Passage from near Saddle Mountain to Sycamore Creek at the start of the Pine Mountain passage. More magnificent Arizona mountain views of the central Mazatzal peaks and ridgelines, and a gorgeous Arizona sunset.

Logistics, trail journal, and magnificent mountain scenery.

Backpacking the Amazing Arizona Trail – Four Peaks South (Passage 20)

Backpacking the Arizona Trail’s Saddle Mountain Passage from near Saddle Mountain to Sycamore Creek at the start of the Pine Mountain passage. More magnificent Arizona mountain views of the central Mazatzal peaks and ridgelines, and a gorgeous Arizona sunset.

Logistics, trail journal, and magnificent mountain scenery.

Backpacking the Amazing Arizona Trail – Four Peaks North (Passage 20)

Backpacking the Arizona Trail’s Four Peaks Passage to just south of Pigeon Spring. The terrain is incredibly precipitous – in places the trail seems to occupy the only level ground around. Fire impacts are present throughout as well, a legacy of the 1996 Lone Fire. Magnificent views of Roosevelt Lake, the southern Mazatzal foothills, and the Sierra Ancha across Tonto Basin.

Logistics, trail journal, and magnificent mountain scenery.

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Backpacking the Arizona Trail, Day 51: Mazatzal Divide (Passage 23), Part II

Disruptive event today, an F-16 that flew over while I was packing. It flew extremely low and around a mountain – possibly North Peak – and made me think very seriously about why that would be allowed over a designated wilderness area. Still, I manage to knock out a few miles to Chilson Spring before dark, with spectacular views of Deadman’s Canyon, the Verde Valley, and the western Mazatzal foothills along the way. The mountains are jagged and rugged and the trail traces steep slopes nearly the whole way across precipitous terrain.

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Passage 40 (Kaibab Plateau South)
Trail SurfaceDirt trail
Length (Mi)24.3
SeasonSpring-fall. No vehicular access to this section December-mid May. Feet of snow in winter.
Potential Water SourcesCrane Lake (mi 46.5 SOBO, 742.2 NOBO)
Little Pleasant Valley Tank (mi 48.8 SOBO, 739.9 NOBO)
Wildlife Drinker (mi 56.5 SOBO, 732.2 NOBO)
Dog Lake (mi 56.6 SOBO, 732.1 NOBO)
North Canyon Spring (mi 58.9 SOBO, 729.8 NOBO)
Crystal Spring (mi 59.5 SOBO, 729.2 NOBO)
Sourdough Well (mi 62.1 SOBO, 726.6 NOBO)
Upper North Canyon Creek (mi 63.9 SOBO, 724.9 NOBO)
TrailheadsNorth: Telephone Hill
South: Grand Canyon National Park boundary
Trailhead AccessNorth: Vehicular access via FR 241 off AZ-67
South: Foot access only
WildernessNo, but it can feel like it. Most hikers in the area stick to the national park. Or are passing through to reach routes in the national park.
Possible resupply pointsNorth Rim Country Store & Meadow’s Edge
Accessed via FR 216 at AZT MM 54.6 S/734.1 N
ATA-Rated DifficultyEasy
Potential campsites (mileages S to N)Various
Ecosystems TraversedGreat Basin Subalpine Conifer Forest
Rocky Mountain Montane Conifer Woodland
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Great Basin Subalpine Conifer Forest
Common Trees/Shrubs* Corkbark fir
* Gambel oak
* Quaking aspen
* White fir
* Blue spruce
* Engelmann spruce
* Buckwheats
* Currants
* Dwarf juniper
* Elderberry
* Fendler’s ceanothus
* Greenleaf Manzanita
* New Mexican locust
* Perry’s rabbitbrush
* Raspberry
* smooth sumac
* Snowberry
Common herbaceous plants* Bracken Fern
* Buckwheats
* Cinquefoils
* Columbines
* Fleabane daisies
* Geraniums
* goldeneye
* Goldenrods
* Groundsels
* Hairy golden aster
* Indian paintbrush
* Lotus
* Lupines
* Meadow-rue
* Parry’s bellflower
* Peavine
* Penstemons
* Puccoon
* Pussytoes
* Thistles
* Western & white prairie asters
* Wild strawberry
* Wormwood
* Yarrow
* Yellow hawkweed
Common succulentsPrickly pear, occasionally
Aquatic* Bulrush
* Buttercups
* Rushes
* Sedges
* Water plantains
Passage 40 Ecology (source: Arizona Trail Association AZT Guide & NatureServe). Only California and Texas are more diverse ecologically than Arizona.
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3 thoughts on “Backpacking the Amazing Arizona Trail, Day 5, Part II: Southern Kaibab Plateau (Passage 40), Part I

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