Backpacking the Arizona Trail, Day 38 – Blue Ridge Ranger Station to Mogollon Rim (Passage 28, Blue Ridge)

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

Managed to push through the entire Blue Ridge Passage today, one of my best days on the trail. I left the Blue Ridge Ranger Station this morning and headed south for the Rim. Saw a herd of elk near the Blue Ridge Campground and Elk Tank while climbing Blue Ridge itself. The trail also passed through an active prescribed burn, though it was low intensity so probably not considered a public hazard at this point. I’m familiar with them anyway, having worked as a PIO (public informations officer) on one over the summer at Grand Canyon. The trail crossed Blue Ridge and dipped across the steep valley of East Clear Creek, dry at the crossing.

Elk Tank, hiking south on the AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
Burn area, seen backpacking south on the AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
Arizona Trail heading into the pines again, hiking south on the AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
Elk are a bit more shy here! Herd spotted backpacking south on the AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
AZT passing through a burn area, hiking south on the AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
AZT passing through a burn area, backpacking south on the AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
AZT passing through a burn area, hiking south on the AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
AZT passing through a burn area, backpacking south on the AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
AZT passing through a burn area, hiking south on the AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
AZT passing through a burn area, backpacking south on the AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
Hiking up Blue Ridge, first major climb of day
AZT passing through a burn area
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
View back north to San Francisco Peaks from Blue Ridge
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
North view from Blue Ridge with wildfire smoke drifting across sky
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
Backpacking across Blue Ridge on the AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
South view at hiking break, toward Mogollon Rim and Mazatzal Mountains
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
Horned Lizard spotted backpacking south on AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
Traversing Blue Ridge through ponderosa, hiking south on the AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
Ponderosa forests atop Blue Ridge, backpacking south on the AZT
Recent burn came through here (evidenced by burn marks on lower portions of trunk – normal for healthy ponderosa forests, clearing out underbrush).
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
Giant ponderosa atop Blue Ridge, hiking south on the AZT
Recent burn came through here (evidenced by burn marks on lower portions of trunk – normal for healthy ponderosa forests, clearing out underbrush).
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
Ponderosa forests atop Blue Ridge, hiking south on the AZT
Recent burn came through here (evidenced by burn marks on lower portions of trunk – normal for healthy ponderosa forests, clearing out underbrush).
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
Ponderosa forests atop Blue Ridge, backpacking south on the AZT
Recent burn came through here (evidenced by burn marks on lower portions of trunk – normal for healthy ponderosa forests, clearing out underbrush).
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
Ponderosa forests atop Blue Ridge, hiking south on the AZT
Recent burn came through here (evidenced by burn marks on lower portions of trunk – normal for healthy ponderosa forests, clearing out underbrush).
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
Gamble oaks in fall foliage, descending off Blue Ridge to Clear Creek Reservoir
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest
Clear Creek Reservoir crossing
Arizona Trail Passage 28, Blue Ridge
Coconino National Forest

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Backpacking the Amazing Arizona Trail – Pine Mountain (Passage 21), Boulder Creek Trail

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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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.

Backpacking the Arizona Trail, Day 50, Part II: Mazatzal Divide (Passage 23)

It’s here. The Mazatzal Divide represents the heart of the longest stretch of the Arizona Trail within a designated wilderness area. To that end, a reminder on the meaning of wilderness. Under the Wilderness Act of 1964, wilderness is “an area where man is but a visitor and does not remain.” Consequently, motorized access as … Continue reading Backpacking the Arizona Trail, Day 50, Part II: Mazatzal Divide (Passage 23)

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Passage 27 (Blue Ridge)
Trail SurfaceDirt singletrack
Length (Mi)15.4
SeasonSpring-Fall
Potential Water SourcesBlue Ridge Ranger Station (mi 292.0 SOBO/496.7 NOBO)
Elk Tank/FR 135D (mi 266.7 SOBO/495.9 NOBO)
Blue Ridge Campground (mi 293.4 SOBO/495.3 NOBO)
Rock Crossing Campground (297.0 SOBO/491.7 NOBO)
East Clear Creek (mi 298.7 SOBO/490 NOBO)
Stock Tank (mi 299.6 SOBO/489.2 NOBO)
General Springs Canyon (mi 306.0 SOBO/482.7 NOBO)
TrailheadsNorth: AZ-87 (mi 262.6 SOBO/526.1 NOBO)
South: Mogollon Rim (mi 292.1 SOBO, 496.7 NOBO)
Trailhead AccessNorth: Paved road
South: Graded dirt road
WildernessNo
Possible resupply pointsNone
DifficultyModerate
Potential campsites (mileages S to N)Various LNT-compatible locations throughout
ThreatsHeat – wear a cotton shirt so you can soak it. Synthetics aren’t great in the desert.

Hypothermia – nights are generally about 30°F cooler than days in Arizona regardless of the time of year. Consider this in packing gear. Mornings can be cool year-round.

Hyponatremia – “drunk on water.” To avoid, ensure adequate salt & electrolyte intake and ensure you eat as well as drink water. Symptoms are almost identical to dehydration, but drinking more makes it worse. Prevention is by far the best solution.

Dehydration

Lightning
Permits Required? No
Cell service?Limited
Ecosystems traversedRocky Mountain Montane Conifer Forest
HighlightsLargest ponderosa forest in world
Mogollon Rim, southern boundary of Colorado Plateau
Ecological diversity on slopes of Clear Creek
Sources: Personal experience, Guthook Guides & ATA Guide to the Arizona Trail.
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Rocky Mountain Montane Conifer Woodland
Common Trees/Shrubs* Ponderosa Pine
* Southwestern white pine
* Subalpine fir
* White fir
* Rocky Mountain maple
* Bigtooth maple
* Grey alder
* Red birch
* Red osier dogwood
* Cliffbush
* Mallow ninebark
* New Mexican locust
* huckleberry
* bilberries



Common herbaceous plants* fringed brome
* Geyer’s sedge/elk sedge
* Ross’ sedge
* Bronze sedge/dry land sedge/hillside sedge/hay sedge/Fernald’s hay sedge
* screwleaf muhly
* bluebunch wheatgrass
* Spruce-fir fleabane
* wild strawberry/Virginia strawberry
* Small-flowered woodrush
* mountain sweet Cicely
* bittercress ragwort
* western meadow-rue
* Fendler’s meadow-rue
Passage 31 & 33 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 Arizona Trail, Day 38 – Blue Ridge Ranger Station to Mogollon Rim (Passage 28, Blue Ridge)

    1. Hi! No, you didn’t miss a post. Havasu Falls is located in a remote area west of Grand Canyon National Park, so it’s not on the trail itself. I suppose you could walk there under normal circumstances from the South Rim (with a permit) but it would have to be a spur detour since there’s no river crossing in that area. There are also lots of other spectacular hikes within the Canyon that you can access directly from the main trail as well.

      Liked by 1 person

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