SIERRA ANCHA TRAILS

First established in 1933 as a "Primitive Area," this 20,850 acre wilderness is full of surprises and is a pleasure to explore. The Sierra Ancha Wilderness is large in acres, but it is a very special wilderness that includes precipitous box canyons, high cliffs, and pine-covered mountains.

The extremely rough topography limits (and often prohibits) cross-country travel; however, there is an extensive system of trails (trail condition varies from good to poor). A wide variety of plant and animal species are found here. Species range from those found in the desert to those found at 8,000 feet.

The Sierra Ancha cliff dwellings are located on the Pleasant Valley Ranger District of the Tonto National Forest, within the Sierra Ancha Wilderness. Built on ledges and in crevices within the short precipitous canyons flanking Cherry Creek, the Sierra Ancha cliff dwellings were constructed of stone slabs and blocks laid in mud mortar, plastered over, with roofs and floors of heavy timber beams layered over with branches and grass and finished with alternating layers of earth and stone.

Coon Trail #124

Length: 4.0

 

More Difficult - The trail (which drops into Coon Creek) passes through a riparian zone and a grove of Arizona cypress.

Deep Creek Trail #128

Length: 5.0

 

Easiest- This trail provides easy hiking and passes through a chaparral/grassland basin with views of the bluffs of the Sierra Ancha Mountains.

Grapevine Trail #135

Length: 5.0

 

Easiest- Most of this trail was an old jeep road that generally contours along the high bluffs of Sierra Ancha

Rim Trail #139

Length: 7.6

 

Easiest-This trail is relatively level and is easily traveled. It follows the rim and passes through stands of Ponderosa pine.

Moody Point Trail #140

Length: 9.5

 

MOST Difficult-This trail is the longest and one of the most difficult trails in this Wilderness. There is some major elevation change on this trail, and it may be indistinct and difficult to follow in some places

Murphy Ranch Trail #141

Length: 1.5

 

More Difficult-This trail drops down to the Rim Trail 139 from near the privately-owned Murphy (Haldeman) Ranch

Center Mountain Trail #142

Length: 3.0

 

More Difficult-This trail climbs onto Center Mountain through stands of Ponderosa Pine. Good viewpoints.

Lucky Strike Trail #144

Length: 5.0

 

More Difficult-There is some major elevation change on this trail, which was an old jeep road. It is easy to follow and passes by an area of past mining activity

Cienega Spring Trail #145

Length: 3.3

 

More Difficult-This was an old jeep road, which is outside the Wilderness, but provides access to the Wilderness.

McFadden Horse Trail #146

Length: 3.3

 

MOST Difficult- This dead-end trail climbs steeply up onto pine-covered McFadden Horse Mountain; some excellent views

Reynolds Creek Trail #150

Length: 3.7

 

More Difficult- It climbs “Te switchbacks’ and traverses scenic Knoles Hole. A part outside the Wilderness was an old logging road. Some segments are brushy and hard to find. The southern end of this trail borders the privatelyowned Murphy Ranch.

Abbey's Way #151

Length: 2.0

 

More Difficult- The western end of this trail begins on the Workman creek Road 487, skirts the meadow where the old Peterson Place was located, and then climbs through a mixed-conifer forest up to Aztec Peak where it again joins Road 487.

Parker Trail #160

Length: 3.4

 

More Difficult- This is a scenic trail that climbs from the Young Highway up into the Sierra Ancha through Ponderosa Pine and mixed-conifer; some good views.

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© 2020 - Town of Payson 
Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department
1000 W. Country Club Dr.

Payson, AZ 85541  |  928-472-5110

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