Trail Offers Lush Getaway During Last Hot Days Of Summer


The Fred Haught Trail is a segment of what the Forest Service has identified as the Cabin Loop Trail system. Along with the Houston Brothers Trail, the U-Bar Trail and the Barbershop Trail, a picturesque section of the Coconino Forest along the Mogollon Rim is available for hikers and bikers to visit and enjoy. Cabins, used by the Forest Service as bases for its forest fire detection and control, were built in this part of the forest in the early 1900s.

These small, one and two-room cabins were used by forest rangers for many years as they were assigned to patrol the surrounding forest. Two of these cabins still exist and are located near the trailheads of some of the loop trails. The General Springs Cabin (circa 1914, rebuilt 1989) is near the southern trailhead of the Fred Haught Trail.


General Springs Canyon contains an unnamed creek that holds pools of water at some points, a trickling rivulet that meanders along by the trail, and is dry at other places.

The Pinchot Cabin, built around 1919, lies at its northern trailhead. This one was also used as part of the summer camp of the Houston Brothers Ranch before it became part of the Forest Service properties.

Battleground Ridge and the monument to a major battle between the Army and a band of Indians fought here is within a short drive from this trail. An aqueduct from the Blue Ridge Reservoir can be seen from the road to the General Springs Cabin. The trail

passes through the General Springs Canyon as it parallels the road (FR95) to the south on Fred Haught Ridge.

This part of the forest is pristine and quiet. The canyon contains an unnamed creek that holds pools of water at some points, a trickling rivulet that meanders along by the trail, and is dry at other places. The forest surrounding the canyon is dense with tall ponderosa pines, a few aspens, and a variety of firs, spruce,

and oak. The undercover is lush and green, even during the hot days of summer.

To Get There

From the intersection of highways 87 and 260 in Payson, head toward the towns of Pine and Strawberry on Highway 87/260 for 28 miles. Watch for the turnoff to Forest Road 300 on the right side of the highway. Turn right onto FR300 and follow it for a quarter mile.

It will then turn sharply to the left at an intersection. Continue on FR300 for 12 miles until you reach a power line that crosses the road and heads down the face of the Rim. A sign on the left hand side of the road indicates the turnoff to the General Springs Cabin, which is a half mile down the road to the left. This short road is not well maintained and may contain runoff ruts that could make it impassable to low clearance vehicles.

Park at the lot located near the cabin. After looking over it, proceed to the trailhead, which is located a short distance to the north of the cabin and begins at a fenced-in meadow. The trail is well identified with Forest Service trail markers along the trail and in nearby trees. Rock cairns are also plentiful.

Caution should be used while traveling this route, however, as there a few places where it is faint and not well marked.

The trail follows the fence for a distance before heading through a meadow and a few dense stands of trees.

After about a half mile, it reaches the beginning of General Springs Canyon and winds around its top. Here it passes by a drop-off to its left where, during wet seasons, a gushing waterfall can be seen from portions of the trail.

Continue on along the upper side of the canyon for another quarter mile until the trail meets a series of switchbacks that lead down to the canyon floor 200 to 300 feet below.

Crossing over the creek at the bottom of the canyon, it winds along its west side, occasionally crossing back over, for about 2.5 miles. At this point the trail fords the creek and wading across it may be required.

The trail proceeds on along the other side for a quarter mile before reaching the junction with the Arizona Trail, which travels off to the northwest and eventually meets the Rock Crossing Campground near the Blue Ridge Reservoir. The Fred Haught Trail turns to northeast and begins to leave the General Springs Canyon and crosses over to the smaller Fred Haught Canyon to the east.

The trail passes through a portion of this canyon before climbing out to the north and crossing a faint road at the top of the ridge. From here it drops down through a ravine until it meets an abandoned firebreak road about a quarter mile away. The road is blocked to the south at this point.

Follow this old roadbed north for about a mile. This is a continuation of the trail. Watch for several rock cairns at a bend in the road. The trail diverts to the right of the road and heads off into the trees. It passes through this part of the forest for about 200 yards before turning abruptly to the right and heading up another ravine. It follows the ravine for another 200 to 300 yards before crossing over it and heading up its side until it reaches a flat area above. The trail then cuts across to the southeast until it reaches FR95 about a quarter mile away. Note that the trail in this portion of its route is very faint in places. Pay close attention to the trail markers along its path as it is easy to lose it in the undergrowth.

The trail crosses FR 95 at a small pull off area (room for one or two vehicles). This location would be a good place to drop off a vehicle for a shuttle.

It continues on the other side of the road for a half mile before reaching the trailhead at Pinchot Cabin.

Parking is also available at the site of this cabin.

To reach FR95 from the turnoff to General Springs Cabin, simply continue on east on FR300 for about one mile until you reach the intersection on the left side. You will pass by a couple of less-traveled roads on the way.

Proceed north, after turning onto FR95, for 5.5 miles until you reach the pull off discussed above.

Watch for a sign on the right side of the road that indicates where the Fred Haught Trail crosses it.

The pull off is on the left side.

Fred Haught Trail

Length: Six miles

Difficulty: Easy (moderate for short distances)

Elevation at trailhead: 6,900 feet

Maps: Coconino National Forest; Kehl Ridge and Dane Canyon Topos

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