|Name||Cherry to Jerome, via the GWT and FR 413|
|Description||This route takes you across the Black Hills in the Prescott National Forest and uses forest routes to travel from the old mining town of Cherry to Jerome. This route ends at the bottom of the hill in Jerome, and if your machine is street legal, you can then use Highway 89A to drive into Jerome for lunch or sightseeing. When finished, you can return using the reverse route or you can take 89A to the top of Mingus Mountain and return to the starting point using other forest routes.|
|Directions||Stage 1: Getting to the starting point|
Take I-17 north from Phoenix, passing Cordes Junction and exit at Cherry Road/State Route 169 (Exit 278). Turn west and proceed about nine miles to Cherry Road, also called FR 372, and turn right.
Follow Cherry Road, which starts out as dirt and then becomes paved. You will notice a distinct change, as a pine forest seems to spring up from nowhere. There will be a sign for the Powell Spring Campground, which can be used as a base for exploring this area, though it requires a fee and we found lots of ants at the campsites. About five miles from SR 169, and shortly after the Powell Springs road, you will see FR 132 on the left, signed as a section of the Great Western Trail. Turn on FR132. Parking areas can be found along the Cherry Road in this area or you can drive down FR 132 and find parking. Several camping areas can also be found along FR 132.
The old mining town of Cherry, now home to a bed and breakfast and several homesites, can be found by continuing north on the Cherry Road. There is no fuel or store available.
Stage 2: Cherry to Mingus Mountain
After about a mile on FR 132, the road will fork. Bear left at this fork. Continue on the most travelled road as it climbs through and over the Black Hills. Eventually you will pass by some well kept buildings adjacent to the road. Continue on until you come to the junction of FR 132 and FR 413. FR 132 ends at this point.
Stage 3: Mingus to Jerome
Turn right onto FR 413 and follow it as it winds toward the east end of Mingus Mountain and then turns back to the west as a narrow shelf road, cut into the side of the mountain. This section of the route covers 17 miles before ending at the bottom of the hill in Jerome. As mentioned earlier, if your machine is street legal, turn left on the pavement when you come to SR 89A and climb the switchbacks into town for lunch and sightseeing. (If you're not street legal, you need to reverse the route from this point.) When finished, you can reverse the route to return or make a loop of it by driving on SR 89A to the top of Mingus Mountain and turn left at the Summit Picnic Area. This road is the west termination point for this section of the Great Western Trail, which we started out on earlier. This road is signed as FR 104 and/or the Mingus Springs Camp Road.
Stage 4: 89A to the Cherry Road
Continue east on FR 104 for 1.5 miles to the junction with FR 413. Turn right onto FR 413 and follow it about 2 miles to it's junction with FR 132 and take FR 132 back to the starting point.
The loop ride uses Prescott National Forest routes and State Highway 89A. Riding on forest roads can require street plates and the highway loop definitely requires you to be street legal. The highway can also be dangerous due to vehicular traffic you may encounter. The shelf road portion can also be dangerous during rain or snow.
A 2-wheel drive quad, operated by an experienced rider in good weather, will handle this route.
A camera should be taken for the views.
A complete description and maps of this route can be found in the "Backcountry Adventures/Arizona, Northeast Region", #17-Goat Peak Trail on page 263, and #18-Mingus Mountain Loop Trail on page 265.
Additional descriptions can be found in "4 Wheel Drive & Back Roads of Yavapai County, AZ" book by Luis and Paula Vega, Log 14-Jerome to Potato Patch on page 78 and Log 17-Great Western Trail, I-17 to Mingus Mountain on page 92.
|Submitted by: daveh|