|Name||Mingus Mountain Summit to Jerome via the Great Western Trail|
|Description||This 35 mile ride utilizes the Great Western Trail to take you from the top of Mingus Mountain, west through Martin Canyon and around the Woodchute Wilderness area, then continues on the old railroad grade to Jerome. Riders then use SR 89A to return to the staging location.|
Because this loop utilizes a state highway, machines and riders will need to be street legal.
The trail in Martin Canyon is rough and challenging. It should NEVER be attempted when the possibility of flooding exists. This is a DRY weather ride. Riders should have good skid protection on their machines because you will be doing a lot of rock crawling in the canyon. An experienced rider with two-wheel drive will probably be able to complete the ride in the direction described in this destination.
I scouted this trail in June, 2005. All of the GPS locations are approximate and not all of the trail appeared on the Garmin Map. This location is in the Prescott National Forest and riders should check their website for information before starting this ride. Most of the roads on the top of the mountain showed deep ruts from being travelled in muddy conditions.
There are several geocache sites along the trail.
This trail is described in the book "Guide to Arizona Backroads & 4-wheel Drive Trails" by Charles A. Wells. The trail is #25, called "Smiley Rock", found on page 105. The book describes the trail as "difficult". The trail described in the book uses Jerome as the starting point, this description uses the top of Mingus as the starting point. The book is available at most outdoor stores.
|Directions||The staging location for this ride is the paved summit parking lot, on the east side of SR 89A, at the top of Mingus Mountain. There are picnic tables, grills and a restroom at this location. If you are pulling a trailer, please park in a way to be considerate of others who will use the lot while you are out riding.|
There are two ways to get to the staging location. Either drive to Prescott Valley and follow the signs to SR 89A toward Jerome, or drive through Jerome to the summit. Either way, you'll have to follow the curvy road to the pass at the top of Mingus Mountain. (N34 42.459/W112 08.938)
Begin your ride by crossing SR 89A to the west, following the signs to the Potato Patch CG. Just before reaching the CG, you will turn left on a road signed with a Great Western Trail (GWT) marker. The road is also numbered as FR 106D.
Continue on FR 106D, following the GWT markers. Eventually you will come to a junction where FR 106D turns left and FR 106E proceeds straight. (N34 42.498/W112 09.554) Proceed straight on FR 106E, following the GWT marker. If you turn on FR 106D, it will go to a large stock tank and a view towards Prescott Valley.
The next junction you come to will have FR 106 going left. It leads to turn around and a foot/horse trailhead, TR 101, and no quads are allowed. Turn right onto FR 9710, signed as the route for the GWT.
The next junction is not marked. (N34 43.349/W112 10.731) The road to the left leads to a large stock tank and a trail that leads downhill for quite a way. The GWT turns right, marked as FR 103, and begins the downhill descent into Martin Canyon. In the canyon, the trail follows the streambed and becomes very rough in spots. There are no trail markers along this 4-5 mile stretch of the trail.
After the canyon ends and the terrain begins to widen out, you will come to an unmarked "T" intersection. When you stop at the T, you will see some large power lines straight ahead and a metal sign post off to the immediate right. This sign post has no numbers on it. (N34 44.828/W112 13.004) Turn right at this intersection,and the trail will lead toward and follow the power lines, eventually passing a large APS power substation, then arriving at the intersection of FR 318A.
FR 318A is the railroad grade that ran between Prescott and Jerome. A left turn here will take you to Chino Valley, a right turn will take you to Jerome. The trail from this point on is very smooth and fairly level, a requirement of the locomotives. As you proceed eastward, there are some great views of the upper Verde valley and the Mogollon Rim to the north. The large mountain on the left is Bill Williams Mountain, the large one with the snow on top is the San Francisco Peaks.
FR 318 continues toward a signed intersection with the Perkinsville Road. Turn right, following the signs to Jerome. (N34 47.102/W112 10.395)
As you get into the Jerome area, the road takes you downhill toward a large complex of buildings and old vehicles called the Gold King Mine. At the bottom of the hill, turn left and proceed to the intersection of SR 89A. (N34 45.098/W112 07.057) The Jerome Fire Department has a large fire station at this location.
Go straight to visit the town for lunch or turn right a proceed about 8 miles uphill to the staging area.
|Submitted by: daveh|