logo Arizona Trailblazers
Outdoor Links
Hike Arizona
Trip Planning Guide
Trip Report Index
Calendar of Events
Col. Devin Trail Day Hike
Mogollon Rim
August 13, 1999
by Tom Van Lew
Col. Devin Trail is now part of the Arizona Trail, passage 27.

We arrived at MacDonalds on Shea at 6:50 expecting a good crowd to join us on the hike. However, at 7:25, only Jeannie, Tom and Tony Grundon left for Payson. The trip up was uneventful and we arrived in Payson before 9:00 am. We weren’t sure which road was FR 199 but guessed that Houston Mesa Rd. would be a likely choice. We guessed right.

After 7 miles of paved road, we still had 5 or so miles more of dirt road before we reached Washington Park Trailhead. We crossed the Verde River (more like a creek) twice on the way. The water crossing the roadway was up to 6 inches deep but we had no problem with either crossover.

As we neared the trailhead, the weather turned cooler. A fine mist greeted us as we traveled over the last few miles of washboard like road. Finally we reached the trailhead. There were quite a few campers setting up to enjoy fishing, hiking or just kicking back. We changed into our hiking boots for what we hoped would be an enjoyable day hiking to the top of the Mogollon Rim. The weather remained overcast with the threat of rain trying to convince us to call off the hike.

Home, home on the Rim.
The trail is named after Colonel Devin, an Army officer, who in 1868 pioneered the route down off the Rim. As we hiked ever upwards, the trail paralleled the creek. Colorful butterflies both large and small joined us for a while and then flew off to wherever butterflies go. Knowing that this is a good time of the year for wild berries, I kept a lookout for wild raspberries. I was rewarded often with the sweet taste of a handful that I grudgingly shared with Jeannie.

We chose to visit the “Railroad Tunnel” as we reached the junction of that trail about 0.5 mile from the top. Actually, since it was never completed, it’s a 100-foot-deep cave, blasted and chipped out of the Coconino sandstone. Jeannie and I had visited the tunnel years ago and were stunned to see the devastation caused by a more recent fire. The hillside was nearly bare. We remembered the trees as they loomed over us with the rich vanilla smell of ponderosa. Not today though, fire had nearly stripped the hills clean. Low vegetation was returning and occasionally, we would see where the fire had skipped a lone tree leaving it surrounded by skeleton like trunks.

wherever butterflies go ...
After a short visit to the tunnel, we continued on to the top of the rim. This portion of the trail is steep, making the heart rate rise and the breaths shorter. Along the way we met others who had stopped on their way across the rim to hike down to the tunnel. It had only taken us an hour and a half to reach the top at an elevation of 7,260 feet. Not tired yet, we decided to continue across FR 300 to visit the General Spring Cabin, a former Fire Guard Station. The cabin was built between 1914 and 1915 by Louis Fisher and was used into the 1960s. Early rangers working from the cabin helped develop and establish forest management. We stopped there for lunch, enjoying the view on the cabin porch. It was peaceful and quiet in spite of what appeared to be a trailer park full of campers across the road. The quiet was soon disturbed by the target practice from members of one of the group of campers. You could definitely tell one of the guns was of a large caliber, much larger than the others. Both were trying to see who could waste the most ammunition the fastest. We soon had had enough of that and left.

On the trip down, we met Ramana Aisola and his daughter, accompanied by a father and son from the school where Ramana’s wife teaches. We chatted for a while and then continued on our hike back down. Of course, we stopped often to sample more of the raspberries that we missed on the trip up.

When we finally reached the truck, the sun broke out and started to warm us up. It was nice to have completed the hike in overcast weather. We took Tony back to his truck and then continued on to the rim across the Control Road to spend the night at our cabin in Forest Lakes.

The hike is well worth the trip up. We highly recommend it for a future hike.

      topTop of Page
Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
Comments? Send them to the AZHC .

updated August 24, 2019