MOGOLLON RIM, Ariz. — The Turkey Springs Trail 217 and Webber Creek Trail 228 can be difficult in spots, but the creek and Turkey Springs make it well worth the trek.
Turkey Springs feeds into Webber Creek, making it a jewel to watch and a good place to have lunch.
The views from this Mogollon Rim hike also make this trek a must.
This combined trail is about 10 miles with an elevation change of about 2,800 feet. The hike begins at an elevation of about 7,300 feet and drops down to 5,780. Feet. Of course, you also have to climb back up.
There are several large dips and climbs along the lower part of the trail as well.
The hike begins at Milk Ranch Point with a 200 foot climb before starting to dip down.
This is a lightly used trail and the hike begins across from a wooded area where hikers can park. While you will probably pass campers on the way to the trail, don’t look for many people on the trail.
The Geronimo Boy Scouts Camp is nearby, which is a good place to seek refuge in case of thunderstorms.
Some hikers find climbing mountains harder than going down; some vice versa. The first section going downhill is a bit more than a mile and is brutal for two reasons.
First, there is a lot of scree — also known as loose rocks —so you have to go slowly and watch your footing or it would be easy to twist an ankle. Second, there is little shade, so the sun is blasting, which makes you want to go faster in a place where you need to go slower.
The views from the Mogollon Rim at this point are awesome and offer fabulous photo opportunities.
Because of the loose rocks, the Coconino National Forest rates this hike as difficult, while other websites vary in rating from moderate to difficult.
Once you get down, the toughest part of the hike is behind you even though you are looking up at the mountain and know at some point you have to climb back out.
After about a mile on the bottom, the hikers start to run into creeks, which are a pleasure to see. There are several downed trees, probably from winter storms, on the trail so this will slow the pace, but the pine trees, ferns and flowers are a pleasure to watch alongside of the creeks.
Webber Creek also has gamble oaks and big tooth maples. Arizona grape and raspberry bushes were also prominent as well as Manzanita.
There is one designated swimming hole. The swimming hole was surrounded by a decent amount of columbine.
This trail is known to have Arizona Mountain King Snakes. These snakes are non-venomous, but we didn’t happen to run across any.
The turnaround comes at Turkey Springs. This gushing water is awesome to see as it runs down the hill and into Webber Creek.
The trek up the mountain is a bit of a gruel, but once you find the Have Cave, you know you are almost to the top.
More information is available by calling the Mogollon Rim Ranger District at 928-527-8282.