Maple leaves were changing in a place we call Hidden Autumn Valley. Below, a portion of the General Crook Trail. Photos by Cheryl Hartz
A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took a drive to the Mogollon Rim for a two-picnic day among the fall color. The aspen and maple leaves were just starting to change in our favorite spot.
Along the way we stopped to check out a section of the General Crook Trail.
The Mogollon Rim, in the Coconino National Forest, is a 2,000 foot, 400 mile-long escarpment that forms the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. Forest Road 300 is rough gravel but doesn't require 4-wheel drive). You get there off Hwy 87 between Winslow and Strawberry. The road is closed in winter, but you still have time to visit this year.
The General Crook Trail #130 is 25 miles long and follows the rim, sometimes back and forth across the road. The U.S. Forest Service website says it has a number of access points, and portions of it are part of the Cabin Loop Trail system. The Interpretive sign shown here is about 1.5 miles east of Kehl Springs campground.
No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail; they must stay on FR 300.
Under the direction of Gen. George Crook, the 200-mile trail was built in the early 1870s. It starts at Fort Whipple in Prescott, winds down to Fort Verde in Camp Verde, then heads east across the Mogollon Rim to Fort Apache.
It served as a supply route for wagons and pack animals and a tactical road for the cavalry during the Apache Indian Campaign.
A few old trees and rocks still show original blazes marking mileage from various forts.
For more information, call the Mogollon Rim District at 928-477-2255.