Deadman Mesa Trail

Strawberry, Arizona

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A seldom-hiked trail through remote country to the confluence of the East Verde and Verde Rivers. The section of the Verde River at the end of this hike is part of Arizona’s only federally designated Wild River, and it’s one of the last free-flowing rivers left in the state. The trail heads south across the broad tip of Deadman Mesa, passing through open pinyon pine–juniper forest. At 2.0 miles and the southern rim of Deadman Mesa, the trail drops steeply down a ridge to the confluence of Hardscrabble Creek and Fossil Creek. After 1.9 miles along the west side of Fossil Creek, the trail crosses the creek and climbs southwest. The trail is obvious where it climbs away from the creek, but becomes faint on the open, grassy slopes above. If you lose it, just head cross-country uphill to the pass, where you’ll intercept the Verde River Trail.

Deadman Mesa Trail Professional Review and Guide

"A seldom-hiked trail through remote country to the confluence of the East Verde and Verde Rivers. The section of the Verde River at the end of this hike is part of Arizona’s only federally designated Wild River, and it’s one of the last free-flowing rivers left in the state.

The trail heads south across the broad tip of Deadman Mesa, passing through open pinyon pine–juniper forest. At 2.0 miles and the southern rim of Deadman Mesa, the trail drops steeply down a ridge to the confluence of Hardscrabble Creek and Fossil Creek. After 1.9 miles along the west side of Fossil Creek, the trail crosses the creek and climbs southwest. The trail is obvious where it climbs away from the creek, but becomes faint on the open, grassy slopes above. If you lose it, just head cross-country uphill to the pass, where you’ll intercept the Verde River Trail."

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Strawberry
Distance: 12.4
Elevation Gain: 2,030 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: Day hike or backpack
Season: Best October to April
Trailhead Elevation: 4,600 feet
Top Elevation: 4,600 feet
Local Contacts: Payson Ranger District, Tonto National Forest
Local Maps: USGS Verde Hot Springs; USDAFS Mazatzal Wilderness, Tonto National Forest map
Driving Directions: Directions to Deadman Mesa Trail

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May 2018