"Before the Willow and Sunflower Fires severely ravaged this passage in 2004 and 2012, respectively, this route was considered one of the most beautiful segments of the Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT). It traverses to near the top of the Mazatzal Mountains, including Mazatzal Peak, whose impressive west face towers 1,700 feet above the trail. The cool, thin air encourages the growth of beautiful trees, especially stands of ponderosa pines that are hundreds of years old.
The fire was brutal, but some of these ancient treasures remain. Farther north on the passage, red-rock canyons reflect sunset colors that would be difficult for any artist to recreate. This is the middle of the AZT’s longest sojourn in a designated wilderness area, and you can feel it! Humans are infrequent visitors to these lonely ridges, and the land is much the same as it was hundreds of years ago when it was the domain of the Yavapai and Apache peoples."