"At more than 252,000 acres, the Mazatzal is one of the largest wilderness areas in the state. Encompassing the Mazatzal Mountains, it ranges in elevation from 2100 feet along the Verde River in the west to the 7903-foot summit of Mazatzal Peak in the east. One of the premier hikes in this expansive parcel of pristine terrain follows the Barnhardt, Mazatzal Divide, and Y Bar Basin Trails around Mazatzal Peak." Read more
"The Mazatzal Divide Trail is the premier trail in the Mazatzal Wilderness and runs nearly the entire length of the northern half of the Mazatzal Mountains, staying on or near the crest of this 6,000- to nearly 8,000-foot range. The Arizona Trail follows the Mazatzal Divide Trail for most of its Mazatzal Mountains passage. This hike explores the southern end of the Mazatzal Divide Trail, which alternates cool, shady stretches of ponderosa pine forest with 100-mile views." Read more
"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." Read more