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Camping At Yosemite

Kelsey (Springs) Trail #3

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The Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Trail System within the Peaks Ranger District consists of 5 trails with a combined mileage of 11.3 miles with the longest trail being 5.6 miles. These trails include: Kelsey Trail, Dorsey Trail, Winter Cabin Trail, Little Lo Trail, and Hog Hill Trail. Each trail is suitable for day hikes or longer overnight loop hikes.

From the Kelsey trailhead you immediately descend into a shady forested canyon of Ponderosa pine mixed with Douglas fir, Gambel oak, and juniper trees. Most of the length of the trail is gradual up and down with only a few short steep areas. Along the trail water can be obtained, usually year-round, at Kelsey Spring, Babes Hole Spring, Dorsey Spring, and Winter Cabin Spring. There are many spectacular panoramic views of Sycamore Canyon as you hike along the trail. Kelsey Winter Trail and the Dorsey Spring trails make a great 7.3 mile day hike loop. The Kelsey Winter trail terminates at the junction of Winter Cabin Trail.

Sycamore Canyon can be very hot and dry during the summer months. There are several springs located near the Wilderness trails which normally have water year round but hikers should not depend on this water being available and all ground water should always be treated or filtered. There is plenty of shade along all of the trails as you descend into Sycamore Canyon through a thick forest of Ponderosa Pine, Gambel Oak, and Juniper trees. The lower part of Winter Cabin Trail and part of Kelsey Trail takes you through chaparral type vegetation which offers spectacular views of Sycamore Canyon.

Sycamore Canyon is the second largest canyon in Arizona and offers hikers plenty of solitude and natural beauty.

At a Glance

Open Season: Year 'round
Closest Towns: Flagstaff, AZ
Operated By: Flagstaff Ranger District - 928-526-0866

General Information

Directions:

Location: Southwest of Flagstaff, Arizona

Access: From Flagstaff, take Old Route 66 west to FR231 (Woody Mountain Road). Go south on FR231 for 14 miles and take a right at FR538  to FR538G (about 5.5 miles). It's about 2 miles from junction of FR538 and FR538G to the trailhead. Kelsey trailhead is about 1/4 mile west of the junction of FR538G and FR527A.

Access to the trailheads is by dirt roads which can be extremely rough and even impassable during Monsoon Season and winter months due to mud and heavy snow.

Area/Length : 5.6 miles

Latitude : 35.074527

Longitude : -111.929759

Elevation : 6648 at trailhead

Notes:

  • No mechanized vehicles including bicycles in Wilderness.
  • Fire danger is usually high - be careful with campfires.
  • Camp at least 200 feet from springs and bury human waste 200 feet from springs - pack out all trash.

USGS Maps: Sycamore Point

Wilderness Map: Sycamore Canyon Wilderness map, 2002 available from local Forest Service Offices

 

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