5/6/2009 10:44:00 AM Mingus Mountain offers cool summer getaway
If You Go …
What: Mingus Recreation Area.
Where: Top of Mingus Mountain on Hwy. 89A.
How: Take Hwy. 89A from Cottonwood through Jerome and up Mingus Mountain.
Looking for a place where you can escape the heat and crowds of the Verde Valley? Then grab your hiking boots or load the car with camping gear and head to the top of Mingus Mountain.
Take Arizona 89-A from Cottonwood through Jerome and on up through the switchbacks. This drive will take you to some of the most beautiful vistas in all of Arizona. Depending upon the time of year and the amount of local rainfall, you may be in for an explosion of colorful wildflowers.
At the top, you have the option of turning right or left. Either way leads to good hiking and camping. If you turn left, it is two miles to Mingus Lake and another mile to Mingus Recreation Area.
There are other roads to follow in this area, and camping is allowed in many undeveloped sites. You'll need to bring in your own water and pack out your own trash, but the camping is free.
Turn right off of Arizona 89-A and Potato Patch Campground is within easy walking distance of Woodchute Trail. The campground costs $10 a night, and drinking water is available. These developed campsites offer toilet facilities and picnic tables and fire grates with each site. No reservations are accepted for this campground, and it is open from May to November. The Campground offers 40 sites.
A short distance away, still in Potato Patch, are several RV campsites with electricity offered for a slight additional daily fee.
The turnoff to the Woodchute Trailhead is 0.3 miles from Arizona 89-A. A paved road leads to the parking lot, but vehicles are allowed through the gate. Be sure to close it behind you both when entering and leaving the trail area.
Woodchute Trail is located in the Woodchute Wilderness Area. Congress designated the wilderness area in 1984. Before that, the mountain was heavily logged for the Jerome mines. Shoring timbers for the mines were used from the logs on this mountain.
The trail is open to hiking only, and bicycles or motorized vehicles are prohibited. The trail is 2.75 miles to the top of Woodchute Mountain.