Apache Maid Trail No. 15
The Apache Maid Trail branches off of the Bell Trail after 2.5 miles and ascends the northern canyon wall of the Wet Beaver Wilderness through a series of switchbacks. The rest of the trail then levels out across one of the plateaus of the Mogollon Rim. Hikers will find picturesque views of Wet Beaver Creek Canyon and hillsides of prickly pear cacti. Once atop the basalt plateau, the Apache Maid Trail winds along primitive jeep tracks across the grassy, juniper flats. From the trail, the canyon appears off to your right as an eroded rift in the ancient lava flow. Some choose to hike just a part of this trail, enjoying overlooks of the canyon and a panorama that includes Casner Butte and the San Francisco Peaks. Others arrange a car-shuttle and continue all the way to trail's end near the lookout tower on Apache Maid Mountain.
Wilderness areas are rare, wild places set aside by Congress where the land is allowed to retain its natural state, serving as a natural haven for humans to escape modern civilization and for nature to be itself. To help minimize human impacts in wilderness and maintain its character, several laws and regulations have been put in place and we ask that visitors practice "Leave No Trace ethics."
In order to protect this fragile desert riparian area, campfires and camping are prohibited along much of the Wet Beaver Creek to help minimize damage to soil and vegetation, reduce disturbances to wildlife, and prevent pollution of the creek. Wet Beaver Creek flows into the Verde River, a critical water source for many cities and communities in Arizona.
At a Glance
|Best Season:||April to November|
General InformationGeneral Notes:
Hiking Time: 7 hours (8.47 miles)
USGS Map(s): Casner Butte
- Pets must be on leash.
- Do not disturb cultural/archeology sites. (Antiquity’s Act 1906)
- No motorized equipment or vehicles allowed. (Wilderness Act 1964)
- No motorized or mechanized transport (ie... bicycles, strollers, etc) allowed. (Wilderness Act 1964)
- Day Use Only. (No camping or campfires on the Bell Trail and Wet Beaver Creek Wilderness Areas - See Forest Order and Map [PDF])
- The trail is poorly marked and hard to follow across the high plateau where there is also no water.
- The sign at the Bell Trailhead is correct in that we discourage trailers at this Trailhead. That is the reason we constructed the Bruce Brockett Trailhead (just north of the Bell Trailhead) for trailers and equestrian trailer parking and the trail from this trailhead connects to the Bell Trail.
Location: 43 miles south of Flagstaff on paved and all-weather graveled roads.
GPS (Map): 34°40'28.9"N 111°42'48.2"W
Directions: Drive 40 miles south from Flagstaff on Interstate 17. Leave the interstate at the AZ 179 interchange. Turn east under the highway and drive 2 miles east to the Old Beaver Creek Ranger Station turnoff. Instead of turning in to the station, keep going straight (north) about a hundred feet to the Bell Trailhead and parking lot. Hike the Bell Trail for about 3 miles to the Apache Maid Trail
Click map thumbnail for larger view.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
|Difficulty Level:||Intermediate to Difficult|
The trail branches off the Bell Trail about 3 miles past the Bruce Brockett junction, climbing 1600 feet to the rim. The trail is harder to find at the top - a good map and excellent navigation skills are a must. Following trail markers and old roads, the Bell/Apache Maid Loop makes up a 28 mile ride.