E Cross L Trail #281

E Cross L Trail #281 lies entirely within ponderosa pine forest. The northern end of the trail begins on Ash Creek Ridge from which there are panoramic views to the south. The ridge overlooks Crook’s Canyon and Mt. Union. As the trail approaches Ash Creek, the vegetation transitions to a mix of evergreen oaks, pines, and riparian species. Travelers should plan enough time to visit the old Palace Station. Now a Forest Service administrative and information site, it served until about 1910 as a stage stop at Spence Spring, about half-way on the route between Prescott and Crown King.

The southeast portion of the trail is in an area that burned in a 2007 fire. Beware of unstable snags and limbs, particularly on windy days.


Printable Map:

At a Glance

Fees: No
Open Season: Spring
Usage: Light
Closest Towns: Approximately 45 minutes from Prescott, AZ
Water: Not available. Surface water should be treated.

General Information


Take Senator Highway (also FR 52) south from Prescott for approximately 11 miles past the turnoff to Mt. Union (FR 261). Continue south on FR 52 for 0.4 miles to FR 52B. Take FR 52B west for 0.3 miles to its junction with FR 81. Take FR 81 south for another 0.3 miles to the junction with FR 70. Take FR 70 southeast along the Ash Creek Ridge for about 0.4 miles to the trailhead on the right of the road. There is no designated parking area at the trailhead. You may wish to park before the trailhead near the large Forest Service sign on the right.  High clearance 4x4 is recommended for FR 81 and FR 70.

General Notes:
  • Connecting trails: Collins Trail #282, Venezia Trail #381
  • Maps:
    • USGS Map: 7.5’ quads for Battleship Butte and Groom Creek
    • Prescott National Forest Map, west half
  • Average hiking time: 3 hours, one way


Mountain Biking

  • This trail provides a unique experience of the Bradshaw Mountains.
Difficulty Level: Difficult

Day Hiking

  • Hikers can explore the Bradshaw Mountains and enjoy the tranquility of the pine forest without traveling far from town.
Difficulty Level: Difficult

Horse Riding

  • This trail provides a unique ride through the Bradshaw Mountains.
Difficulty Level: Difficult

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
5.1 miles

  Elevation : 
7,092 feet