Love a Panoramic Tour of Arizona’s Purely natural Grandeur: Hike the Woodchute Mountain Wilderness, Jerome

With climbing temperatures and report breaking heat during the  Arizona desert, the summer time months are classified as the best time for heading up north to bigger elevations, 7000ft or larger, exactly where the temperatures are cooler and you’ll get outdoors once more to delight in more from the purely natural natural beauty and variety that’s point out of Arizona and its terrain. For any fast and easy summer working day excursion and also a quiet, a lot less crowded, easy-moderate hike with amazing panoramic sights of Arizona, I like to recommend hiking the Woodchute Trail, during the Woodchute Mountain Wilderness, in close proximity to Jerome.

Starting out from Phoenix, you’ll be wanting to acquire I-17 north until you get to the exit for Route 260 West, Cottonwood/ Clarkdale & Jerome. We started out around 8:30 am on a weekday so the traffic and road conditions were pretty good. We noticed there seemed to be a lot of Arizona Highway patrol cars everywhere so be very careful to watch your speed. After a few short stops along the way, we arrived while in the small town of Cottonwood at around 10:30am, made a left onto route 89A South, and followed the signs for Jerome. On 89A South, you are going to begin a winding ascent up in elevation from 3000 feet up all the way up to 5000 feet, with some really beautiful views from the surrounding Verde Valley behind you.

We arrived inside the historic town of Jerome and after a short break to stretch our legs, we continued on our journey heading south on 89A, now called the “Mingus Mountain Scenic Byway”. With many tight twisting, hairpin curves as well as a winding ascent up in elevation now from 5000 feet to 7000 feet, the sights along the way are absolutely spectacular! This very scenic drive from Jerome to the top of Mingus Mountain is roughly about 8 miles. Once you get to the top you can expect to see a sign for “Mingus Recreation Area” off to the left. Turn right, then drive a short ways until you come to FR 106, then acquire that for about a mile until you come to the Woodchute Trail. The road is all dirt but good and passable for regular vehicles if you choose it slow. However, if you have a high clearance 2WD or a 4WD, that’d be better.

After arriving at the trailhead by noon we set out on our hike on the Woodchute Trail. It was a really nice, peaceful and serene hike which wound through thick ponderosa pine forest. The elevation ranged from 7000 feet to roughly 7600 feet with only a reasonable, gentle climb. The temperature was roughly while in the low 80’s with a light breeze to keep you cool. Starting out on the path we noticed some signs of a burn, though not too bad. What I liked best about this hike was the spectacular panoramic mountain top views it offered. Only a short ways down the path and off to your right you will see the view down below of 89A winding up to the top of Mingus Mountain, but as well, looking up and beyond you may see amazing views of the entire surrounding geographic area of Arizona such as the Verde Valley, the Red Rocks, the Mogollon Rim and off to the distance almost dead north you will even see the tops with the San Francisco Peaks! Then a little ways further down the path and off to your left you’ll attain another ridge where during the distance you can expect to now see amazing views of your Prescott and Chino Valleys, making it almost a completely panoramic tour in the northern state of Arizona!

We continued mountaineering the Woodchute Path for several miles then returned back to our car by about 2:30pm to head back down to Jerome once again via 89A. Once we arrived, we had a little time to spare so we decided to stop in at the very well known “Giselle’s Bakery” on Main Street and after getting some wonderful pastries to consider home with us, we then drove up the street to check out the famous, “Jerome Grand Hotel”, which they say is Arizona’s most haunted hotel. It’s a very beautiful and historic hotel that has a lot of reports of paranormal activity and was even visited recently by the Ghost Adventures paranormal investigators team from the Travel Channel which aired earlier this year. We stopped in for an hour or so and ordered a nice cold locally brewed micro beer in their restaurant & lounge called “The Asylum”. We did not see any ghosts while we were there but were told that if you really would like to see ghosts, you can come back anytime and they’ll take you on a real live Ghost Hunting Tour of your own!

After a quick tour of your first floor and main lobby on the hotel we left Jerome around 5pm to return back to Phoenix by 7pm. We really enjoyed this excursion to the Woodchute Mountain Wilderness and our visit to the old historic (and haunted) town of Jerome. It was a really nice, speedy and straightforward summer working day excursion and hike that’s not far from Phoenix at a high elevation of 7000+ feet and with temperatures great for getting outdoor. Plus, this very easy-moderate hike had gorgeous scenery and views that will absolutely take your breath away. I highly propose it. We look forward to returning all over again soon in the close to future and possibly staying a night or two at the haunted Jerome Grand Hotel!

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