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Name: FR300 (Haystack Butte Rd) Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: No votes yet
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (Moderate 4WD) - See description
Time: 4 - 6 hours Region: Central Arizona
Length: ~38 miles total (roundtrip) Elevation gain/loss/change: ~ +5150 ft / -5150 / 0 ft (roundtrip)
Type: Out and Back Avg Elevation: 3600 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, winter Fees: NA
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Medium Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: April, 2016
Short Description: A beautiful 4WD trail through some high desert which eventually drops you down to the Salt River
Geocaches: A few geocaches in the area: Over the hills to the flats; Stairway to heaven; Monument Spring
References / Contact Information: None
Points of interest: Salt River, beautiful desert scenery, Gleeson Falls, interesting rock formations
Special Considerations: Road is well-maintained and easy until you get to Haystack Ranch, then it gets rougher. Once you commit to going down to Salt River, there are few opportunities to turn around. Narrow shelf road down to Salt River.
How to get there: Take Hwy 60 north out of Globe (toward Show Low) and drive about 18 miles until you reach Waypoint 001 at ~ MM268.5. Click here for directions.

Trail Description

This trail can be separated into two distinct sections. The first is an easy 4WD/2WD high clearance well-maintained road. Most high clearance 2WD vehicles should be able to make it easily on this section of the road in good weather. This portion takes you through some rolling hills and beautiful desert scenery. There are also many great spots for car camping here. Keep an eye out for interesting rock formations and the old onyx mine.

The second section of this trail is much more difficult. Once you pass the Haystack Ranch, the road becomes less traveled and unmaintained. The descent down into the Salt River Canyon can be a little tricky for inexperienced drivers or stock vehicles and once you commit, there are very few places you can turn around. The Salt River and Gleeson Falls are beautiful and it's a wonderful place for a picnic.

General Information and History

I do not have any information on FR300 (Haystack Rd). Any information would be greatly appreciated.

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The Trail

From Highway 60 (between Globe and Salt River Canyon), turn north onto Haystack Butte Road (FR300) at Waypoint 001 (mile marker 268.5). Cross the cattle guard and begin driving along the well-maintained dirt road. The first portion of the road travels up and down rolling desert hills and is a beautiful drive in itself and can usually be done by 2WD high-clearance vehicles and passenger cars in good weather until you reach Haystack Ranch at Waypoint 006.

There are minor roads leading off in both directions along the road, not all have Waypoints associated with them. When in doubt, stay on the main road.

After 2.6 miles, pass road on left at Waypoint 002. Keep straight on main road. The same goes at Waypoint 003, another 1.9 miles further up the road.

Drive another 1.3 miles and pass the ranch on your right at Waypoint 004.

After another 2.7 miles, you will pass a little road on your left which leads to a corral at the JU Spring (Waypoint 004a). We checked it out. Nice area if the water was running, but it wasn't. Continue straight on the main road.

You will begin to see the rock formation and balanced rock near Waypoint 004b just before you arrive after driving another 0.9 miles. There is a nice parking area on the left and you can walk to the formations. They are fairly interesting and it's a short, easy hike. When you're done, continue north on Haystack Road.

Drive another 0.6 miles until you reach FR1973 on the right at Waypoint 004c (hard to see). If you want to walk up to the Onyx Mine, there's a decent parking area here. Walk up and try to find some nice onyx at the mine located at Waypoint Onyxmine.

From FR1973, continue driving another 1.5 miles and you will pass another road on the left at Waypoint 005. Drive another 2.1 miles until you come up to the road to the Haystack Ranch on the right at Waypoint 006. This is private property. Please do not go into the ranch.

After this, the road condition degrades significantly. You will need 4WD after this point. The road becomes narrower and more difficult the further you drive. But, if you want to go down to the river, keep driving along the main road for another 3.1 miles until you reach Waypoint 007.

This is perhaps the last place for you to turn around until you get down to the Salt River. There are very limited spots to pass or to turn around for the next mile. The road can be very washed out in places. I can see it becoming very bad after a big storm. It wasn't too difficult the time we went on it, but this could easily change.

Continue down into the canyon for the next mile. The views of the river are awesome. You will be down near the river at Waypoint 008. You may not be able to readily see Gleeson Falls though. These are really not"falls", they are rapids which can be negotiated with a raft. It is a very nice area though and worth the short walk.

Take a hard right at the river and continue another 1.2 miles until you reach the end of the road at Waypoint 0009. There are a few nice camping/picnic spots along the way. Check them out. Take a break in the shade, dip your feet in the cool water!

When you're done, backtrack the way you came in.

Have fun and be safe!

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