Hiking Woodchute Trail will leave you in awe of Arizona’s beautiful scenery. I wish it hadn’t been as hazy the day we went because these photos really aren’t going to do it the justice it deserves.
To be honest, I had never heard of the Woodchute Trail #102 before. With thousands of trails in Arizona, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, once we got to the end of the trail I was surprised I hadn’t heard of it before. The views were outstanding and it should be a more popular hike in my opinion.
This hike is in the Woodchute Wilderness, approximately 4 miles west of Jerome, AZ. We accessed it coming from Prescott. The name Woodchute comes from back in the day when local miners sent logs down a “chute” on the side of the mountain. And to think, Chutes & Ladders could have been called Chutes & Logs…darn.
I couldn’t help but be sad for half of this hike. There was a flyer at the beginning saying that someone had lost their 8-week-old puppy on the trail a couple of weeks prior. I just kept thinking of this scared, lost puppy that thought its humans abandoned it.
Although we only saw two other people on this entire hike (1 of which we actually happened to know…small world), this place would be so easy for your animal to get lost. There are thick trees, brush, and an ever-changing landscape. Leashes are probably a good idea. Plus, there is wildlife in this area…which my husband was kind enough to remind me of. “Don’t be sad, I’m sure the puppy didn’t suffer because a mountain lion or bobcat probably tracked that thing down within a matter of hours,” he says. Re-assuring, I suppose (on the not suffering part).
For the actual hike itself, the Woodchute Trail hike is really diverse because I felt like I was on three different hikes at times. It begins in a forested area and there’s a good amount of shade as you begin to climb your way up. The trail is mostly smooth and well-marked.
You get beyond the trees and the hike is exposed for a while. It’s actually really impressive here (and slightly bipolar) because on one side of the mountain is a forest with pine trees and on your other side looking down is mostly desert trees and shrubs.
The elevation gain is sneaky in the beginning and then decides there is no room for mercy. You are going up until you reach the top. Next, we go back into a partially-shaded area where the trail itself looks like you’re climbing up a rock slide. If you look to your left at the right time, you can see a pond down in the meadow.
Since you’re technically hiking a mesa, once you get to the top it’s pretty flat and you’re good to go. It continues to be partial shade at this point. A good portion of the Woodchute Trail hike is up on the mesa. Once you get to the end, you can see Jerome, Sedona, and more. The views are just endless and gorgeous.
Besides getting your heart rate up, this is not a very difficult hike. It took us a little under 3 hours and we hiked 6.89 miles roundtrip. We stopped several times for photographs along the way and numerous pictures at the end. Our “moving time” was 2:23, so if you’re not into taking pictures for some reason, you can do the hike much quicker than 3 hours.
Data from my Garmin vivoactive:
I would recommend good sturdy shoes so you don’t accidentally twist an ankle on the rock slide part of the trail. There were some wildflowers left when we went (beginning of June). I would recommend going in April if you want to see a lot more wildflowers or in the fall if you’re aiming for cooler weather. It was a little warm in the exposed areas even though the hike begins at a much higher elevation than what I’m used to in Phoenix.
Have you done Woodchute Trail or have you even heard of this hike before? Let me know in the comments below.
Happy hiking, friends!