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East Copper Trail #260 to Francis Peak

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Prescott National Forest

East Copper Trail #260 to Francis Peak is a 9.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Prescott, Arizona that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from September until May. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 9.2 miles Elevation Gain: 1,948 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

views

From milepost 300.7 on Highway 89, walk downhill on Forest Road 53 for a tenth of a mile to the bottom of Copper Creek. A large sign for East Copper Trail greets you here, next to some large ponderosa pines. Turn right (east) onto the East Copper Trail, which begins climbing steeply up the east slope of the canyon along a multiple-use trail bed (hiker/horse/ohv). One quarter of a mile in, at a small saddle, the pines give way to chaparral brush and occasional alligator junipers. For the next couple of miles the East Copper Trail makes a steady (and at times steep) climb up a series of connecting ridges, passing a couple of old mine tunnels along the way. Be sure to turn around and enjoy the impressive view of the northern Bradshaw peaks and the rugged Hassayampa River country. A couple of potential wrong turns are averted with well placed "260" trail signs. Two miles in and having gained some 1100 feet, East Copper leaves the ridges behind to head for the pine filled basin in the distance. Passing a signed junction with Aspen Creek Trail #48, the East Copper Trail drops into the forested bottom of what one might call "East Copper Canyon". The trail continues its now gentler ascent through gambel oak and ponderosa pine in a pleasant, high mountain valley. East Copper Spring itself is passed as the trail climbs out of the valley towards its high point in a saddle on the west side of Mount Francis. Shortly beyond the high point saddle, East Copper Trail comes to an end at a locked gate along the Mount Francis Road. Consider a half mile side hike to the top of Mount Francis. It's worth the view. It’s an Out and Back Moderate Trail with 1,832 feet of gain and 159 feet of gain on the return and is 4.8 miles one way or 9.6 round trip. Best time is from September through May. The trail has shade when you enter the forest and there is three creeks that are very easy to cross. There are some springs in the forest about 1/2 mile before you arrive on the Mount Francis Road. The locked gate is the way to the summit and is legal to go through on foot only. The trail is rocky in several places and steep. There is wildlife and dogs are ok if on a lease. About 1.5 miles from the start from HWY 89 you will come across a mine shaft on your left which has a fence across it. Do not try and drive from the parking area off hwy 89 to the trailhead as the road is very steep and a good way to get stuck at the bottom. It’s not worth the effort.

hiking
great!
rocky
14 hours ago

This trail might be on the harder side of moderate. There is a lot of loose rock and uphill from the very beginning. Get ready to jump right in to some good climbing for most of the first half. Once you get to #48 the hard part of the climb is done. You are rewarded with lots of shade and pine trees. We really liked it. Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes, we saw a pretty large black tail on the way back.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
18 days ago

Well marked trail with pretty views! There were a fair amount of loose rocks and was glad I had my hiking poles for the way down. Some parts were fairly steep, others nice and shaded and meandering through the woods. Most of the trail was not shaded. Took me about 4.5 hours. Would do it again for sure. I had good cell signal the whole way.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Creds- AllTrails Pro. 9.6 mi ~2,100’ EG since added loop going back to 260. Pro let’s you know if off trail after ~ 5 feet. 3 May 2020 Sunday. Left 7:45 am weather forecast ~75F, but sun exposure altitude up to 7100’ need at least 3 liters water. AllTrails Pro red line spot on. Entire trail provided mostly 4-5 foot wide trail with NO overgrown shrubbery. Trail well marked. Easily drank 3 liters water (vitamix apple and cucumber in water for better hydration) Recommend taking 737 to 48 loop back to 260 for variation and nice single track trail. No one on trail. Saw 1 person at top.

no shade
over grown
rocky
2 months ago

We followed the red line and wound up on a steep overgrown trail until we intersected with trail 260. much nicer after this. actually a wonderful trail after this. Tips... The red line is not very accurate. The downloaded map shows many alternative trails. take your pick. At the start look for copper trail #260. Take this trail coming and going. It's a nice trail. Have fun, it's worth it.

hiking
no shade
rocky
2 months ago

This hike starting at FS 53 off 89A at mile marker 300.7 milage from the Southern Boarder. This shows me descending however i ascended on another save. For some reason while on pause the program shutoff so i had to start a new which is this. As soon as you start hiking from your vehicle the 4x4 road descends steeply for 1/10 of a mile where East Copper Trail #260 starts. And does it ever start, ascending steeply and it's that way for 2.5 miles and very rocky in spots and loose. Some parts have little tiny pepples that are like ball bearings, slippery. The views are awesome the higher you go. The milage of 6.8 miles from FS 53 to Mount Francis Road of 3.4 miles is incorrect. It's 4.4 miles to the locked gate, then 1/2 mile to to summit of Mount Francis and 265' of elevation gain. The total round trip to the summit of mount francis is 9.8 miles and 1,732 feet of elevation gain. The views to the North are incredible and Humphreys Peak is easily seen and the mountain next to it. Bring lots of water as i went through 3 liters with temp of 62 degrees. When you get into the forest you can smell the pine trees and there is running clear water in several places although i would treat it first before drinking. From fs 53 about 1.3 miles is a large mine. Never seen any others the entire time i was there. Park on top at fs53 and don't try driving down to the trailhead as it's not worth the risk of a stuck vehicle.

5 months ago

I did this impromptu. Went halfway and turned back cuz I'd only brought 2 liters of water. Prior reviews are accurate. No shade. Overgrown. My legs and arms were violently assaulted by bushes, unprovoked. Wear pants and sleeves for bushwacking if you wanna go walking into these bush's neighborhood uninvited. This 'hood is fiercely defended by local flora. Anyway, January is a nice time for this hike. Probably insufferable come Summer, even Spring.

hiking
no shade
over grown
rocky
scramble
washed out
7 months ago

hiking
no shade
over grown
rocky
washed out
9 months ago

This trail needs some TLC. It’s overgrown sticker bushes, loose rock and little to no shade. I wouldn’t recommend this unless there was another route to the top.

hiking
Thu May 10 2018

We tried to do this trail today but could not find it off of FR 53. After much searching we decided to climb using East Copper Trail #260 which is obviously an ATV trail with lots of loose rocks and deep cuts in the trail. After ascending this trail when we got about half way up we found signs of Trail #48 that intersected Trail #260 but it was obvious this trail has not been used in a very long time. On our way back down we took what we thought was the old Trail #48 which cut a significant distance off of the descent. However, the trail was very overgrown with grass, desert brush, prickly pear and loose rock. You had to watch every footfall to keep from falling. This area is very pretty but it does not have much tree cover like we were hoping and on a very warm day in the 80's it was hot and a real trudge all the way to the top. A better hike might have been just on FR 53 up the end and back versus either #260 or what was left of #48.

mountain biking
Thu Jan 29 2015

Did this trail on my unicycle. It's 3.8m one way if you shuttle. Otherwise it's some of the most grueling uphill followed by a fun downhill back. Make sure to park just off the highway and walk or ride down that tenth mile to the trail head (unless your in a 4x4 vehicle)

hiking
Sat May 31 2014

Mt. Francis was a very pleasant hike. There weren't more then 4-5 inclines but many very scenic views. On many spots of the trail you have a great view of Copper Basin leading into the foothills of Mt. Union and Spruce Mountain. I especially liked the area of this hike, its in a fairly dense part of the forest. Most of the hike is shaded by ponderosa trees but has brief balds with great views. I did the mount francis hike but took another trail to make an easy 7 mile loop

hiking
7 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
5 months ago

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