Length: 6.5 miles
Today, I again ventured north to the Tonto National Forest to hike one of the "30 Great Summer Trails".
The Donahue Trail was quite different from my previous hike in the Payson region of the Tonto National Forest. The Donahue Trail had the same beautiful mountain scenery as well as spectacular views of the Mogollon Rim; however, unlike my previous trek in the area, the Donahue Trail goes straight up and provided an amazing panoramic view of the area from above!
Unfortunately, these wonderful views did come at a price - the Donahue Trail is a 3-mile climb to the top of a fairly steep mountain! The first half of the trail was well shaded and fairly flat...however, the second half was a series of switchbacks leading to the top of the mountain. (Switchbacks are a series of zig-zagging trails that gradually lead to the top/bottom of a mountain.) After going back and forth, over and over again, you begin to think that the top of the mountain is never going to come. Although this makes for hard going on the way up, the way down is fast and simple. In fact, on the way down we were rewarded for all our hard work by the breathtaking view of a large elk standing just off of the trail.
Although the heat and steepness of the trail made for hard-going, the remarkable views and the chance to interact with wildlife easily made it all worthwhile.
To view more pictures of my excursion to the Donahue Trail, click here.