Kachina Village, Arizona (Coconino) Technical Rating: 1-3
Last Updated: 07-25-2017
Coconino National Forest / Red Rock District
Jerome Road Highlights
Out in the deep depths of the northwestern Coconino National Forest is an old off-road dirt trail called Jerome Rd. Today it is primarily used as a connecting trail to and from Casner Mountain Trail. I can only speculate that the origins of this road have something to do with the old ghost town of Jerome or it's namesake, but even the oldest of maps do not show a direct geographic connection between the two. In fact most older maps don't cover this area very well at all because it's right in-between major cities, making it difficult to see the full picture.
Some maps suggest a connection to what is now called Mooney Trail which has long been used as a path for driving cattle. This would suggest the Jerome Road area would have been used by ranchers from the Verde Valley heading up towards Flagstaff, and by horse back riders from Flagstaff heading south to Jerome.
Technical rating: (1-3) Easy
Dirt road. Rutted, washes, or gulches. Water crossings up to 6" depth. Passable mud. Grades up to 10 degrees. Small rocks or holes. 4WD recommended but 2WD possible under good conditions and with adequate ground clearance and skill. No width problems for any normal vehicle. Vehicle passing spots frequently available if less than two vehicles wide.
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Directions to Trailhead
Jerome Rd is found deep in the Coconino National Forest along a southern section of what is currently designated as FR 538 and all of 538B, just above the Mogollon Rim. The easiest way to get to it is from Woody Mountain Road / FR 231 onto FR 538. Follow FR 538 south past 538D / Turkey Butte Lookout Tower, and you'll be on Jerome Road.
Jerome Road is a off-road dirt trail that can be done in almost any high clearance vehicle. It drives through thick pine tree forests and along side high voltage power lines. You can often find muddy puddles along the way which may require four-wheel drive to get through without getting stuck.
1: FR 538D North Intersection (0.0mi)
Head south following the sign towards Winter Cabin trail. This is the northern end of the 538D / Turkey Butte Loop.
3: FR 9018G Intersection (0.9mi)
Continue straight along FR 538. FR 9018G will take you towards the east.
4: Powerlines (2.9mi)
This is the most northern section of Jerome Road that is alongside the high voltage power lines.
5: 538A Intersection (2.1mi)
Continue straight through this intersection. Heading onto 538A will take you east towards East Pocket Lookout Road.
6: 538H (2.1mi)
Stay to the left through this intersection as you head south. Turning right will take you to the west where you can go to the Winter Cabin Trail hiking trailhead.
7: 538 & 538B Intersection (2.5mi)
Turn south onto FR 538B to continue on Jerome Road. Continuing on FR 538 will take you southeast towards a dead end at the Mogollon Rim.
8: FR 6345 Intersection (3.3mi)
Continue straight as you pass the turnoff for FR 6345. This road is currently not on the official Motor Vehicle Usage Map for Coconino National Forest making it technically closed.
Camping and Lodging
Dispersed camping is allowed along FR 538 (not FR 538B), but even better would be to head out to the end of the nearby trail East Pocket road / FR 231 to get a good camping spot near the Mogollon Rim where you can take in the awesome views of the Verde Valley from your camp site.
Questions & Answers
Offroaded on 07-25-2017
This road stretches through the now 5 year old remains of the Taylor fire. As such, you'll find areas very eroded. Expect 18" deep "puddle" right in the middle of the road if you go during monsoon season. However, the road is passable by most any 4x4 (maybe not AWD during the muddy times). Follow it down towards the north gate of Casner and you'll get to see some awesome views! Please be respectful of the trail. Go through the puddle without splashing all the water to the side if you can, and avoid driving around and creating additional tracks.