Cottonwood, Arizona (Maricopa) Technical Rating: 5-6
Last Updated: 11-19-2016
Coconino National Forest / Red Rock District
Greasy Spoon Highlights
Hidden back in the northwestern part of Verde Valley among the beautiful red rocks and bordered on the north by the Mogollon Rim is a pipeline with a trail running next to it. This isn't just any old trail, this is an exciting - although slow speed - roller coaster ride for four-wheel drive vehicles. While many refer to it as Pipeline Trail because of the adjacent pipes on it's east-to-west section, more commonly it's known by the Greasy Spoon Tank adjacent to its north-to-south section.
You'll find many fun challenges along this trail, from small ledges to large boulders, and small washes to massively deep ones. There's also a few long steep hills with large rocks along the way, and of course it's all covered in the red dirt and rocks that make the Red Rock District within Coconino National Forest so famous.
Technical rating: (5-6) Moderate
Quite rocky or deep ruts. Rocks to 12" and frequent. Water crossings may exceed hub depth with strong currents. Shelves to 6". Mud may require checking before proceeding. Moderate grades to 20 degrees. Sidehill may approach 30 degrees. 4WD necessary and second attempts may be required with stock vehicles. Caution may be required with wider vehicles.
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Directions to Trailhead
From within Sedona, take 89A to FR 152 / Dry Creek Road. Head north for almost 3 miles until you come to a T-intersection. Turn left / west and continue straight for about 4.5 miles to another T-intersection. Turn left / west again and continue straight on the dirt road for about 7.6 miles passing all side-roads until you reach FR 152A which takes you south along the trail.
You can also take the trail backwards by going north on FR 525 / Loy Butte Road to a Y-intersection 2.8 miles north of 89A. Stay to the right / east and the southern trailhead will be just down the road on the right.
Most of the off-road trail is a moderately easy dirt road with some small ledges and washes and the occasional larger obstacle. However, if you're looking for something more challenging, just wait until you get to the middle of the southern east-to-west section of the trail. This part of the trail has multiple canyons that you'll descend into and then climb out of like a roller coaster. These hills are steep with large rocks that can be very challenging to stock 4x4 vehicles. A lift and over-sized tires are recommended, and some form of traction control would be very useful in a few spots.
2: 9594 Intersection (0.4mi)
Stay to the left (east) through this intersection to continue towards the Greasy Spoon Tank
3: Northeast Washes (2.0mi)
There's a bunch of small washes through this area, but some still big enough to get stuck in, if you're not paying attention. The washes only get bigger as you travel further south.
4: Greasy Spoon Tank (2.9mi)
To the east of the trail is Greasy Spoon Tank, and the remnants of a cattle ranch. The tank isn't easy to see and may be dried up at times.
5: Gate (3.2mi)
You can only turn west or north here, depending on which way you are taking the trail. This gate prevents you from entering the fenced off area that was once an old "Jeep Trail" to the east.
6: Canyons to West (3.8mi)
As you continue west from here, you'll be entering a section of very deep washes or small canyons. This is the most difficult part of the trail.
7: Big Wash (4.2mi)
This is the largest and deepest wash along the way, and is also known as Diamandback Gulch. The hills on both sides are steep and long with moderate steps and large rocks.
8: Top of Long Hill (4.4mi)
This is the top of a long hill you'll have to climb or descend into a very deep canyon.
9: 9576 Intersection (4.5mi)
Continue straight past these old trails that are no longer on the forest service's Motorized Vehicle Usage Map; meaning they are technically closed. Beside they don't really lead to anything.
10: South Washes (4.7mi)
There's a series of good sized washes in this area for you to enjoy. This is also near the west end of the rollercoaster of canyons and washes.
11: Jackass Fire Pit (5.1mi)
While overnight camping is not allowed along this trail, you can still have a fire in this fire pit. You can also find Jackass Tank just to the north of the trail.
12: 9575 Intersection (5.4mi)
Continue straight through the fence avoiding the cattle guard. Here you'll find some more old trails that lead to nothing too interesting.
Camping and Lodging
There's no overnight camping allowed along the trail, but the adjacent 525C has a good number of primitive, dispersed camping sites along it. You can also venture into Sedona or Cottonwood for hotels and resorts. Coconino National Forest also offers a large variety of camping options.
Questions & Answers