Saturday, January 9, 2016

SxS Adventure - Chino Valley, AZ To Williams, AZ Apr 2013

Trip: Chino Valley, AZ to Williams, AZ and back.
Distance: 231.5 miles

Ever since getting my first SxS back in 2008, I have wanted to load it up and just drive while camping along the way.

The time finally came, and from 18 April 2013 to 21 April 2013 a friend and myself did just that.

With his 2008 Kawasaki Teryx and my 2013 Polaris RZR XP 900 4 loaded, we departed Chino Valley, AZ and headed north towards Williams, AZ. In total we logged 231.5 miles with 10% of those miles on primitive dirt roads and the remaining on Forest Service Roads. The roads were not too rough aside from a few pretty rocky areas. Other than a few cows, the roads were vacant to traffic, which was nice.

(Click On Photos To Enlarge)

Crossing The Verde River

Parked Along The Banks Of The Verde River


Our campsite that night (18 April 2013) was at the edge of a meadow, and was a perfect spot to watch the elk at the opposite tree line. That weather that night was cool, in the low 20’s and once away from the fire, it was obvious.

The next day (19 April 2013) we awoke early and began to break camp. After a thorough walk of camp to ensure no trash was left behind, we doused the fire pit one last time and continued on our journey. Our first stop was the Round Mountain Fire Tower, fortunately it was open so we were able to go to the top and get some pictures.

Round Mountain Fire Tower

Parked At The Base Of The Round Mountain Fire Tower

San Francisco Peaks

Another View From The Round Mountain Fire Tower

After spending a little time taking in the scenery from the Round Mountain Fire Tower, we headed towards JD Tank (Lake) After a short drive, we arrived at JD Tank (Lake). Other than several Canadian Geese, there was not much going on down there.

JD Tank (Lake)

Canadian Geese

Next stop, Sycamore Point which overlooks Sycamore Canyon. This was quite a view, if you ever have the chance, check it out!

Sycamore Canyon

From Sycamore Point, we made our way to Paradise Forks. Climbers frequent this area which is supposedly pretty well known in the climbers community.

Climber Information

You Think?

The Canyon

After hiking around and spending time talking to some Climbers from Flagstaff, we headed out and decided it was time to do some fishing. We made our way towards Dogtown Lake and wet some lines. With the wind picking up and the shallow depths of the water, fishing from the shore proved to be a bit tough. After catching my fair share of seaweed bass, lol I decided to turn my attention to the Ospreys who were having fantastic luck catching fish.


By now it was late afternoon and we decided to leave the lake and find our next home for the evening. We found a nice spot off the main road and setup camp. It didn’t take long for us to be greeted by a bunch of cows, however, they did not mind us being there and continued on their way. The weather that night was again cool, a little warmer than the previous night, but still in the 20’s.

The next morning (20 April 2013) we awoke early again, made some coffee, and laid out our plans for the day. Originally we had planned on staying the night there again as we would have to loop back through the area, however, decided to break camp and continue on as we wanted to have time to stop at JD’s House and Gravesite. As you likely will remember, we stopped at his Tank (Lake) the previous day, it was surprising how far his house was from the Tank (Lake) maybe it was his excuse to get out of the house for a while, lol. Before going to JD’s House and Gravesite, we headed to Stone Dam Lake to try our luck at fishing again, and once again, I caught my daily limit of seaweed bass.

Old Route 66

Stone Dam Lake

After a few hours at Stone Dam Lake, we packed up and started heading to JD’s House and gravesite. We parked and hiked back to where the house is located. The home is currently vacant, however, supposedly the Forest Service did use it in the past.

JD's House

JD’s Barn/Stable

After a short hike from the house, we found JD’s Gravesite.

JD's Gravesite

It was starting to get late, so we started to head back. We decided to make the trek all the way back to our original campsite on the first night which would put us into Chino Valley, AZ around noon on Sunday (21 April 2013) Once to camp, I did not waste any time checking to see if the elk were at the treeline again and sure enough they were. I grabbed my camera and proceeded to hike across the meadow to see if I could get some pictures. There was a small wash I figured would be perfect for me to get in and start shooting, however, by the time I got to it, they were gone. Likely didn’t help that the wind was blowing at my back and they likely smelled me before I even started walking out. I made my way back to camp, setup my tent, and we proceeded to prepare dinner. The night was clear and cool just as the other nights, however, sitting around a camp fire and looking at the stars can quickly make you forget about it.

The next morning (21 April 2013) was the same as the others, break camp and get packed, unfortunately, this morning would be the last time as it was time to head home.

Some Various Shots Along The Way Home

Overall it was a fantastic trip, thank you to my buddy Casey for joining me on this adventure!

Feel free to post your comments below.