Kaibab National Forest

Kaibab National Forest

Beale Wagon Road Historic Trail

This historic trail has as much to offer the modern traveler as it did the ranchers and immigrants of the 1860s and 70s when it was a major interstate road stretching between Ft. Smith, Arkansas and the Colorado River. Broad vistas stretch out across a backdrop of high mountain peaks. Wild turkey, deer, and elk frequent the forests. Red-tailed hawks and antelope are common on the prairies.

Because modern-day roads and development followed the Beale Road (a testament to its enduring usefulness), relatively few stretches of the Beale Wagon Road allow hikers and horseback riders a chance to travel into the past. Two of the best areas are the open grasslands of Government Prairie and dense pinyon-juniper woodlands near Laws Spring. From Laws Spring, hike about 1/4 mile south and east along the marked trail (go left onto the marked trail) to discover a segment of original wagon road. It appears as two rows of rocks about a wagon-width apart.

Length: 19.5 miles one way Rating: Easy to Moderate Use: Light

Trailhead Location: This historic route is located on the Kaibab Forest, running east-west, primarily across the Chalender Ranger District. It is north of and roughly parallels Interstate 40.

Hiking Time: A variety of access points provide for hikes of varying length and time.

Use Restrictions: Travel by motorized vehicle is prohibited on sections of the Beale Road located off of Forest Service roads.

Recommended Season: Late spring, late fall

USGS Map(s): Williams NE, Parks, Wing Mtn. (A Forest map may be useful; they can be purchased at the Visitor Center.)

Road Conditions: About 30 miles of cinder or gravel surfaced roads intersect the Beale Road. These roads are suitable for passenger vehicles.

Trail Layout: The Forest Service is developing the Beale Wagon Road into a recreational trail. The route makes use of forest roads and trails which have been marked with rock cairns, brass cap markers, tree blazes, and 4" by 4" wood posts. A treadway has not been cleared on the trail sections, so it can be a challenge to follow. Trailheads, with interpretive signs, are planned, but currently Laws Springs has the only developed parking facility along the trail. The trail sections are open only to hikers and horseback riders. Portions of the historic route that are part of the forest road system may be accessed by any means, including motor vehicles and mountain bicycles.

Directions

As the accompanying map indicates, there are several points where the Beale Road hiking and equestrian trail is accessible. Laws Spring, with its historic and prehistoric rock carving and original road segment, is one major access point; another is located at the junction of FR 100 and FR 107, about 7 miles north of Parks. This route has been marked across the Kaibab National Forest with closely spaced rock cairns, distinctive brass caps, tree blazes and 4" wood posts. These markings can be found along FRs 141, 107, 97, and 84. Other access points are marked on the ground at the points indicated by asterisk on the accompanying map.

More detailed information on location and access to this trail is available at the Visitor Center.