Davenport Hill • San Francisco Volcanic Field
• Kaibab National Forest
• Coconino County

Davenport Hill seen from the meadow to the southwest

The summit cairn

The sign

Dogtown Reservoir and Bill Williams Peak

Another view, this from the southeast along FR-140

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Prominence Peaks


Date: June 7, 2017 • Elevation: 7,805 feet • Prominence: 735 feet • Distance: 5 miles • Time: 2 hours • Gain: 750 feet • Conditions: Clear with high clouds

My wife and I were in Flagstaff, taking a short vacation to celebrate my 50th birthday. We would encamp at the Motel-6 on Woodland Village Road, where we normally stay when here. We arrived late on Tuesday the 6th, but the upside was we had no traffic for the whole drive.

Today, I had a few peaks on the agenda, some mid-sized hills toward Williams. This one, Davenport Hill, was the primary objective, being the longest and ostensibly the most interesting of the batch, although that was just an uninformed opinion of mine. Information on the web is scant, and truthfully, I had never heard of it until scanning maps a few days beforehand. But it has a trail and seemed to be not-too-long nor not-too-short. I wanted to check it out.

I left the hotel at 6 a.m. and drove west to the Garland Prairie Exit, about 20 miles away. I went south, crossed over railroad tracks (the pavement ending here). Now I was on Kaibab Forest Road 140, which angled more east, then southeast. A couple miles later, I came to a "major" fork in the road, but no signage to tell me what the road numbers were. However, it looked correct per my map, so I took the right fork.

This road was slightly lesser in quality, and I drove in about a mile but was not sure it was the correct road, so I retreated back to the junction, drove more on FR-140 east, and found a sign (facing the other way) which did confirm that the other road (the one I was just on) was FR-141, the one I wanted after all. This all wasted about ten minutes.

I drove south on FR-141. The road gets rough for a couple miles, where deep ruts and an uneven tread were the worst problems. There were no rocks to deal with, but it appears that when wet, this stretch is boggy and slow to drain. Today was dry, fortunately, no hint of mud anywhere. I got past the bumpy bits and the road improved, crossing a meadow south of the hill. I then followed a side road (and signs) to the Dogtown Reservoir Campground.

I expected to see signs for the trailhead, but saw nothing. I drove both loops of the campground but saw nothing that looked like a trailhead. I then drove to the small day-use parking area near the lake (this being Dogtown Reservoir, a popular fishing locale). I parked and found a trail, I think. My map showed the trail supposedly skirting the campground, so I played a hunch, walked the northern loop, then walked across open ground to yes, a trail. I felt happy. But this trail simply petered out in the low grass. I tried to follow it, but didn't want to spend the whole hike going cross country. I returned to my vehicle, and saw the campground host doing his rounds.

He confirmed there is a trail, but seemed vague on its location. He also mentioned the trailhead sign I was looking for, for the Ponderosa Loop Trail, was "out for repairs" (whatever that meant). He handed me a brochure for the Ponderosa Loop Trail which mentioned a junction with the Davenport Trail. This was most helpful, so I thanked him, and started again. All this cost me another 45 minutes. It was close to 8 a.m. when I started again.

The Ponderosa Trail is just a one-mile loop nature stroll with numbered posts that tie-in with the brochure telling you what you're looking at. I stayed on this trail going north. It dropped about 50 feet into a drainage, which seemed incorrect to me. But I stayed on it and it soon bended right (east) and soon, I found the Davenport Trail and sign, so everything worked out well.

I followed this trail east, up and out of this drainage and across a meadow, past a gate and soon, crossing a road. This stretch covered a mile and was mostly flat. The day was clear with wispy high clouds and a bright sun. In the open, it was warm, but in the shade or if a breeze picked up, it was pleasantly cool.

Beyond the road junction, the trail starts to gain uphill, crossing one more gate, then going in and out of the folds of the mountain, generally north and west of the summit. Up this high it was shaded with thick ponderosa and gambel oak, plus other "oaky" strains whose names I am not entirely sure of. Getting close to the top, I rounded a bend and heard some rustling, looking up just in time to see a big elk's butt as the creature scooted away from me into the trees. I was also looking for bears but saw none, nore did I see any scat.

The trail meanders a little, crossing onto the peak's southwest slope, then angles up to the top, where a 6-foot tall cairn stands, topped by a stick. For such an obscure peak, it surely has one of the more impressive cairns. It had taken me just over an hour to get here, a 2.5-mile one way hike. The views from the top were wooded, so I didn't stay long, just long enough to drink and rest.

I followed the same route on the way out, but stopped a few times for photos and views. I could see many of the surrounding big peaks at times, but the forest kept good views limited. I did not take that many photos. As nice as it is hiking in ponderosa forest, photos taken from within are usually very bland, looking like every other photo ever taken of a trail in a ponderosa forest. I did get one image of Dogtown Reservoir and Bill Williams Peak in the background.

I was back to my car after another hour, the time about 10 a.m.. I rested briefly, but not too long, as I had my eyes on at least one more peak. I had promised Beth I'd be back by noon, so I had two hours to use up. I opted to hike KA Hill, an easy bump about five miles to the southeast.

I give Davenport Hill a positive review. If there were a Yelp page, I'd rate it 3 out of 5 stars. It's a nice easy hike, you get a workout, and the campground looks decent. Most people there were clearly there for the fishing. Everyone had boats or kayaks with them (I think motorized boats are prohibited). I'd stay there in the future. Surprised I'd never heard of it. I don't know how often the peak is hiked, as there was no register at the summit. I suspect not that often.

(c) 2017 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.