Arizona, General George Cook Trail

General George Cook Trail

State: Arizona
Location: Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
Length, One-Way: 138 miles
Trail Type: Out and Back
Minimum Elevation: 6500 feet
Maximum Elevation: 7900 feet
Best Season: Spring to Fall
Difficulty: Moderate
Usage: Light

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Trail Information

The Crook Trail is named after General George Crook, the Commander of the Military Department of Arizona in 1871, who was in charge of subduing the Apache Indians and confining them to reservations. General Crook, who was known as “Gray Wolf” by the Apaches, rode mules along the trail as they were more sure-footed than horses. The trail was built under Crook’s command in 1872 to connect Fort Whipple, the Arizona military headquarters near Prescott and Fort Apache. Supplies and troops were moved to Fort Apache on this trail and for 22 years the trail was used as a route to patrol the northern boundary of the Apache Reservation. The General George Cook Trail is located in northern Arizona within 3 National Forests: the Prescott, Coconino and the Apache-Sitgreaves. Originally 200 miles in length, 138 miles are maintained today and 57 miles are located within the Chevelon/Heber Ranger Districts. The maintained trail begins in Dewey, near Prescott and proceeds east through Camp Verde, up along the Mogollon Rim and finally ends at Cottonwood Wash near the community of Pinedale.

The General George Cook Trail is marked with visible chevrons (V’s) on the trees adjacent to the trail. The trail merges with Forest Road 300 on top of the Rim. A few mileposts with mileage indicated from Camp Verde have been placed along the trail by local clubs and groups. Many portions of the trail are not maintained as a footpath. Instead the chevrons “blaze” the route to follow.

Portions of the General George Cook Trail are suitable for hiking and equestrian use and, in the winter, for cross-country skiing. Connecting trails on the west end provide a connection with the Highline Trail at the base of the Rim on the Tonto National Forest.

After snow begins to fall, it is common to see snowshoers and backcountry skiers along the Crook Trail.


The trail can be accessed on the Chevelon/Heber Ranger Districts from the west via Forest Road 300 south of Knolls Lake. An easy way to find the trail is by visiting the Rim Visitor Center on State Highway 260. The trail passes just east of the Center and is well-marked. There are also numerous roads south of State Highway 260 that bisect the trail. Major trailheads are at Military Sinkhole and Al Fulton Point.

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