By Amanda Lain, Owner The Hike Shack
While I have no idea where it got its name, the Honey Bucket Trail has recently received a makeover that was a long time coming. This old social trail is a fun downhill hike from the Thumb Butte Loop road to Trail 322.
The new Honey Bucket Trail #33 came to life this past winter in an excellent way. The views are once again amazing – there are rock features that will test your technical abilities on a bike, and bring a little life to the trail on foot as well.
The trail begins at the Big Juniper parking area approximately 1.5 miles from where the Thumb Butte Loop Road turns to dirt and splits from the Dearing Park Road. The parking area is also the turn for Forest Service Road 51. The FS Road is closed now, but there is plenty of parking as well as some dispersed camping sites. There are no amenities at this site, so bring plenty of water and remember to pack out your trash.
The trail is about 2 miles long and winds through the woods as it slowly descends towards Thumb Butte. At about 1 mile it crosses FS Road 51, so if you want to cut this into a short loop, you can head back up the road to the trail head which makes the hike about a 1.5 mile loop.
If you are in for a longer adventure, there are a few options. My sister and I turned this in to a 4 mile hike one summer morning by taking the trail all the way to Trail 322. This intersection is marked; don’t mistake it for the old road you have to cross before making it to this junction. At this point we made a left on Trail 322 and hiked for about ½ a mile to the intersection of Trails 326, 392 and 322. Trail 326 looks more like an old dirt road and from here we headed back up to where Trail 333 crosses it. We decided to take 333 back to the parking area to finish our hike. We spent a couple hours on the trial, had plenty of shade, and got a nice little workout.
This would be a great hike to watch the monsoons roll in during the late summer afternoons or an amazing sunrise first thing in the morning. I have ridden this trail many times since it was finished. It is a great connection to so many other trails, and was a blast to ride in both directions. It could be considered a little more technical than average as a ride. However you choose to enjoy it I highly recommend it!
For more information about local hikes and gear visit The Hike Shack at 104 N. Montezuma Street in downtown Prescott. For more information call 928.443.8565 or visit www.azhikeshack.com