This hike is situated just outside of the Four Peaks and Superstition Wilderness Areas, and a few miles west of the Salome Wilderness Area. Great views of all three and of Roosevelt Lake and Dam can be seen throughout. This is also a segment of the Arizona Trail, picking up from SR188 and taking you to the edge of the Four Peaks Wilderness, where the Four Peaks Trail #130 then picks up the AZT.
Start right at the bridge adjacent to Roosevelt Dam. Park just north of the bridge in the large pullout area and look across the road for the blue Juntion 88 sign. Right behind that is a wooden trail marker saying Vineyard Trail #131. At only about 0.1 mile in, there is a plaque and information commemorating Camp O'Rourke, which is where the workers lived who built Roosevelt Dam in the early 1900's. Look across the drainage that you immediately cross, and you can see the remains of some of the strutures.
After this, the hike immediately begins to get very steep. 1100' of the total 1480' elevation gains occurs in the first 1.5 miles. In addition to the strenuous climb, there is also alot of loose rock. Choose your footing carefully on the bare rock. There are also some smaller catclaw plants that happen to be right in the middle of the trail, requiring careful navigation around them. Views of the bridge and dam are good in some overlook spots. Roosevelt Lake and Dutchwoman Butte are very prominent to the east, and Four Peaks to the west. When you see the radio tower, the hike will begin to level off, but just for a little while.
At 2.8 miles, you will encounter a lava flow that the trail goes right through, making for some unsteady footing. To your left (south), there is a fantastic view of a canyon full of saguaros that drops precipitously down to the Salt River. You can make out some mountains in the Superstitions if you're familiar enough with that area. SR88 is also very prominent.
After the lava flow, the trail crosses a valley and meets FR336. Make a left onto this road and follow it for about 0.15 miles to where the Vineyard Trail picks up again. This junction is well marked and seems to be where the road ends, although mapping shows it goes further to the south.
From there, the trail follows ridgelines of the area on its way up to the Mills Ridge TH, where it ends. Steep sections are interspersed between the level sections. Each steep section seems to get just a little harder as you near the end of the trail. From Mills Ridge, you can start to follow the Four Peaks Trail #130 all the way to the Lone Pine TH (on another hike maybe). One-Way Notice:
This hike is listed as One-Way. When you hike several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example