"Can't believe I've never hiked this trail before" went through my mind a dozen times as I made my way from the bottom to the top of this outstanding trail. I now know why this has been designated a National Recreation trail! I arrived at Upper Arcadia (6am) to find it completly full for a family reunion and had to park along the Swift Trail. There were so many campers that I was weaving my way around tents that were pitched right ON the first 100 yards of the trail. Once through the mess, I was just blown away by the scenery of this trail! Some of the best views I've ever seen on the Pinalenos all the way up to the top. The forest on the last half of this trail was completly destroyed by the 2004 Nuttall/Gibson fire but, I found it just as beautiful as the lower half with all the young aspens & fern fields throughout! Having hiked Heliograph Peak loop the week before, I made the junction on top my turnaround point and headed back down. I rarly encounter other hikers on Pinaleno trails so I was a little surprized to meet 2 on the way up & 8 on the way down including one on a horse
This trail now has a place on my "Pinaleno Fav 5" list and I'll be back often to hike it! No big wildlife sightings on this trip but, I did find a lot of bear tracks & poo on the upper half and about 200 two legged creatures at the lower half enjoying the start of the Memorial weekend.