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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Middle Trail #202, AZ

no permit
263 38 2
Guide 38 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Globe S
2.8 of 5 by 10
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 0.55 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,640 feet
Elevation Gain 50 feet
Accumulated Gain 88 feet
Avg Time One Way 0.5 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 0.84
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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15  2019-06-05
Pioneer Ferndell & Middle Trails
23  2018-11-09
Six Shooter - Pinal Peak - Telephone
25  2018-05-05
Pinal Signal Peak Loop
20  2017-10-28
Pinal Mountains 4X Super Loop
14  2017-10-14
Pinals 2x Wussy Loop
8  2016-10-17
Pioneer Trail #196
15  2016-10-15
Telephone - Pinal - Signal Pk - Icehouse Loop
25  2016-10-15
Telephone - Pinal - Signal Pk - Icehouse Loop
Page 1,  2,  3
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 149
Photos 5,534
Trips 1,317 map ( 6,690 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, May, Jun, Aug → Any
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:08am - 6:27pm
Official Route
13 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
in the middle of aspens
by PrestonSands

Likely In-Season!
The Middle Trail #202 is one of several short trails on the top of Pinal Peak. The Pineline, Middle, and Ferndell Trails serve as connectors between the three major trails that climb Pinal Peak itself. With elevations in the mid 7000's and a beautiful forest mix of pine, fir, and aspen, these trails, although short, offer a cool retreat in summer, and vivid color in the fall.

The Middle Trail could be used in conjunction with the Pineline Trail, Ferndell Trail, and the various branches of forest road 651 to create a short, mountain top loop hike on Pinal Peak. Middle to late October would probably be a good time to see the aspens change color, on this short and easy hike.

From the trailhead on forest road 651C, the Middle Trail heads west into a dense fir forest on the northern slope of Pinal Peak. A few exceptionally large aspens are shortly encountered, as the trail leaves the road behind. Before long, the Middle Trail enters a pleasant grove of aspen, as it winds around the top of a little draw. Around 0.2 miles, the Middle Trail arrives at the upper end of the Sixshooter Canyon Trail #197, in the heart of the aspen grove. Past the Sixshooter junction, the Middle Trail turns northwest, and begins a gentle ascent through beautiful pine-fir forest. A knee high, leafy, green groundcover carpets the forest floor along here, adding to the beauty of the area. At 0.35 miles, the Middle Trail arrives at the main branch of forest road 651. Cross the road here, and follow the trail west, as it heads up a short hill. The trail soon reaches a little saddle, then begins descending to the west, around a shallow drainage. The many cut logs along the trail here are the result of a forest service tree thinning project. As the Middle Trail continues its gentle descent through the forest, occasional gaps in the trees yield glimpses of Signal Peak to the northwest. At 0.6 miles, the Middle Trail comes to an end, where it meets the Pineline Trail #193 at a signed junction.

Return the way you came, or continue along on the more primitive Pineline Trail.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2007-05-18 PrestonSands
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One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking 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.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 13 deeper Triplog Reviews
Middle Trail #202
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Pinal Signal Peak Loop
My hiking pals Gallydoll and Dan decided to join me on this loop I put together to beat the PHX heat. Drove out to Globe and then up to Pioneer Pass, the trailhead location. We passed through the NF campground en route and it was over flowing with tents and trucks. With all the people nearby, I was thinking we might not have the solitude I was expecting, but we saw no one on the trail.

We started up Pioneer Trail (signed as Squaw Spring #196) about 7:30am. Very pleasant ascent passing through thick manzanita groves and tall pines. Checked out a fenced off spring near the top of the trail. After reaching the end of trail #196, we worked our way over to Ferndale Trail #204. Standing at the trail sign, Ferndale didn't look too promising, but once we were on it, we were rewarded with a nice stroll through more tall pines. Just before reaching the intersection of Six Shooter and the end of Ferndale, we spied a whitetail deer tracking our movements along the trail.

We turned left onto Six Shooter trail #197 for a short jaunt up to the road and then followed the road out to Signal Peak. I was very disappointed to find that the Fire Lookout Tower is closed to visitors.

We took in the views and returned on the road to Pipeline Trail #193. Pipeline was easy enough to follow, but starting to grow in here and there. After climbing over to a ridgeline, the trail looked like it passed through an engineered break in the fenceline, however, a faint trail, which turned out to be Middle Trail #202, headed east which was more in the direction I was interested in going. Well, faint was the best this trail got. We passed the terminus of Six Shooter and climbed over a bunch of fallen trees to get out to the road.

We followed the road up to Pinal Peak proper, enjoyed the views for a bit and returned the way we came back down Squaw Spring trail. Temps were probably in the 70s on the top, and just over 80 at the trailhead. Sure beats 100+ back in Phoenix. Welcome to summer!
Middle Trail #202
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Six Shooter / Icehouse Loop
Met up with Kyle and Chumley and headed out in search of fall colors. We decided to head up into the Pinals. The weather would be cooler and the drive is not too bad. We started hiking on the Sixshooter Trail and headed up. We noticed right away a lot of burn from the fire earlier this year. There will be patchy burn for our entire hike. We continued up and saw some sporadic color as we neared the summit. Once up top we detoured to the east where there’s a ladder for climbing up to a viewpoint. After that we stopped by the peak and then headed over the west side where we took our lunch and enjoyed the views. From there we headed down Icehouse. The going was fairly easy as we enjoyed more sporadic color. We felt we were a week or two early. Temps rose as we neared the bottom and the final mile or two is a chore as you follow an old road that has greatly deteriorated. Once back to the TH we loaded up and headed over to Lost Dutchman State Park for Tibberfest! It was a nice day on the trails.
Middle Trail #202
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Pinals 2x Wussy Loop
I have no idea what kind of people think that the [ Pinal Mountains 4X Super Loop ] would be fun. That's just crazy talk! :sweat:

Looking at photos from previous years I thought colors would be pretty nice in the Pinals on this weekend, but we were definitely a little early. There was some color above 7000 feet, and even some pockets you might consider to be "prime" at the top, but there was a ton of green even high up and no sign of maples even starting to turn at their lower locations.

So next weekend should be pretty damn good, and two weeks should also be good, though the top will have certainly be past prime by then.

The fire damage was minimal on Sixshooter. Healthy burn with some dead trees surrounded by plenty that look healthy. There was some erosion along the trail but nothing that proved difficult to get by. A little maintenance next year would be good though.

Icehouse was an autumn wonderland up top, but turned green in the lower stretches and farther down entered the severe burn zone. The road at the bottom was a steep, rocky, miserable mess with absoutely no redeeming qualities. Despite the burn, I looked over and saw the singletrack trail cut of the lower Telephone trail and wondered if it wouldn't be a better option to take that trail down from the Doghouse Spring area instead of the Icehouse road. The mileage difference is only 1/10th a mile.

It was a nice day. Good to get back into the Pinals and happy to see the fire didn't get too crazy up in the higher elevation sweet spots.

Above 7000 feet it was great, but between 5000-7000 there was so much green that it will be better in a week, and probably still nice in two weeks. By then the higher elevations will be past prime though. This is the 2nd weekend in October. I think the 3rd weekend would be best here based on this year's conditions.
Middle Trail #202
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Took the day off of work to heed the call of the Pinals and adventure. Did a bit of antiquing in Globe and then made my way up to Pioneer Pass. It had been ten years since I had last hiked this trail, and the good memories came flooding back as I started climbing the mountain side. The trail was in great shape, and recently groomed. I spooked a few deer along the way, and made it to the top in an hour. Next up was Ferndell Trail, which did not disappoint, with plenty of aspen gold and fiery maples. The fall colors drew me down the Sixshooter Trail a bit as well. Dozens of photos later, I made my way back up Sixshooter in the growing, late afternoon chill, and then turned onto the Middle Trail to complete my mountain top excursion. Admired the views to the south, and then made a quick return down the Pioneer Trail. Transmission trouble plagued my thoughts on the way home, but otherwise a perfect day. Adventures like these are far too few for me these days.

All of these trails were in good shape. Only saw one fallen tree across the very upper end of Sixshooter. Good job trail crews!
Middle Trail #202
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Telephone - Pinal - Signal Pk - Icehouse Loop
This is another Fall Favorite. Based on the mixed colors, this one should be good for a couple of weeks.
Perfect weather all around on this one.

We tried to be quiet and not wake the Camp host at our 6:30 start. I think we were successful.

The lower reaches of all of these trails in the area, for me, are just a means to get to the beauty once you hit the trees. The Manzanita does get rather large in most areas up heree.

This was the first time up the entire Telephone Trail #192 to Six Shooter. I've always done the Telephone Ridgeline, which is just a steep climb with out the beauty. It hits 651 right at Icehouse Canyon I like this MUCH better.

At the upper end of the Telephone trail, where it intersects Six Shooter, Joe spotted a large 8+ point Whitetail, that stared at us for a while.

The closer to the Ferndell Spring area we got, the better the color got. The Ferndell area never disappoints.

We all followed Joe to the first of 2 peaks, Pinal Peak, where we took a break. It actually got a bit cool up there. A brief trip to Ladder Rock and then we hit the Ferndell Trail.

Next we followed Joe over to Signal Peak for some lunch.

Icehouse Canyon Trail, is a tunnel of color. It's on this trail that we saw our only other hiker of the day.
"I kinda thought I'd run into some of you HAZ guys today"
It was HAZ celebrity, TODDAK on day 3 of his Fall Color tour. Great to meet you!

This one should be good for the next couple of weeks. Get out there if ya like some color
Middle Trail #202
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Six Shooter / Icehouse Loop
We wanted a moderate hike closer to town & this loop fit the bill. We met off Country Club & the US 60 at 6am and headed for Globe & hit the trail around 7:40am. We started with the Six Shooter Trail and made steady progress as the trail climbs elevation. The first few miles are typical desert and then turn to forest a few miles in. From there we continued climbing into the cool air with plenty of tree cover shading us from the sun.

Once up top we turned to the southeast and headed for Pinal Peak where we had a quick look around and then turned west for Signal Peak. Along the way we followed the Middle Trail & the Pipeline Trail. The views were nice & it was easy going. We took our lunch break on Signal Peak and then cruised down the Icehouse Canyon Trail. The top mile was very scenic and smooth sailing. As we descended we left forest and returned to typical desert conditions. It grew warm & sunny but not too bad on the descent. We got back to the trailhead a little before 2pm and headed back to Phoenix.

This was my first time in The Pinals and I was pleasantly surprised. The trails are in great condition and the upper sections are very scenic. I plan on returning another time to check out the Telephone Trail and Kellner Trail.
Middle Trail #202
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Pinal 4X - 4th Annual
First time hiking in Joe's Pinal-A-Palooza death march.

Met a HAZ'er Grimey-Dave (Great to meet you),
Saw AZDesertfather-Dave for the first time in a long time.
Hiked with Widowmaker-Larry, boywithdogs-Lee again
and finally got to hike in the same direction with rayhouston-Ray

After we got past Joe's shortcut and arrived a smidge late to the TH, we began Hiking a bit after 6:15.

The Telephone Trail #192 is not my favorite trail in the area. If you like a Loose, > Steep, Bulldozer cut, then this is the trail for you. I'm amazed the the power shovel will work on grades like that, without tipping over. ETA for completion the Pinal Mountain Cable Replacement, June 2016 (Just under 3 years total).

Splitting from the group, I led Dave ;) and boywithdogs over to the Pipeline Trail #193 and then the Middle Trail #202 to get to Pinal Peak. We spent a few minutes by the towers and then I wanted to show them the Rock Ladder.

Next it was the Ferndell Trail #204 to meet up with the rest of the gang. First time on this one and it was IMHO the more scenic way to get over to Six Shooter from the peak.

After stopping at Ferndell Spring to water the dogs and himself, Lee and Dave felt the need for speed and decided to run down Six Shooter #197. Never Saw Dave again the rest of the day. Me on the other hand put the camera to work. The foliage was so thick at Ferndell Spring, it almost choked out the light 8). There were a few larger pockets of extreme color, but next weekend should be prime.

I caught up to Joe, Ray, Larry and the Dave (Grimey) on the way down and then Lee at the parking area for some lunch.

Up Icehouse Canyon #198 was a slog until just after the Kellner intersection. That's when we got some much needed shade. The rest of the way up was under the canopy, with more pockets of vibrant color.

Down Kellner Canyon Trail #242 for the first time for me. It was unique from the other trails up there.
Spent a bit of time checking out the big Steel Wheel thingy, Steel plated boiler and some of the other artifacts up top. Great views with the fading sun on the way down and to the truck before dark.

Temps on the day ranged from 53 in the morning, to 92 (sun aided) starting after lunch, back down to 59 up top, to 68 when we finished.

Thanks for putting this together Senior Gumdrop and for driving.
Middle Trail #202
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this was the most challenging hike i've done yet
longest mileage, highest AEG, longest time spent hiking
my only trip to the pinals was an up and back on sixshooter many years ago, and i've been wanting to get back there
in browsing the other trails, saw the trip log for all four trails in a double decker loop
john and i thought it might be doable
with fall color in season, it was on
we were a little concerned about available daylight, given my work schedule, so signal peak didn't make the cut
enjoyed all four trails, some more than others, and some parts more than others, but each unique and challenging
went up telephone, hooked in to sixshooter up to pinal peak, then back down sixshooter
had a quick lunch at the CCC area, then headed up icehouse, west on the road and back down kellner
first loop 13 plus, second loop 10 plus miles
while not an overall explosion of color, there were lots of pockets in the drainages and on the slopes to appreciate and photograph
really nice around ferndell spring, and along sixshooter and icehouse
aspens near the top added wonderful visual contrast
the climb up icehouse was a good one once you got into the pines
the bottom of sixshooter wasn't as much of a grind as i remembered
kellner canyon was a nice change in that it was open and shallow with different vegetation
all four trails offered miles of hiking on a soft bed of pine needles and fallen leaves in the upper regions
there were also long stretches on pine cones and rocks to watch out for
this was a great hike, and i can see it becoming an annual mission
good to meet and hike with joe
i don't know how he did this after his grand canyon trip yesterday
always enjoy hiking with john, and thanks for driving
had a great meal at guayo's elrey in miami and i went home happy with a big full tummy
thanks, guys!
Middle Trail #202
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John mentioned doing the four majors at Pinal and I couldn't pass up the opportunity. Slept in comparatively to most larger scale hikes, saw it all and got home well before midnight... the secret is to just go with John and Kelly and hang on for the 3.0 moving or 2.6 overall average with breaks :o

Up Telephone to Pinal Peak, down Six Shooter. Quick and tasty lunch. Up Icehouse, down Kellner. I'm glad Darrell posted this one, it's my kind of hike!

I'll go with "Moderate" on foliage. There is a lot. Interesting that some of the lower elevation oaks have turned and lost all their leaves while large stands at the top are still green... what? Most of the maples are past prime and the leaves are drying up, yet virtually all the aspens still have their leaves... what? Don't get me wrong, it is beautiful. I've just seen this place in jaw dropping mode and today it was in nice mode. The extended summer is likely the issue. It's almost as if a cold rain hit a swath yet didn't hit the peak or something?

No bike ramps anymore. Very few people. Quite the adventure. My legs were pretty tired coming down the fourth leg Kellner.

These are all fab trails and I've done them in the past. I'm not as big of a fan as Lyding but I do like them in foliage! Just walking through the leaves is therapy.

The company was top notch! Great to meet Kelly. I'm not just saying that cause she offered to carry my pack, agreed that John should give me a piggy back ride down and then bought dinner. One and two never panned out but dinner was yummy :)
Thanks guys, appreciate the fun day!
Middle Trail #202
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Decided to try out Jim's favorite area and my first Sky Island in the Pinal's. We did a loop on Sixshooter > Middle Trail > Pinal Peak > the overlook > Signal Peak Lookout > Icehouse Cyn trail.

The hike started warm and muggy at the bottom, but after a little bit of a climb, we were in the pines and cooler weather. The streams were running pretty good after the previous nights rains.

I got to see actual maple trees in Arizona, and Aspens as well. I believe Jerry in the Fire lookout on top said this is the largest stand of Maples in the state. I have to get back here in the fall.

We got to the top and ate some lunch, checked out the Peak log, and watched the clouds roll in over the top of the mountain.

A short trip over to the overlook rock with the ladder and then off to the Signal Peak Tower. When we got over to the tower, there was a sign out front that said "Visitors not permitted, tower is for fire protection only". I was a bit bummed, but we took a walk over to get some pictures in the fog anyway. When we got there, the window opened up and we were invited up. Jerry, the guy working the tower, was a great guy and a wealth of knowledge. He's a hiker and mountain biker and just enjoys the heck out of nature. He told lots of stories from.... the best ruins around Devils Chasm, to the hunt for pot fields, to the little known fact that there is an elk herd in the Pinal's.

Just as we were climbing down the tower we heard the first of many thunder claps in the distance. We double timed it to the Icehouse trail to get under the tree cover on the trail. It dumped pretty hard and the lightning started getting closer.

Jim said, "I'm sure it's a lot safer under these trees, than our other options going back down." I yelled at him for jinxing us. Along the trail we were following was a 1-1/2" metal pipe on the ground that was carrying spring water to the tanks below. We rounded a corner on the trail, next to the pipe that was doing the same thing. The next thing I know, someone threw 5 packs of firecrackers 10' away from our heads. Bright lights and loud crackling, prompted me to dive for the deck behind a pine. Before I knew it, Jim almost landed on me, diving himself. We both got up and tried to figure out exactly what happened. The best I can figure, lightning hit somewhere above and followed the pipe down to the section we were. Once it got to the 90 degree bend in the pipe, it jumped out and into the air giving us our fireworks show. I checked my pants and continued on down in the driving rain to the car. We made sure to keep as much distance between that pipe and us as we walked.

This was a really nice hike that I will need to do again. I didn't get to see much on the Icehouse portion of the Trail.

Jim, thanks for the adventure and for driving.

Permit $$

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
For best results use this Upper Pinal Trailheads

At the junction of highways 60 & 188 in Claypool, turn right (south) onto Russell Road

Odometer 0.0
- South on Russell Road for 0.35 miles
- DO NOT continue on Golden Hill, Russell turns right
- Continue to 0.65 miles
- DO NOT continue on Rose Mofford Way, Russell turns left
- At 6.3 miles you reach FR 651

Odometer 0.0
- Turn right (south) on FR 651 ( dirt road )
- Continue to 10.25 mi with FR 651C junction

Odometer 0.0
- Left on FR 651C 0.6 miles

There will be a small parking spot on your right. There is a wooden sign for the Middle Trail just behind the vehicle baricade.
3 pack - loud whistle
go prepared
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