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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.

Sixshooter-Telephone Ridge Loop, AZ

no permit
296 30 4
Guide 30 Triplogs  4 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Globe S
3.4 of 5 by 8
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,520 feet
Elevation Gain -1,180 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,430 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.15
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
5  2018-05-30 JuanJaimeiii
20  2017-10-28
Pinal Mountains 4X Super Loop
3  2017-09-25 JuanJaimeiii
5  2017-04-07 JuanJaimeiii
7  2016-09-28 JuanJaimeiii
20  2015-09-27 Mick
20  2015-03-26 jameslcox44
14  2014-10-18
4th Annual Spooky Festive Rendezvous Pinal 4X
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
Co-Author Chapman
co-author avatarGuides 2
Routes 0
Photos 50
Trips 14 map (82 Miles)
Age 41 Male Gender
Location Twin Oaks, MO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, May, Jun, Aug → Early
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:11am - 6:22pm
8 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Culture Nearby
the Pinals are calling...
by PrestonSands & Chapman

Likely In-Season!
This loop hike in the upper Pinal Mountains makes use of an old utility line road, the Telephone Trail, and the Sixshooter Trail. The utility line road (which is really more of a trail), marks the route of an underground phone and power line.

With a minimum elevation of 6400 feet and plentiful shade, this loop makes a good summer hike. Good boots are helpful for the numerous steep and rocky sections.

Although we did this hike clockwise, this description is of a counter-clockwise loop. The hike will be easier to complete if you do it counter-clockwise, due to the Telephone Trail being poorly marked where it departs the eastern side of Telephone Ridge. If you want to do this hike clockwise, it would be wise to bring a gps unit.

Starting at the Ferndell Trailhead, walk past the vehicle barrier gate at the beginning of the Ferndell Trail #204. You'll immediately come to the signed junction with the Sixshooter Trail #197. Turn left and head downhill on Sixshooter.

After 0.15 miles, the Sixshooter Trail passes through a gate and joins up with an old road. Turn left and head downhill again. This abandoned road, which is now the Sixshooter Trail, makes a steep drop into the densely forested depths of Sixshooter Canyon.

Around 0.9 miles, the steep descent eases up, and the Sixshooter Trail meets up with the Telephone Trail #192, at a signed junction, in a little flat area in the canyon bottom. Follow the Telephone Trail, and you'll soon come to a clearing on the left. A pile of rotted timbers and a scattering of rusty nails mark the site of a sawmill that was once located here.

After crossing a side drainage of Sixshooter Creek, the Telephone Trail begins a long traverse of the forested western wall of Sixshooter Canyon. The trail descends gradually as it works its way northeastward.

Interestingly, this section of the Telephone Trail was a road at one time. Perhaps lumber from the sawmill was shipped down to Globe via this route.

Beautiful fir forest gradually gives way to massive manzanita, as the Telephone Trail nears the spine of Telephone Ridge.

Around the 6400 foot contour, the Telephone Trail suddenly emerges from a trench that was chopped through giant manzanita bushes, and lands on the ridge top, where it meets the utility line road. This junction's gps coordinates are: 33.30840 N, -110.81488 W. From this point, the Telephone Trail heads northeast along the top of the ridge, while sharing its route with the underground utility line. To continue on this hike, though, leave the Telephone Trail behind and begin following the utility line road (trail) southwest, as it climbs straight up Telephone Ridge.

As you climb up the steep, exposed, manzanita lined ridge, be sure to turn around and check out the sweet panoramic views of the Globe area and eastern Arizona. Once you hit the 7000 foot level, the forest closes in and the views disappear. The ascent is a little less brutal now, and shade from the pine-fir forest offers relief.

A couple of small campsites are passed, before the utility line road/trail comes to a locked vehicle barrier gate (not that a sane person would take their vehicle down this treacherous pseudo-road, anyway). The utility line road now becomes forest road 651M. Follow road 651M for another 0.37 miles, until it dumps you back onto forest road 651, at the start of the Icehouse Canyon Trail.

Turn left and follow forest road 651 for 0.4 miles to where the road forks. A sign indicates Ferndell or Pinal Peak. Take the left fork (road 651C) towards Ferndell. After a third of a mile hike down road 651C, there is a sign indicating trails 204 and 197. Turn left at the sign, and you'll arrive back at the Ferndell Trailhead where you started.

Check out the Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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

2007-09-07 PrestonSands & Chapman
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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 Triplog Reviews
Sixshooter-Telephone Ridge Loop
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Up the Six Shooter, over on the road to the Telephone Ridge, down that to the Telephone trail to the Ice House Canyon, and back to the TH. I guess the AEG is about right, but the miles is a total guess. It was a nice hike. Nice to be out of town, in some cool air, and the birds were really great. Heard only 1 Hermit Thrush in the Ice House area, but that was it. Great views to the north, the White Mts, and I think Blue Jay peak and the north end of the Pinalenos.
Sixshooter-Telephone Ridge Loop
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This was a very nice morning for a hike. It was nice to meet Dave and to hike with Joe and Bruce again. It was nice to see Lee again I am glad he brought Blanco and Cupcake along, but then again why wouldn't he.
I glad I did only the first part of the hike as I was feeling my ankle by the end of the hike. The company was awesome as were the views. Its so nice just to get out and see the trees turning colors. But I do feel maybe we were a week early.
It was really nice to meet everyone and their costumes kicked butt.
Sixshooter-Telephone Ridge Loop
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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.
Sixshooter-Telephone Ridge Loop
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4th Annual Spooky Festive Rendezvous Pinal 4X
A great day on Pinal Mountain with some great company. Joe, Bruce, great seeing you again. Dave, Larry, Dave and Lee, it was great meeting and hiking with you. I hope to see all of you on the trail again soon.

As much as I wanted to complete the entire double loop today, it was not to be. Upon heading up Icehouse after lunch, my legs were heavy and I was laboring. I could feel a brick wall forming farther up on Icehouse, and I was going to hit it. When we reached the Kellner junction, I decided to shut it down and call it a day. I can't say for sure if it would have made a difference today, but it was not a smart move to hike 7+ miles with 2k in elevation gain the day before a 24 mile hike. Doh!

Beautiful colors on the upper sections, and it might see some improvement over the next few days.
Sixshooter-Telephone Ridge Loop
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Couldn't have been a more beautiful day, start to finish. I was only part of the first half due to time issues, but still totally worth it.

Good catching up with Joe & Bruce, and meeting others for the first time. We went up Telephone Ridge (much better downhill, crimeny that's steep). Brucie, Chandler and I went a little ahead and hit Pinal Peak, the ladder, and covered a few of the little trails on top. So much more to explore up there. Good getting to know Chandler, I have super respect for anyone who serves our country, and he did tours in Iraq & Afghanistan. His love of history is even bigger than mine, so lots to Revolutionary War topics to chat about! I needed to get home, though, and had to leave everyone behind coming down Sixshooter. Chandler took his dogs with him, including one really large white dog Blanco that he picked up from Afghanistan. That dog was so nice, when I took off on the way down ahead of everyone else to get home, Blanco tried to keep up with me. Finally he was a little concerned about his master and turned around to go back to him.

Left 6:17, returned 11:54am.

mostly aspen and maple
Sixshooter-Telephone Ridge Loop
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Sixshooter-Telephone Ridge-Signal Pk-Pinal Pk
Anticipation always gets the better of me. I wanted to get in a short hike at higher elevation to help (I hope) acclimate me for a much longer hike I plan to do tomorrow, which is along much of this same route on Pinal Mountain. I thought about going to the Rim Country, but Pinal has been on my mind for weeks now, so why not.

I started my hike at the Ferndell Spring TH and followed Preston's Sixshooter-Telephone Ridge loop. I meant to just do this loop and call it a day, but once I got to the Signal Peak turnoff, I thought why not. And since I did this peak, might as well do Pinal Peak, too. After Pinal Peak, I turned left on 651 and took the Ferndell trail back to the trailhead. I saw a good sized white tail doe bounding across the trail about 50 feet in front of me. Man, I wish I could cover ground like they do. It was there and gone before I could think about getting my camera out.

The sky was mostly cloudy to overcast at the start. The leaves are showing some color in the usual areas, but with little sunshine the scenery was somewhat muted. It started raining when I hit the ridgeline. The forecast was sunny, so I muttered a bit under my breath when it hit. This was turning into a bad idea. Typical Arizona hit and run storm; it came in fast and left just as fast. It was mostly wind with a spraying sideways rain. I huddled next to some manzanita to avoid as much of the rain as I could, then continued on when it stopped.

The sun finally came out just as I was returning to the Ferndell trailhead. Beginning and ending photos show what a difference the sun makes on autumn foliage. Beautiful! Nice hike, rain and all.

Not quite, but almost there.
Sixshooter-Telephone Ridge Loop
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This was a very nice hike. This was my first time in the Pinals and I got to meet a few more HAZ Hikers Along the way.
I would like to thank Carl for that nice cold WIPA I really enjoyed after the first 15 miles. It seems we missed the full Autumn colors, but then again it was beautiful. The part I enjoyed the most and I could not capture on my camera was going up Icehouse and having the wind blow and watching all the leaves falling all around me.
Sixshooter-Telephone Ridge Loop
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3rd Annual PX4

This year offered up deeper hues, crispy leaves and thicker blankets obscuring the trails. Temperatures where storybook throughout. Karl & Kathy tagged along on the first loop after a decent sized hike the previous day. Kelly requested both Signal & Pinal peaks this year so this was PX4+2PKS.

We parked 0.4mi outside the gate for the first loop. After two years of dealing with a grumpy recreation site host a friendly guy has taken over! With no stern warning to be out by 5pm we moved in closer for the second loop. Lunch went down without a hitch. Kelly gave Dave a slice of pizza. Without wasting a nano second, Dave magically wolfed down a mysterious "bite".

Randy & CHUMS were reportedly on Pinal. Dave1 was more in 2 mode and suggested 2.68 billion times of forfeiting the second half. Kelly and Larry set him straight. K² parted ways and we headed up Ice House. Errr... missed the turn, make that Telephone No worries as it meets Ice midway up. This added a trivial 0.2 mi / 50 ft. Yet better than backtracking and losing a precious 600 ft at the time.

Six Shooter is usually the show. Today upper Ice was my fav. Since jlp switched over to canal patrol he wasn't behind us cracking the stopwatch whip. Leaves were a good 2 inches deep for the final mile. Light through the trees was sweet and sassy.

Last year Dave tried to push "coati" on us claiming the "mundi" is silent. Larry fixed that BS... it's just "mundi", the "coati" is silent.

Topping out on Ice we met CHUMS and Randy. I'd suggested we ride down with Randy but Kelly wasn't interested in the wuss out option. Didn't get as much love out of Kellner this year. CHUMS set a ridiculous morning hike type of pace. Halfway down he turned on the afterburner. We changed the hike to a more relaxed mourning pace!

We followed Randy into what Larry calls LeBron James home town for a post hike mex-americana feast. Dave ordered roughly half his total body weight shocking us all.

Fun day. Great to meet Kathy & see Karl again. Kelly wasn't sure about a big hike but showed us all up. Larry didn't miss a step on the biggest hike of his life. CHUMS got us out before dark. Always good to see Randy. Dave laughed at a bad joke ( we were all tired, Kelly laughed too then punished herself immediately ) so he's okay in my book too.

5 to 7 days past, still very nice in areas.
Sixshooter-Telephone Ridge Loop
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Another great Autumn on the 4x. The weather was outstanding. I thought this year was dynamite foliage wise. Believe you'd have to be here mid Oct to get more bang on Icehouse. Several deer and a Coatimundi pack topped the fauna sightings. Missed a turn on Telephone and finally got to experience Telephone Ridge. Hope Kelly mends for the next 4x!

John busted out the whip pushing Dave and I up Icehouse :sweat:
3.85mi / 2870ft after Telephone/Sixshooter Loop
2011 - 1:41
2012 - 1:19

Better eat your Wheaties if you wanna hang with these two. Pack light, one Wheaty max!

The Silent Mundi ...
Sixshooter-Telephone Ridge Loop
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On a moonlit monsoon night, Chapman came up to the Pinals from Phoenix to join in our annual Labor Day weekend campout.
When Saturday noon came, it was time for a hike. We started at the Icehouse Trailhead and headed down through the forest on Telephone Ridge. The old road was quite primitive, and made an excellent trail. A little steep and slippery in a few spots, but not too bad.
We got down to the area where Telephone Ridge flattens out a bit, expecting to find the Telephone Trail any moment. It was now quite hot, and after not being able to find the Telephone Trail, we started back up the ridge. After taking a short lunch break and studying Fritzski's topo map in detail, we came to the conclusion that the Telephone Trail junction must have been further down. Back we went down the ridge. We soon found it, at the 6400 foot contour. There was a collapsed cairn, but no signs marking the junction.
We headed down the Telephone Trail, thankful for the ever increasing shade. After a while, fir trees began to appear, and the hike just got prettier and sweeter. We stopped to examine the sawmill site before heading back uphill on the Sixshooter Trail. That 0.9 miles (straight up, it seemed) to the Ferndell Trailhead at the top was a tough stretch. :sweat:
Once on top, it was a leisurely walk back on the 651 road to where I'd parked my truck on the 651M road. As is my usual luck, I got my 2wd truck stuck the second I tried to turn around (hmmmm...let's see, is that 20 times so far this year? :-k ) Many thanks to Chapman for helping to pile rocks in the back of my truck to get us out. :worthy:
It was a great and memorable hike! :D

Permit $$

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To Ferndell Trailhead
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

- Left on FR 651C 0.3 miles to Ferndell Trail ( lower )

- Continue on FR 651 to 11.2 miles
- Right on FR 651F, just 0.7 miles to the Pinal Peak Trailhead at the end

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 2 h 19 min without traffic
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 2 h 49 min without traffic
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 3 h 59 min without traffic
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