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Pigeon Springs Loop, AZ

no permit
51 13 1
Guide 13 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
3 of 5 by 7
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Loop 3.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,700 feet
Elevation Gain 650 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.85
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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32  2016-08-01
Pigeon Spring Loop
6  2015-04-03
Pigeon Trail #134
17  2013-03-17 Nightstalker
25  2012-10-20 outdoor_lover
24  2011-02-12
Four Peaks - AZT #20
9  2007-10-31 AZLOT69
Author AZLOT69
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 247
Photos 7,293
Trips 1,818 map ( 15,596 miles )
Age 68 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, May, Apr, Sep → 9 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:07am - 6:35pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
A feather in your cap
by AZLOT69

Likely In-Season!
Counterclockwise hike on the Four Peaks Trail #130, Pigeon Spring Trail #134 and FS 648.

Begin on the Four Peaks Trail #130 which is signed to the left(east). Quickly you enter into the Four Peaks Wilderness. Nice views of Roosevelt Lake distract you from the Forest Fire damage all around you from several years ago. Trees are still falling and in some areas there are so many down it appears like an old timber camp. New growth is evident and the Manzanita are thriving. The trail is easy to follow and well used. At 1.09 miles you will note a nice camp spot on the left overlooking Roosevelt Lake. The next intersection you come to is marked Amethyst Trail # 253. Continue on the Four Peaks Trail # 130. At 1.23 miles the trail descends and narrows. You will notice a ridge of pines ahead of you and then a switchback. The trail descends sharply now and your next signed intersection is at 1.39 miles. Marked Pigeon Spring Trail #134, turn left.

From this point to FR 648 is a section of the Arizona Trail. Now is where the trail gets very interesting. The trail is less distinct and narrow but easily followed. Thick with pines that survived the fires, you are in the heart of Arizona Bear country. I only saw one cairn on this entire trip. At 2.88 miles you have arrived at Pigeon Springs water trough. Take a left up the wash and in about 100 feet you will find signed "Pigeon Spring". Continue 1/2 mile up to the trailhead at FR 648. From here it is 1/2 mile to your left on FR 648 to your vehicle. You could also shuttle-key exchange or pre arrange a mountain bike to complete your loop. An enjoyable, cool, loop, with plenty of shade.

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2007-10-31 AZLOT69
    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
    Pigeon Springs Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Had an opportunity to join Sredfield and some other volunteers on the Four Peaks segment of the AZT to replace some trail signs that had burned in last years fire, or were simply old and needed to be replaced.

    It was a good day, and we managed to get four new signs placed. These things will last a while! The posts are fat and buried deep!

    The sign at Shake Spring was a bit of a mystery as nobody had ever seen Shake Spring before, and there are no signs of any water. The fire had burned the hillside where the topo maps mark the spring, and sure enough, there's a spring box there along with a lot of barbed wire. But no sign of any natural groundwater. We put the sign up anyway since just below the spring is a drainage with a pretty reliable source of water. The drainage holds all the water that comes off of about a mile and a half of ridge that includes Browns Peak as the high point--basically the entire north side of Browns. So while the drainage isn't named, it regularly has flowing water. But it is not fed by Shake Spring, which is dry, and shows no signs of ever running again.

    The barbed wire was a mystery too. Perhaps it divided old grazing land? It was strange to see a spring box built just 20 yards from such a reliable creek/drainage. :-k

    There was nice water flowing in a couple of the other drainages as well. Nice to see that kind of water at this elevation after a winter with basically no snow melt.

    HAZTracks worked great and didn't turn off for me despite long "breaks" when installing signs. Battery life was surprisingly awesome, until it went from 63% to 3% in about 5 minutes. Must have been an iOS/battery monitor anomaly. I turned it off as soon as I realized it had depleted so much. But that was at our last sign so I had a full one-way track on the out-n-back which was more than enough to get my stats for the day. Nice to have the squawking birds and the volume is better now too. Thanks Joe! :app:
    Pigeon Springs Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    JJ needed help getting his Jeep dirty and putting more miles on it, so I started looking for Hikes in the area. This seemed perfect!!! Plus I would have time to tease the Largemouth at the other end of the Shuttle.... :DANCE: Turns out I would only have one tease me.... : rambo :

    I thought about chasing after JJ and starting my Hike on the same AZT segment he was starting on, which is also the Pigeon Trail. But I knew, with that portion of the Loop being a new Trail to me, I would be shooting too many pics and I would have fallen behind after the first 200 feet.... :sweat: Besides that, I have done the upper portion of the Four Peaks Trail, going up, twice already, and really wanted a fresh view, going down for a change.... :D Not that it really mattered, I pretty much found out that it's a Roller Coaster, either way.... :sweat:

    So we parked the Jeep at the Pigeon TH and JJ shot down the Trail like a Rabbit on a mission, and I plodded up the road towards the Lone Pine Saddle like a Tortoise that just ate dinner... :lol: I was actually feeling pretty good after a kind of crummy week, so I was moving along at an ok clip, considering that it is uphill to the Saddle. I really didn't anticipate taking very many pictures on the Four Peaks portion since I've done it before. I even had a brief thought of trying to beat JJ to the Junction, and then giving him some s*** about it, but I soon found out that there would be no hope of that!!! :D

    The Oaks are Peaking full force up there. :y: I got into some on the Four Peaks Trail, but most of the masses of them were further up. I think the Brown's Trail would have been the one to be on to put you right in the middle of them....But there were enough of them along the Four Peaks Trail to keep me busy....Sooooo, out came the Camera, and the Roller Coaster ride with pictures began. My thoughts of banging this Loop out at a nice pace were pretty much trashed. Pumpkin Oaks!!! They were cutting into my Fishing time!!! : rambo : :D

    Looked for Bear Spring, but without a GPS, I just don't think you can find it, although I spent probably about 20 minutes or so in the area looking around where I thought it should be, according to the Topo...

    60 pictures later, I finally got to the Junction. At that point JJ was probably already at Mill Ridge... :sweat: Up Pigeon Trail I go. The Oaks almost disappeared, but I actually got some nice shots of a Sycamore getting ready for winter...I also got to play with a couple of Tarantulas that were probably only about 300 feet apart, on the Trail. :) That was about the closest I got to any Fauna that I saw on this Loop. There were quite a few quick Lizards and a couple of skittish Woodpeckers....Lots of Butterflies still flitting around too, mostly Sulphurs that rarely land within 30 feet of you.

    I kept expecting a big uphill on this Trail, with the AEG being what it is, but it never really happened. Pigeon was kind of a Roller Coaster too, on a smaller scale. I think the AEG is just spread out very nicely on this Loop with all of the ups and downs. :) Pigeon Trail is pretty nice too, but like Four Peaks, the Flora is in danger of overtaking the Trail in spots as well. Nice views of Roosevelt and the Vistas beyond and all of the sudden before I knew it, I was at Pigeon Spring and almost done with the Hike. The Springbox and Spring area were both dry. One short climb later and I was at the Jeep. That had to be one of the easiest 900 foot AEG Hikes I have ever done. I can only recall stopping twice because I was winded. Of course, the 85 picture set probably helped some too.... :roll:

    This is a nice little Loop! I thoroughly enjoyed it, ended up taking my time, took a couple of little breaks, just to enjoy the area, more so than just needing the rest. If I was looking for just a small, nice Hike in the area, I would do this one again. : app :
    Pigeon Springs Loop
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    I haven't done the Four-Peaks trail in years. The last time we turned around half way through due to the number of deadfall and overgrowth. I was told that the deadfall was cleaned up.

    We parked the Jeep at the Pigeon spring TH and took off. I went off to the Mills Ridge TH and Fan took a leisurely pace. The temps got really warm below the 5,000 mark and hot below 4,000.
    The dead fall and the 4 foot canopy of overgrowth has been cleaned up on the Mills Ridge side. There's some really dense overgrowth on from the middle of the trail over to the Adler Saddle intersection and around the Pigeon Springs intersection. I felt like I was swimming in overgrowth.

    I did my usual exploring around. I tried to check out the Oak Flat trail, but it was almost not passable due to the overgrowth of branches.

    We didn't see anyone on the trails and only two vehicles at the Lone Pine TH.
    Pigeon Springs Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    As the warm weather persists, I continue to seek out treasures at higher altitudes. This hike makes for a complete day outting with a backcountry drive and a pleasant hike. If you are following the trail via topo and GPS, the trail does not appear on many versions of software, rest assurred, the trail is there and signed.
    Pigeon Springs Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Sure would be nice IF there was a helicopter service available to the upper Lone Pine TH from the Hwy87/FR143(Four Peaks Rd) intersection.. What a body beating that 20ml one way drive on FR143 still is on this washboard, rough, rutty, windy, & hard-rocky road..and..especially so when trying to drive it in a short wheel-based vehicle. We averaged 15 to 20mph in 1hr-15min to finally arrive the TH at 9:45am. Good thing that we had planned a sane outing this day with more actual trail maintenance planned than hiking. We had some new "by-pass garden pruners" that we wanted to break-in on these trails to give back a little by trimming some excessive trail overgrowth while hiking this loop.

    This Friday was a mostly cloudy, overcast day with some nice breezes that made for a comfortable trail maintenance day and enjoyable hiking day in our Four Peaks Wilderness. Our main goal was to tackle the badly overgrown Amethyst Tr#253, but in the process we were also able to clean-up about 3/4 of the entire Browns Trail#133 to its intersection with the Amethyst Tr#253. We had lunch further up at Browns Saddle when I confirmed by looking up at the hiking route to summit Browns Peak, that I would not have any future reason or need to attempt that HAZ hike! I will now be content "just viewing" Browns Peak from a distance while driving North and South on Hwy#87 :) ..

    The main loop connector trail, the Amethyst Trail, is in fairly bad shape. Mostly a serious downhill, many washed-out areas and loose-rocky-rutted sections, with a lot of manzanita overgrowth for the last two-thirds of the trail. As always happens when I plan this type of hike, I end up spending too much time cutting trail overgrowth in the beginning, when the real need is usually further back in on more remote trail sections. We were able to accomplish some good trail clean-up for about the first one-third of the Amethyst Tr distance, but we needed to stop cutting at 3:20pm and start hiking..

    When you arrive at the lower end of the Amythest Tr/Four Peaks Tr#130 intersection(5835'), IF you turn LEFT, you will take the route back to the TH as per this hike description. We turned RIGHT on the Four Peaks Tr and hiked about .3mls to the next intersection with the PIGEON TR#134(5630'). This very scenic (with numerous views of Roosevelt Lake & beyond to the East) and easy to follow 2ml trail which is also part of the Arizona Trail , makes it way back to an official TH end at FR648, on this same road we drove in on just 1/2ml below where we parked our vehicle at the Upper Lone Pine TH.
    I recommend trying this alternate loop option which will make the total loop hike about 7mls instead of 4.15mls. Having now hiked both trails, I enjoyed Tr#134 much more than hiking back to the TH via the Four Peaks Tr#130..Also, there is parking at this PIGEON TH for two vehicles.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To Lone Pine Trailhead
    From Scottsdale follow Shea Blvd East to its terminus at SR87. Turn Left onto SR87. Follow SR87(this is the Beeline) to the Four Peaks Turnoff which is FR143. FR143 is well marked. Follow FR143 for about 19 miles of sheer hell in a car to the Mazatzal Divide. Turn right here onto FR648 and follow about 2 miles to the trailhead.

    From Mesa by CannondaleKid ( 2018-07-20 )
    From Red Mountain 202 & AZ 87/Country Club Dr
    5.0 miles = AZ 87/Gilbert Road intersection
    11.7 miles = AZ 87/Shea Boulevard intersection
    13.7 miles = AZ 87/Fort McDowell (Casino) Road intersection
    21.9 miles = AZ 87/Bush Highway overpass
    26.7 miles = AZ 87/Four Peaks Road (FR 143) Turn RIGHT

    From AZ 87/Beeline Highway & FR 143/Four Peaks Rd
    0.81 miles = Four Peaks Recreational Parking Lot Continue straight
    1.43 miles = Secondary Recreational Parking Lot Continue straight
    2.08 miles = Recreational Parking Lot at Forest Road 401 Bear LEFT
    3.38 miles = Forest Road 11 (Great Western Trail) 90-degree RIGHT turn
    4.05 miles = Forest Road 1521 90-degree curve LEFT
    10.87 miles = Forest Road 143A (Cline TH) Sharp 160-degree RIGHT turn
    14.98 miles = Mud Spring TH Bear LEFT and continue
    17.75 miles = Cattle Guard/Forest Road 648 Sharp 180-degree RIGHT turn
    19.10 miles = Lone Pine Trailhead End of FR 648

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 60.6 mi - about 2 hours 2 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 159 mi - about 3 hours 21 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 161 mi - about 3 hours 15 mins
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