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Telephone Trail #192 - Pinal, AZ

no permit
762 88 8
Guide 88 Triplogs  8 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Globe S
3.5 of 5 by 20
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 4.74 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,557 feet
Elevation Gain 2,159 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,292 feet
Avg Time One Way 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.38
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
23  2018-11-09
Six Shooter - Pinal Peak - Telephone
6  2018-10-27
Pinal 4x Light
21  2018-10-27
Pinal 4x Light
6  2018-10-27 te_wa
17  2018-10-27
Pinal 4X Light
25  2018-10-24
Pinal Mtns Fall Colors Loop
19  2018-06-30
East Pinals Loop
9  2018-06-30
East Pinals Loop
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Author Fritzski
author avatar Guides 43
Routes 0
Photos 597
Trips 59 map ( 132 miles )
Age 66 Male Gender
Location Gilbert, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:11am - 6:22pm
Official Route
31 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
A good connection
by Fritzski

Likely In-Season!
The Telephone Trail is one of a group of four main trails climbing the north slope of Mt. Pinal. The elevation and north facing slopes combine to create a surprisingly lush alpine microenvironment and some very enjoyable hikes. I believe the stands of Aspen near the top may be the closest to the Phoenix area to be found. If you can catch this area in autumn when the leaves are turning, it just doesn't get much better.

Although some old mine shafts still dot the area, it is noted mainly for its logging history. Many of the trails are remnants of old logging roads and ruins are numerous. The Telephone Trail is named after the fact that it transects the route of the power and telephone lines to the top of the mountain. Although these are now underground, there are signs that a series of old poles once held the wires.

The Telephone Trail works as a connecter between the Icehouse and Sixshooter trails, and like the others, tends to disguise a healthy workout with relaxing beauty. All of the trails generally start at the same 4500' elevation trailhead and finish near the top of the mountain at over 7500'. These trails are also popular with mountain bikers and from what I understand, best enjoyed as a one-way downhill via car shuttle.

One reason this area doesn't see more use is the lack of available resources describing the confusing network of roads and trails. As old as they obviously are, I'm not sure why these trails/old roads are not shown on the USGS topos. I've included (Official Fritzski Approved - there is no substitute!) trail and road maps that I hope will help the cause.

The Telephone Trail #192 leaves the west side of the large Icehouse CCC Recreation Site / trailhead. From the sign, proceed through some manzanita scrub and across a forest road for about .2mi to the signed Icehouse Tr/198 intersection. Remain straight on #192. From here to the Doghouse Spring area, the two trails diverge with the Telephone following the east side of the canyon offering some views of the Icehouse Tr. on the opposite side. Between the two, the Telephone offers superior scenery and a friendlier layout for the climb. The climb is a healthy one and begins up through wide tunnels of manzanita and then into shady forest where it begins to ease up.

At about two miles, the trail once again merges with the Icehouse/198 at Doghouse Spring. This is a beautiful little spot with a water filled hole in the middle of the trail and some old relics lying about. The two trails run together here for only about 200' where the Telephone quickly departs again up the east slope to connect over to the Sixshooter Trail. From the sign post head up the trail where it quickly doubles back to the north as it climbs the slope to the top of the ridge. Here the manzanita returns and the trail again doubles back at about 3 miles to essentially climb the spine of the ridge for a ways before heading along the west slope into Sixshooter Canyon. Be careful in spots to follow the most worn trail and look for small FS signs to help point the way. There are some maintenance roads for the underground power line that intersect in spots with this trail.

As you approach the bottom of Sixshooter Canyon the forest thickens from chaparral to shady pine. Just prior to the intersection with Sixshooter/197, look for some ruins on the right. These are the remains of an old sawmill. Also in the immediate area are an old spring and two old mine shafts just a few yards north on #197.

The Telephone Trail officially ends here, but leaves you with several options. There are two worth recommendation: You can continue up the Icehouse Trail just less than one "long & steep", but beautiful mile to the top at Ferndell Spring. Then on the way back down loop onto the beautiful cruising Sixshooter trail to the bottom.

Looking at the trail depictions, you can see that every trail offers an opportunity for several "loop" routes. Just use your imagination and enjoy!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2004-11-22 Fritzski
  • Official Fritzski Road Access Map > Road Access Map Trails Map < Official Fritzski Trails Map
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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 35 deeper Triplog Reviews
Telephone Trail #192 - Pinal
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East Pinals Loop
East Mountain Trail #214
The lower access isn't winning any awards. The upper trailhead and top quarter mile are blah. The core delivers. Fabulous distant views through tall pines. Low expectations transitioned to wows throughout. Per usual @PrestonSands wrote a nice description. Apparently this trail has received well deserved maintenance since 2006. If hiking the Pinals out of Autumn foliage, this will be on my radar.

Pioneer Trail #196
This trail has received serious trail maintenance since 2013. Great trail. Signage still says Squaw Spring 196. FS website still calling it Pioneer Trail 196.

Ferndell Trail #204
Year 'round winner, worthy for any loop.

Icehouse Canyon Trail #198
Bruce noticed the upper end was remarkably groomed and cut well into the slope. He's always correct. We passed a group of 9 ACE workers tackling multiple areas. New large aluminum water trough built to last installed over a half mile north of Telephone junction. No fire damage in the top mile or so. The torching builds down to Telephone junction. All traveled fine. No trees to climb over on any of our loop today, just easily stepped over a couple.

Telephone Trail #192 - Pinal
Icehouse side is torched for the most part. Views over to Kellner and down Icehouse are torched. Sixshooter side pines are mostly intact with some mixed burn. Trail itself is in decent condition.

Six Shooter Trail #197
Always a winner. We thought the 3/4 mile to Ferndale sign was missing a solid mile. Perhap a quarter mile short, the steep grade just feels like an extra

Better than anticipated multiple loop. We lucked out on temps averaging 5 degrees cooler than normal. 5k loops this close to the Sonoran Skillet in late June are likely not this nice.
Telephone Trail #192 - Pinal
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A crushing busy season at work has kept me on the sidelines for most of April. I was way past due to get out. I didn't have anything in mind, but wanted some cooler air and a good workout. This time of year, I like Pinal Mountain and my favorite trail up there is the Six Shooter trail. I came down on Telephone to make it a loop hike.

I hit the trail a few minutes before 8. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and visibility was forever. There was zero breeze at lower elevations. Once I hit the pines, though, a nice breeze arrived almost on queue. Except for a number of pine trees that had fallen across the trails, mostly above 6000 feet, the trails were in good to excellent shape. There is a creek that you cross on lower Six Shooter a few times that has good flow. The trough at the junction with Telephone also had water in it, cloudy but full. I didn't see any water after that. A few varieties of wild flowers dot the trails. If you're afraid of bees, don't go on Telephone right now. A mile or three of Manzanita is blossoming and the bees are busy.

I passed a couple coming down Six Shooter. I didn't see anyone else the rest of the day. This was a nice in and out hike on a gorgeous day on Pinal Mountain.
Telephone Trail #192 - Pinal
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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
Telephone Trail #192 - Pinal
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Didn't do the full 4X but I hit most of the trails in this impressive network. Up Six Shooter, down upper Telephone to the midway junction, back up Ice House, 651 road walk west, down Kellner, back up Ice House and down lower Telephone. Upper Ice House had the best Fall colors, but I thought Six Shooter was by far the best trail in the system. Nice to run into the HAZ all-star crew out there!
Telephone Trail #192 - Pinal
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Telephone - Pinal - Signal Pk - Icehouse Loop
Around Sept 24th a large swath of central AZ had one overnight low uncharacteristically low. jj photographed color on Sept 28th. Pinal Mtn usually hits mid to late Oct.

Telephone seemed better received by the group as a whole. Probably since we didn't rush up the ridiculous steep grade. Into Six Shooter there was good color. 35% still green. Ferndell Spring was nice. It appears the foliage is being dragged out for a longer period. On the bright side, more hikers will get to experience this year. Likewise it's a tad low key.

Believe this was my first trip including Ferndell. It felt like a gem for it's entire length. ( we descended )

After the nonsense peaks we headed down Icehouse. Once again it was very nice, just not a power punch. This area is so intense on maples the leaves can really accumulate deep. Not this year, more of an even cover along the ground. Very pretty no matter how you slice it. Met toddak along the way! Mind boggling the only other hiker we crossed paths with on trail.

Fun hike, fun group!
Telephone Trail #192 - Pinal
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Telephone Icehouse Sixshooter Loop
I love hiking these trails, so I come here often. Today I just wanted a good workout, and I got it! The hike was in a ccw direction.

I saw a beautiful fox two miles into Telephone. I saw more hunters on the trails (3) than I saw deer (2). I saw a fat and healthy black bear two miles from the finish as I was coming down Sixshooter. We paused and stared at each other for a moment, about 100 feet apart, then I reached for my camera. The bear bolted. Drat!

I can't decide if the last half mile going up Icehouse is better/worse than the last half mile going "down" Sixshooter when it's warm out. It was warm at the finish. I think I enjoyed the last half mile of Icehouse more today. 66 degrees at the top with a nice breeze.

Telephone is the same as always; a portion of Icehouse above Telephone was trampled, probably by cattle; Ferndell is overgrown. Sixshooter was the best I've seen it in awhile. Lot's of dead fall near the top, but the trail steers clear of it.

Absolutely gorgeous day of hiking under the canopy of trees in the Pinal Mountains. A little warm at the end, but the other 12-13 miles made it worth it.
Telephone Trail #192 - Pinal
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Pinal Mountain Eastern Loop
Pinal Mountain was on my mind for this weekend, but I wanted to do something other than the four popular trails, each of which I've hiked at least twice. I pulled up the Pinal Mtn map to see all of the possibilities. I found several trails on the east side that I hadn't been on. These new trails would get me to the top of the mountain from the east side and make a nice loop with one of the popular north/south trails on the downside (I chose Telephone). I started on Six Shooter and followed FR 112 a short distance to Una Del Oso.

This would have been a great hike were it not for the steady rain starting on the East Mountain Trail all the way to Pinal Peak. Rather than enjoying expansive views, I was stuck in soup and rain for probably the nicest portion of the hike. As I approached the junction with Pioneer Trail, I couldn't even see Pinal Mountain, and it was right in front of me! By the time I got to the top of the Pioneer Trail, my boots were full of water and felt like lead.

The trails on this route were mostly good to great. The Pioneer Trail near the top (last 1/2 mile or so) and the Ferndell trail were overgrown but nothing thorny enough to slow you down. A section of Six Shooter was washed out just above the junction with Telephone, but easy enough to get around.

This was a great workout hike on mostly good trails. The views on East Mountain would have been spectacular were it not for the rain and fog. I think I will do this one again.
Telephone Trail #192 - Pinal
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Pinal 4X Lite
My wife was in California celebrating her father's 80th birthday, so I was free to roam about the countryside. After calling my mother to wish her a happy Mother's Day, I got in the truck and headed to the Pinal Mountains.

I love hiking the Pinal Mountains. Go up any one of the major trails that run up and down the mountain and come down another and you have a great loop hike. Link them all in, as others have done, and you have a killer hike. As I found out last fall, though, trying to do all four in one day IS HARD!!! So I lightened the load a bit today. Most of Six Shooter, most of Telephone Trail (not the ridge), most of Icehouse and all of Kellner.

I got a late start today, but I new it was going to be cool in the mountains so it didn't really matter. I left the TH at 10:45. Some heavy breathing up Sixshooter, breezed down Telephone, some more heavy breathing going up Icehouse, caught my breath along FR651, then eased on down Kellner.

The weather was about as good as it gets. I felt cool throughout the hike. It's green everywhere once you get into the trees. The trails are in good shape. One section of Telephone needs some boots on the ground to wear down the grass. The manzanita along the Telephone Trail are in full bloom. The buzz of busy bees is thick in that area.

I used HAZ Tracks on my iPhone 5 in airplane mode. I made it through the hike without having to charge the phone (a first for me - I had 31% battery at the end). The stats on this trip log are from the Garmin, but I also posted the HAZ tracks for comparison. The HAZ tracks were higher on both mileage and elevation.

Didn't see a soul until I was leaving the CCC Day Use area; I saw the host outside cooking dinner. Looked like he was alone. I missed cooking for my wife on Mother's Day, but I got in a great hike on a gorgeous day in the Pinal Mountains.
Telephone Trail #192 - Pinal
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Pinal and Signal Peaks
left work early this morning so had plenty of time to hit the pinals
had three things in mind: two peaks, some fall color and a longer hike with some elevation
started up sixshooter at 7:45
good color in the upper reaches, but as joe mentioned, maybe a week away
hit pinal peak, then took the upper road to signal peak
as i started down icehouse, heard a gunshot echoing up the canyon
that was a little disconcerting, but i never saw or heard man nor beast
in fact, i didn't see anyone on the trails all morning
my gps died on top of signal peak, but i have a decent estimate on mileage from some other tracks
the upper half mile or so of icehouse was stunning with reds and golds and a carpet of fallen leaves - still not prime, though
wish i had not taken the upper road, but had dropped down to ferndell
thought about backtracking, but didn't feel like it at that point
returned to my truck at 12:45
next time i would go up telephone and upper icehouse, hit only signal peak, then head for ferndell and take sixshooter down
it would be worth the trip to drive up and just hike some of the upper trails within the the week or so
Telephone Trail #192 - Pinal
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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.

Permit $$

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
From Globe and turn right (south) on Hill St just past mile marker 251. There is a sign for Pinal Mountain Recreation Area. Follow the Recreation area signs. About 2.5 miles from town, Forest Service Road #112 (Icehouse Canyon Rd) intersects with Forest Service Road #222 (Sixshooter Canyon Road). From there, bear right on #112 (Icehouse Canyon Rd). Proceed about 5 miles to the CCC Recreation Area / Trailhead on the left side of the road. The last mile is unpaved, but graded and easily traveled by car.
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