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West Pinto Trail #212 - Superstitions, AZ

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Guide 85 Triplogs  7 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Queen V NE
3.3 of 5 by 22
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 9.75 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,407 feet
Elevation Gain 2,050 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,800 feet
Avg Time One Way 6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 19.08
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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5  2019-02-03
Bull Basin Loop - Eastern Superstitions
15  2018-12-13
West Pinto Cuff Button Wildcat
19  2018-12-07
Miles TH to Rogers Canyon
15  2018-11-24
Rock Creek Spencer Spring Loop
8  2018-11-24
Rock Creek Spencer Spring Loop
6  2018-11-24
Rock Creek - Spencer Springs loop
25  2018-04-14
Wildcat - Pinto - Campaign Loop
12  2018-04-14
Wildcat - Pinto - Campaign Loop
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Author nonot
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 236
Photos 1,969
Trips 476 map ( 4,511 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Feb, Mar → 8 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:09am - 6:28pm
Official Route
31 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Bushwhacking ON the trail
by nonot

The West Pinto Trail #212 lies in the eastern Superstitions. It starts at Miles Trailhead on the eastern side, goes through Oak Flat, a popular campgrounds, and ends within 300 yards (and within sight) of the Roger's Trough Trailhead.

Bushwhacking, exercising trail-finding skills, climbing decent elevation gain, and preparing for isolated conditions are necessary on this route when taking its full length. Although the portion from Miles to Oak Flat sees a good deal of traffic and is not that difficult, I severely doubt the rest of this trail to Roger's Trough sees more than a few dozen hikers a year based on its present condition (2008). As usual, hiking in the summer is not recommended due to the Arizona heat. I would not recommend an undertaking of the full trail to the amateur hiker, nor would it be advisable to take inexperienced children. Furthermore, due to an atrocious shuttle setup, turning it into a full day hike (in and back) would make for a long, tiring day.

If bringing little ones to Oak Flat, educate them on poison ivy prior to your visit, which will be encountered along this portion.

As far as I can determine, the Kennedy Ranch was used until it was recently (within the last 2 decades?) sold to the Forest Service. I believe I read that it is still maintained by horse teams occasionally, but I can no longer locate the reference.

The ranching activities near Rogers Trough seem to have been deconstructed awhile ago and all evidence, except for the troughs and some piping, appear to have been removed, or at least I was unable to locate them.

Description is east to west.

Beginning from Miles Trailhead, the hiker finds themselves next to the remnants of Kennedy Ranch. A metal clad barn structure and substantial amounts of barbed wire fencing remain, most in fairly good shape, so wandering around here at the beginning or end of your hike may be worthwhile.

The hiking trail starts to the south of the barn and corral and follows along barbed wire fences for a bit, allowing one to see the setup of the ranch. The walking is fairly flat and easy for awhile. Approximately a half-mile in, the Bull Basin (and defunct Rock Creek Trail) junction is encountered right before a creek crossing.

Continuing along West Pinto Creek, the trail crisscrosses to either side and has some rocky creek crossings. There is ample vegetation providing a good deal of shade at all times of day. In drier months one may simply be able to rock-jump their way up the creekbed, but in wetter times sticking to the trail is best. Cairns mark the important crossings, but it may take a sharp eye to spot them. If you find yourself whacking bushes, backtrack to the last crossing and search again because odds are you missed a cairn.

The red coating on the submerged rocks when the water is flowing is quite unusual, as it gives the creek a bloody appearance at first glance, even though the water is clear. Perhaps it is some type of red algae?

About 1.5 miles in there is a section where the trail leaves the creekbed to the north and follows a side drainage up a hundred feet, allowing the hiker to bypass a few tenths of a mile of a rougher section of the creek. After dropping back into the creekbed and a bit more rock-hopping, the Cuff Button intersection sign appears on the south side of the creek. Shortly beyond this, one will find themselves at Oak Flat.

A large corral is found to the north of Oak Flat. Additionally, the Campaign Trail intersection (sign found on the south side of the creek) leads across the creek and right by the corral. There is good camping to be found near the corral and just further upstream on the south side of the creek where a very large, flat, open area is found. Just at the end of this open expanse is the intersection with the Spencer Spring Trail.

Take a right at the fork with the Spencer Spring and continue following the creek upstream. After a bit, the trail proceeds out of the creekbed and heads behind a ridge to the north of the creek that doesn't allow one to glimpse the water. This trail proceeds to climb, as it will continue to do for the next few hours.

Throughout the next mile the trail seems to disintegrate and one begins to start whacking bushes: notably shrub live oak, with some catclaw and manzanita occupying what would otherwise be the trail. Pants and long sleeves are definitely recommended! Due to the heat I didn't and I got pretty cut up, oh well, typical Supes hiking, I suppose.

The trail eventually finds it way back to some higher ground closer to the creek on the north side, follows that for awhile, descends and crosses the creek a few times more, and then leaves it for good as it proceeds to haul up the north side of the canyon heading for Iron Mountain. The bushwhacking continues and is worst in this section.

The overgrowth finally relents a little as one tops out on a ridge full of Manzanita. Good views can be found here, both of Iron Mountain and of the trail behind you.

Past this, the trail drops down to the campgrounds around Iron Mountain Spring, which had a light flow of water when I saw it, however the tank itself was dry. This is a shaded area, but sparseness of flat spots would limit the group size of anyone intending to spend the night.

Past Iron Mountain Spring, the trail climbs a short distance, drops down steeply, and climbs back up steeply until one reaches the Iron Mountain Saddle, and tops out at about 5500 feet, the high point of the trail.

The views from the Iron Mountain Saddle are good, but one may be so exhausted they may fail to take in the immense granite mass to their north, hawk nests in the rocky precipices, or sheer distances one could view from this saddle.

After the saddle, the trail continues steeply downhill along mostly vegetation free ground with not much shade. A nice resting spot can be found when near Rogers Spring, but its 10 minute proximity to the Rogers Trough Trailhead another few hundred feet downhill might make one press on for the car.

Technically, this hike ends at the Reavis Ranch 109/Rogers Canyon Trail, but one could follow the trail south to the visible parking lot from the intersection in a quick 5 minutes.

Water Sources
Following decent winter rains, West Pinto Creek was flowing well at least 3 months after the last rains, however it did disappear underground in sections, notably the entire last mile before it got to Miles Trailhead.
o Iron Mountain Spring cannot be relied upon, but it did have a slow flow of water during the same time period that looked quite clear.
o Rogers Spring, and the creek near Rogers Trough seem to have water in most winters and springs, but it is not completely reliable.
o It would be best to get a water report before one heads out for any type of extended trip.

Camping at Oak Flat is popular, both directly next to the corral and a short distance upstream on the south side in a large flat expanse.
o A campsite for a small group would be feasible near Iron Mountain Spring, but might not be ideal.
o There are several at-large campsites between the Miles Trailhead and Oak Flat that I saw, some better than others.

Linked Hikes
o Iron Mountain
o Spencer Spring Trail
o West Pinto - Campaign to Divide
o Rock Creek Trail - Superstitions
o Bull Basin Trail

o West Pinto - Spencer Springs Loop

o Backpack loops and others starting on Peter's Trail
- Post a trip log from here
- Adjust your mileage, elevation gain & accumulated elevation gain
- After it post, link other trail segments using the "Link Hikes: <- Link to other Hikes!" feature as applicable

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2008-04-29 nonot

    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 42 deeper Triplog Reviews
    West Pinto Trail #212 - Superstitions
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    Wildcat - Pinto - Campaign Loop
    Bruce gleaned this 3 county route from Lee stating that he'd hiked it 3 times. He studied up on it too. It was cool to have a tour guide.

    Apparently I liked Wildcat a smidge more than the three timer. The old Pinto #213 leg was interesting. The catclaw ending robbed brownie points. Pants sufficed. Nowhere near the top ten list of bad catclaw, Wave Cavers would probably consider it a nightmare.

    Campaign to Fireline is in the best shape I recall. We lunched under the pines near the junction. Up to the saddle SW of Pinto Peak is brushy. Down to West Pinto Creek is steep but the views are top notch.

    Enjoyed #212 just shy of Oak Flat to square one more than anticipated.

    tenth mile stretch with medium to small poppies was an unexpected treat being so dry this year
    West Pinto Trail #212 - Superstitions
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Wildcat - Pinto - Campaign Loop
    Wildcat Canyon has been on my radar for quite some time. The Miles Trailhead is just a tad over 100 miles from my house, so I like to make it worth the trip and find some other new areas to hit while out there. The decommissioned Pinto Peak #213 fit the bill for a loop. FOTG had already done this loop a few times so I didn't even need to draw up a track.

    A 7:15a 40ish degree start started us past the ranch building and a guy curled up next to a fire.

    Wildcat Canyon Trail
    To the first saddle, the trail is pretty straight forward. From this saddle, down to the wash area has a few areas that are thin and prickly, but quite doable. In the canyon travel is easy. we missed one of the bypasses that horse travel took, leaving the creek, when we dealt with getting around an exploring bovine. Staying in the creek bed was NP.

    On the Cuff Button #276 for 2.5 miles is mainly old FR 305.

    Decommissioned Pinto Peak Trail #213 follows a 2 track to the Wilderness boundary. It's an easy walk through some interesting territory. The Mormon Corral had all sorts of water. There were 3 full troughs and a 200-300 gallon metal tank that was 2/3rds full. After the Wilderness boundary,the trail gets thinner in some spots, but does come back if you have the GPS track. As FOTG mentioned the only catclaw section, is in the last 1/2 mile or so before reaching Campaign.

    The Campaign Trail #256 is cleared and 6' wide in spots all the way south to the Fireline trail. After here, there is less than a mile section that needs some love. The rest of the trail down to West Pinto, is decent with some nice views, We even saw some poppies.

    On the roller coaster of the West Pinto #212, just 2.5 miles back to the TH.

    Weather was just about perfect on this one.

    Saw some small poppies, lupine.
    West Pinto Trail #212 - Superstitions
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    Cuff Button Loop
    This may be my favorite loop hike in the Superstition Wilderness.

    Brisk morning but it warmed up quickly, trail head was empty when we arrived. The hike up Trail 193 to the west gate at the saddle was the toughest part of the hike and really wasn't bad at all. We stayed high enough on the left side to avoid the ravine up/downs. Once at the west gate we continued down Trail 193 to Wildcat Canyon, which is very easy hiking, and made our way to the Cuff Button Trail junction and then over to the corral where we had lunch. From the corral to the West Pinto Trail was all new area for us. Really enjoyed this area as there was lots to see and the trail conditions were excellent. Spooked up one white-tail deer along the way. Crossed paths with only one backpacker on West Pinto who was heading out to camp on Cuff Button.

    Did I mention I really enjoyed this hike :D
    West Pinto Trail #212 - Superstitions
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    Got together with the group and headed out to the eastern Supes and started hiking from the Miles Ranch TH. I’ve done a handful of trails from this area but haven’t hit Wildcat Canyon and Cuff Button. Today was the day. We started with Wildcat Canyon and headed in. For the most part there is a good trail to follow with a mixture of cat claw. It took some work getting through but wasn’t horrible. The worst part is about a mile in where there are a variety of use / game trails. They mostly lead the same way with some heavy brush mixed in. Some route finding required through here. After a bit we reached Cuff Button and headed west. We knew some sections of this trail were cleared recently but expected heavy bushwhacking in the middle two miles. We continued hiking and found the trail completely clear to our delight! We topped out on a pass and then started down the western half that leads to the West Pinto Trail. This section was a bit hairy with cat claw and other brush to fight through as you descend a steep trail. We eventually hit the West Pinto Trail and took our lunch break in West Pinto Creek where some standing water was found for the dogs. From there it was less than an hour back to the TH.

    This turned out to be a great day hiking! We expected heavy brush but found very little. This kept us moving along and we finished at least an hour sooner than expected. For anyone wanting to hike Wildcat Canyon and Cuff Button now is the time! Go before mother nature reclaims these trails. Thanks Lee for driving!

    West Pinto Trail #212 - Superstitions
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    It looks like I will have to go back and amend my 2013 hike description for Cuff Button, it is no longer the nasty experience it once was. We hiked nearly all of Cuff Button today in a nice little rugged loop utilizing Wildcat Canyon from Miles trailhead.

    We were expecting some major bushwhacking today, but Cuff Button is now pretty clear for most of its length. There is a little section of acacia in the middle that seems to have been missed, but the majority of the trail has now been cleared and cleared well in some areas. With the clearing of Bull Basin and now Cuff Button, Miles trailhead is becoming and even more attractive destination in my opinion.

    The Wildcat Canyon portion was good in spots and a little overgrown in others but we cleared it pretty quickly and Cuff Button was a breaze as mentioned above. We found some water on West Pinto and ate a late lunch not too far from the trailhead. A good day out overall and I was happy to help a couple HAZers knock some Eastern Supes trails off their completion lists.
    West Pinto Trail #212 - Superstitions
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Reavis - Fire Line - Campaign - W Pinto Loop
    Friday afternoon, parked @ Rogers Trough Trailhead
    Trail 109 toward Reavis Ranch - Camped overnight @ Reavis Ranch
    Saturday morning, left Reavis and took Trail 118 east
    Turned RIGHT on the Campaign Trail (213)
    Turned RIGHT on W Pinto to intersection with 109
    Turned RIGHT on Trail 109 for the short walk back to the trailhead

    This hike is a beast. It started easy enough. I've done the hike into Reavis Ranch on 109 several times, so it was nice and familiar. On the way, I stopped at the grave site to say hello and then headed into the Ranch. Much to my surprise, I had the Ranch all to myself. There wasn't anyone else camping there on this particular Friday night. At least as far as I could tell. I walked from the old house foundation out into the orchard and didn't see anyone. Awesome, but sort of odd. I don't think I've ever been back there by myself.

    On Saturday morning, I set out to hike some trails I've never done before. I loaded up with 4 Liters of water and started up the Fire Line trail. The trail was good until I got to the high point (~700 ft elevation gain) just past what looked like a small trail to Mound Mtn. From the pass, the trail heads down toward Campaign Creek. The trail down hill is steep and pretty hard to find in a number of places. After dropping ~1000 feet, the Fire Line Trail intersects with the Campaign Trail. I stopped at the intersection and had a little breakfast -- my 1st attempt at soaking a Mountain House meal rather than adding boiling water. It worked for me. I think I'll try it again in the future. Anyway, there is a nice, small campsite at the intersection that I plan to use at some point in the future (hopefully).

    I turned right on the Campaign Trail and headed upstream. The trail is easy to follow for a about a 100' and then crosses the creek. The next few mile or so is tough going. I lost the trail several times and almost completely missed the point where the trail went steeply up hill. After standing in a very small clearing for 4 or 5 minutes, I spotted the trail through a patch of cat claw going steeply up hill. I fought through the brush and pushed up the hill. After about a mile, the trail reaches the ridge line and you leave the brush into more open desert. At the wilderness boundary, there is a gate. On the other side of a gate, the trail changes completely. You are in more open desert and there are obvious signs of trail work. The trail is nicely cleared and easy to follow. From the gate down to the West Pinto Creek intersection, the trail is completely clear of brush and the trail bed is easy to walk on. The drop is pretty incredible. In ~2.75 miles, you drop ~1500 feet. On this descent, I saw the only other people I would see all day - 3 hikers heading up the hill on their way to Reavis Ranch for the night.

    The Campaign Trail meets W Pinto near the old corral. From here, I wanted to follow W Pinto back toward Rogers Trough. There are a dozen or so large, well used campsites near the corral and I had a hard time finding the trail. I'm pretty sure I didn't go the right way, but I plowed forward and eventually ended up on the mail trail heading toward Rogers Trough.
    There is a short steep up out of the creek bed and then the trail gains elevation slowly (~800 feet above the intersection) over the next 3.5 as you walk along the ridge line and hillsides above the creek. I passed a number of pools that looked very inviting, but were too far down the hill for me to stop and dip my feet in.

    About 4 miles from the intersection of Campaign and W Pinto, things get tough. I was a bit dehydrated (my fault) and the trail got steep. The trail gained about 600' in 0.5 miles and it really took the life out of my legs. The trail continues up, but at a more gradual pace. Once I crested the top, I thought I was done climbing and the trail was going to go to the right of Iron Mountain, but the trail turned left and dropped down a few hundred feet before starting the final uphill. After cresting the ridge the south of Iron Mountain, the trail drops down to intersect with 109 for the short walk back to the trailhead.

    This hike really beat me up. Trail finding along the Campaign Trail before I got to the wilderness boundary was tough. The steep up and down really killed my legs. And, I didn't drink enough. I have a tendency to walk for several hours without stopping and that really came back to bite me on this trip. On the last climb, I was barely moving a 1 mile per hour. Lesson learned. There is no reason to be dehydrated walking next to a creek. All in all, I'm glad I checked these sections off my list. I found one campsite I want to revisit solo and nice big campsites along W Pinto for the Troop.
    West Pinto Trail #212 - Superstitions
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    Rick's Son, Dustin is visiting from the U P Michigan, wanted to do some camping and hiking. We scouted out Miles TH last month and determined if we are to camp there it has to be during the week to have some solitude :) . Showed up mid morning on Monday and :o only one spot left to set up camp :pout: We made the best of the situation and it turned out, no problem, was all quite around us. :zzz: After we set up camp, gathered all the camp wood, we set out on West Pinto to Cuff Button and returned. Met a young lady heading up to Oak flats to set up camp, found out she was part of the Arizona Conservation Corps, and rest of the group was joining her on Tuesday. The plan was to scout out all the trails in the area, and process them for future trail maintenance this summer and have work done by next fall. :D Also all the other camp sites were occupied by Wilderness Volunteers planning on working this week on Trail Maintenance, Monday they finished Paradise Trail, Tuesday they were heading up Bull Basin Trail to the saddle. So looks and sounds like Miles TH will be busy hosting work crews this summer. According to their Web site, Champaign Trail is on the agenda this week. Tuesday Bull Basin Loop was our chosen hike. Wow hats off to all that has done this :) When they say steep, they mean steep !!! Got to Haunted Canyon finally :scared: took the side trip over to Tony's. While there we met 3 yes 3 state workers from the Fishery Dep't, checking if there were any fish my the stream next to the cabin, talk about time wasted management :( :? Great time can't wait to get back.
    West Pinto Trail #212 - Superstitions
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    Kelly and I have been talking about doing something out this way and agreed on the Bull Basin Loop with a side trip to Tony Ranch. It was scheduled for Sunday, but rain got in the way. Monday looked better. John was looking for a hike so we invited him along too.

    Running water ruled the day. We initially thought that log crawling across a creek at the outset would keep our feet dry. :lol: A couple of dozen or more creek crossings later we didn't care about wet feet. Some of the creeks resembled rivers. Some sections of the trails resembled creeks. At the saddle near the start of the Paradise Trail, John noted that it was the first time all day we could not hear running water.

    The trails are in excellent shape. As noted in a couple of recent trip logs, they've been trimmed back nicely. A tiny bit of cat claw here and there, but easily avoidable. A little muddy here and there, more so at the saddle on Paradise trail, but a day or two of sunshine will make it all good.

    We took a nice break at the cabin on Tony Ranch. What little bit of sunshine we had at the outset gave way to overcast skies. Our wet feet could have used some sun. Instead, they started to get cold. Time to move. It was 37 degrees at the start and it didn't get anywhere close to the promised high in the low 60's.

    Wet, cloudy or cold, it didn't matter today; this was a fun hike. If you're on the fence about this one, or if you hiked it when it was bushy on Bull Basin trail, you should get out there. This is good hiking with the opportunity for much more. We all had fun.

    John and Kelly, it was great hiking with you!
    West Pinto Trail #212 - Superstitions
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    ray and john had monday off, so we picked the best weather day of the holiday weekend to hike bull basin loop
    road was a little muddy, but ray had no issues on the drive in
    37 degrees around 7:30, starting out on west pinto trail
    came to our first crossing of rock creek and found a slick log to crawl over
    stayed dry on that one, but gave it up on the next 40 or so :lol:
    there was water flowing in every creek and drainage, and often on the trail
    the bigger crossings got pretty cold :o
    turned onto bull basin trail, which climbed to a saddle and then dropped down to haunted canyon trail
    took the side trip to the cabin as i had not seen it
    cool spot for a snack break
    headed back to the intersection with paradise trail, which also climbed to a saddle
    the initial descent was a little steep, rocky and wet, but soon moderated into a nice dirt path through the woods
    finished up and headed into superior for a late lunch at los hermanos
    fun hike on all new trails for me
    good company, too
    trails were in great shape - very little brush
    love seeing some new territory in the eastern superstitions
    thanks for driving, ray
    plenty more to do from miles trailhead, which is worthy of some wandering around to check out the old ranch stuff
    West Pinto Trail #212 - Superstitions
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I am not sure what gave me the urge to do this peak again, but I did. A rewarding peak with an attraction, but the off trail portion is a bit taxing.

    I feel I was more efficient this time through the manzanita jungle and along the fence line, however, it was still a slog at times for me and the pups. I took a nice break on the peak to snack and let the dogs rest. There are some great views from Pinto Peak from the Pinals to the views across Lake Roosevelt into the Ancha, a glimpse of the Four Peaks and so much more. There was hardly a cloud in the sky, but the wind and chilly day made it puffy coat weather on the peak. The off trail portion back to Campaign trail went better on the way back and although it could use some work, the trip down Campaign Trail was pretty quick too. There are some significant pools of water along West Pinto Trail, however, it is not even trickling. I only saw one other person all day, a hunter spotting deer near the trailhead.

    Just another nice day in the eastern Supes.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To Miles Ranch Trailhead
    From Superior head out east on US 60. Pass through the Queen Creek Tunnel and continue 10 miles to mile marker 239.4 Turn left onto this paved road that enters the Pinto Mine. Follow the paved road 2.8 miles and turn left onto FS 287. Go slow at the numerous intersections. Your goal is to figure out which are mine roads and which are public access. Public access signs are posted on most of the intersections. Some aren't exactly clear which way they are pointing. You will leave the private land of the Pinto Mine and crossover onto forest land. At about seven miles you turn left onto 287A. Follow FS 287A to the end. It's called Kennedy Ranch on maps, but the trailhead is called Miles Ranch.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 88.0 mi - about 1 hour 53 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 121 mi - about 2 hours 43 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 232 mi - about 3 hours 56 mins
    128 GB Flash Drive... $14
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